Is Chakra a Real Thing and What Are Chakras Really?

is chakra a real thing

Is something a real thing is a big topic in my home as I am a person who loves to believe in magic and my husband is a total skeptic and lover of science. It is a nice mix though. So here I am with another question in hand; is chakra a real thing and what are chakras really? 

This is that kind of question that the answer is it depends on what you mean with real. If for something to be real, you are looking for some scientific facts, and if science could not give you that then that is not real for you, then chakras would not be a real thing for you. 

If you are a person who loves to believe in the things that you like, then definitely chakras are providing you the incredible symbols and stories that you need along the way of your journey. 

At the intersection point of these 2 paths; of yes, chakras are a real thing and no, chakras are not a real thing, I choose my own way. It is experimenting on my own. Life is a journey, and the spiritual path is what is adding magic to life for me. Whereas in this path, I am the only person who can find my own answers. According to my own experience, chakras are a real thing and here I am to explain to you what chakras are really. 

What are chakras really?

So, let’s start with the basics. When you hear this question, it leads us to many more. Such as are chakras real or conceptual, are chakras spiritual, what science says about chakras. Let us answer all one by one.

Are chakras real or conceptual?

According to Hindu and Buddhist tradition chakras are invisible yet real. So, it is a reality serving in the personal path conceptually.

Are chakras spiritual?

Chakras are spiritual guides facilitating a methodology to tune in and harmonize with the energy of the universe and to reach unity. They are providing you with an incredible toolset for your soul, body, and mind to be in balance.

What science says about chakras?

Lacey Gibson gives us a nice summary after her long explanation, in her article Yoga’s Energy Centers: What Science Says About the Chakras

“Scholarship linking the chakras to psychology is frequently limited to mental and emotional development, whereas anatomical and functional theories of the chakras are nearly always restricted to the physical body. Yet, as Maxwell says, “The challenge for anyone interested in explaining chakras is to be able to demonstrate how something nonphysical could interact with the physical”. Evidently, our tendency to see the mind and body as separate entities in the West makes it challenging for chakra theory to be explained.”

What do the chakras stand for?

Ok, we have found out that the chakra concept is an ambiguous topic, but what does it mean simply?

Chakras literally mean wheel and cycles in Sanskrit. They are the energy centers connecting the macro cosmos – a universe with the microcosmos -our bodies.  

What chakras mean?

This literal explanation of wheels will make more sense after you read my explanation below. Try to imagine and visualize what you are going to read in a second. 

Human life exists in 2 parallel dimensions: physical body (sthula sarira) and “psychological, emotional, mind, non-physical”; “subtle body” (sukshma sarira).

In the subtle body, there are energy channels called nadis connected by nodes to energy centers called chakras. In the Nadi and chakra flow the prana (breath, life energy). This prana or essence is what vanishes when a person dies, leaving a gross body. 

So, in a way nadis are “energy-carrying arteries” and chakras are “psychospiritual vortices”. Of course, here we are talking about life energy. 

In the sound healing trainer training, we were imagining chakra centers as huge wheels that were the point of connection with the universal energy. These wheels were reaching along backward and forward in specific points of the body. 

Geoffrey Samuel and Jay Johnston in their book; Religion and the Subtle Body in Asia and the West: Between Mind and Body put it this way:

“Ideas and practices involving so-called ‘subtle bodies’ have existed for many centuries in many parts of the world. (…) Virtually all human cultures known to us have some kind of concept of mind, spirit, or soul as distinct from the physical body if only to explain experiences such as sleep and dreaming. (…) An important subset of subtle-body practices, found particularly in Indian and Tibetan Tantric traditions, and in similar Chinese practices, involves the idea of an internal ‘subtle physiology’ of the body (or rather of the body-mind complex) made up of channels through which substances of some kind flow, and points of intersection at which these channels come together. In the Indian tradition, the channels are known as Nadi and the points of intersection as chakra.”

Why do we have chakras?

So chakras are the connection points of subtle energy and physical energy and they are helping us to align and be in harmony. 

Around the belief system of chakras, the methodology has been elaborated. There is a belief that we have around 88,000 chakras throughout the subtle body. The important chakras are stated in Hindu and Buddhist texts to be arranged in a column along the spinal cord. From its base to the top of the head, connected by vertical channels. The number of major chakras varied between various traditions, but they typically ranged between four and seven.

People are discovering via rituals and meditations the inner energy (prana flows) and subtle-physical body connection. These methods can be practiced on your own with breathwork and visualization techniques or with a guide supporting you. In a summary, the chakras are traditionally considered meditation aids.

Why chakras are important?

Chakras are inspiring us in two main understanding. 

One is about chakras and divine energies. They are reminding us that for us to be in harmony we do not need to gain anything, but we need to leave all our attachments. For divine energy to flow from us freely. 

The function of the chakras is to spin and draw this energy to keep the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health of the body in balance.

This balance is about being in the flow and still being grounded. Being in the reality of this physical world and at the same time being connected to another invisible reality of our divine self. So that we can be conscious of where we are coming from and where we are leading. In this way our journey in this life makes sense. 

Secondly, chakras serve as a reminder of our spiritual paths and serving for us to internalize the journey of spiritual ascent.

This life is a spiritual journey in which progressing from the lower chakra to the highest chakra blossoming in the crown of the head.

Where do chakras originate from?

The chakra system originated in India between 1500 and 500 BC in the oldest text called the Vedas. 

What religion does chakra come from?

The idea of chakras appears first in Hinduism and Buddhism in early traditions. 

Chakras play a key role in Tibetan Buddhism and are the pivotal providence of Tantric thinking.

The Chakra methodology is extensively developed in the goddess tradition of Hinduism called Shaktism. It is an important concept along with yantras, mandalas and kundalini yoga in its practice. 

Where did the idea of chakras come from?

We see that the Nadis in the classical Upanishads of Hindusim from 1000 BC but not chakra theories. However, most of the Indian scholars believe that the chakra system was much older than that, and the original sages passed down the knowledge of the chakra system through an oral tradition, much before the Aryan (Indo-European) people entered India. 

David Gordon White says that around 8th CE in Buddhist texts chakras appears as hierarchies of inner energy centers. These medieval Buddhist texts mention only four chakras. According to Gavin Flood, this system of six chakras plus the Sahasrara “center” at the crown first appears in the Kubjikāmata-tantra, an 11th-century Kaula work.

The evolution of the chakra concept

As mentioned in Wikipedia the actual understanding of chakras that we see today has been an “unintentional collaboration” of many groups of people as Kurt Leland mentions:

  1. The concept of a set of seven chakras came to the West in the 1880s.
  2. In 1918, Sir John Woodroffe, alias Arthur Avalon, translated two Indian texts, the Ṣaṭ-Cakra-Nirūpaṇa and the Pādukā-Pañcaka, and in his book, The Serpent Power drew Western attention to the seven-chakra theory.
  3. In the 1920s, each of the seven chakras was associated with an endocrine gland, a tradition that has persisted.
  4. More recently, the lower six chakras have been linked to both nerve plexuses and glands.
  5. The seven rainbow colors were added by Leadbeater in 1927; a variant system in the 1930s proposed six colors plus white. Leadbeater’s theory was influenced by Johann Georg Gichtel’s 1696 book Theosophia Practica, which mentioned inner “force centers”.
  6. The two main elements of the modern system, the rainbow colors and the list of qualities, first appeared together only in 1977.
  7. Psychological and other attributes such as layers of the aura, developmental stages, associated diseases, Aristotelian elements, emotions, and states of consciousness added still later.
  8. A wide range of supposed correspondences such as alchemical metals, astrological signs and planets, foods, herbs, gemstones, homeopathic remedies, Kabbalistic spheres, musical notes, totem animals, and Tarot cards came lately.


So, as you can see chakras have been evolved and elaborated collectively during our human history. Even if you do not know anything about chakras, at least you have heard about them or meditated with them. 

This is the reason for the elaboration of chakras. They are providing an incredible meditation and visualization aid for you to flow in your invisible body parts. The more you experience, the more you have something to say. This is how chakras are evolving around different concepts day by day. 

As always, spiritual life is not about theory but practice. So do not believe in anybody. Try it for yourself and create your own experiences and your answers also for chakras. For me, they do exist, and they are the wheels that are connecting the macro cosmos with the micro one. They are helping me to tune in and be in harmony. 

Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so, you can pin it to your Chakras Board!

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