The spine is part of the physical body and the chakras are part of the energetic body but these bodies are not separate from each other. They connect like a hologram, overlapping and intertwining together as the chakras align along the length of the spine. There are minor chakras or energy centres that link with the vertebrae which make up the boney structure of the spine. They also link with the tendons, ligaments and muscles that support and move the spine. Each vertebrae and surrounding connective tissue has its very own corresponding energy centre.
Each section of the spine also corresponds with the seven major chakras.
The major chakras that align with the Cervical Spine (neck) are the throat, brow and crown chakras. Through the Thoracic Spine (mid & upper back) are the heart and solar plexus chakras. Finally at the Lumbar Spine (lower back) are the sacral and base chakras.
As well as being connected physically and symbolically with the body, the chakras relate to particular life lessons or issues that we may be exploring.
Base of the spine: Base Chakra – Stability and safety; feet on the ground; trust versus fear; the physical body; the material world.
Lower back: Sacral Chakra – Relationships; finance; sexuality; creativity; the birth of new ideas.
Middle back: Solar Plexus – Seat of personal power; control; “Make it real”.
Upper back between the shoulder blades: Heart – Seat of all emotion; your Truth.
Neck (cervical spine) : Throat Chakra – Your will; communication of your Truth.
Base of the skull: Brow Chakra – Intuition; assimilation; perspective.
Top of the skull: Crown Chakra – Sense of purpose; connection with Source; ability to see the bigger picture.
The connection between the two is not just isolated to their physical placement in relation to each other, it is very much a connection that is reliant on and reflected by each other. Any holding or tension at the physical level will slow the free flow of energy through the chakras and any discourse through the chakras will impact on the movement and mobility of the spine.
Therefore to achieve a sense of balance through both we must recognise they are intrinsically connected and sustained through movement and at its most effective, movement that is without impingement, restriction or limitation.
When we physically move to flexion at the spine and bend forwards we close the front of the body and open the back of the body but we also contract the front of our energy centres and expand through the back. Symbolically, this movement connects us with what is in the past or what is behind us. Through flexion we not only allow ourselves a means of stretching and opening to our past experiences, we also experience what it is to collapse, close down and fold in upon our energetic selves with inner enquiry.
As we physically return to upright, in extension, we explore what it means to support our structure with stability and balance. Our energy centres, front and back also respond to the sense of this return to balance.
When we hyper-extend( bend backwards) we are opening the front of the body and closing the back of the body. By opening through the front of our chakras we are expanding energetically, outward looking and forward looking. Symbolically we are welcoming whatever the future may bring.
Through a side bend (lateral flexion) we are physically able to experience a more creative way of moving that is not typically found on a daily basis. Our sides are usually working hard, fixed, stabilising and holding. As the spine, tendons and ligaments are encouraged to release in a creative way to the side, so is our corresponding chakra energy.
All of these physical movements give us a means to connect and work with bringing our energy and chakras, via the body, in to free flow and balance.
To ensure this release and free flow of energy is continual and nurturing we could be exploring the full range of movement that is available to us through the spine on a daily basis.
A further fundamental connection between maintaining the spine and the chakras is the movement of rotation.
Physically, we are capable of rotation or twisting to varying degrees through the different sections of the spine. This twisting is mirrored in the movement of our chakra (or kundalini) energy twisting up in a spiral from the base of the spine to the top of the head.
Through the Lumbar spine where the vertebrae are bigger and their primary function is to stabilise there is 5 degrees of rotation available to us. Any loss in this degree of rotation will impact on our ability to trust, feel grounded and safe. Subsequently lower back muscles tense up to reinforce the support for the body so we feel safe again. If we are encountering difficulties in our relationships this too will impact on this area of the back. Over time these muscles become tighter and more tense. The loss of physical movement continues and the movement of energy becomes slower, even stagnant through the sacral chakra and the base chakra.
It seems important to acknowledge that because there is little rotation available here, any loss will have significant impact on us.
Through the Thoracic spine where the vertebrae are functioning somewhat to stabilise but also to provide more mobility there is 35 degrees of rotation available to us. Here the chakras speak of our heart’s story and how we enforce it with our solar plexus and our personal power. Represented by either collapsing postures as we shut down our heart or with our chest thrust forwards to do battle with the world. Rotation and thus liberation quickly becomes lost and inaccessible within these patterns of holding. It may even cause us deeper pain, physically, to try to free ourselves energetically, through movement.
Finally, through the Cervical spine where the vertebrae provide us with the most mobility there is 50 degrees of rotation available to us. This enables us to have good all round vision from one shoulder all the way through the front to arrive at the other shoulder and, via the crown chakra, the ability to see the bigger picture and have a sense of something greater. The throat chakra is also connected to the cervical spine. This chakra is most strongly linked with communicating your Truth. Any difficulty in speaking your Truth will result in tension and holding through the throat and neck and even the jaw. Over time this will cause restriction in the range of movement and even loss of movement through the cervical spine as that sense of freedom and mobility to speak your Truth becomes more and more stifled. A fixed cervical spine will lead to a narrowing of your field of vision as you no longer have the ability to move your head from side to side. The impact of this on your brow chakra (also linked with the cervical spine) is hugely symbolic as your actual field of vision narrows leaving you literally with a narrowing perspective on the world. The loss of cervical rotation then slows down the energy of the crown through which we have our connection with source. We struggle to see the bigger picture and have a sense of something greater.
To sustain and nurture the free flowing connection between our spinal health and our energetic health we would benefit greatly from some form of movement that is outside of our daily norm.
Yoga, T’ai Chi and Pilates all ask this of us.
Reiki will also help energetically which in turn will help physically.
T’ai massage is a form of assisted yoga which helps to move you in ways that you would not necessarily be able to move yourself.
Know that through acknowledging this incredible connection between your spine and your chakras you acknowledge your potential for movement; for shift and for change and ultimately that means freedom.