After the past couple of years, it would be easy to feel disconnected, to find it hard to know what we feel, what we need, or what to do to feel better. Luckily yoga gives us tools to help us to tune in and become more aware of what we’re feeling so we can better take care of ourselves. One of those tools is the 7 Chakra System.
The chakras are often taught in a dogmatic or mysterious way when in actual fact they are a means to help us to sense and recognize how we feel and what our needs are. Chakra is a Sanskrit word that is often defined as wheel but the word can also translate as centre, group, circle, or family. As with so many Sanskrit words, to understand the meaning we look at the context in which it’s used and from the ancient yogic texts we can see it’s used to refer to focal points, locations in the body to be focused on, in other words, to be paid attention to.
You may have seen modern depictions of the 7 Chakra System and noticed that the chakras are located in a vertical line from the pelvic base to somewhere just above the head. We can probably agree that the most emotional and energetically significant experiences in our lives all happen on this vertical axis – for example, gestation, birth, sexual experiences, gut feelings (butterflies, intuition), emotions of the heart, the throat and vocal chords, being able to express ourselves, singing, feeling a lump in the throat, struggling for words, deep thinking and flashes of insight.
We all experience the chakras at one time or another, we just don’t usually call them that. Using the heart chakra as an example, in moments of great emotion in life we know we can have a visceral, palpable experience in this region of the body. The experience has nothing to do with anything that could be seen on an operating table or anything that could be seen by a scan. Falling in love, infatuation, and grief can all bring a felt sense to this location.
Although most people only experience the heart chakra when it is at its loudest, at extreme times of emotion, we can learn to tune in and become aware of the more subtle activations of energy in each area. With practice we become more conscious of our feelings and needs and are then better able to respond and take care of ourselves, giving us the opportunity to live our lives from a stronger, more grounded, more integrated place.
I’ll be teaching how we can put the 7 Chakra System into practice this year in my Self-Care Course, so if you’re interested and want to know more about the 7 chakras this may be a good place to start. You can take part in the course in-person or online and can find details on the events pages here: 7-week-self-care-course
Take good care of yourself.