"The water flows through this creek, much like the energy flows through your body. As you see, there are several pools where the water swirls around before flowing on. These pools are like our chakras."
Chakras are nexuses of metaphysical or biophysical energy within the body. There are seven chakras, each situated at a different location in the body, albeit all located on a central vertical axis.
Each chakra has a purpose and deals with a different emotion. As such, each one can be opened and closed depending on a given individual's state of mind. When a chakra is open, energy is free to flow about the body. On the other hand, energy flow is restricted when a chakra is sealed. The chakras must be opened in a specific order, or the energy will not be able to flow.
Guru Pathik used a series of connected pools as an analogy to illustrate the concept of chakras. These pools, representing the chakras, were connected by waterfalls and channels, and were initially blocked by algae or muck, representing an individual's own emotional debris. Due to this, the water, representing energy, stagnated and could no longer pass through the channels. When the clogs of algae were removed, symbolizing the opening of the chakras, it allowed the water to flow through the channels again, streaming through each pool fresh and clear.
During the spring of 100 AG, Avatar Aang attempted, with Guru Pathik's help, to open his chakras so that he could enter and control the Avatar State at will. Pathik warned Aang that the process of opening the chakras cannot be halted once it has begun - it had to be completed or Aang would not be able to enter the Avatar State at all.
Albeit challenging, Aang successfully opened the first six chakras. However, when Pathik told Aang that opening the seventh would mean that he needed to "let go" of his love for Katara, he was reluctant to attempt to open up the chakra. When he saw a vision of Katara in need while opening up the chakra, he promptly chose earthly attachments over cosmic energy, a choice that eventually blocked his chakras, preventing him from entering the Avatar State. Iroh commended Aang for his choice later on, stating that it was not worth sacrificing love for the sake of power.
Nevertheless, when Aang and Katara were attacked by Azula, Zuko, and the Dai Li, Aang made the choice to let Katara go and subsequently opened the seventh chakra. He was able to enter the Avatar State, but was knocked out of it and gravely wounded when Azula struck him in the back with lightning. Although Katara managed to heal his wounds and bring him back to life, Aang believed his seventh chakra to be locked, and he was unable to enter the Avatar State at all.
However, while he was able to access the state for that brief moment, his feelings for Katara remained intact, and although Aang supposedly freed himself of fear, guilt, shame, and similar emotions, he continued to display them during his journey around the Fire Nation. He also exhibited these emotions during the day before the planned Invasion of the Fire Nation, and he suffered sleep deprivation and paranoia as a result.
Aang remained unable to use the Avatar State throughout the entirety of his travels in the Fire Nation archipelago. He eventually regained access to the state during his battle with Ozai, when a protruding rock was pressed hard against the lightning's entry wound on his back, releasing all the blocked energy.
These are the chakras in the order one must unlock them.
|Chakra||Aang's experience||Deals with||Blocked by||Location|
|Earth Chakra||Aang went into meditation and saw his fears laid out before him, including the Blue Spirit charging at him with dual swords, Katara being dragged underground by General Fong, Sozin's Comet arriving, and even himself in the Avatar State destroying his surroundings. Finally, he saw himself surrounded by fire, sitting before a man who appeared to be Fire Lord Ozai. After clearing his thoughts, the images disappeared, and Aang breathed a sigh of relief as he came out of meditation. Guru Pathik congratulated Aang and told him the first chakra had been opened.||Survival||Fear||Base of the spine|
|Water Chakra||When asked what he blamed himself for, Aang reminisced of the day he fled the Southern Air Temple upon finding out that he was the Avatar. On top of this, he remembered the time that he hurt Earth Kingdom soldiers at General Fong's fortress while in the Avatar State. Pathik told Aang to accept that these things happened and urged him to prevent them from clouding his judgment and poison his energy; he stated that Aang must forgive himself if he wanted to be a positive influence on the world. Aang did so and successfully opened the second chakra.||Pleasure||Guilt||Sacrum|
|Fire Chakra||Guru Pathik proceeded with the unlocking of the third chakra, by asking Aang what he was ashamed of, what he was disappointed in himself for. Aang had a vision of when he first attempted firebending and severely burned Katara's hands. He told Pathik that he would never firebend again. Pathik responded that in order to obtain balance, he must accept all the aspects of his life. Aang was the Avatar, and therefore he was a firebender. Aang accepted his duty and successfully opened the third chakra.||Willpower||Shame||Stomach|
|Air Chakra||Laying his grief before him, Aang saw all of the Air Nomads who were eliminated by the Fire Nation during the Air Nomad Genocide in the early stages of the Hundred Year War, with Gyatso being the first among them. They faded away and became smoke. Love, according to Pathik, was a form of energy that swirled all around people. He stated that the Air Nomads' love for Aang still existed inside Aang's heart and was reborn anew, in the form of new love — Katara. With his tears, Aang also let his pain flow away.||Love||Grief||Heart|
|Sound Chakra||When Pathik explained that the fifth chakra was blocked by the lies we tell ourselves, Aang remembered the instance when he concealed his true identity from Sokka and Katara, stating that he did not tell them that he was the Avatar at first, because he never wanted to be. Pathik said that Aang could not lie about his own nature, and that he needed to accept his destiny as the Avatar. With a sigh and a vision, Aang accepted this idea, and he successfully opened the Sound Chakra.||Truth||Lies||Throat|
|Light Chakra||Guru Pathik began by explaining that the greatest illusion of the world was the one of separation; things thought to be separate and different were in fact one and the same. Aang instantly connected this concept with the four nations, and Pathik told him that every individual was part of one collective people, yet lived as if divided. Aang realized that Pathik was saying that everyone was connected, thus making divisions meaningless. Pathik continued to explain that even the separation of the four elements was an illusion, as they are four parts of the same whole. He continued by stating that even metal was simply refined and purified earth, concurrent with Toph's discovery of metalbending elsewhere.||Insight||Illusion||Forehead|
|Thought Chakra||Aang was asked to meditate on what attached him to the earth, only images of Katara came mind. Pathik stated that Aang needed to let go and forget his attachments. Taken aback, Aang questioned how he could let go of Katara when he loved her and wondered why he would choose cosmic energy over Katara, stating that the attachment was perfectly acceptable "three chakras ago". Reluctantly, Aang tried to let go of Katara and his earthly attachments. However, as Aang was meditating and about to clear the final chakra, he had a disturbing vision of Katara being held captive. Aang immediately ceased his meditation and was thus disengaged from his potential entrance to the Avatar State. Pathik warned Aang that if he quit his training before unlocking this chakra, he would ultimately be unable to enter the Avatar State at all. Aang ignored the warning and left to rescue Katara. When he was later forced on the defensive while under attack in Ba Sing Se, he attempted to unlock the chakra again. In order to save Katara, he was successful in letting her go and opened up the last barrier that separated him from the vast pool of cosmic energy of the Avatar Spirit. However, the chakra was immediately locked again when Azula shot him down with a lightning attack.||Pure cosmic energy||Earthly attachments||Crown of the head|
- In real life, the concept of chakras originated in ancient India and forms the basis of many philosophical, spiritual, and religious systems.
- The chakra points, specifically where they are located, to what they refer, and by what they are blocked are somewhat the same according to chakra charts.
- In Hinduism, the second chakra is located in or near the sexual and reproductive organs, as it is related to pleasure. Due to this fact, it is the one chakra whose location is not stated in the show's dialogue.
- Combustion Man's third eye is located where the Light Chakra would be, at the center of the forehead between his two eyes. While the location makes his abilities quite powerful, it later proves to be his undoing, as the chakra was blocked after being impacted first by a pebble from Toph, and later by Sokka's boomerang, resulting in Combustion Man's death.
- Ironically, Toph displayed great mastery over the Light Chakra when she overcame the "illusion" of the division between natural earths and refined metals by her "insight" that the forging process would always leave small natural impurities, thereby single-handedly creating the sub-skill of metalbending, despite the fact that she was blind and had never dealt with light in her life.
- Though the flow of energy, otherwise known as chi, within the body is mentioned many times, chakras were not introduced until Avatar Aang's encounter with Guru Pathik at the Eastern Air Temple.
- The main objective of opening the chakras is to detach one's soul from the world, so that, in the case of an Avatar, he or she would have free access to the cosmic powers at his or her disposal. However, Avatar Yangchen explained to Aang that the reason why the Avatar is a mortal being each time is that the Avatar must experience human life and emotions in order to understand how precious it is, so he or she will do anything to protect it, meaning that it would be never possible for an Avatar to truly detach him or herself from the world and thus open all the chakras.
- Guru Pathik stated that in order for the Avatar to control the Avatar Spirit, he/she must let go of every earthly attachment like loving someone. However, it is still possible to love someone while opening the Thought Chakra, as evidenced by the fact that both Avatar Kuruk and Avatar Roku demonstrated mastery over the Avatar State while being in love; Kuruk loved Ummi and Roku loved Ta Min.
- During Aang's attempts to unlock the chakras, the visions he experienced were filtered through the colors of the visible light spectrum from red, to orange, to yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet in the order in which he unlocked his chakras.