Understanding the Chakras to support Midlife

During midlife we must come to terms with changes in our body and mind if we are to enjoy a happy, healthy journey to old age. But we are not just our physical body…

The yogic scriptures describe the body has having three parts:

  • physical body (material)
  • subtle/astral body (energy)
  • causal/seed body (soul)

Chakras are energy centres in the subtle body that can become blocked over time. Tapping into our energy body and learning how to release trapped energy can aid us on our journey with renewed vitality.

What is the subtle/astral body exactly?

The subtle body is our energetic body with energy channels called nadis running through it, not unlike the nerve endings found in the nervous system of the physical body. The central channel, sushumna, is found in the spinal cord, with two secondary nadis either side called Ida & Pingala.

Prana, our life-force, pulses through the sushumna canal, that aligns with the spine in the physical body, radiating out through the nadis in the subtle body.

Not only is the Earth a great magnet, our whole living basis depends upon what we call Prana or Life Force, which includes, but is not limited to the electromagnetism within our own bodies.”

Howard Kent, The Complete Illustrated Guide to Yoga

Energy is electric, produced in the muscle and nerve cells through the conversion of chemicals, and forms around us as an electric field. This electric field affects us personally as well as those within our energetic sphere.

Yoga physiology recognizes that we are also part of a biofield, which includes other energy such as etheric or cosmic energy.

Prana is vital energy, life force, which is carried in the sun, air, and water. According to yogic thought, is the motivating force of all living matter. It is understood that when prana enters the body we become bio-electrical beings, infused with light or cosmic energy that moves with the electromagnetic flow in the body and emits from our subtle body. We see it in those people who vibrantly glow, emanating a positive energy, full of vitality.

Lifeforce trees

What is the function of the Chakras?

The chakras are pranic energy storehouses in the subtle body, responsible for establishing emotional, spiritual, and physical balance in the body. They are likened to a spinning wheel of light, revolving in accordance with the laws of electromagnetism, which can become blocked due to trauma, or the chronic manifestation of unhelpful habits built up over the years.

Modern investigation has confirmed that the light emanating from these chakras changes according to the health of a person. Each chakra links to one of the gland organs in the endocrine system of the body, with the first five also connecting to the five senses and elements.

They are integral to the free flow of energy.

Like a house, strong foundations are as vital as the design and finer features. In the same way, each chakra is valid and relevant to the overall functioning of the body. The lower chakras affect our relation to the material world and our quest within in this world, whereas the upper chakras relate to our spiritual self. For a healthy body and mind, we need all chakras to be clear of any blockages.

Why chakras are important for overall health

All are parts of the whole and the whole is embodied in all its parts

Lyall Watson, The Gift of Unknown Things

The endocrine system mediates between the physical body and the subtle body and is controlled by the nervous system. Together the endocrine and nervous systems help the body maintain homeostasis and influence metabolism, growth, and the reproductive cycle.

Blocked movement of energy can affect the state of equilibrium within the body.

Keeping the Chakras energetically clear maintains equilibrium in the subtle body which positively impacts the physical body via the central nervous and endocrine systems. The ancient yoga practices are designed to rectify blockages that can occur in the body to enable a free flow of energy.

One can think of the chakras and glands as electrical transformers which will deliver maximum power if they are balanced with respect to each other

Jeffery Mishlove, The Roots of Consciousness
Woman on a mountain releasing chakras

Why chakra awareness is especially helpful in midlife

Connecting with chakra energy can help you rediscover who you are, what you want, and how to reach it. Something that may draw your attention more in midlife.

According to the Vedic Treaties Chakravidya, our life moves in seven-year cycles corresponding with the seven chakras. So that by age fifty, we have completed the seven-year developmental cycles of the chakras. Which means we have full potential to free ourselves from the self-inflicted constructs of the mind, align with our soul purpose, and experience samadhi (illumination).

The seven principle chakras, similar to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, represent the psychological and spiritual needs within the human psyche and are the basis of human behavioral motivation. Unblocking the chakras enables energy to run freely bringing harmony to mind, body, and soul. 

In midlife we reach a crossroads

Our life is not over. In a way it has just begun! But, if we are to enjoy a happy, healthy journey as we age, we must come to terms with changes in our body and mind with time to digest our life lessons and experiences. When most of our basic needs are met, midlife can be a time of profound transformational growth; where in becoming aligned to our higher purpose in life there is possibility to manifest our deepest desires in the material world.  

Ceri Lee BA (hons) is a senior yoga teacher, midlife mentor and owner of the Yoga Light Centre, an independent yoga studio with guest accommodation in North Wales. From here she teaches weekly yoga classes, offers Reiki, and has recorded her specialist online series including 7-Days to Clear the Chakras. She offers midlife mentorship programs, 1-1 yoga tuition, and regularly runs yoga retreats around the world.