A Brief Orientation To The Chakras
BY LARA FARCASAN
We experience subtle energies in a whole host of different ways - as thoughts, as feelings, as palpable tension in the room, as physical tension in our bodies. What if there were tools we could use to navigate these subtle experiences in our practice? What if there was a place we could start from that could help us connect the dots between physical tension in our bodies and emotional experience?
Enter the Chakras. The Chakra system is an energetic mapping of the body. In maps of the earth we use concepts like the equator, latitude and longitude in order to navigate and travel to different areas. In the chakra system we can use similar concepts to navigate to different areas of our practice. On different sides of the equator you might notice differences in weather, the way water drains and other subtle observations. In different chakras you might notice differences in your emotions, thoughts and physical tensions. Like the equator, the chakras aren’t a physical thing you can go see - but a concept that can be used to help navigate our yoga and meditation practice by visiting different areas mapped in our body.
Chakras originally hail from Tantrik and Hatha Yoga practices. Historically, some of the aim of Hatha Yoga was simply in hope that if you discovered tension in your physical body, you would discover emotional and mental tension connected to it and maybe even through awareness and practice unravel some of it.
The most well known 7 chakra system is laid over specific points in the body, with the potential to help us become more connected to our inner workings and use them as focal points for meditation. Meditation can lead to experiencing these chakras through yoga postures, visualization, breathing and other techniques. Exploring chakras can can help cultivate subtler observations between the body and internal experience and maybe even allow ourselves to release unnecessary tensions.
It’s no surprise that the chakra system has gained popularity over the last few years in yoga studios across the city. We experience an enormous amount of tension and are exposed to a ton of energy both by physically being in close proximity but also by being ever connected to the internal experiences of others through the internet. More and more we’re looking for tools to manage and understand each other better and the Chakras can give us a great place to start simply by understanding ourselves.