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Wheels of LifeBy Anodea Judith
This book is known as the chakra classic, with sales over 300,000 in 14 languages. Most people call it their Bible. It makes the Yogic system of the chakras understandable to the Westerner, with comprehensive down-to-earth information on the philosophy and meaning of each chakra. It contains guided meditations for each chakra, simple exercises, quotes from ancient texts, and practical information for using this map to greater wholeness and awakening.


Click on a Chakra below to view the related exercise
and a clip from The Illuminated Chakras
Chakra One: Muladhara

Chakra one, located at the base of the spine, has to do with grounding and sending your energy downward into your roots and into the earth. Here’s a simple exercise you can practice to energize the legs and develop better grounding. Stand with your feet hip width apart, heels slightly wider than the toes. Press down and out with your feet, as if you were trying to push apart the floorboards with your feet. Inhale as you bed your knees; exhale as you push down into your feet, pushing through your legs. Repeat until your legs begin to vibrate. Once you learn this, you can practice it any time you find yourself standing – in line at the grocery store, pumping gas, cooking, or on the phone.

Above: Scene from
The Illuminated Chakras DVD

Chakra Two: Svadhisthana

Chakra Two, located in the sacral area, is related to element of water, so its purpose is fluidity. Sit comfortably, legs crossed Indian style. Inhale, pushing the tip of your spine backward, opening the front of your sacrum, expanding and filling your lower belly. Imagine you are stretching your hips wide. Exhale, moving your sacrum in the opposite direction, pressing the navel back toward the spine. Repeat, building up speed as you go. Allow the fluidity of this pelvic movement to flow all the way up the spine.

Above: Scene from
The Illuminated Chakras DVD

Chakra Three: Manipura

Focus on developing core strength to increase your sense of personal power. In general, stomach crunches (modified sit-ups) are always a good bet for creating abdominal strength. But the best is working in plank pose. Start by lying on the floor, face down. Place your hands below your shoulders, arms straight. Lift the entire body off the ground, toes curled under, body and legs one straight line, parallel to the floor. Hold for at least one minute. For added challenge balance on your forearms, elbows directly underneath the shoulders. For even more challenge, alternately lift each leg of the floor and hold.

Above: Scene from
The Illuminated Chakras DVD

Chakra Four: Anahata

The heart chakra relates to the element of air, so we work with the breath. This is an exercise designed to expand the heart in all directions. Sitting in a comfortable meditation posture with spine erect, close your eyes and tune into your heart. If you can, feel your heartbeat. First begin gently breathing in and out getting a slow steady rhythm. Then imagine that you are inhaling in the left side (receptive) and expanding your heart out to the left. Take a few breaths here, then imagine expanding your heart to the right side (expressive) and feel your heart space widening. Then breathe into the bottom of your heart, deepening your compassion, for self and others. After a few breaths here, imagine you are breathing into the top of your heart, lifting the heart to blossom into the shoulders. Finally inhale, pushing your heart energy forward, out in the world. (Special thanks to the book Energize Your Heart, by Puran and Susanna Bair, for this exercise.)

Above: Scene from
The Illuminated Chakras DVD

Chakra Five: Vishuddha

Chakra five works with sound and vibration. You can do a powerful chakra meditation using the seed sounds of the chakras given in the ancient texts, called bija mantras. Repeat the sounds over and over at a rhythm that feels pleasant to you, going slow if you want to calm your chakras and faster if you want to stimulate them. You can sing them all in one tone, or you can go up in pitch with each chakra. Experiment to see what is most effective for you. The sounds are as follows: Chakra Sound 1 Lam 2 Vam 3 Ram 4 Yam 5 Ham 6 Ksham 7 Silence

Above: Scene from
The Illuminated Chakras DVD

Chakra Six: Ajna

Chakra Six is light, higher mind, intuition, and imagination. A simple exercise to begin bringing light into your inner world is to “capture” light wherever you see it and bring it inside. Here’s how you do it: Next time you are watching a beautiful sunset, open your entire awareness to the experience of drinking in the light. Then close your eyes and visualize what you just saw in your inner third eye. Keep doing it until you can call up the image at will. You can do this any time you see a particularly beautiful color, the glare of light coming off a car windshield, the way light plays on the trees as the breeze blows, the light of a candle during your meditation. See if you can retain these images that you bring inside, calling them up at will days later. This will help develop your third eye capacity.

Above: Scene from
The Illuminated Chakras DVD

Chakra Seven: Sahasrara

There is no better exercise for chakra seven than meditation. But there are many forms of meditation. You can meditate while walking, focus on the breath, utter a mantra, imagine an image, or simply empty your mind completely and sit in emptiness. (That takes PRACTICE!). What is most important is to connect through the crown chakra to the limitless source, so that you are an open system, pulling that source into your crown and down through all your chakras. Opening the crown chakra is not just a matter of lifting our energy UP, but of moving it DOWN to manifestation as well. In this way the chakras become condensers of the cosmic energy of universal consciousness, condensing it into the seven levels of manifestation: thought, light, sound, air, fire, water, and earth.

Above: Scene from
The Illuminated Chakras DVD

Ask Anodea – Chakra FAQs

Q. Does ADD affect the chakras?

A. It is less about whether ADD affects the chakras or is a result of misaligned energies that may come from an excessive or deficient chakra. ADD is usually too much energy (excessive third chakra), which interferes with concentration. Discharge the excess energy through vigorous activity or sports, and then practice stilling your mind in meditation. Good grounding always helps to calm the energy as well.

Q. Which way does each chakra spin?

A. The question about which direction the chakras spin is probably the most frequently asked question that I get. There are many differences of opinion about this. Those that say they all spin clockwise do not usually specify from whose perspective—the healer or the receiver. (Try this and see how clockwise to the healer is counterclockwise to the receiver.) My view is that because the nadis run in opposite directions (which is true to the Tantric nature of chakra theory that says everything arises from polarities), the chakras spin alternately in clockwise and counterclockwise directions, like gears, as I show in my DVD, The Illuminated Chakras, and my books.

However, my view is that the spinning direction is a superficial and very minor chakra issue. I compare it to worrying about whether to part your hair on the right or left side in order to best access your brain. I think it is more important to balance excess and deficiencies than manipulate the spinning. Real access to the chakras occurs through the dynamic energy at the core, and then the spinning takes care of itself.

Q. Do you have to follow a certain religion, and if so, what is it?

A. No, the chakras are a system for understanding the architecture of the soul, but they are not part of any religion. They come from the yoga tradition, but chakra work can be practiced by anyone, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Pagan, Buddhist, or any other religion.

Q. Does the Planet have chakras?

A. Chakras are energy vortices, and there are many all over. The energy vortices on the earth are not at all the same as the chakras in the body.

Q. Chakras/Path: Finding the right path.

A. These are very good questions and the asking alone shows that you are moving along your path. Indeed the mysteries are very complex, and there is no “one” path, but the path you make yourself through your own understanding and experience. The more you study, the more you can discern the path, indeed create the path. The many bits and pieces are all there within you, and your sacred self is the integrating chamber to bring them together.

The chakra system is a map for the journey, and that map can be applied to any path. It maps onto you picking up a thread to the mystery will lead you deeper on a never-ending road you will never regret. The journey itself is the goal.

I suggest you read Wheels of Life, as a place to start and learn the basics of this map. Then you can move to Eastern Body, Western Mind, and see how the map plays out in your own psyche. Come join us for an experiential workshop and learn even more, and touch into the sacred within yourself.
Welcome to the journey.

Q. Colors of Chakras – Why are these general colors used?

A. This is answered in Anodea’s Wheels of Life, chakra 7, page 288.

Chakra Basics

The word chakra is Sanskrit for wheel or disk and signifies one of seven basic energy centers in the body that correspond to nerve ganglia branching out from the spinal column, as well as states of consciousness, developmental stages of life, archetypal elements, body functions, colors, sounds, and much, much more. Together they form a profound formula for wholeness and a template for transformation.

A basic description appears below, but fabulous in-depth information can be found in ouronline store.

Chakra One: Muladhara

Earth, Physical identity, oriented to self-preservation

Located at the base of the spine, this chakra forms our foundation. It represents the element earth, and is therefore related to our survival instincts, and to our sense of grounding and connection to our bodies and the physical plane. Ideally this chakra brings us health, prosperity, security, and dynamic presence.

1st Chakra Exercise

Chakra Two: Svadhisthana

Water, Emotional identity, oriented to self-gratification

The second chakra, located in the abdomen, lower back, and sexual organs, is related to the element water, and to emotions and sexuality. It connects us to others through feeling, desire, sensation, and movement. Ideally this chakra brings us fluidity and grace, depth of feeling, sexual fulfillment, and the ability to accept change.

2nd Chakra Exercise

Chakra Three: Manipura

Fire, Ego identity, oriented to self-definition

This chakra is known as the power chakra, located in the solar plexus. It rules our personal power, will, and autonomy, as well as our metabolism. When healthy, this chakra brings us energy, effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power.

3rd Chakra Exercise

Chakra Four: Anahata

Air, Social identity, oriented to self-acceptance

This chakra is called the heart chakra and is the middle chakra in a system of seven. It is related to love and is the integrator of opposites in the psyche: mind and body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego and unity. A healthy fourth chakra allows us to love deeply, feel compassion, have a deep sense of peace and centeredness.

4th Chakra Exercise

Chakra Five: Vishuddha

Sound, Creative identity, oriented to self-expression

This is the chakra located in the throat and is thus related to communication and creativity. Here we experience the world symbolically through vibration, such as the vibration of sound representing language.

5th Chakra Exercise

Chakra Six: Ajna

Light, Archetypal identity, oriented to self-reflection

This chakra is known as the brow chakra or third eye center. It is related to the act of seeing, both physically and intuitively. As such it opens our psychic faculties and our understanding of archetypal levels. When healthy it allows us to see clearly, in effect, letting us “see the big picture.”

6th Chakra Exercise

Chakra Seven: Sahasrara

Thought, Universal identity, oriented to self-knowledge

This is the crown chakra that relates to consciousness as pure awareness. It is our connection to the greater world beyond, to a timeless, spaceless place of all-knowing. When developed, this chakra brings us knowledge, wisdom, understanding, spiritual connection, and bliss.

7th Chakra Exercise


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