The chakras (“wheels” in Sanskrit) are subtle energy centres in our bodies that represent the meeting place of several intersecting energy meridians (or nadis) in Hindu thought. Though there are numerous chakra systems developed by different groups and thinkers, the most well-known to us here in the West is the 7-chakra system:
Chakra 1 – Base of the Spine
Chakra 2 – Navel
Chakra 3 – Solar Plexus
Chakra 4 – Heart
Chakra 5 – Throat
Chakra 6 – Third Eye
Chakra 7 – Crown of the Head
The chakras can represent a roadmap for your spiritual journey, from the basest, earthly centre of your being to an illuminated expansive Self. In many forms of Hindu and yogic thought, spiritual illumination happens at the crown of the head, in the seventh (highest) chakra.
In Sufi Yogic thought, spiritual illumination occurs at the heart centre, where the veils of the material world and the lower self fall away and the heart-mind (sirr or “secret” in Arabic, citta in Sanskrit) gains a piercing vision of reality and the world as it truly is.
The Heart Chakra thus represents the peak of human selfhood in Sufi Yogic thought–which is why I call my practice Fourth Chakra Yoga. It is the yoga of the fourth chakra, the path of the heart.