Chakra is the Sanskrit word for wheel of light. You have seven such wheels—vortexes of energy—located at points along the spine. Like the soul, which you cannot see but perceive to be present, the chakras exist within you, spinning at the core of your being. Each chakra, in a color from red to violet, connects to a specific section of the human body.

Chakras (bottom to top): root (red), lower abdomen (orange), solar plexus (yellow), heart (green), throat (turquoise), third eye (indigo), and crown (violet).

Meditating with a mala will help stimulate your chakras as you finger each bead. Beads made of certain materials will help open specific chakras. (See the bead chart in the previous section.) Think of each chakra as a window that lets you see the world more clearly or, even better, a door that allows the awesome power of the universe to enter and flow through you.

Dharma Beads: Making and Using Your Own Buddhist Malas
Joanna Arettam (2000) Journey Editions; Tuttle Publishing