The Seven Chakras - A Link Between Mind, Body & Behaviour

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Antonia Boyle of Alpha Waves, Westerham Kent, explores this fascinating crossover between mind and body ...

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The word 'chakra' comes from the Sanskrit word meaning wheel or vortex. The chakras refer to seven main energy centres in our body, which govern our psychological properties. These spirals of energy are along the midline of the body and each one relates to the other. The chakras on the lower part cover our instinctual side, while the highest ones our mental side. When the energy flows freely, from one to the other, we are in balance, but when that energy is blocked, it can lead to physical and emotional illness. 

The chakras are not physical, but are aspects of our consciousness, in a similar way to auras. The seven chakras are centres of vital energy in our body and this energy has its source in the vital (pranic) body, which surrounds our physical body - all our energy comes from this source. The chakras interact with the physical body via the endocrine and nervous systems; each chakra is linked with one of the seven endocrine glands and a collection of nerves, known as plexus (rather like a telephone exchange for nervous impulses and energy). In this way, each chakra is linked with specific parts of the body and the bodily functions that are controlled by the plexus or endocrine gland associated with that chakra. Mentally, everything that we experience, perceive or are aware of can be divided into seven categories and each of these categories is associated with a particular chakra. Therefore, the chakras not only represent parts of the physical body, but our psychological parts and consciousness too.

The endocrine system secrete hormones directly into the blood stream. These hormones are chemical messengers, which cause changes in our emotional state and change our physical characteristics. Creating the right balance of chemical secretions in order to obtain knowledge and success is the work of Yoga. This is done by choosing the right thoughts and the right mental activity, which bring about the desired chemical secretions to ensure we progress. According to Patanjali-Sutra 1 "Yoga is the control of the Thought waves of the Mind"

Negative thoughts produce corresponding negative chemical secretions which cause disturbed emotions, a worried, over-busy brain and physical illness. Positive thought and correct choices stimulate the optimum balance of chemical secretions, which results in a healthy body, calm emotions and clear mind. Imbalance in any of the seven chakras will, via the actions of the endocrine and nervous system, show up in a particular physical characteristic, emotional state and general behaviour.

Understanding the chakras, will allow you to understand the links between your mind and your body and to understand that physical symptoms can be traced back to your mind. Ultimately, this can give you more control over how you choose to live your life and the effect that has on you and those around you. Balance is all:

The Chakras According to Alpha WavesFIRST CHAKRA: MULADHARA
Element | Earth     Mantra | Lam    Colour | Red

Base of the spine, the root centre, situated in the perineum. On the physical level the Muladhara is responsible for a healthy body, good posture, strong bones, flexible joints and spine. On the mental side this Chakra represents stable and orderly thought processes, which aid aspirations. Spiritually the base Chakra is the firm foundation on which you climb upwards to the spiritual heights of the top Chakras. Spiritual growth is based on the strong foundation of the Muladhara Chakra. Many people fall into the trap of believing that it is only the higher Chakras that really count, and the truth is that no building will stay standing without its firm foundations.

The emotion associated to this chakra is fear, the quality is patience while self preservation - fight or flight is also associated with this chakra. Illness and infirmary in later years is often due to an imbalance here. If there is underlying fear in a person's life, bowel problems, such as colitis or chronic diarrhoea are common.

SECOND CHAKRA: SWADISTHANA
Element | Water     Mantra | Vam     Colour | Orange

Rising up the spine we come to this chakra at the level of the sacrum, and at the front between the navel and the pubic bone. Its qualities are expansion and expression. The centre is associated with the survival of the species and desire, sex and pleasure in general. The work of this chakra is to constructively control and channel the emotions and appetite. The endocrine glands associated with this chakra are the gonads; testes and ovaries. The negative emotion associated with this centre is jealousy.

If this centre is unbalanced a person will regards other people as sexual objects rather than companions, friends.

THIRD CHAKRA:  MANIPURA
Element | Fire     Mantra | Ram     Colour | Yellow

At the level of the solar plexus is the 'fire centre' of the body. Energy is stored here and used when needed. The emotion is anger but also zeal and enthusiasm. There is the choice to use energy for constructive endeavour and to add zeal to the works of the other chakras, but it can also be used for anger and bad temper. This is where the choice lies whether to move energy upwards to the higher centres or move it down to the lower ones. It is also situated in the area of the diaphragm, which is the main energy mover as the main breathing muscle.

The endocrine glands associated with this chakra are the adrenals. These control the level of energy used by the body. This chakra governs the digestive system, which controls the proper distribution of energy in the body on the level of providing nutrition.

If unregulated, a person can have poor digestion, be hot-tempered, domineering and judgmental. Judges others as either superior or inferior, never as one's peers.

FOURTH CHAKRA: ANAHATA
Element | Air     Mantra | Yam     Colour | Green

At the heart level is the Anahata Chakra that balances the three lower and three higher Centres. It is central to our physical being. It is the heart, which pumps the blood, round the body and brings oxygen to all our cells. It is concerned with nurturing. It is situated between the lungs, which are nurturing the body with oxygen and between the breasts, which are the only organs structured solely for the purpose of nourishment to another.

The right balance in this chakra leads to a full life with a leading position amongst the people who encounter you. A person will radiate warmth and compassion. The unbalanced state is a fear of being scrutinised and 'found out', this fear will radiate little energy and gives the impression of a 'cold' person, who is emotionless and cold hearted.The emotion of the centre is joy.

The endocrine gland is the Thymus. Physically, its influence is on growth and development in the early years. This work is largely finished after puberty. Mental and emotional growth continues after this.

FIFTH CHAKRA: VISHUDDA
Element | Ether    Mantra | Ham     Colour | Blue

The throat Centre is associated with sound. Sounding the Om mantra from the throat has an uplifting effect on the whole person. Expression is the keynote of this chakra and bad talk and gossip will cause degeneration in this chakra.

The emotion of this chakra is love. This chakra is also associated with being nurtured in the form of food and air and being cared for. It has to do with learning to accept. To be able to receive is related to the throat centre and so has trust. One has to trust to be able to receive gifts, help, etc. If people 'give' too much, to your liking, you might use expressions like: feeling as if you are swallowed up. There can be a fear of being taken over or engulfed.
The throat centre is associated with the Thyroid and Parathyroid endocrine glands, whose function it is to achieve balance and harmony. Their secretions affect the metabolism - the rate at which oxygen and nutrients are exchanged in the body's cells. Imbalance here leads to sluggishness and overweight on the one hand and over-activity and underweight on the other. The balance between the blood and bones is also controlled by the secretions of these glands, as is the iodine balance.

SIXTH CHARKRA: AJNA
Element | Mind Mantra | Om Colour | Indigo

Situated in the centre of the forehead, just a little above the eyebrows. Ajna means command - it is the centre of control. Jna means knowledge. The pre-fix A indicated a state above knowledge, a state of direct knowing or intuition. It is true wisdom. It is the centre of command and the centre of detachment. The mind is controlled; it is detached from the low centres and at the command of an all-enduring spirit. In meditation on this chakra, you will develop your ability to join your positive and negative and when you let mental energies clear your mind from interfering intellectualising thoughts true experience happen. Focusing on this chakra has a balancing effect on the other chakras.

The emotion of this chakra is compassion. The endocrine gland associated with Ajna is the Pituitary gland, which secretes hormones. This gland affects the balance of secretions of the other glands. This centre is associated with the ability for introspection and the ability to see within, to have a deeper vision and clairvoyance.

SEVENTH CHAKRA: SAHASRARA
Element | Spirit    Mantra | Om    Colour | Violet

The Crown Centre is the link with the spirit. At birth we have a gap at this centre, which closes during our early years. Beyond the top of the head are the higher vibrations and we receive spiritual impulse here.

The gland associated with this centre is the Pineal gland, it is crescent shaped in the centre of the brain, turned upwards like a radar antennae. It is structured like an eye, of rods and cones. Modern science can as yet find no clear function for this gland. This gland was said by the ancient teachers to be sensitive to the light within. This gland is only physically active during early childhood and maybe that is the reason why children are far more open to listening to their intuition. Legend has it that the top of the head of children needs to be open for them to receive their Spirituality. Meditational attention at this centre is just to be receptive.

NB: These notes are my 'ramblings' and I am not claiming to be an authority on chakras at all. I would like you to accept them as such. Hopefully they will give you a different perspective or add another aspect to some of your earlier understanding. However most importantly I hope that they are useful to you. Antonia Boyle

References from Ernest Roberts' seminars and articles in the 1970s. The Brofman Foundation for the advancement of healing.

Antonia's notes from Swami Satyananda's talks in the 1980s