July 16, 2013

The Myth About Chakras & Why You Probably Have it All Wrong. ~ Mijael Brandwajn

photo credit: flickr/omnos

I want to be clear—I don’t want you to believe that the chakras don’t exist.

I cannot be sure of their existence myself, as no one has been able to “measure” these energetic centers in the body.  But just because science hasn’t been able to prove their existence, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

There are certain implications about the existence of chakras that need to be explored.

For starters, there is no unified theory of the chakras.

There is no consensus as to their shape, size, color, meaning, location, related organs and emotions or even how to balance or clean them if such a thing can be accomplished.

Sure, you will find book authors and teachers, many of whom speak about the chakras with such authority as if they had been present when God Herself invented them.

But the truth is that many people who claim to be enlightened or claim to see and feel the chakras with detail, or both, have spoken about them in terms that are nothing short of contradictory.

Some systems have 7, 9, 13 or however many chakras. Some say the third eye is blue, others purple and others say gold. Some say the root chakra is in the perineum, others in the anus, and the discrepancies only get bigger as authors add more details to their theories.

What is in the scriptures?

We can find most of the mentions of the subtle system in the Upanishads (very old yogic texts). They usually mention seven chakras, and along with their names, sometimes you can find location (not always the same for each chakra), their “bija sound” (seed sound or mantra) and their number of petals.

The colors? They began to appear in Western literature not that long ago. The idea that there is a strong relationship to our different organs and body systems or to different stones or affirmations is even newer.

Don’t even get me started on which poses affect which chakras.

Who’s telling the truth?

I would contend that if there is no way to measure them, at the very least the experience of the chakras should be somewhat universal.

What I mean is: the experts who claim to see and feel the chakras should have much more agreements about the way they experience them.

If the chakras do exist, and have a specific color, shape, and amount, then why is there so much disagreement among those who claim to know them authoritatively?

I consider three distinct options:

  1. Nobody knows the details, and our minds “fill in the gaps” of our knowledge about them.
  2. Only a few people know the chakras in the “right” way. Everyone else is wrong.
  3. The chakras don’t exist, and we have a case of massive delusion and placebo effects.

Does it matter?

This is, I believe, the ultimate and perhaps most important question of this subject. I use the chakras because they serve me and my students. They are a great way to describe our different needs as human beings and to tie them to a physical sensation, so it’s easier to access in a more tangible way.

To me, it is irrelevant if you are actually cleaning the chakra or if it’s the placebo effect helping you create more balance in your life. What matters to me, is that it works for you.

And I have seen it work, regardless of the color or whatever detail you may assign to the chakra. What seems to make a difference is how much you believe in what you are doing, both as a facilitator and as a student or client.

What is missing?

I believe we are missing some humility in the way the theories of the subtle body are taught.

Just because you were taught a system that works for you and your students, doesn’t make it an absolute, universal truth. Just because you can see the chakras one way, doesn’t mean that someone else might experience them differently, yet in a completely valid way.

So I suggest that you teach the chakras the way you see them, not the way “they are.” Treat the chakras with respect by allowing them to be true in the relative terms they have come forth to each one of us.

This way, even if the chakras turn out to be a myth, they will remain a very useful and valuable one.


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Assistant Ed: Paula Carrasquillo/Ed: Bryonie Wise

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Arthi Feb 13, 2016 6:19am

Have you considered that the chakras could be unique to each individual? Sure most of those who claim to have experienced it maybe lying but I thought that was one of the possibilities you hadn’t considered. We are all unique after all. Just a thought!

Rachelle Jan 27, 2016 4:13pm

I wholeheartedly agree with this article. I have been thinking about this myself as I could not find good resources for why New Age spiritualists believe so strongly in the chakras. And unlike some others, I agree with this statement the most: "……as no one has been able to “measure” these energetic centers in the body. But just because science hasn’t been able to prove their existence, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.' It is a statement that all great discoveries were built off of. The discovery of the cause of epilepsy demonstrates this the most for me.

Evidence of epilepsy has been recorded back for thousands of years. Theories abounded as far as the cause…evil demons, people having a behavioral disorder, some even believed that people with epilepsy had other wordly powers. Most scientists believed it was a disease of the blood. Some will say that you can at least see evidence of an epileptic seizure. But not always. In the case of absence seizures for instance, one may just stare for a few moments before appearing to come to. It looks very similar to someone daydreaming. It wasn't until 1849 that Robert Bentely Todd proposed the first electrical theory of epilepsy, although he thought the discharges were from places throughout the body and he had no way of measuring them. And it wasn't until the 1930s that Hans Berger was able to prove that electrical discharges from the brain caused seizures when he invented the EEG. And even with that, we are still looking for appropriate treatments. And we don't fully understand why the brain gives off these electrical discharges.

So, if someone experiences chakras and I don't or they experience them differently from me, it isn't necessarily true that chakras just don't exist. Perhaps we haven't invented the "chakra EEG" yet. I'm glad scientists don't just stop at "I don't have evidence for it, therefore it must not exist." Sometimes we are very full of ourselves in that we truly believe that we have somehow already discovered everything there is to know about everything.

Martin Williams Jan 1, 2016 12:35pm

Tradfitional Chakras appear to be located at "Mid Somatic Sections" or "Mid Dermatome Sections" (the same thing). As they are in the spinal column they are not Endrocrine glands or Plexuses, although may be correlated with them. Some confusion about this has occurred because of Charles Leadbeater's book "The Chakras" which has vortex like extensions coming from the Chakras to the front of the Body. There are a number of people who claim to be able to detect Chakras with Electronic devices.
1. Valeria Hunt, who in her "Infinite Mind" stated that she place electrodes on the areas of the Chakras because it was were the Base Line Measurement was at its highest. She gives no evidence for this statement & shows no read-outs from her elecromyography studied, so I believe she is making an assumption.
2. Patrick Flanagan, who's "Chakra Mapper & Detector" apparently can measure the pulsations of the Chakras.
3. Victor Inyushin, When I was working at CHEFR a college mentioned witnessing a demonstration of a person standing in a plastic bowl of water with two tin electrodes under each foot, one connected to a tin plumbob held in their hand the other connected to a meter with an antenna held by another person, which when passed over the areas corresponding the the Chakras responded by a movement of the needle of the meter.
4. The Life Energy Field Meter, Based on the work of Wilhelm Reich & his Orgone Energy Field Meter, these claim to also detect the Chakras, see Heliognosis site
5. Hiroshi Motoyama, whose book "Theories of Chakras" has a section about his devices one that detects Biophoton emissions the other electronically however he uses subjects who meditate upon Chakras & therefore could be detecting artifacts
6. Those many systems such as "Aura & Chakra Photography" & "Gas Discharge Visualization" which extrapolate from measurements taken from the fingers.

I myself believe that Chakras are related to the Peak Frequencies of the "Schumann Resonance" as they are roughly double the number of petals of each Chakra & the magnetic componant of this resonance could produce standing waves in the perineurium of the Glial cells of the spinal cord this should be measurable either by a Scumann Resonance atenna or a mobius antenna

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Mijael Brandwajn

Mijael Brandwajn is a yoga teacher and currently owns the largest yoga studio in Panama, Central America. He loves teaching teachers and facilitating his latest project,  yoga for back pain in Spanish. He is most passionate about the evolution of yoga and how we can make it relevant in our lives. Learn more about Mijael on his very opinionated blog.