Healers know the chakras as the seven key energy centers in the body that govern our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Yet Cyndi Dale teaches that healing is only the beginning—the chakras have much more to offer than most of us realize. A teacher who has earned worldwide acclaim as an emerging authority on the chakras, Dale views the chakras as amazingly versatile gateways to spiritual growth and realization of our most important life goals. Here she talks to us about the innovative twelve-chakra system she teaches in her first audio-learning course, Advanced Chakra Wisdom.
Sounds True: Most people teach about the seven primary chakras, but you work with a system of 12. What are the other five, and why are they important?
Cyndi Dale: People are familiar with the “normal” seven chakras, but there are dozens if not hundreds of chakra systems. If you study Tantric, Yogic, and Hindu history, as well as Chinese medicine and shamanic cultures, you find anywhere from four or five primary chakras all the way up to fifteen or more. There's not really a standard number of chakras. It all depends on what tradition you come from and what you perceive to be a “primary” or “secondary” chakra.
In my work with clients, it struck me that the seven “core” chakras we normally discuss are only the ones in the body, arrayed along the spine. But for centuries, mystics and shamans have known that we're actually an open system, connected energetically to the entire universe, and that our energy is contained at least loosely in an “energy egg.” We have a kind of energy cocoon around our body that shamans in different places in the world have worked with for thousands of years.
This matched what I found in my work with clients. There were times in my practice when I would notice a lot of energy was congealing or coming through a certain spot underneath the feet. Or different energy spots over the head or around the body. So I started to work with myself and clients, and see where these hot-spots were, or “power centers,” which is the Mayan term for the chakras.
The 12-chakra system I use comes from a blend of my research and my experience with what works. I started to focus on five major additional energy centers located outside the body. These link us to the spiritual realms and the earth itself, and they also interpenetrate the body through the endocrine glands. I've learned that you can actually create more change—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually—working with these outer chakras, because you're working with more powerful energies than what's just in the body itself.
Sounds True: Why do you think the seven-chakra system has become so prevalent?
Cyndi Dale: It's our tendency to think of ourselves as closed, isolated units instead of acknowledging that we're part of a greater whole. Research into biofields and subtle energy bodies shows that we're interconnected. Quantum physics is revealing that particles interact even if they're light years apart. We don't stop at the skin—and neither do our chakras.
It's interesting—we often hear things like: “People who are mechanistic and only go to allopathic doctors, they're really stuck. They think we stop at the skin and that everything is just mechanical.” But I find this mindset still persists unconsciously even in the spiritual community, and that it causes us to focus only on the in-body chakras.
Frankly, I'm not hooked into being the one to say there's a “right” number of chakras. If somebody came to me and said they use a 48-chakra system, I'd say: “Terrific! What can you do with them?” To me, it comes down to practicality. Is this effective information? Can we use it to better our lives? Can we use it to better the world around us?
Sounds True: Could you describe the five “outer chakras” and what they're for?
Cyndi Dale: Let me start with the 10th chakra, because this is the one that really roots you and brings you into your body. It's under the ground, about a foot and a half. This one opens to your genetic patterns, to your legacy in terms of family history, to the history of the earth in general, and links you into the environment and nature.
In terms of energetics, the lower half of the body works with the lower spectrums of light, while the higher part of the body from about the waist up works with the higher frequencies. So the 10th chakra underneath the feet is working with a lot of infrared energy, which is very powerful for energizing and healing the physical body. For instance, if someone is dealing with a genetic abnormality, I work with the 10th chakra. That energy center actually helps to program our DNA, and we can work with it to help with hereditary issues.
There are two chakras that are found above the head. The 8th chakra is an inch or so over the crown. It opens to the outer worlds and the Akashic records (a recording of everything you've ever done, thought, or said). But also up here you access parallel present realities and potential futures. This is the place of the shaman and the mystic. It's up here that you can open your perceptions to different universes, time periods, dimensions. 8th chakra practices are incredibly effective for gathering information, working with spirits, and bringing in healing properties and healing energies from the shamanic realms.
Positioned above it is the 9th chakra, which is a beautiful energy center. It contains the seat of our soul. So whereas the 10th, which is underneath the ground, has our physical genetics, on the opposite side is the energy center that contains our “soul genetics”—encoded information about your higher purpose and spiritual destiny. We can perceive this information as numerical symbols, geometric patterns, or our own unique archetypal codes. If we're not getting any benefit working on the physical plane, that may mean it's time to go up and work with the soul patterns through the 9th chakra.
Then outside of the body are the 11th and 12th chakras. The 11th is the most immediate: it's the “energy egg” I mentioned around the entire body, which is accessible through the hands and feet. This is our connection to different forces, both natural and supernatural. I call it the “command center,” because people—like shamans—who are really able to access the energy of this chakra, are extraordinarily powerful magicians. They are able to influence the world around them and summon the supernatural energies that can make an instant and effective change in our lives.
And right outside of that is the 12th chakra, which is where we find the plane of mastery. It's here that we can identify ourselves with the best of being human, and then stretch beyond into the spiritual planes that lie on the other side of the energy egg and discover unity with the whole universe. Through the 12th chakra, we are able to achieve our own spiritual uniqueness and purpose.
Sounds True: Do these outer chakras have a direct relation to any part of the body?
Cyndi Dale: Yes—they connect to the body through the endocrine glands. So as with the primary seven, if you have a problem with a specific organ you want to work with the connected chakra in order to heal it. The 10th chakra works with the bones and the bone marrow, and any diseases related to the bones. People sometimes say that's not an endocrine gland, but there's research that's now proving that the bones and bone marrow produce hormones.
The 8th chakra above the head plugs into the thymus, which relates to our immune system; working here can effect great change in autoimmune disorders. The 9th chakra above the head interfaces with the diaphragm. This is why so many yoga and spiritual practices emphasize breath work: the breath brings oxygen to the body and is a vessel for spirit.
The 11th chakra links to our hands and feet, and connects into the fats, muscles, and connective tissues like cartilage. A lot of research is showing that the connective tissue is the house of the meridian system. A Swedish researcher named Dr. Björn Nordenström has found a secondary electrical system that is interconnected through the connective tissue that may be our link into the subtle energy fields. The 11th chakra seems to be connected in on a subtle level as well as the physical, and is our main conduit for harnessing the placebo effect and mind-over-matter healing.
I see the 12th chakra as interconnecting to a lot of secondary points in the body. If you've just got a general problem and you don't know where to start, work with the 12th chakra. It's going to balance the small points, like the kneecaps, the chakras in the hand, and the other organs. It's good for general overhaul.
You can see why I'm in love with these outer five chakras. They're so versatile and effective.
Sounds True: How do the advanced techniques you teach expand chakra practice beyond healing?
Cyndi Dale: We run our lives through our chakras. Since the chakras regulate all things physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual, we can do much more than use them solely for physical concerns. Certain people in spiritual practices open them up to get to Samadhi or a higher state. There's a lot of untapped potential. We can attract prosperity through the chakras, understand our relationships, get in touch with our past lives—so many things.
We all have stronger vs. weaker chakras. There's innate intelligence in each chakra, and each holds unique abilities and gifts we can tap. If we can figure out who we are—our “chakra personality”—we can then know how to be most effective in the world. We can figure out our best career path, learning style, or working style, or our best eating style or exercise modality.
In my own experience, I'm a very strong 1st chakra person, which is down in the hip area. This means I'm very physical. If I'm going to get an idea, I need to move. I can't meditate. I don't have a strong 7th chakra, which is up on top of the head, and it's more spiritual. If I'm going to pray or meditate my way to an answer, it's going to take until the cows come home and go out again. To get inspiration, I have to move, I have to interact.
But it may not be the same for you! You may have heard someone tell you: “You've got to get out of your head,” or advise you to take up some kind of body-based practice. Or they may say you need to sit on a cushion and meditate. If you know your chakra personality, you'll be able to tell if these practices are what will work best for you. We're not all the same, so we've got to play to our strengths. Knowing the chakras is about knowing who you are. We all have these particular strengths and weaknesses based on how our chakras are programmed by our spirit or our soul, by our higher selves. Let's take a look at who we really are and what our chakric strengths and weaknesses are saying about our styles, our interactive relationship patterns, what's the best way to eat. I take the chakra system very seriously in terms of using it as a gauge for decision making, interactions, and using our own style to attract what we need in life.
Sounds True: How can working with the chakras benefit someone who's had a different focus in their spiritual practice, like a meditator?
Cyndi Dale: The chakras are supportive. I think of them as adjuncts to absolutely any practice. I would never suggest that somebody throw away what they know, what they do, how they work. I would say the helpful approach is to embrace the idea of having certain chakra strengths, and then customize our lifestyle toward that—remembering to accept ourselves the way we really are. If you're on a practice, you can better define what you're doing and how you're doing it.
Being able to have a sense of the broad meaning of the chakras provides a linkage and a connection to other people. It keeps us out of judgment and helps us remain who we are, and connect with others. Let's say that I teach Reiki healing, which is a practice where we channel universal energy, primarily through the heart. And I'm teaching someone or working on a client who is strongest in the emotions of the second chakra. This lets me customize what I'm doing so I can be of most benefit to that client.
Sounds True: What led you down the path of working with the chakras, and what in your background has given you unique insights?
Cyndi Dale: I was super psychic as a kid, but I didn't know that was weird or abnormal. I could see energy and colors around people. I saw and heard spirits, good and bad. I saw colors coming out of people. I was very visual both with my physical eyes and my inner eyes. I remember I was four, living in Huntsville, Alabama. I felt I was up all night listening to these ghosts coming into my parents' house and cooking breakfast. I know that sounds bizarre. I could see their shadows on the walls, and when they left I remember thinking, “Oh, my mom's going to be so mad, because they fried bacon, and just left the pan there.” Of course, I got up in the morning and there was no sign of them.
So I was really interactive with the spiritual world. But I learned quite quickly, with Protestant Lutheran parents, that it was not acceptable. Even though those were gifts that went back through both my family charts, and there were stories about different relatives who saw things and talked to ghosts and such, it was just not cool, it was “of the devil.” So I closed it up from age 12 to 20, and the gifts started opening up when I became a client in therapy. I also started traveling to different countries and meeting up with shamans. Since that age, I think I've been like a lot of people are, trying to regain all those gifts and abilities. And every year they open a little more, and every year I'm able to do a little bit more with them. It's been a really interesting path.
Sounds True: In your practice, what are some of the experiences you've had working with the advanced chakra system that you teach?
Cyndi Dale: That's why I love doing what I do. In no way would I ever say that working with the chakras is going to cure anybody specifically or always provide a healing. Sometimes it just gives information and sometimes the information is welcome, and sometimes it's not. But I've been so honored to be a part of people's processes.
I worked with some parents once on their little three-year old girl who had cancer of the liver, which is 3rd chakra. And she wasn't given very long to live. With them, again, we did a little bit of chakra work, and she wasn't even present. The tumors disappeared. That was about four years ago, and she's fine today.
So I have many stories like that where once you focus on the exact issue through the chakras, spontaneous healings occur. I've really seen a lot of wonderful results for clients. Sometimes people just need some information that is stored in the chakras. The chakras are information centers. Energy is information that moves. Often somebody will come in and say, for instance, “Why do I have this cancer?” or MS, or financial issue, or relationship pattern. And we can use the chakras as a kind of “spiritual email”—send an inquiry and get the answer. You can work any number of ways with the chakras. You can read the information in the energy or you can work with healing, which involves changing the vibration.
Sounds True: Let's dig a little deeper than that. It seems there's almost a flip side to the incredible stories of spontaneous healing. What would you say to someone who's sick and wondering, “Where's my spontaneous healing? Don't I deserve it?”
Cyndi Dale: Healing is never a “one size fits all” matter. There are often a lot of factors making us sick. And we tend to think in our society that those are all negative, that this illness is a harmful pathogen, and we're going to be better if we just make it go away. But at any given moment all of us have illness in our body, and we're being “attacked” or invaded by different illnesses. And we all know that eventually, we're all going to die. That's not a reality we can or should try to fight.
An illness itself can be a kind of healing. And symptoms themselves can provide messages. Even a spontaneous healing is going to bring about another process. People like the “miraculous” stuff, but life's a journey. I like what Pema Chödrön says in one of her books: you get the good and the bad, and there's no real order in how they come. So pretty much you have to embrace them both and stop judging as them as good or bad.
Sounds True: Is there anything else you'd like to say about the program itself?
Cyndi Dale: There's an idea I hope people take away from the program. Ken Wilber described it as “transcend and include.” I find that in the chakra world that the lower chakras, because they're more body-based, are sometimes considered less “elevated “or inferior to the upper ones. Or it might seem like the outer chakras are “superior” to the inner seven. That's not the case. On a given day it's just as important for me to get my food and meal as it is to do my prayer. There's no better or worse, there's no separation. Everything is part of the same learning and journey.
The purpose of this program is to give you a set of empowering tools to use in your own life and spiritual practice. These chakras within and around us give us access to the universe. They let us retrieve the information and the energies that we need for our lives. The system I teach is designed to help you open up powers and gifts that you may not even know you have.