Seven major chakras sit along the length of the spine. Chakras (vortexes of subtle energy) receive energy from our environment, assimilate this energy and distribute it throughout the body. In yoga we tap into these energy systems through asana, pranayama and meditation.
Each chakra is thought to correspond with a particular nerve plexus and endocrine gland (see graphic). Endocrine glands secrete hormones into the blood, where they act like chemical messengers sending information to specific parts of the body in order to adjust physiological activity there. As hormones only exert influence over cells with receptors that recognize and can therefore bind to that particular hormone, they are selective in their effect.
Once our hormones have bound to their particular target cells they have the power to regulate metabolism and our balance of energy, to regulate our chemical composition as well as the volume of extracellular fluid in our bodies. They influence muscle and immune system functioning and are involved more generally in growth, development and reproduction.
When we have good circulation we are able to transport hormones throughout the body efficiently, which allows the different parts of our body to communicate effectively with each other. This facilitates the spread of consciousness throughout our body.
Shades of Yoga is a yoga teacher training company running year-round yoga teacher training courses in Bali and Costa Rica.