The chakras and Kundalini came to be an integral part of yoga philosophy in the non-dual Tantric tradition, which arose in the 7th century, in reaction to the dualist philosophy which preceded it. This tradition advised being in the world rather than separate from it. Tantra is commonly thought of in the West as primarily a sexual tradition, as Tantrism does put sexuality in a sacred context. Yet this is actually only a small part of a broad philosophy which includes many practices of yoga, worship of deities (especially the Hindu goddesses), and integration of the many polar forces in the universe.
The main text about chakras that has come to us in the West is a translation by the Englishman, Arthur Avalon, in his book, The Serpent Power published in 1919. These texts: the Sat-Cakra-Nirupana, written by an Indian pundit in 1577, and the Padaka-Pancaka, written in the 10th century, contains descriptions of the centers and related practices. There is also another 10th century text, called the Gorakshashatakam, which gives instructions for meditating on the chakras. These texts form the basis of our understanding of chakra theory and yoga today. In these traditions, there are seven basic chakras, and they all exist within the subtle body, overlaying the physical body. Through modern physiology we can see that these seven chakras correspond exactly to the seven main nerve ganglia which emanate from the spinal column. There are two minor chakras mentioned in the ancient texts, the soma chakra, located just above Ajna Chakra (the third eye), and the Anandakanda lotus, which contains the Celestial Wishing Tree (Kalpataru) of the Heart Chakra.
The word chakra is Sanskrit for wheel or disk and signifies one of seven basic energy centers in the body. In addition the chakras also correlate to levels of consciousness, archetypal elements, and developmental stages of life. Chakras are centers of energy that connect our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our being. It is through these centers that we are able to receive, transmit and process vital life force. The chakras correspond to specific aspects of our consciousness and to the various glands of the endocrine system. In the natural healing arts such as yoga, meditation, siddha medicine, ayurveda, pranic healing, acupuncture, acupressure, massage, and shiatsu, great importance is placed in balancing the energy flow of these centers. Physical pain or disease is an indication of a blockage or weakness in the chakras.
Each chakra resonates with a certain color and sound as well as with resonating with specific flower essences and therapeutic grade essential oils.
FIRST CHAKRA, or base or root chakra, is located at the base of the spine or coccyx. Primary color: RED. This externalizes as the adrenal gland, the kidneys, the spinal column, legs, colon, bones, and circulation of the lower extremities. It governs understanding of the physical dimension, matters relating to success, the mastery of the physical body, grounding, stability, security, stillness, health, courage, and patience. This is the center wherein we experience "fight or flight" and has much to do with our survival instincts. This center gives vitality to the physical body and is where our life force emanates from. Negative symptoms of this chakra are self destructive tendencies, self-centeredness, insecurity, violence, greed, anger, constipation, tension or pain in the spine, circulatory problems in the legs, and general weakness of the body. The root emotion of fear must be converted to bodily surrender. RECOMMENDED ESSENTIAL OILS: Lauracea (Laurel Family) - Cassia, Bay, Camphor, Cinnamon, Rosewood - these trees produce oils from their wood, bark and leaves that are stimulating, bring fire, fluid movement, and create energy enhancement. Also recommended are those oils of the Myrtaceae (Myrtle Family) - Cajeput, Clove, Eucalyptus, Myrtle, Niaouli, Nutmeg, Tea Tree. These trees are so strong that they have no natural enemies (unless you see Koala bears as dangerous - they eat only eucalyptus). Their oils give inner strength. They are anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, respiratory tract and immune stimulants. In blends they are clean, refreshing, and medicinal.
SECOND CHAKRA, or navel chakra is located in the lower abdomen or navel area. Color: ORANGE. This externalizes as the ovaries in women and testes in men and governs the functions of the prostate, genitals, spleen, womb, and bladder. This is the chakra of creativity and governs our attitudes towards relationships, assimilation of food, physical force, vitality, and sexuality. In this center we experience giving and receiving, emotions, desire, pleasure, sexual and passionate love, change, movement, assimilation of new ideas, health, family life, tolerance, creativity, and the ability to work harmoniously with others. Negative symptoms are over indulgence in food or sex, sexual difficulties, confusion, jealousy, envy, and the desire to possess people or material things in great excess of what is needed or has use for. Sorrow must be converted to present relationship. RECOMMENDED ESSENTIAL OILS: Coniferae-Pinaceae (Pine Family) - Fir, Cedar, Cypress, Juniper, and Pine. These oils are made from strong aromatic wood, sap or fresh needles. They are all strong, hot, antiseptic, fluid-moving, possible skin irritants, clarifying, and grounding to the mind.
THIRD CHAKRA, or solar plexus chakra is located above the navel and below the chest. Color: YELLOW. This externalizes as the pancreas and governs the functions of the stomach, digestive system, liver, spleen, gall bladder, muscles, and aspects of the nervous system. This is the clearing house for emotional sensitivities and is the center of power. Through this center, we experience personal drive, will, power, authority, and energy, mastery of desire, self-control, radiance, warmth, transformation, and humor. Negative symptoms of this center manifest as taking in more than one can assimilate and utilize too much emphasis on recognition and or power, anger, fear, hate, and digestive problems. Anger must be converted to forgiveness. RECOMMENDED ESSENTIAL OILS: Rutacea (Citrus Family) - Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Neroli, Orange, Petitgrain, and Tangerine. This family is known for its fruit and flowers. In blends they are clean, refreshing, uplifting, invigorating, opening, warm, fluid-moving, stimulating, and encouraging. Our life is richer and livelier because of citrus.
FOURTH CHAKRA, or heart chakra is located at the center of the chest. Primary color: GREEN and secondary color: PINK. This externalizes as the thymus gland and governs the functions of the heart, blood, immune system, respiratory system and influences the functions of the endocrine system, arms and hands. This is the center through which we feel love and wherein we anchor our life force with the Higher Self. In the center, we feel Divine and unconditional love, compassion, forgiveness, understanding, balance, openness with life, peace, harmony, and contentment. Negative symptoms are repression of love, emotional instability, heart problems, respiratory problems, low immunity to illness, addictions to food, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, and circulation problems. Withholding must be converted to love. RECOMMEDED ESSENTIAL OILS: Labiatae (Mint Family) - Basil, Clary Sage, Hyssop, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Patchouli, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, and Thyme. All of the mint family are olfactory overachievers. They are adaptogens and medicinal plants without peer. They are aromatics, carminatives, immune stimulants, balancers, and mood elevators.
FIFTH CHAKRA, or throat chakra is located at the center of the throat area. Color: BLUE. This externalizes as the thyroid gland and governs the mouth, throat, hypothalamus, parathyroid, vocal chords, and bronchial apparatus. This is the center through which we can express the power of the spoken word and our sense of judgment. This governs creative expression in speech, writing and the arts. This is also the center of loyalty, integration, peace, truth, knowledge, wisdom, honesty, reliability, gentleness and kindness. Negative symptoms are communication or speech problems, depression, ignorance, lack of discernment, knowledge used unwisely and thyroid and throat problems. Life depression and negativity must be converted to life positive action and speech. RECOMMENDED ESSENTIAL OILS: Rose, Jasmine, Gardenia and other exotic and tropical flowers.
SIXTH CHAKRA, or the brow or third eye chakra is located between the eyebrows. Color: INDIGO (royal blue). This externalizes as the pituitary gland and governs the lower brain, nervous system, the ears, nose, and left eye. This is the center wherein we experience intuition, soul realization, and insight, and clairvoyance, concentration, peace of mind, wisdom, devotion and service to humanity. Negative symptoms are fear, cynicism, tension, overly detached attitude from the world. Doubt and illusions must be converted into free attention. RECOMMENDED ESSENTIAL OILS: Compositae (Sunflower Family) - Chamomile, Immortelle, Tansy, Tarragon, Dhavana, Yarrow, Tagetes, and Elecampane. Most of these oils are made from soothing flowers and are known to be healers of the skin, nerves, blood and bones. Sedating to the nerves and emotions, they are known to be anti-inflammatory, immune building, and cleansing.
SEVENTH CHAKRA, or crown chakra is located at the top of the head. Color: VIOLET or the combination of all colors: WHITE. This externalizes as the pineal gland and governs the upper brain and the right eye. Through this chakra we may ultimately reach the integration of God, unification with our higher self, inspiration, Divine wisdom and understanding, idealism, selfless service, perception beyond space and time, and continuity of consciousness. Negative symptoms are lack of inspiration, confusion, senility, depression, alienation, hesitation to serve, tension, stress, insomnia and migraine headaches. Bodily separation from the Divine must be surrendered. RECOMMENDED ESSENTIAL OILS: Burseraceae (Resin Family) - Myrrh, Frankincense, and Elemi. Coming from the tropical desert and made from the resin of trees and shrubs, they bring heat, contain energy to move fluids, cleanse infections, heal wounds, and build strength in the blood. All the oils from this family are excellent for meditation.
Perhaps the best guide to choosing essential oils is your intuition. You can use a candle or diffuse essential oils in your environments to fit with your emotional and physical needs or to boost your energy and enthusiasm for what you need to accomplish. For example, for meditation, you might choose Patchouli, Labdanum, or Frankincense; or to uplift your spirit, a blend of citrus essential oils.