Prana and Chakras

According to yoga philosophy, there’s more to the human body than matter. Each of us also has an energy body, a subtle field of life force or prana, which moves through an intricate network of channels or nadis that surround and infiltrate the physical body. This energy body or pranamaya kosha interacts closely with the physical body, reflecting and creating a state of bodily health with an unobstructed flow of subtle energy.

Where the physical body has higher levels of electrochemical activity, the energy body has more channels, larger channels and more intersections between them. These intersections are called chakras. There are plenty of chakras throughout the energy body, but the most significant ones are found near the midline of the physical body, by the spinal cord and brain. These major chakras correspond to the major nervous plexuses, and to the endocrine glands. They are seven in number, and each has its own distinct characteristics.

In studying the characteristics of the major chakras, one begins to see a few things. Firstly, they provide a fully realized model of the human psyche. From our most basic survival instinct in muladhara, the root chakra, to our capacity for transpersonal realization in sahasrara, the crown, they cover the full spectrum of what it means to be human. This psychological model, like any other, can be used to better understand ourselves. Secondly, by taking an upward journey through the chakras, one can readily chart the path of individual and collective evolution. Following this path does not mean leaving the lower levels behind in order to reach the higher. It means allowing one’s energy to flow through all the chakras, thereby expressing the full range of one’s humanity – including one’s intellect, creativity, love, power, and sexuality to name a few.

This full human expression is an ideal situation. However, often one chakra or another is ‘blocked’ and does not allow a free flow of energy. Through various forms of energetic therapy, including sound healing and Reiki, these blocked chakras can be encouraged to open. Since the energy body is constantly interacting with both the physical body and the mind, physical and mental healing can result from energetic work. Likewise, physical or mental therapy can heal or open up the chakras.

The charts below are an introduction to the seven major chakras, as they manifest in their symbolic, physical, and psychological aspects.

The Chakras - Physical

Top and center of head
Between the eyes
Between inner collabones
Center of chest
Above navel
Just below navel
Spinal Regions
Above Nose
Below Eyes
Endocrine glands
Thyroid or Parathyroid
Nervous plexuses
Cerebral cortex
Body parts
Brain, cerebellum, skull
Face, nose, eyes, sinuses,
cerebellum, pituitary gland
Lungs, vocal cords, bronchials,
throat, jaw, neck, thyroid,
voice, nape of neck
Heart, upper back, rib cage,
chest, skin, circulatory system,
lower lungs, abdominal cavity
Abdomen, lower back, stomach,
spleen, liver, digestive system, gall
bladder, autonomic nervous system
Reproductive organs, kidneys,
bladder, pelvic area, sperm, all
liquids and fluids of the body
Bones, teeth, nails, legs,
arms, intestine, anus, prostate,
blood, cell structure
Amethyst, Crystal, Topaz, Alexandrite, Sapphire
Lapis Lazuli, Sodalite, Open, Indigo Sapphire
Aquamarine, Turquoise, Chalcedon
Emerald, Green Jade, Rose Quartz
Amber, Tiger's Eye, Citrine, Yellow Topaz, Agate
Moon Stone, Carnelian, Tourmaline
Agate, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Smoky Quartz
Frankincense, Olibanum, Oakmoss, Lotus
Basil, Jasmine, Rosemary, Patchouli
Lavender, Sandalwood, Neroli, Sage
Geranium, Bergamot, Rose, Clary, Sage
Chamomile, Lemon, Thyme
Sandalwood, Petitgrain, Ylang Ylang
Cedar, Clove, Cypress, Marjoram, Myrrh
Saturn, Neptune
Mercury, Venus, Uranus
Mars, Venus, Uranus
Sun, Venus, Saturn
Sun, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury
Moon, Venus, Mars, Mercury
Mars, Saturn

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The Chakras - Symbolic

Meaning of Name
Lustrous Gem
Root Support
# of Petals
Purple, "Cloud"
Green, Gray
Yellow, Red, Purple
Orange, White
Red, Yellow
Soham (सो ऽहम्)
Aum (ॐ)
Ham (हं)
Yam (यं)
Ram (रं)
Vam (वं)
Lam (लं)
Musical Notes
B (Ni)
A (Dha)
G (Pa)
F (Ma)
E (Ga)
D (Re)
C (Sa)
Zodiac Signs
Capricorn, Pisces
Sagittarius, Aquarius, Pisces
Gemini, Taurus, Aquarius
Leo, Libra
Leo, Sagittarius, Virgo
Cancer, Libra, Scorpio
Aries, Mars, Taurus, Scorpio, Capricorn
Direction of Spin
B (Ni)
A (Dha)
G (Pa)
F (Ma)
E (Ga)
D (Re)
C (Sa)
Direction of spin
CW (Male)
CCW (Female)
CCW (Male)
CW (Female)
CW (Male)
CCW (Female)
CCW (Male)
CW (Female)
CW (Male)
CCW (Female)
CCW (Male)
CW (Female)
CW (Male)
CCW (Female)
Beyond senses

(scroll this chart left to right)

The Chakras - Psychological

Pure being
Knowing of being
Expression of being
Loving beyond the self
Formation of being
Reproduction of being
Physical Entity
Here the human being
connects with the universe.
This chakra enables
the recognition of being.
Deals with all related to sound,
both physical and metaphysical.
The ability to love without
fear and self-consciousness.
This is where the personality is formed.
Feeling and being are integrated here.
Center for sexual energy,
creativity and pure emotions.
Links the individual
with the physical world.
Benefit of Therapy
Cosmic aspect - no self limitations
Understanding, harmony
Brings harmony to speech and voice
Brings peace and understanding
Eases aggression, pacifies
Stimulates desire, rejuvenates
Calms, dissolves tension
Orientation or goal
Spiritual wisdom
Intuition and imagination
Shaping of being
Reproduction of being
Physical entity
Description (after Kailash Yoga)
This is the crown chakra that relates to
consciousness as pure awareness. It refers to
the element "thought". It is our connection to
the greater world beyond, to a timeless,
spaceless place of all-knowing. When developed,
this chakra brings us knowledge, wisdom,
understanding, spiritual connection, and bliss.
This chakra is known as the brow chakra or third
eye. It represents the element "light". It is
related to the act of seeing, both physically
and intuitively. As such it opens our psychic
faculties and our understanding of archetypal
levels. When healthy it allows us to see clearly,
in effect, letting us "see the big picture."
This is the chakra located in the throat and is
thus related to communication and creativity. It
represents the element "ether". Here we experience
the world symbolically through vibration, such as
the vibration of sound representing language.
This chakra is called the heart chakra and is the
middle chakra in a system of seven. It represents
the element "air". It is related to love and is the
integrator of opposites in the psyche: mind and
body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego
and unity. A healthy fourth chakra allows us to
love deeply, feel compassion, and have a deep
sense of peace.
This chakra is known as the power chakra and is
located in the solar plexus. It represents the
element "fire". It rules our personal power, will,
and autonomy, as well as our metabolism. When
healthy, this chakra brings us energy,
effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating
The second chakra, located in the abdomen, lower
back, and sexual organs, is related to the element
"water", and to emotions and sexuality. It connects
us to others through feeling, desire, sensation,
and movement. Ideally this chakra brings us
fluidity and grace, depth of feeling, sexual
fulfillment, and the ability to accept change.
Located at the base of the spine, this chakra forms
our foundation. It represents the element "earth",
and is therefore related to our survival instincts,
and to our sense of grounding and connection to our
bodies and the physical plane. Ideally this chakra
brings us health, prosperity, security, and
dynamic presence.
Healthy Chakra (after Kailash Yoga)
The Crown chakra is about wisdom and being one
with the world. When this chakra is open, you are
unprejudiced and quite aware of the world and
The Third Eye chakra is about insight and
visualization. When it is open, you have a good
intuition. You may tend to fantasize.
The Throat chakra is about self-expression and
talking. When it is open, you have no problems
expressing yourself, and you might be doing so as
an artist.
The Heart chakra is about love, kindness and
affection. When it is open, you are compassionate and
friendly, and you work at harmonious relationships.
The Navel chakra is about asserting yourself in a
group. When it is open, you feel in control and
you have sufficient self esteem.
The Sacral chakra is about feeling and sexuality.
When it is open, your feelings flow freely, and are
expressed without being over-emotional. You are
open to intimacy and you can be passionate and
lively. You have no problems dealing with your
The Root chakra is about being physically there
and feeling at home in situations. If it is open,
you feel grounded, stable and secure. You don't
unnecessarily distrust people. You feel present in
the here and now and connected to your physical
body. You feel you have sufficient territory.
Underactive Chakra (after Kailash Yoga)
If it is under-active, you're not very aware of
spirituality. You're probably quite rigid in your
If it is under-active, you're not very good at
thinking for yourself, and you may tend to rely on
authorities. You may be rigid in your thinking,
relying on beliefs too much. You might even get
confused easily.
When this chakra is under-active, you tend not to
speak much, and you probably are introverted and shy.
Not speaking the truth may block this chakra.
When your Heart chakra is under-active, you are
cold and distant.
When the Navel chakra is under-active, you tend to
be passive and indecisive. You're probably timid
and don't get what you want.
If you tend to be stiff and unemotional or have a
"poker face," the Sacral chakra is under-active.
You're not very open to people.
If you tend to be fearful or nervous, your Root
chakra is probably under-active. You'd easily feel
Overactive Chakra (after Kailash Yoga)
If this chakra is over-active, you are probably
intellectualizing things too much. You may be
addicted to spirituality and are probably ignoring
your bodily needs.
If this chakra is over-active, you may live in a
world of fantasy too much. In excessive cases
hallucinations are possible.
If this chakra is over-active, you tend to speak
too much, usually to domineer and keep people at a
distance. You're a bad listener if this is the case.
If this chakra is over-active, you are suffocating
people with your love and your love probably has
quite selfish reasons.
If this chakra is over-active, you are domineering
and probably even aggressive.
If this chakra is over-active, you tend to be
emotional all the time. You'll feel emotionally
attached to people and you can be very sexual.
If this chakra is over-active, you may be very
materialistic and greedy. You're probably obsessed
with being secure and resist change.

The yogic model of the human being goes beyond the material and energetic bodies. It includes three more aspects or koshas, which can be described as the thinking mind, the universal mind, and the pure witnessing consciousness. We humans are intricate and multifaceted beings, and the yogic model including chakras can give us a valuable perspective on who we really are.