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Oriental formulations of the physiological and spiritual composition of human beings recognize several energy centers, or chakras, located along the spine and corresponding to anatomical features of the body. Many people believe that by becoming aware of the energies that collect in and emanate from these centers, one can learn to control them. Such chakra control may be used for healing purposes or for proficiency in martial arts. The best avenue for awareness and control is commonly said to be through meditation.
The primary step to chakra control is to open to the specific vibrational energy of each chakra through contemplation and visualization. For example, the energy, or root, chakra can be accessed by sitting in the mediation posture and visualizing the base of the spine and the color red. To access the third chakra's energy, which corresponds to the solar plexus, visualize the belly and the color yellow. Perceiving the energy flowing in each center opens the door to chakra control as it creates an awareness of a quality specific to that center. Various chakra meditations, musical compositions, and breathing exercises have been developed to refine this awareness.
It is often recommended that, when learning to open the chakras and gaining chakra control, the practitioner begin from the first chakra at the base of the spine and work upwards to the last, located just above the top of the head. By progressing through the chakras in an orderly way, one learns chakra balancing, a method for harmonizing the unique energy of each chakra into a healthy self-image. In this way, chakra control contributes to better health and a more positive outlook on life.
Certain hand gestures, or mudras, help to focus the attention and are useful in chakra control. Placing the hands in the lap with the first finger and thumb touching helps calm the body so that the first chakra can be visualized. At the same time, placing one hand on the knee and the other on the chest with the fingers lightly touching the chest draws attention to the fourth, or heart chakra.
Rhythmic breathing is also useful. The energy of each chakra can be accessed by intentionally modulating the intake and outtake of breath. Since this requires a degree of discipline, it is an effective method for chakra control.
Holistic healing institutes often offer programs for chakra balancing and chakra healing, using a variety of visualization and breathing techniques as well as yoga postures. The beginner may find it helpful to attend some formal instruction to learn the basics. A simple online search can help in the location of the nearest healing center or classes offered.