In Hinduism, a chakra (Sanskrit cakra, "wheel") is thought to be an energy point or node in the subtle body.Chakras are believed to be part of the subtle body, not the physical body, and as such, are the meeting points of the subtle (non-physical) energy channels called nadi.Nadi are believed to be channels in the subtle body through which the life force (prana) (non-physical) or vital energy (non-physical) moves.
It's believed that there are many chakras in the subtle human body, according to the tantric texts, but there are seven chakras that are considered to be the most important ones.
The Vedas are the oldest written tradition in India, (1,500 – 500 B. The original meaning of the word chakra as “wheel” refers to the chariot wheels of the rulers, called cakravartins.
(The correct spelling is cakra, though pronounced with a ch as in church.) The word was also a metaphor for the sun, which “traverses the world like the triumphant chariot of a cakravartin and denotes the eternal wheel of time called the kalacakra which represents celestial order and balance.
The birth of a cakravartin was said to herald a new age, and they were described as preceded by a golden disk of light, much like the halo of Christ, only this spinning disk was seen in front of them (perhaps their powerful third chakras).
It is also said that the god Vishnu descended to Earth, having in his four arms a cakra, a lotus flower, a club, and a conch shell.
(This may have referred to a cakra as a discus-like weapon.) There is some mention of the chakras as psychic centers of consciousness in the Yoga Upanishads (circa 600B.C.) and later in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (circa 200 B. Most interpretations of Patanjali read a dualism between purusha (pure consciousness) and prakriti (the prima materia of the world), implying that the goal of yoga was to rise above nature for the realization of pure consciousness, free of the fluctuations of the mind and emotions.Yet the word yoga means union or yoke, so this realization of consciousness must ultimately reintegrate with nature for a higher synthesis.The chakra system and Kundalini yoga arose within the Tantric tradition, during the second half of the first millennium, common era.The word Tantra means tool (tra) for stretching (tan) and can be thought of as a loom in which the fabric of nature is woven from the union of opposites.In the West, Tantra is thought of primarily as a sexual tradition, yet sacred sexuality is only a small part of a broad weaving of philosophy which includes many practices of yoga, worship of deities, especially the Hindu goddesses, and integration of the many polaric forces in the universe.