Most of us use the language of chakras every day whether we are conscious of it or not. “My heart aches every time I see that Humane Society commercial with the Sarah Mclachlan mezzo soprano emotional background music.” Or “Ever since the move, I’ve just felt so ungrounded.” Or “That guy gives me the heebie jeebies.” We are all complex beings, and we need a systems approach that reflects the nature of our reality as emotional, mental, physical and spiritual creatures. The chakra system does just that.
As I work through my masters in social work, I continue to be inspired and amazed at how well the chakra system captures the complexity of the human soul, while aligning with many western biopsychosocial models and theories. Maslow’s psychosocial model, for example, defines human needs as a hierarchical pyramid founded in physiological needs, and building up to safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization at the pinnacle. As you check out the chakra summary below, notice that it follows a similar structure.
In the chakra summaries below you also see a model of addictions based on the chakra model, as well. Using substances to fill in and match energetically what we are lacking in that chakra makes sense. I mean who hasn’t drowned out a bad break up with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked and a Nicolas Sparks movie. And I know I can’t be the only one who downs mac and cheese when I’m homesick? Much of the chakra system is intuitive, because it models what we already see in human behavior.
The chakra system also presents an interesting way to understand and conceptualize trauma. Most somatic issues, regardless of how they present, have two major roots: trauma or autoimmune response. Since trauma occurs from the outside in, there is generally a perpetrator, traditional energy healing suggests there must be a healer (whether a shaman or a therapist) to remove the energetic toxins. Now think about what age a child is when a trauma occurs and what kinds of mental, emotional, physical issues will develop. According to research on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs Study), children with childhood sexual abuse experience chronic low back pain and digestion issues and self esteem. That’s second and third chakra right there, and most children need help and support in processing through the traumatic experience (a healer, therapist or supportive parent).
The cool thing about yoga therapy and energy work is it is tailored to a chakra based system. The entire person receives healing, not just one element of them. Last month I attended a workshop with Cyndi Dale, author of the book Energetic Boundaries. Here is an outline of some of the things she had to say on the chakras, supplemented with additional information from Carolyn Myss’s book Anatomy of the Spirit. Keep in mind, this is a super rough outline of an incredible complex system and much of the info comes from the sources above!
This chakra has to do with your tribe, your physical family and support network where you feel safe and supported. This can also relate to how you feel within your larger society and culture. Balance here looks like feeling safe and at home, both within your immediate core family and within a culture, social and familial law and order.
Imbalances manifest as: sciatica, varicose veins, depression, immune related issues.
Physical gland associated with it: Immune System
Age of development: 1st – Infancy
Addiction associated with chakra: cocaine/alcohol.