Below please find some of my favorite books on the chakras. Note that this isn’t simply a list of introductory books – instead my focus is on books that explore the chakras from all different perspectives - spiritual, physical, health, astrological, and even one for kids. For some basic info about the chakras, try my online Chakra Guide Series.
Chakra Yoga, by Alan Finger: This is my favorite book for introducing the chakras to yoga practitioners, although it is a good introductory text even for those who have no yoga experience. Brief and to the point, it covers the history of the Hindu 7-chakra system that is the most widely known in the West, and then has a chapter on each chakra, and shows the physical yoga poses (asanas) associated with each, although you don’t need to be familiar with yoga to follow the book. A guided chakra meditation CD, based on the traditional Hindu mantras for each chakra, is also included.
Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing, by Carolyn Myss: A classic in mind-body medicine, this book was one of the first to bring the chakras into the mainstream, particularly in relation to health. Carolyn Myss mixes classic chakra theory with practices from many different religions to create a model for improving our mental, physical and spiritual well-beings. Filled with case studies from her long practice, it is great for self-diagnosis of certain energy issues.
Creating on Purpose: The Spiritual Technology of Manifesting Through the Chakras, by Anodea Judith and Lion Goodman: This book explores the energies of the chakras from the perspective of manifesting and co-creating our life. While spiritual teachings on the chakras emphasize the upward movement, representing our journey from the material to the spiritual, this book emphasizes the downward journey – how to move from an idea or dream to actual reality in our lives. It is based on workshops the authors’ teach, and includes many exercises for uncovering psychological hurdles you may have that are prevented you from working in the area of a chakra.
The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy, by Cyndi Dale: As the title suggests, this is an encyclopedia for energy healers, with chapters on virtually every energetic system and energy healing technique ever documented, drawn from dozens (maybe hundreds) of different cultures and time periods. The section on chakras includes many different chakra systems that are less well-known in the West, including Tibetan and Cherokee systems, as well as the author’s own intuitive healing chakra system. If you want to delve into this even further, also try her Complete Book of Chakra Healing: Activate the Transformative Power of Your Energy Centers.
The Intuition Guidebook: How To Safely and Wisely Use Your Sixth Sense, also by Cyndi Dale, but this one is geared for anyone interested in accessing their natural intuition. Cyndi uses her 12-chakra system as a guide for understanding the different types of intuitive guidance and ‘data’ that we each receive, and the problems we might encounter. The last part of the book helps frame these as spiritual gifts, in the context of our spiritual path and purpose.
Chakras: Energy Centers of Transformation, by Harish Johari – If you are looking for something more classical from a Hindu yogic perspective, this book is a good fit. It provides a detailed description of Hindu metaphysics and kundalini-based practices as they relate to the chakras. It does employ some Sanskrit terms and other esoteric concepts, so if that is intimidating, this might not be the place to start (although there is a glossary in the back.) But there is a depth of information here, and several great graphics.
Kundalini Rising: Exploring the Energy of Awakening, compilation of essays: Kundalini is the primary energy that runs through the chakras, and spiritual traditions that work with the chakras seek to raise and balance it in a controlled fashion. Compiled by one the leading teachers of kundalini yoga in the West, this book is a collection of essays by fellow yoga teachers, practitioners, academics, and scientists on the different types of kundalini experiences and processes people experience when working with this energy. A bit academic, but lots of great viewpoints.
Awakening the Sacred Body, by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche – If you’d like to explore a Tibetan Buddhist-based chakra offering, this book is a great choice. There are not many Tibetan books on chakra practices that are geared for a wide audience, as the practices are usually taught within a lineage in a structured fashion. This book is from the Bon Buddhist tradition, which is a slightly different lineage than the four main branches of Tibetan Buddhism, but it is very similar to other Tibetan energy work. It is written in an accessible manner, and includes a DVD of the practices. However, this Tibetan chakra system does not directly correspond to the Hindu-based 7 chakra system that is mostly taught in the West, and that most of the other books on this list utilize.
Chakra Foods for Optimum Health: A Guide to the Foods That Can Improve Your Energy, Inspire Creative Changes, Open Your Heart, and Heal Body, Mind, and Spirit, by Deanna Minich: This book explains the foods associated with both activating and balancing each chakra, and how to self-diagnose which you might need. I have to admit, I was skeptical at first, but the author’s clear knowledge of her subject matter inspired me to try it, and I do find it a very valuable tool for working with the chakras. Her introductory material on each chakra is also very good, so this is also a decent intro book, if that is what you are looking for.
This book is focused on many different energy medicine techniques, including working with the chakras, to address the most common women’s health problems, including PMS, menopause, high blood pressure and depression.
Liquid Light of Sex: Kundalini, Astrology, and the Key Life Transitions, Barbara Hand Clow: This book is not as racy as it sounds – ‘liquid light of sex’ is a phrase sometimes used to describe kundalini energy. In this book, astrologer Barbara Clow ties major life transits of Saturn, Uranus, and Chiron, mostly those experienced as part of the traditional ‘mid-life crises’, to spontaneous bursts of kundalini energy, and provides guidance on how to manage the process.
Chakra Diaries, by Becca Chopra – This book is a work of fiction, which provides a unique way to learn about the chakras, and how imbalances or blocks to them may impact our lives. Participants in a 12-week chakra workshop are asked to journal about their past and current experiences, and how things shift as they move through the workshop. Their lives intertwine, and there are several dramatic stories.
Seven Spirals: A Chakra Sutra for Kids, Deena Haiber
This book is a lovely way to introduce your kids to the chakras, should you wish to do so. The ‘theme’ or energy of each chakra is presented through a short vignette, and illustrated with vibrant, colorful pictures. The sanskrit names and traditional colors are also displayed, and a brief meditation is presented at the end. Actually, this is quite lovely for adults as well!
I consider all of the books above to be very accessible. Should you want to explore some more general texts, you can try Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System by Anodea Judith, or the book that started it all (in the West anyway), The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga by Arthur Avalon. A more esoteric book that covers Tibetan kundalini and chakra practice is Highest Yoga Tantra, by Daniel Cozort.
Feel free to post any questions or other suggestions. Namaste-