#yogaabc: C is for Chakra

The word “Chakra” means wheel or disc, and in yoga chakras are thought to be whirlpools of swirling energy that gather at the main intersections of the supposedly 72,000 energy channels (nadis) within the body (this is much like the Chinese meridian system utilised in acupressure, for example). There are seven of these main intersections which all occur along the spine: muldhara (root), svadistana (sacral)), manipura (solar plexus), anahata (heart), vissudha (throat), ajna (third eye), saharara (crown). Each chakra governs a range of physical, emotional and energetic characteristics, and the overall health of the chakras is said to have a bearing not only on our physical health, but also our emotional wellbeing and our thought patterns. Someone with an overactive manipura chakra may suffer issues with self-esteem, anxiety, have overactive digestion and difficulty sleeping, for example. 
Yoga looks to restore balance to the chakras. Much like a canal system, if the chakras are whirling around happily energy can travel around the body optimally, especially from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. By clearing away debris especially from lower-level chakras which govern more basic aspects of life such as pure survival, yoga allows more energy to flow to the higher chakras, stimulating our insight, ability to create, share with others and maybe even find a deeper connection with the universe.