What are cakras?

Pronounced chuh-kra, cakras are largely misunderstood by the modern yoga community today but also by many spiritual traditions as well. The understanding of cakras, like bija mantras, came out of the Tantric understanding of the subtle anatomy and physiology of a human being.

Cakras are energy centers that do not have a physical structure, form or shape, but act as transducers of energy.  They are able to mediate the expression of our karmic energies which we have accumulated through this and all past lives out into the world to create our actual physical reality which we see, feel, touch, taste, smell and hear as well as our inner world of dream, thought, inner vision and so forth.  The cakras are thus mediators more than they are things to be worked on, awakened or healed. They mediate our spiritual awakening.  They can be functioning at a low level where our bodies are simply maintaining a basic level of health and being, or on an intermediate level where we are attaining higher, more radiant qualities of health and awareness and where we are imbued with more wisdom, compassion and other enlightened virtues.  The cakras can be said to be fully functioning, as we see in the fully realized yogin, in a being that has transcended the so-called “laws of nature” and their body, their mind, and their energy no longer conform to the normal realities that most of us are bound by.