Kundalini also known as Chakra are Harmonic focal points within the human body. Kundalini (kuṇḍalinī, Sanskrit: कुण्डलिनी, Thai: กุณฺฑลินี) literally means coiled. In yoga, a "corporeal energy" - an unconscious, instinctive or libidinal force(Shakti), lies coiled at the base of the spine. It is envisioned either as a God/Godess or else as a sleeping serpent, hence a number of English renderings of the term such as 'serpent power'.
Chakra derived from the Sanskrit word for "wheel" or "turning" (cakraṃ चक्रं [ˈtʃəkrə̃], pronounced [ˈtʃəkrə] in Hindi; Pali: cakka चक्क, Thai: จักระ, Tamil: சக்கரம், Kannada : ಚಕ್ರ, Chinese: 轮, Tibetan: འཁོར་ལོ་; khorlo). Chakra is a concept referring to wheel-like vortices which, according to Ayurveda, are believed to exist in the surface of the Aetheric body of man. 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 the focal points for the reception and transmission of energies. Different systems posit a varying number of chakras; the most well known system in the West is that of seven chakras.
Although there are various interpretations as to what exactly a chakra is, the following features are common in all systems:
- They form part of a subtle energy body, nadis (energy channels)(Thai: นาฑีส์), chakras (psychic centres), prana (subtle energy)(Thai: ปราณส์), and bindu (drops of essence).
- Five of them are located along a central nadi, Sushumna (Thai: สุษุมฺนา), which runs either alongside or inside the spine.
- Two other nadis, Ida (Thai: อิทะ) and Pingala (Thai: ปิงฺคละ), also run through the chakras, and alongside Sushumna. They occasionally cross Sushumna at the location of the chakras.
- They possess a number of 'petals' or 'spokes'. In some traditions, such as the Tibetan, these spokes branch off into the thousands of nadis that run throughout the human body.
- They are generally associated with a mantra seed-syllable, and often with a variety of colours and deities.
Chakras are considered to be a point or nexus of biophysical energy or prana of the human body. Shumsky states that "prana is the basic component of your subtle body, your energy field, and the entire chakra system...the key to life and source of energy in the universe."
The following seven primary chakras are commonly described:
- Muladhar (Sanskrit: मूलाधार, Mūlādhāra, Thai: มูลาธาระ) Base or Root Chakra (ovaries/prostate)
- Swadhisthana (Sanskrit: स्वाधिष्ठान, Svādhiṣṭhāna, Thai: สฺวาธิษฺฐานะ) Sacral Chakra (last bone in spinal cord, the coccyx)
- Manipur (Sanskrit: मणिपूर, Maṇipūra, Thai: มณีปูระ) Solar Plexus Chakra (navel area)
- Anahat (Sanskrit: अनाहत, Anāhata, Thai: อนาหะตะ) Heart Chakra (heart area)
- Vishuddha (Sanskrit: विशुद्ध, Viśuddha, Thai: วิศุทฺธะ) Throat Chakra (throat and neck area)
- Ajna (Sanskrit: आज्ञा, Ājñā, Thai: อาชฺญา) Brow or Third Eye Chakra (pineal gland or third eye)
- Sahasrar (Sanskrit: सहस्रार, Sahasrāra, Thai: สหัสฺราระ) Crown Chakra (top of the head; 'soft spot' of a newborn)