The chakras are believed to be a number of wheel-like vortices which, according to traditional Indian medicine, exist in the surface of the subtle body of living beings. The chakras are said to be “force centers” or whorls of energy permeating, from a point on the physical body, the layers of the subtle bodies in an ever-increasing fan-shaped formation. Rotating vortices of subtle matter, they are considered focal points for the reception and transmission of energies. Different belief systems posit a varying number of chakras; the best-known system in the West has seven chakras.
It is typical for chakras to be depicted as either flower-like or wheel-like. In the former case, “petals” are shown around the perimeter of a circle. In the latter, spokes divide the circle into segments making the chakra resemble a wheel (or “chakra”). Each chakra possesses a specific number of segments or petals.
The following seven primary chakras are commonly described:
- Muladhara Base or Root Chakra (last bone in spinal cord, the coccyx)
- Swadhisthana Sacral Chakra (ovaries/prostate)
- Manipura Solar Plexus Chakra (navel area)
- Anahata Heart Chakra (heart area)
- Vishuddha Throat Chakra (throat and neck area)
- Ajna Brow or Third Eye Chakra (pineal gland or third eye)
- Sahasrara Crown Chakra (top of the head; ‘soft spot’ of a newborn)