Chakra is actually a Sanskrit word meaning wheel (or vortex) and it refers to each of the seven energy centers of which our consciousness, our energy system, is composed. These chakras, or energy centres, regulate the flow of energy throughout our system. The functioning of the chakras is a reflection of our physical and emotional (or spiritual) health. Every decision we make concerning how we choose to respond to conditions in our every day life affects the chakras.
The chakras are not physical (but are partly a reflection of the physical self). They are aspects of consciousness in the same way that the auras are aspects of consciousness. They interact with our physical body in two ways. Through the endocrine system and the nervous system.
Each one of the seven chakras is associated with one of the seven endocrine glands, and also with a group of nerves called a plexus. This means that each chakra can be associated with particular parts of the body and particular functions within the body controlled by the associated plexus or endocrine gland.
All of your senses, all of your perceptions, everything that you are or experience can be divided into seven categories. Each category can be associated with a particular chakra. Chakras represent not only particular parts of your physical body but also particular parts of your consciousness.
Understanding the chakras, what they are, what they do, and how they affect you, allows you to understand the relationship between your consciousness and your body, and to thus see your body as a map of your consciousness. It gives you a better understanding of yourself and those around you.
In any individual there is a need for balance. This is also true of the chakras. To function well the chakras too must be balanced. The best way to balance the chakras is through meditation. There are chakra meditation tapes available for this purpose. They are not vital though. Meditation can often be enhanced by using associated gemstones.
By becoming more aware of these seven energy centers, you will soon learn when one may be out of balance. With chakras that are strong and balanced, you are sick less often and can face life with more perception, strength and courage.