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What are Chakras?

The word 'Chakra' is derived from the ancient Indian Sanskrit for 'Wheel' (cakraṃ, चक्रं in Hindi).

I'll provide more information here soon but in the meantime, there are some very good books available should you wish to find out more.  Be wary of internet content though as it may not provide the complete picture!  I recommend the Wikipedia article on chakras though as it provides quite a balanced view.  Here's an extract:

"Chakra is a concept referring to wheel-like vortices which, according to traditional Indian medicine, are believed to exist in the surface of the subtle body of living beings. The chakras are said to be 'force centers' or whorls of energy permeating, from a point on the physical body, the layers of the subtle bodies in an ever-increasing fan-shaped formation. Rotating vortices of subtle matter, they are considered the focal points for the reception and transmission of energies. Different systems posit a varying number of chakras; the most well-known system in the West is that of seven chakras."
(From Wikipedia under the Creative Commons License)