Here is the best information I know about chakras based on my studies and what I have learned directly from over 40 years of teaching meditation and offering hands-on energy healing.
My answer differs from much of what is written about chakra work, most of which is based, not on experience, but on what has been written in the past.
What Is Chakra? What are Chakras?
The term "chakra" comes from Indian yoga philosophy. It means circle or wheel in Sanskrit. These wheels or centers within and around our bodies influence our consciousness and behaviors.
More importantly, they can be purified and awakened to help us heal and improve all aspects of our lives--our relationships, our mental abilities, our creative expression, etc.
The idea of chakras or energy centers exist in both eastern and western spiritual and wellness teachings. But their purpose, locations and number vary depending on the source.
There are many interpretations to the question "what are chakras?" The two answers I find most helpful are:
--Chakras are focal points within our human bodies where we can access our life energy or life force.
--Chakras are places within us that have specific qualities of our Higher Self that we can tap into and express. Each chakra has a unique quality.
Where Are The Chakras?
Chakras are usually located along a vertical channel through the center of the body.
Many systems speak of numerous chakras, although most yoga teachings talk about seven main ones. My experience with meditation focused initially on seven centers in the body, but gradually I explored many more.
As an example of an additional chakra, there one just above our heads. This "Upper Room" chakra helps us connect with higher, divine energies or consciousness. It is a place where we can connect with the pure goodness and love of our deepest Self.
Teachings agree that chakras influence or govern the area of the body they are close to. So, as another example, the Heart chakra affects our hearts, our emotional nature and our ability to express pure loving feelings.
What Do Chakras Do?
They express life energy, called prana in Sanskrit, chi in Chinese, ki in Japanese and many other names. This life energy can affect our physical, emotional and mental consciousness.
In my experience a chakra or energy center is a focal point of life energy that feeds and influences the body systems around it. As chakras are cleansed and purified, through meditation and other practices, their influence grows so that we can express pure life energy and uplifting consciousness well beyond our body into the energy field surrounding us. People interacting with us are influenced for the better, as is the environment around us.
Cleaning Up The Environment
Have you experienced that some places feel wonderful and uplifting?...you just feel better there. Many places in nature are like that. And some places feel heavy and uncomfortable. Have you ever walked into a room with no one else there, and just felt the negativity in it? You may have noticed a feeling of sadness or fear or just an uncomfortable sensation that made you want to leave.
I’ve often found myself in locations where the energy field felt uncomfortable and polluted by heavy feelings and thoughts.
Using the tools and techniques of Agni Yoga meditation, I have worked to clean up many energy fields, many environment. After a short while there is always a change...it feels cleaner and brighter, safer and more hospitable.
We can clean up the energy environment of our homes and work - and have a much more enjoyable and productive time!
Some writers and teachers speak of chakras as transformers that change the way we feel, think and act. Chakras may store valuable information that we need to grow.
For example, the Heart chakra may have information about loving relationships that we can access as we evolve or awaken this chakra. When it is functioning at a high level the Heart chakra is not only a source of deep healing to ourselves and others, but it can give us valuable data about who is trustworthy and who is not.
To experience a guided meditation to purify and awaken your heart chakra go to Awakening Your Heart Center.
Open Or Closed Chakras?
Some modern teachers speak of chakras as closed or open. Closed means something is wrong as in “Your heart chakra is closed” which roughly translate to “You need help opening up your emotions so you can express your love.”
But it can also be taken as "Something is wrong with you that you need to fix." I've had several clients who were told something like this, usually in reference to the heart chakra, or the solar plexus chakra or the Root or Sexual chakra.
There are much more empowering ways of speaking of the chakras to help people realize the power to heal that is within them. With tools of inner light-fire we can purify our energy chakras, which changes everything.
I don’t subscribe to the belief that what people need to do is open their chakras. In fact, opening chakras can be dangerous...see this article: Dangers of Opening Chakras.
Rather I believe that instead of opening we need to awaken, which is a different process. Many of us are already too open and we get clobbered by life. We feel too much stress, get overwhelmed by other people and polluted environments, etc.
Instead of opening chakras we need to cleanse them and life their vibratory rate so they operate at a higher level to provide support, healing, clarity and joy! We need to purify them.
I've worked with several clients to help close their chakras because they were too sensitive to others and were getting clobbered by life. Some had tried mind expanding drugs and were caught in a spiritual crisis. Others just were too open and needed help shutting down their chakras so they could build up more of a sense of a healthy self. They were highly sensitive people who needed help to manage their life energy.
My focus was to help them focus on purifying and awakening their energy centers and helping them release what they had picked up from others and from the environment.
Some types of mental illness may in fact be due to chakras being too wide open to external influences. People in this situation are receiving too much random information and have difficulty telling what is real or not. They are not grounded in their bodies in the present moment.
Purifying And Awakening Chakras
I work with clients to purify, energize and awaken their chakras in two ways.
One of the first things I do with each new client is offer them a life energy evaluation to evaluate the condition of their chakras, body and energy field. Then we work together to free up the client's body-mind, including their chakras.
Clients learn specific Light-Fire energy meditations (sometimes called Agni Yoga). Clients can then practice these techniques between sessions to accelerate the purifying process.
The second way, especially for people who live outside the areas where I travel, is to learn the Light-Fire meditations. I teach these by Skype or phone. At the second or third meditation session we begin the process of purifying and awakening the chakras. But first, to pave the way, we do general cleansing of a person's body and energy field.
There are several pages on this website about different aspects of working with chakras. Here are some:
Go to Balancing Chakras
For information on classes go to Meditation Classes
Go to Energy Healing
Go to Testimonials