(Originally Published in Biscayne Boulevard Times. September 2004)
We have all had the experience of visiting a doctor with pain or discomfort only to find that there is no solution for us other than drugs or surgery. If we know that these methods are only treating the symptom and not the underlying problem, we often turn to alternative medicine for answers.
Two of the most popular alternative therapies in American culture are Acupuncture and Yoga. Although they have similar results – relaxation, improved health, and increased energy – Acupuncture and Yoga are actually based on very different philosophies and practices. This article will help you understand the system that serves as the foundation for Yoga and hands-on healing practices such as Reiki and Healing Touch.
Yoga is based on the chakra system which defines the body as an integrative energy system. We have seven major chakras and several smaller ones holding and directing the energy of our body. Imagine for a moment the way that the water looks when it is draining from your bath-tub. It is a spinning vortex that looks somewhat like a hurricane. While the vortex keeps spinning and the water keeps moving, the form stays the same. Not many people can see the chakras, but most healers can feel them with their hands.
Every thing that you do, think, say, desire and feel affects your energy and the chakras. When we are in balance, we do not experience pain or discomfort in our body. We have energy to accomplish the things that we want to accomplish. We feel sharp, clear, competent, happy and peaceful. If we do not have balance, we suffer. We experience pain or discomfort. Our sleeping, eating and other body patterns are disrupted. We may get confused easily, feel our mind racing, and experience worry, anger or fear.
Each chakra has locations, colors, functions, and qualities associated with it. Below is a brief description of each major chakra and its properties. Understanding your chakras helps you better understand your-self. It gives you a new freedom to interpret your symptoms differently and find answers you couldn’t get from the doctor.
1. Root Chakra
Location: base of the spine
Function: Gives vitality to the physical body; governs legs and bones
Qualities: Matters relating to the physical world, grounding, stability, and security.
2. Sacral Chakra
Location: Lower abdomen
Function: Sexuality and Creativity; governs reproductive organs
Qualities: Working harmoniously with others, giving and receiving, healthy emotions and desire
3. Solar Plexus Chakra
Location: Upper abdomen
Function: Governs digestion, metabolism, nervous system, and muscles
Qualities: Personal power and confidence, self-control and self-esteem
4. Heart Chakra
Location: Center of the chest
Function: Connects higher and lower parts of self, energizes blood circulation; governs arms, hands and lungs
Qualities: Unconditional love, forgiveness, compassion, and openness
5. Throat Chakra
Location: Throat area
Color: Sky Blue
Function: Speech and communication; governs thyroid, throat and mouth
Qualities: Communication, creative expression, and honesty
6. Third Eye Chakra
Location: Center of forehead between eyebrows
Color: Dark Blue
Function: The lower brain and nervous system; governs eyes, nose and ears
Qualities: Intuition, insight, imagination, concentration and wisdom
7. Crown Chakra
Location: Top of the head
Function: Upper brain
Qualities: Connection to higher power, inspiration, unity, divine wisdom
At the energetic level, the body, mind and spirit are all interconnected. They share a symbiotic relationship and work together to create harmony and balance. In the same way that the plant, animal, mineral and human systems are connected on the Earth, the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual systems are connected in our body. The water feeds the trees, the trees release oxygen, the body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide – all of these things are working together perfectly to create our world. If we neglected even one of these elements, oxygen for example, the whole system would fail to work. The same is true of the body.
The main purpose in working with the chakras is to create integration and wholeness within ourselves. By using techniques such as Yoga, breathing and meditation, we can influence our chakras, our health and our lives. Sometimes, when we are much out-of-balance, we can use an energy healer or some other health professional to help restore balance to the system. The important thing to remember is that making time for these healing activities will significantly improve the quality and length of our lives. The more we work on the body, the better it will work for us.