Chi and chakras. What are they?
As a beginner yogi, I had a hard time distinguishing between the two. But as I learned more, I began to see their differences.
If you are as lost as I was, then this blog post is for you!
Read on to find out the key differences between chi and chakras.
Chi is energy – Chakras are energy points
To identify the first difference between chi and chakras, we need to look at what the two words actually mean.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, chi is:
“vital energy that is held to animate the body internally and is of central importance in some Eastern systems of medical treatment (such as acupuncture) and of exercise or self-defense (such as tai chi)”
In other words, Chi is the energy that flows through your body. It is a form of energy within your physical body that animates you.
Chakras, on the other hand, are defined as:
“any of several points of physical or spiritual energy in the human body according to yoga philosophy”.
More specifically, Chakras are said to be energy centers within your body that contain chi. They are places where you store and circulate energy.
So, what’s the difference?
Chi is a form of energy within your body that lets you live and function optimally, while chakras are specific energy centers within your body.
There are 7 chakras and many different types of chi
The second difference between chi and chakras is that there are 7 chakras and many different types of chi.
So, let’s take them one by one and explore their details.
The 7 energy centers in your body are:
1) The root chakra
The Muladhara or the root chakra represents your physical foundation or the basic energy body. It is situated at the base of the spine.
2) The sacral chakra
The Svadisthana or sacral chakra represents your emotions and feelings. It is located behind your tailbone, close to where your legs meet your body.
3) The solar plexus chakra
The Manipura or solar plexus chakra represents your physical strength and sexual urges as well as creativity and intuition. It is positioned above your navel.
4) The heart chakra
The Anahata or the heart chakra represents love, compassion, and creativity. It is located in the middle of your chest between your shoulders.
5) The throat chakra
The Vishuddha or the throat chakra is associated with communication and manifestation and is located at the base of your neck.
6) The third eye chakra
The Ajna or the third eye chakra represents your visual and mental awareness, psychic abilities, and intuition. It is located in between your eyebrows.
7) The crown chakra
The Sahasrara or the crown chakra is located at the top of your head and represents pure consciousness, spirituality, and connection to the divine. It is also known as the gateway to higher consciousness.
As you can see, there are different types of chakras and each represents a different aspect of your life. But what about chi?
Types of chi (qi)
As for the chi, it is not located in a specific place, as the chakras are. It flows through all seven chakras and through your body as a whole.
Chi can circulate through the entire body, which is why it is called the “universal life force.” What’s more, there are many different types of chi.
Here’s what Taoism expert Elizabeth Reninger has to say about them:
“Within the human body, there is the qi that we’re born with, called Yuan qi or ancestral qi. The qi that we absorb during our lives from food, water, air, and qigong practice is called Hou tain qi or post-natal qi. The qi that flows at the surface of the body, as a protective sheathe, is called Wei qi or protective qi. Each internal organ also has its own qi/life-force, e.g. spleen-qi, lung-qi, kidney-qi.”
So, what’s the difference?
While there are only 7 chakras, there are many types of chi that can circulate throughout your body.
Chi has Chinese roots – chakras have Indian roots
Another way to differentiate chi and chakras is by considering their origins:
“An early form of qi comes from the writings of the Chinese philosopher Mencius (4th century BCE).”
What’s more, “Qi is the central underlying principle in Chinese traditional medicine and in Chinese martial arts.”
In other words, Chinese culture sees qi as fundamental to their way of life.
On the other hand, the chakras have their origins in Indian Ayurveda and Indian Vedic philosophy but are also present in other places around the world.
These energy points have been used for centuries in India and Central Asia to promote healing and relaxation.
On top of that, they are said to have a profound effect on your emotional and spiritual well-being.
Now, let’s compare the two:
Chi originated in China – Chakras originated in India.
Chi is seen as a fundamental force in Chinese society – Chakras have been present in various traditions, including Indian and Tibetan.
You can feel chi – You can’t feel your chakras
According to Connie Johnson, author of Spiritual Concepts for a New Age: Psychic Serenity in the Human Experience,
“The universal life force (chi) enters the body through the chakra at the top of the head and travels down the spinal column to the other chakras. ”
In other words, chi is said to circulate through all 7 chakras. What’s more, compared to chakras, you can feel chi.
This is quite important for achieving a more balanced state of being because it gives you access to your own energy and creates a channel for it to freely flow through your body.
“When we are living in harmony with the Universe, these vortices, or valves or chakras, are open and allow an abundant flow of chi energy,” says Johnson.
Let me explain:
Simply put, by practicing yoga, you can achieve a more balanced and harmonious state of being by allowing the chi to flow freely throughout your body.
The good news is that, with practice, you can learn how to feel your own chi flowing and adjust it so it can better balance out everything that is going on in your life.
You can connect to your chi – you can activate/unblock your chakras
So far, we’ve learned about some of the differences between chi and chakras. We’ve also discovered that chi flows through all 7 chakras. And you can feel it.
On the other hand, you can’t necessarily sense your chakras as such. However, you can activate them or unblock them by engaging in different practices.
But, another way to differentiate the two is by how you can interact with them.
To be more precise, you can connect to your chi by:
- Moving your body and going out in nature;
- Feeding your body with nutrients and “clean” foods;
- Allowing your emotions to naturally balance out;
- Breathing in a more natural way.
As for your chakras, you can activate/unblock them by:
- Engaging in meditation and visualization techniques;
- Practicing yoga and breathing exercises;
- Doing stretching and deep relaxation exercises for your physical body;
- Listening to music that matches your state of mind and that resonates with you.
What happens when you’re not connected to your chi?
Now that you know what chi is and how to differentiate it from chakras, let’s find out what happens when you’re not connected to it.
For example, negative emotions can block your ability to connect with your chi. This can happen because we remain emotionally attached to the past, carrying old memories and regrets forward from previous traumatic events.
Another way to put it is that you’re disconnected from your chi when you’re not in tune with the natural rhythm of life.
What happens when your chakras are blocked?
Now, let’s investigate what happens when your chakras are blocked. Basically, this means that chi doesn’t freely flow through one or more of your chakras.
For example, you might have issues better expressing yourself or dealing with conflict resolution in your relationships. This may be because one of your chakras is blocked.
Or you might be focused on a “delusionary path” in life instead of an authentic one that matches who you are and what you want to achieve through life.
All these could be caused by a blockage in one of your chakras.
Now, let’s compare the two:
Being disconnected from your chi means you’re disconnected from the natural rhythm of life, your emotions are blocked, you keep focusing on the past and you’re not in tune with who you really are.
On the other hand, blocking chakras means that chi doesn’t freely flow through all or some of your chakras, which can result in issues like feeling conflicted or not being able to express yourself.
By now, you should have a clear understanding of what chi is (your life force) and how it is different from your chakras (energy centers in the body).
If so, then you can start exploring the benefits of a balanced life by tapping into your chi and making sure it flows freely through all 7 chakras.