Do You Believe in Chakras?

I’d heard about chakras way back when I was a teenager, and associated them with “New Age” woo-woo nonsense, or perhaps a reason to collect multicolored crystals. However, I also consider myself a health adventurer: I’m often willing to try new things to understand how they might be valuable in the search for better health. As long as it doesn’t involve needles, chemicals, or giving up coffee, I’m willing to try it. That’s how I ended up recently on a table, getting a Reiki treatment. I say treatment rather than massage since there is no touching, just an energetic cleansing of the chakras. Since it was my 50th birthday, I thought it might be a good time to cleanse them—kind of like a car tune-up.

As I waited in the lobby to be called in to the room, I gazed out of a giant window overlooking a bucolic scene. Suddenly, a vivid little hawk flew towards the window—as if it was about to fly into it by accident—and then stopped itself, looked in at me, and flew off. “That was weird,” I said to myself. I went into the room and, after a consultation with the therapist, lay down on the table and relaxed while he systematically seemed to be “working” on each chakra, starting at the bottom, or “root chakra,” and ending at the top, or “crown chakra.” When he got to my throat, I was deeply relaxed, although a bit disturbed, since when he had worked on a previous chakra I had felt significant pain, even though he didn’t touch me at all. In my mind, I suddenly saw that little hawk again—this time, flying into the room and landing on my shoulder. It made me smile because I was on an island that had been settled by two women pirates, and the bird’s lighting there made me feel like a pirate. But I didn’t think much of it.

After the treatment finished, I went to the gift shop and bought a few books on chakras, since I wanted to understand more why I might have felt pain. I was stunned to see in a book called The Book of Chakras, by Ambika Wauters, that the mythological animal associated with the fifth chakra (the throat) was a sparrow hawk! So I started to read.

The most comprehensive, useful book was one called Wheels of Life, by Anodea Judith, PhD. (Yes, seems you must have a strange first name to write books on chakras!) In that book, I learned that the chakra system was developed at the same time as yoga, and by the same people (more than two thousand years ago) as a system for spiritual growth and physical healing associated with Tantra (which is, by the way, not really about sex). After reading it, I realized that a good way to think about chakras is as almost a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual inventory of your health and well-being. It’s like having a therapist for your whole body, and using your body to explore what you really think, feel, and believe. Not as a substitute for other real-world solutions like exercise and eating right, but as an enhancement to help understand why certain things might be harder or easier than others.

Back to me… Why the little sparrow hawk, and what’s up with my fifth chakra? Even though I have to speak a lot in my job, and I love to write and express myself, a blocked throat chakra is associated with “the silent child,” the person who often hides his or her feelings or says yes when he or she means no. BUSTED! So I’ve been working on that, with my little sparrow hawk friend as my guide.

In fact, writing this very blog is an act of taking the twig out of my throat chakra. As the CEO of the leading health and wellness brands in the world (I just finished meeting our wonderful and diverse publishing partners from 44 different countries), I think it might be time to start talking about other aspects of health and wellness besides just body weight, muscle, and food. After all, many times the barriers to true health are more emotional and more deeply rooted in our psyches than in just our actions. In fact, I read a recent research report that said the majority of Americans know exactly how to improve their health, they feel that they just don’t have the will to do it.  We all have excuses. But if you are brave enough to explore new worlds, you might enjoy learning about chakras.

What do you think?


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photo credit: Spec-ta-cles


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11 Responses to Do You Believe in Chakras?

  1. Rachel Assuncao May 9, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    What a beautiful post. I appreciate the open and honest sharing about your experiences. I have incorporated energetic healing practices like Reiki in my own path to wellness for a very long time now, and believe that recognizing and working with our energetic body (mental, emotional and spiritual aspects) alongside our physical body is the key to good health. I’m eager to see where all of this might go, as you begin to explore the opportunities of including more of this in your work!

  2. jo thompson/feltfree May 9, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    thank you for your thought-provoking post.
    just added to my feltfree site is my “chakra-balanced” hat, energy inspired! please come visit.

  3. Joe Drisdale May 9, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    “As long as it doesn’t involve needles, chemicals, or giving up coffee” . . . Perfect! Facinating, thanks.

  4. Dana B May 10, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    So wait a second… what was the process like while the guy ‘worked’ on your chakras? Does he wave a wand over them? Hum a little song?

    I remember in one of the few yoga classes I’ve taken being asked to ‘look into your third eye’, which may be a chakra, no? Just taking the time to focus on that space gave me some peace.

  5. Sue May 16, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    Hi, Maria – thank you for opening this doorway. I have been a Reiki Master (meaning teacher) for about a year now, and have started massage school so I can incorporate both disciplines to help more people, more.

    In Reiki the practitioner acts as a conduit for the love of the Creator (Goddess, God, Spirit, Higher Power, etc.) . This love flows through the “conduit” and into the etheric (or “subtle”) body of the client and frees energy blockages to release “dis-ease” and improve the flow of Ki, vital life energy. Many paths share the idea of each person’s inherent holy spirit or godhead and keeping it in tune, as you wrote. Reiki is not a religion; it is a way of perceiving the body on all its levels and helping it become or remain healthy.

    One of the best things about being a practitioner is that as I am working with a client, my inherent “god-ness” gets a tune-up, too. I encourage you to continue investigating this modality so you can become a practitioner or teacher yourself. You will learn that you already have the divine connection; all you have to do is allow yourself to tap into it to help others heal as you also receive blessings.

    I am glad I found your site. Thank you for your thoughts and wisdom. Blessed be.

  6. Nicholas Freedman May 21, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    During a Reiki experience, long ago worlds opened – past lifes presented themselves. One of my yoga teachers is a Reiki master, imagine the power of her touch during a class. A gentle correction in downward down becomes a healing touch. Loved this post. Peace. Nick

  7. Bernadette May 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    I absolutely do believe in chakras and Reiki! Last week, I felt a powerful negative energy surrounding me, consuming me, while helping a friend leave an abusive relationship. Thanks to a military spouse appreciation event, I already had a Reiki session scheduled later that week. I explained my situation to the Reiki master who enveloped me with light and love. I could really feel the toxins and darkness leaving my body. With my blocked chakras cleansed, I felt infused with an even stronger positive energy. It was an amazing experience and just what I needed.

  8. David McRobie May 23, 2012 at 1:21 am #

    Thank you Maria for sharing your personal experiences with Chakras. Knowing and feeling these energy channels is critical to overall health improvement. Too often we only eat to nourish, stretch to expand muscles and our health approach has to be more dynamic and spiritual. It is this awareness of chakras that will free the mind, heal the body and soothe our soul.

  9. jo thompson/feltfree May 23, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    beautifully put, David!
    the yoga class i attend goes through each chakra, bringing our attention on many levels to the chakra we are addressing…for 40 days. Currently, we are in the 4th, the Heart. Blessings, blessings…

  10. Ambika Wauters November 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Hi, I love what you re doing with food and energy. I d love to share what we are doing with color and sound remedies based on the chakras. Let me know if that works,
    Sending best to you ,
    Ambika Wauters

  11. Ambika Wauters November 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    Please get in touch. Would love to share some ideas of working with chakra energy. Best, Ambika

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