According to ancient yoga tradition, we have a great many energy centers – called chakras – within and surrounding the body. In Sanskrit, the word chakra is literally defined as wheel or disk. These ‘wheels’ of energy are aligned along the center of the body, from the base of the spine up to the crown of the head. Each of the seven main chakras contains bundles of nerves and correlates with major organs and systems, as well as with our physical, mental, emotional, sexual, and spiritual states of being. They’re represented by certain sounds, symbols, colors, scents, and gems; and we encourage them to ‘spin optimally’ (maintaining balance) by practicing specific yoga poses, meditations, breathing techniques, and affirmations. I’ll expand upon on the three that we focus on most in the CPF practices and programs.
First of all — we know we have energy because we’re alive, right? Right. Secondly, let’s consider that we may have various challenges that affect the balance of our body’s energy at random (and sometimes regular) moments of the day, week, month, year, and throughout our lifetime. We’re in a constant state of balance and imbalance! But without an obvious challenge, some imbalances are difficult to detect. When we can recognize the subtle signals, we can often avoid the more obvious challenges. By developing an awareness of the body’s energies, we can recognize when challenges affect and imbalance us, thus drawing upon that awareness to bring the energy back into balance.
Since everything in life is constantly moving, it’s essential that our seven main chakras stay moving, flowing, or ‘spinning’. If there is a blockage, energy can’t flow. Here’s the deal — think of something as simple as your kitchen sink. If you allow too many food particles to go into the drain, the sink will back up with water, stagnate, and eventually bacteria and mold will grow. We can say the same about our bodies and the chakras! But a sink is simple; the fix is easy. Keeping a chakra open and flowing freely is a bit more of a challenge, but certainly not impossible. All we need is awareness and practice.
The pelvic floor is literally in the space of the first chakra — the Root Chakra. This is our foundational support and is represented as a circular red disc of glowing light. This energy center is located at the very base of the spine and includes (but is not limited to) the first three vertebrae, the bladder, colon, and pelvic floor. The energy here deals with safety, security, career, money, family, and our ‘roots’. When this chakra is balanced, we feel grounded, safe, and fearless. When imbalanced, we may suffer from problems in the lower extremities, constipation, fatigue, and dysfunctions of the pelvic floor.
The second chakra — the Sacral Chakra — is represented as a circular orange disc of glowing light. It’s located at the area of the sacral spine, low belly, and reproductive organs. It’s all about creativity, emotions, sexuality, and JOY! When this chakra is out of balance, we may experience emotional instability, chronic lower back pain, sciatica, pelvic pain, sexual issues, and urinary infections. We also may have trouble opening up to others. A balanced second chakra leads to feelings of wellness, abundance, and pleasure, we’re confident in our sensuality, and gratified emotionally. We feel courageous, open, creative, and attractive. We maintain healthy relationships and appreciate laugher, dancing, and going with the flow.
Our third chakra — the Solar Plexus Chakra — is below the rib cage, above the navel, and of course (like all chakras) wraps around and through the body at this area. It’s represented by the color yellow and has to do with empowerment, determination, courage, and transformation. It’s the fire in the belly! I like to call it our ‘sunshine at the center of Self’. When this chakra is imbalanced, we may experience poor digestion, low blood sugar, low self-esteem, and lack of will power.
The topic of chakras is so dang cool! Techniques practiced by the ancient yogis of thousands of years ago are still popular and effective to this day. But again, it’s all about balance. And this is why we call it a practice!