In Yoga, the seven occult centers of life and consciousness in the spine and brain, which enliven the physical and astral bodies of man. These centers are referred to as chakras ("wheels") because the concentrated energy in each one is like a hub from which radiate rays of life-giving light and energy. In ascending order, these chakras are muladhara (the coccygeal, at the base of the spine); svadhisthana (the sacral, two inches above muladhara), manipura (the lumbar, opposite the navel); anahata (the dorsal, opposite the heart); vishuddha (the cervical, at the base of the neck); ajna (traditionally located between the eyebrows; in actuality, directly connected by polarity with the medulla; see also medulla and spiritual eye);and sahasrara (in the uppermost part of the cerebrum).
The seven centers are divinely planned exits or "trapdoors" through which the soul has descended into the body and through which it must reascend by a process of meditation. By seven successive steps, the soul escapes into Cosmic Consciousness. In its conscious upward passage through the seven opened or "awakened" cerebrospinal centers, the soul travels the highway to the Infinite, the true path by which the soul must retrace its course to reunite with God. Yoga treatises generally consider only the six lower centers as chakras,with sahasrara referred to separately as a seventh center. All seven centers, however, are often referred to as lotuses, whose petals open, or turn upward, in spiritual awakening as the life and consciousness travel up the spine.??