You may have come across the chakra system, which describes the subtle energy fields present in our bodies.
The seven main chakras on the body are usually located from the base of your pelvis to the top of your head. Other smaller chakras are also thought to be present. While still others are thought to continue beneath you as your energetic connection to the Earth and above you as your energetic connection to Source.
Let’s focus on those located on/within the physical body, and in particular those located within the main torso of the body: root, sacral, solar plexus and heart.
All of these correspond to functions of different organs. For example, the heart chakra corresponds to the organ of the heart while the solar plexus connects with the organ of the stomach and processes of digestion. And so on.
Is it a coincidence that ancient studies in India identified these major energy centres in the body?
I think not.
You see, some of the main chakra positions bear an extraordinarily close resemblance to the nervous system which we now know from the science of anatomy and physiology.
The autonomic nervous system is an automatic system outside of conscious control that regulates bodily processes such as heartbeat, breathing and digestion. It is vital for helping you remain in a state of equilibrium, and responds to cues from the environment - a delicate balance of action/stimulation and relaxation.
The autonomic system is made up of the sympathetic nervous system, which will ready the body for action, increase heart rate and glucose, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which enables the body to relax, promotes digestion and lowers heart rate.
Sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve fibres converge at “plexuses” in the body cavities. These are big groups of nerve cells bundled together and branching outward toward the body organs or inward to relay messages to the cranial brain.
Four of these main plexuses include the cardiac plexus, the celiac plexus, the superior hypogastric plexus and the inferior hypogastric plexus.
The position and connection to vital organs can also be correlated with the main chakras of the body.
The cardiac plexus is located above the aortic arch of the heart, about midway on your chest. The nerves from/to this plexus innervate the heart. This correlates with ancient understanding of the heart chakra, as well as the capacity for love, warmth and connection.
The celiac plexus, which may also be known as the solar plexus in both modern spiritual and scientific thinking, is located at the base of the ribs close to the stomach. The nerves of this plexus innervate the stomach and other major organs including the pancreas and liver. This corresponds to the position of the solar plexus energy centre in the chakra system.
The superior hypogastric plexus connects to the ovarian plexuses in women and the testicular plexuses in men. Its location at the lower abdomen correlates to the sacral chakra, and its long-time association with reproduction, fertility and creation.
The inferior hypogastric plexus is a continuation of the superior hypogastric plexus and is situated in the lower pelvic region. In women it connects nerves to the uterus and cervix and in men it connects to the prostate. It also connects to the rectum and bladder. So this plexus corresponds to the root chakra, the base of the body and the fundamental capacity for life.
It is amazing to me that these nerve fibres and networks might have been revealed through spirituality and energy work thousands of years before we understood the nerve pathways in body.
And of course, there are also other plexuses to stimulate our thinking, such as the pharyngeal plexus at the throat which in some cases connects to vocal cord innervation. Or the superior and inferior mesenteric plexuses, which are located between the celiac plexus (solar plexus) and the superior hypogastric plexus (sacral chakra). With all this space in between there might be room for some more chakras too!
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