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108 Chakras Explained

108 Chakras Explained

In ancient Hindu and Buddhist cultures, the number 108 is widely considered to be a holy number with ties to a variety of spiritual traditions, ancient astrology, and religious beliefs.

Aside from that, did you know that this number is also tied to the chakra system?

There’s an unlimited resource of divine energy inside us that, when properly utilized, can improve our overall health and well-being. 

In this article, we’ll explore what we mean by the 108 chakras, including:

  • The importance of the 108 chakras
  • Where the concept of 108 chakras originated from
  • The significance of major chakras in terms of spiritual practice, yogic meditation, and Eastern philosophies.

Let’s dive right in.

What Are the 108 Chakras?

The concept of chakras first appeared in ancient Indian culture.

Chakras stem from the holistic belief that there are many different energy centers in the subtle body, including seven major chakras and over a hundred minor chakras and micro chakras. 

The seven primary chakras include:

  1. Root Chakra (Muladhara)
  2. Sacral Chakra (Svadthisthana)
  3. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
  4. Heart Chakra (Anahata)
  5. Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)
  6. Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)
  7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)

Some energy healers believe in a 12 chakra system which includes the 7 primary chakras and 5 additional transpersonal chakras – learn more about the 12 chakra system.

12 chakra system
12 Chakra System

These fundamental chakras are complemented by 21 minor chakras and 86 micro chakras. Vital energy flows to and from all our chakras through energy pathways, known as nadis.

According to spiritual leader Sadhguru, there are 114 chakras in our energetic system:

“Out of these 114 chakras, two are outside the physical body. Of the remaining 112, only 108 can actually be worked upon, the remaining four just flower as a consequence.”

Sadhguru

According to Sri Amit Ray, another important Spiritual leader and expert on the 114 chakras:

“All the chakras are not active all the times. Some are prominent and some are dormant.”

Sri Amit Ray

The 112 chakras are arranged in 7 dimensions (each dimension is represented by one of the 7 primary chakras) with each dimension made up of 16 different aspects.

The minor chakras are thought to be found in the hands, tongue, ears, legs, knees, shoulders, elbows, eyes, clavicles, and nose. The micro chakras are spread all over the body, across the organs and glands. 

Learn more about the 114 chakras

Wholeness of the Universe and Existence

The number 108 has been revered since ancient times and it appears in a lot of esoteric traditions in relation to our connection to the universe as well as our own energy field.

Many holistic and spiritual teachings agree that tapping into the infinite supply of spiritual energy that the universe provides helps us find a deeper connection with others as well as allowing us to find our true path. 

108 Energy Lines of the Heart Chakra

Throughout Hindu and Buddhist cultures, the Anahata, otherwise known as the Heart Chakra, has been linked to our innermost emotions of self-love, kindness, and compassion for the people around us.

The Heart Chakra is believed to have 108 focal energy lines that extend from the chest (where the Heart Chakra is located) outwards to fill our entire being. 

One of these energy lines is the Sushumna nadi, one of the most important nadis which runs from the Root Chakra through all the major chakras (including the Heart Chakra) up to the Crown Chakra

Kundalini body map
The Kundalini Body Map

When your Heart Chakra is in harmony, is in balance you can experience contentment and inner peace. The Anahata is the midpoint, connecting the lower chakras (such as the Root Chakra and Sacral Chakra) concerned with our physical survival and existence with the upper chakras (such as the Third Eye Chakra and Crown Chakra) which are concerned with our connection to the divine. 

However, when it becomes misaligned or blocked, you’re likely to experience feelings of loneliness, jealousy, periods of intense sadness, and discontent.

Not only will your emotional health suffer, but it’s also possible that your physical health will be affected as a blocked Heart Chakra can lead to a range of different physical ailments.

Learn more about the symptoms of a blocked Heart Chakra

Heart Chakra blockage
Symptoms of a Heart Chakra Blockage

108 Marma Points in the Human Body

In Ayurveda (a traditional form of Hindu medicine) there are key energy centers in the human body that are brimming with life energy called marma points. Each marma point is connected to one of the body’s main functions.

When you apply pressure to a marma point, you can create a shift in the energy flow within your body through channels called nadis. This shift in energy can be used to move stagnant energy, remove energy blocks and improve your overall mental and physical health, ultimately leading to spiritual awakening.

There are believed to be 107 of these subtle energy connections across the body, generally connected to vital areas across the body where joints, muscles, ligaments, and veins connect. The 108th point is considered to be your mind.

108 in Mathematics

108 is also an important number in several mathematical formulas. 

Leonardo Fibonacci, a renowned mathematician, claimed that the number 108 symbolizes the entirety of existence.

It is an important component of an equation that creates the Golden Ratio – a mathematical ratio which is deemed to create perfect visual harmony. It appears in several important artworks and designs, including the Egyptian Pyramids, the Mona Lisa and the Sistine Chapel.

Prehistoric monument Stonehenge has a diameter of 108 feet, and there are 108 Pithas sites found throughout India.

Many famous artworks are based on the principles contained in the Golden Ratio

108 in Vedic Astrology

Vedic Astrology, with its roots reaching back to 750–500 BCE, also has a strong affinity with the number 108.

This number is not only associated with cosmic alignment and constellations in the universe, our solar system’s nine planets, and the 12 zodiac signs, but Vedic cosmology also believes that 108 serves as the foundation of creation which encompasses the entire universe.

According to Surya Siddhanta, an ancient text compiled by Indian astronomers, the Sun’s diameter is 108 times that of Earth’s. The distance between the Earth and the Moon also equates to 108 times the Moon’s diameter.

It’s also linked to The Navamsa sign chart, an ancient Vedic chart for formulating horoscopes.

What Is the Significance of 108 in Spirituality?

108 Upanishads

The 108 Upanishads form part of the Vedas, a collection of scriptures of the Hindu faith thought to have originated in northern India.

For many spiritual and religious Hindu practices, 108 is a significant number often used either as a mantra or as the number of repetitions for a particular ritual.

108 Mala Beads

Mala beads, traditionally made from the Rudraksha seeds of the evergreen tree, are a form of prayer beads which are often used in spiritual and meditation practices to aid in prayer.

Each mala contains 108 beads, with the largest bead (known as the guru bead) believed to capture the positive energy emitted when the mala is used.

Much like other spiritual beliefs, the numerical total of the beads is related to a range of rituals and beliefs that stem from ancient astrology and numerology.

Counting the mala beads with your fingers is also a useful way to focus the mind as you chant chakra mantras or chakra affirmations

108 Styles of Yogic Meditation

The number 108 is also important within many schools of yoga. 

Traditional breathing methods such as Pranayma (commonly used in Hatha Yoga) are often completed in cycles of 108. Some yoga poses — in particular, sun salutations — are often performed in nine rounds with 12 postures – adding up to 108 asanas.

Ancient yogis believed that this practice helps us align ourselves with the natural rhythm of life’s creation and would one day serve the purpose of achieving eventual enlightenment. 108 is often referred to as a sacred number in ancient yogic texts, for example Hindu deities usually have 108 names.

Yoga poses and breathing techniques are often used during chakra awakening practices. Following a cycle of 108 is thought to help you connect with both your primary chakras and the additional chakras in the 108 tradition. 

Check out our 7 poses to heal the Sacral Chakra

How-to-do-Nadi-Shodhana
Nadi Shodhana is often performed in cycles of 108

108 in Buddhism and Eastern Philosophies

In traditional Buddhism, the number 108 is connected to the number of defilements or impure thoughts an individual must overcome in order to attain spiritual enlightenment.

Additionally, in Tibetan Buddhism, the number 108 is also associated with the Kangyur – a collection of sacred texts believed to have been spoken by and translated from Buddha himself, and which is taught in various Buddhist schools.

According to Tantric traditions, we take an average of 21,600 breaths per day, of which 10,800 are solar energy, and 10,800 are lunar energy.

How will you be inspired by 108?

From the earliest Vedic texts to current yoga and meditation practices, the relationship between the number 108 and the chakras has a long and captivating history. Now you have seen the significance of 108, you’ll see it everywhere you go!

Many of the spiritual practices in this article such as yoga, meditation and mantras are powerful tools for chakra healing, so you can connect to the sacred number of 108 while working on your chakra balancing. 

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Author

  • Clare Smith

    Hi, I’m Clare – writer and publisher of Chakra Practice. I’m a certified chakra energy healer and a philosophy major. I love researching and writing about everything to do with chakras, including trying out new crystals, candles, essential oils – anything that can help me in my practice.