The Psychology of the Chakras

Everyone is talking about Energy Psychology these days. It seems we are all seeking that thrilling feeling of aliveness that is the province of the energy body.

Energy is the interface between the mind and the physical body. Like the electricity that connects your software to your hardware, energy connects your mind to your body. The programming of the mind, largely unconscious, tells the energy where to go and where not to go in the body. It tells us whether to stand up straight and smile, or round our shoulders to protect our heart. It tells us we are safe or loved, or that we are not good enough or in danger. Some of these programs serve us well, others create blockages.

The chakras are organizational centers that receive, assimilate, store, and transmit life force energy, at each of their respective levels: earth, water, fire, air, sound, light, and thought.  Together the seven chakras provide a profound formula for wholeness, one that bridges mind, body, and spirit.

Think of the chakras as describing the architecture of the human soul. Just as we study the architecture of the physical body, with its bones, muscles, and organs, the architecture of the soul reveals the inner psychology of how we respond to life.

The ability for each chakra to handle the life force effectively has to do with our programming.

As we grew up through childhood, dealing with the slings and arrows that life sends us, we created defenses. Lodged in our body armor, our belief systems, and our emotions, many of these defenses served us at one time, but now, in our adult life, they get in the way. Most of these programs are largely unconscious. Since we formed them so long ago, we barely notice them. They become “normal”—at least until something doesn’t work in our life. That could be our body, our relationships, our work, sexuality, or communication, or any other aspect of life. Then we have to look inside to see what’s going on. But to explore that inner territory, we need a good map.

Looking at the chakras through the perspective of your inner psychology gives you a map that allows you to access your unconscious programming and make deeper contact with your core self. Following the liberating current, which runs from the base chakra to the crown, you gain the tools to liberate yourself from fixed patterns, stuck emotions, and hard-wired body armor.

Since much of this material is unconscious, we access it through therapeutic trance journeys, yoga asanas, bioenergetic movements, pranayama, art, and music. Each of these methods provides its own doorway into the inner world.

If you really delve deeply into each of your chakras in a systematic fashion, you have the ability to transform your life.

My weeklong Psychology of the Chakras program does just that. Spending one full day on each chakra, we start the morning with a deep trance journey to bring up your unconscious material. Then we take that into the body with a yoga practice for that chakra.

The afternoon explores the psychological meaning of each chakra, how it gets programmed and what to do about it, where students can ask questions about their own personal issues. Then we take it deeper with a personal exploration of the issues that lodge in our chakras. What is your greatest fear? How was power or love modeled in your family? What are the characteristics of your shadow?

Together, the seven days form a kind of initiatory experience into a new you, with more aliveness and more capacity for joy.

© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please e-mail

Anodea Judith, PhD, an internationally recognized spiritual teacher, yoga instructor, body-oriented psychotherapist, and author, is founder and director of the Sacred Centers teaching organization.

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