Margaret M. Moga Indiana University School of Medicine, Terre Haute, IN, USA
Introduction: New Age practices, such as energy healing and yoga, typically describe seven energy centers, called chakras, lined up from the base of the spine to the top of the head. The function of the chakras is purportedly to spin and draw in life force, prana, to keep the mental, emotional and physical parts of the body healthy and in balance. Each chakra is associated with a particular color, nerve plexus, endocrine gland, and psychological quality/issue. Although widely accepted, there has been little scientific study of the Western chakra system.
Method: In the present study, I examine exceptional, non-ordinary experiences of the chakras reported by healers, meditators and yoga students in an anonymous online survey. The survey was advertised in social media, New Age publications, and among special interest groups. In the Chakra Experiences Survey, participants are encouraged to share any images, colors, sounds, and/or physical sensations related to the chakras in their respective practice which they have experienced directly or with a client.
Results: Results are preliminary and the study ongoing. Thus far, participants have reported physical sensations of warmth, pulsations, pressure and/or a circular sensation related to a particular chakra or chakras. Some individuals reported seeing the chakras through the mind’s eye or visibly as a swirling mist. According to self-identified healers, colors vary depending on the health and status of the individual. In addition to the rainbow colors widely published, golden light was associated with the heart and crown chakras, and white light, with the third eye chakra. One healer noted, that “when we open or unblock the chakras, we may get flashes, images, perceptions, from what is stored in the chakras, based on past experiences or thoughts”. The images reported by participants showed consistency with psychological descriptions of the chakras. Multiple chakra activations were associated with kundalini experiences.
Discussion: Based on user experiences, chakras are both perceptible and subtle, resembling an intermediate state between physical reality and the mental-emotional realms. Historical and recent literature on the chakras suggest that chakra activations may be an important part of human development.
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