Enhancing Your Energy the New Age Way: Understanding Auras, Chakras, and Qi


Lindsey Mendenwaldt

Article ID:



May 8, 2024


May 2, 2024

This is an online  article from the Christian Research Journal. 

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You might remember a scene in the first episode of the popular television show Friends (1994–2004) where Phoebe tried to cleanse Ross’s auras, claiming they were murky after his divorce from Carol. In a later episode, Phoebe cleansed the auras of a massage client (the client dies, and Phoebe then thinks she possesses her). Both Friends scenes garnered odd looks from the other characters and laughs from the studio audience. On the other side of the coin, in the 2022 Marvel film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Dr. Strange gets his Third Eye (a chakra), indicating his ascension into a higher consciousness. This wasn’t for comedic effect — it was serious and important to Dr. Strange’s character development. Indeed, his Third Eye gave him special powers like being able to see his enemies’ next moves and see into other peoples’ souls.

It’s common to see New Age concepts come up in entertainment. In fact, even in 1988 when Russell Chandler released his book Understanding the New Age, the media was full of the New Age. He wrote, “There’s no business like show business to introduce New Age suppositions and make them appear credible to a general audience.”1 We’re being exposed to the concepts, and some people are bringing them from the screen into their real lives.

Auras, chakras, and qi often go hand-in-hand. They are all concepts that stem from Eastern religions and the New Age movement. As Christians, we need to be on guard against such things because they are not biblical, nor are they scientific. In fact, they lead us away from the truth. This article will help you navigate through the murky waters of these topics so that you can spot them and respond if Christians you know engage in energy healing rituals2 or other New Age techniques to enhance their energy systems, also known as their “life force.”


Auras: The Energy Field around You. What was Phoebe trying to cleanse when she picked at the air above Ross in the inaugural Friends episode? In both Latin and Ancient Greek, “aura” means “wind, breeze, or breath.” An aura is a “cloud of energy that surrounds” every human, animal, or non-living object.3 Perhaps you’ve seen this illustrated in art as a light halo around someone’s head or even their entire body. Some even claim that prehistoric images dating back thousands of years illustrate auras.4

Auras are sometimes referred to as a human energy field and are found outside the body. They were popularized by Theosophist5 Charles Webster Leadbeater (1854–1934). Leadbeater transitioned from an Anglican priest to a spiritual mystic who believed he had clairvoyant powers. He spent much of his time studying (and adopting) occult beliefs and practices. As a result of his studies, he determined that “It is not around the human body alone that an aura is to be seen; a similar cloud of light surrounds or emanates from animals, trees, and even minerals, though in all these cases it is less extended and less complex than that of man.”6 Leadbeater’s ideas caught fire and were later adopted and spread by famed clairvoyants like Rudolf Steiner and Edgar Cayce.7

Auras have seven layers connecting with the seven chakras (discussed below), but “each person’s aura has a unique size, shape, and frequency and contains distinct energetic imprints of their mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional conditions.”8 They are frequently illustrated as rings of colors and light around a human body, but they can come from anything physical. The various auric layers are:

  1. Causal Body: outermost layer; connected to the Crown Chakra
  2. Celestial Body: responsible for spiritual ecstasy
  3. Etheric Blueprint: the body’s map of energy
  4. Astral Body: controls dreams and psychic energy
  5. Mental Body: responsible for spiritual discernment and gifts like clairvoyance
  6. Emotional Body: connected to Sacral Chakra; where our feelings reside
  7. Etheric Double: gives vitality and life9

According to some aura enthusiasts, it takes practice and persistence to perceive the energetic world, including auras, and it often requires one to enter into a trance state, which is achieved through meditation.10 That said, it doesn’t require a particular gifting to see or feel auras. New Age influencer Teal Swan says that in order to perceive auras, we need to pull ourselves away from the physical world. Swan notes that it might be easiest to start perceiving auras by looking at a person’s Third Eye, a chakra that will be described more below.11 Keep in mind that auras haven’t been empirically demonstrated by science, but those who subscribe to the pseudoscientific belief will point to electromagnetic fields as evidence of their existence. Coexisting with auras are chakras, which reside within the body (and under the protection of the aura).          

Chakras: The Energy System within You. One of the things I noticed very quickly in my research about chakras is that everyone seems to be talking about them, including Forbes, Medium, WebMD, and many yoga and natural wellness sites. Another thing I noticed was that chakras are apparently impacted by watching movies, listening to music, experiencing stress, and even posture. For people who take chakras seriously, chakras shouldn’t be ignored because unwell chakras lead to things like mental and physical health issues. And with the increased popularity of yoga and New Age spirituality, the interest in chakras is rising, even among Christians.12 But what are chakras, exactly, and why do they need to be healed?

Like auras, chakras have roots in Eastern religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism, and they are promoted heavily in New Age spirituality, which was born out of Eastern worldviews. According to these belief systems, the world is made up of energy, even down to the air we breathe and the ground we walk on. Our bodies comprise energy points called chakras. Chakra comes from the Sanskrit word that means “wheel.” Author and “intuitive healer” Cyndi Dale describes them this way: “Chakras are energy centers in our body that, when perceived by those of us who are blessed to be able to see them, look like wheels of light spinning in and around the body — stars in miniature.”13 Depending on who you ask, there are generally between five and seven chakras in the human body, though some will claim there are up to 88,000 chakras.14

In the West, the seven-chakra system is the most popular. Beginning in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the system was developed by various sources, including Theosophists Helena Blavatsky and Charles Webster Leadbeater (the same person who popularized auras), as well as Orientalist15 John Woodroffe. Each chakra is found along the human spine, from the head to the tailbone. They are all said to be connected to various organs, and the chakras’s health determines one’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Eliza Swann summarizes the seven chakras and their purposes this way:

  1. Root (Muladhara): at the base of the spine; responsible for survival
  2. Sacral (Svadhisthana): below the belly button; responsible for creativity and sexuality
  3. Solar Plexus (Manipura): near the stomach; responsible for willpower and identity
  4. Heart (Anahata): in the chest; responsible for connection and humility
  5. Throat (Vishuddha): near the throat; responsible for communication
  6. Third Eye (Ajna): between the eyebrows; responsible for wisdom and intuition; helps a person ascend to higher consciousness
  7. Crown (Sahasrara): top of the head; responsible for our connection with higher consciousness16

Sometimes, according to this worldview, our energy is out of whack and unbalanced, which results in various hardships in our lives. Healing our energies is vital, which is where practices like qigong come in.

Qigong (Qi): Cultivating and Healing Your Energy. Various factors can block your chakras or auras, including stress, unhealthy lifestyles, and tiredness. One way to restore auras and chakras is through an Eastern practice called qigong (pronounced chee-gong). The word “qigong” derives from the Chinese words chi and gong. Chi is often called “vital energy,” and gong means “work.” Together, qigong is the “practice or way of doing things that promote health and well-being through the cultivation and balancing of life energy.”17 Qigong is a form of ancient Chinese medicine that has been heavily regulated since the late 1990s in China due to some religious sects, like the Falun Gong, misusing the tradition.18 In New Age speak, qigong (occasionally called qi for short) helps heal and balance the body’s aura and chakras. It is said that qigong heals three types of energy: qi (your body’s structures), jing (your essence), and shen (your self-awareness).19

Qigong typically involves meditation and gentle movements. Perhaps the most popular version of qi is Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art comprised of various slow movements designed to heal one’s inner body (our energy, so to speak). Another example is kung fu, which finds its foundation in qigong. Through the various qigong movements, one’s energy centers are restored to their proper place, thus ensuring that one’s energy remains vibrant and healthy.

Energies and the New Age

As has already been stated, the idea of life forces and energies is not biblical. They are rooted in Eastern thought and New Age spirituality. This does not mean that self-professed Christians aren’t concerned with them. For example, consider the aforementioned “intuitive healer” Cyndi Dale. In her Essential Energy Blog, she says she is “a follower of Christ,”20 but then she suggests that Jesus could walk on water because he tapped into his chakras, which we have the power to do, too. She continues, “The streams of energy from these lights link into our brain, higher and lower chakras, and our hands and feet. For the trained and initiated, we can use this field to command and direct energies in a way so powerful, we, too, could walk on water, make a tumor disappear, or pull a coin out of the air.”21

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dale also believes in the non-biblical ideas of reincarnation, karma, and the use of crystals, all while professing to be a Christian. She’s not alone, either. For instance, there’s the claim Jesus was an energy healer, pointing to His healing of the hemorrhaging woman in Luke 8 as an example because he felt the power flow out of him.22 Another blog rationalizes Christians believing in chakras: “What if the light from God — His anointing, His Spirit, His Power — comes down into the first chakra, and flows down and in and through us? As it travels down through all seven energy centers, His Spirit brings wisdom, revelation, communion, love, power, fruitfulness, and life” — this from a place called the Trinity School.23

Despite the teachings of these so-called energy healers, the reality is that chakras, auras, and qi are never mentioned in the Bible and are inconsistent with biblical teaching. Scripture warns us in 2 Timothy 4:3–4 that “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (ESV). A common thread in the rationalization of these beliefs by Christians is that, despite the Hindu and occult origins, these practices and thoughts can be redeemed: “If we, as Christians, believe that ALL things were made by God for God’s purposes, then we must ask: How can energy be used for God’s purposes according to divine design? How might the healing power of Jesus be found in the chakras?” (emphasis in original).24 This reasoning fails, though. Otherwise, we could encourage Christians to practice witchcraft, engage in psychic readings, and read the stars in order to determine their futures. No longer are we relying on God’s power or Jesus’s ability to save us; instead, we’re relying on creation to do God’s bidding, whether it be the stars or our very own bodies.

Finally, not only are these New Age ideas unbiblical, they aren’t supported by science, either. Because auras and chakras are generally classified as pseudoscience, few scientific studies have been initiated to research them, however within the limited body of research that does exist on the topics, no scientific study has ever shown that physical auras exist around human bodies.25 The same goes for chakras and qi.

Auras, Chakras, and Qi Are Occult

The reality is that when popular shows like Friends26 platform New Age characters like Phoebe and films like Dr. Strange promote the Third Eye, people might laugh or write it off as fantasy. However, for the people who believe in energy forces, they are not something to be mocked or made into science fiction. Christians also need to respond with gentleness if a friend or family member starts talking about these issues because that’s what Jesus would do, and we are ultimately called to live and act like Christ.

Even Christians are engaging in these unbiblical practices and beliefs. The problem is that the link is so tightly bound that the occult cannot be pulled out of these practices and beliefs, and we must be careful with what we engage in. As the late founding editor-in-chief of the Christian Research Journal Elliot Miller writes, “Christians have every reason to be cautious concerning phenomena that has had a long and strong connection to the realm of occultism and paganism.”27

The apostle John writes, “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:19–21 ESV). Many Christians who do yoga, dabble in feng shui, and embrace Chinese medicine and other practices rooted in Eastern religion are, in fact, engaging in occult practices. As Miller writes in Part One of his three-part series on yoga, “The historic purpose behind yoga…is to achieve union with the Hindu concept of God. This is the purpose behind virtually all of the Eastern varieties of yoga, including those we encounter in the West. This does not mean it is the purpose of every practitioner of yoga, for many people clearly are not practicing it for spiritual reasons but merely to enhance their physical appearance, ability, or health….[Yet] when someone participates in a practice that was developed with a specific purpose in mind by someone else, it is possible and even probable that on subtle levels the participant who does not have the original purpose in mind nonetheless will be moved along in the direction of fulfilling that purpose.”28

Spiritual discernment is mandatory for Christians living in today’s culture — we must be able to test the spirits. Indeed, 1 John 4:1 says, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (NIV). We cannot determine what is false if we do not know what is true. We must not be cast about in the winds of false spirituality but instead, stand firm in God’s Word. Read the Bible to spot the false ideas propagated by even those who may call themselves Christ followers. And do not forget to arm yourself with the armor of God — you do not need to fight spiritual battles alone. Call upon your paraclete, the Holy Spirit, so that He may guide you through the torrential waters of darkness disguised as light.

Lindsey Medenwaldt is the Director of Operations of Mama Bear Apologetics and a consulting editor for the Christian Research Journal. She is the author of Bridge-Building Apologetics (Harvest House, 2024).


  1. Russell Chandler, Understanding the New Age (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1988), 21.
  2. For an in-depth look at energetic healing, see Elliot Miller, “The Christian, Energetic Healing, and New Age Paranoia,” Christian Research Journal 14, no. 3 (Winter 1992), available at https://www.equip.org/articles/the-christian-energetic-medicine-new-age-paranoia/.
  3. Eliza Swann, Auras: The Anatomy of the Aura (New York: St. Martin’s Essentials, 2020), 8.
  4. Swann, Auras, 7.
  5. Theosophy was a new religious movement grounded in occultism, Neoplatonism, and religions like Hinduism and Buddhism.
  6. C. W. Leadbeater, “The Aura,” The Theosophist, December 1895, https://www.cwlworld.info/The_Aura.pdf.
  7. For more about Cayce, see Lindsey Medenwaldt, “Edgar Cayce: The Would-Be Sleeping Prophet,” Christian Research Journal, updated October 25, 2023, https://www.equip.org/articles/edgar-cayce-the-would-be-sleeping-prophet/.
  8. Swann, Auras, 36.
  9. This list was derived from Swann, Auras, chapter 5.
  10. Swann, Auras, 72–73.
  11. Teal Swan, “How to See Auras — Teal Swan,” Teal Swan, video, YouTube, November 1, 2014, 26:53, https://youtu.be/2GUhqQAE4UQ?si=1wX4p_blLpG7SZ4u.
  12. A 2018 Pew Research poll showed that 37 percent of American Christian respondents said they believe that spiritual energy can be found in physical things. Claire Gecewicz, “‘New Age’ Beliefs Common among Both Religious and Nonreligious Americans,” Pew Research Center, October 1, 2018, https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2018/10/01/new-age-beliefs-common-among-both-religious-and-nonreligious-americans/.
  13. Cyndi Dale, “Introduction” in Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Chakras: Your Definitive Source of Energy Center Knowledge for Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Evolution (Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Worldwide, 2015), xlv.
  14. Sara Novak, “The Science behind Your Chakras: What Are Chakras and How Many Are There?,” Discover, updated March 25, 2024, https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/the-science-behind-your-chakras.
  15. Orientalism is the study of the East by Westerners. For example, Woodroffe was British and studied Hindu philosophy and yoga. He wrote extensively about the esoteric Hindu scriptures, Tantras.
  16. This list was derived from Swann, Auras, chapter 4.
  17. Mari Silva, Qigong: An Essential Beginner’s Guide to Developing Your Chi and Cultivating Healing Energy (Independently Published, 2021), 1.
  18. For more about Falun Gong, see Lindsey Medenwaldt, “Falun Gong: How the West Was Won,” Christian Research Journal 44, no. 02 (2020), updated June 27, 2023, https://www.equip.org/articles/falun-gong-how-the-west-was-won/.
  19. Silva, Qigong, 9.
  20. Cyndi Dale, “The Sacredness of Scripture,” Essential Energy Blog, accessed April 19, 2024, https://cyndidale.com/the-sacredness-of-scripture/.
  21. Cyndi Dale, “Magic in the Chakras,” Essential Energy Blog, accessed April 19, 2924, https://cyndidale.com/magic-in-the-chakras/.
  22. Marcia Fleischman, “Jesus the Energy Healer,” Integral Christian Network, June 23, 2023, https://www.integralchristiannetwork.org/writings/2023/6/23/jesus-the-energy-healer.
  23. Beth Hovis, “It’s Not New, It’s True,” Trinity School of Natural Health, March 16, 2020, https://www.trinityschool.org/blog/index.php?pid=24?p=.
  24. Kelly McClennan, “Christianity, Chakras, and Separating the Baby from the Bathwater,” Christians Practicing Yoga, October 5, 2020, https://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/christianity-and-yoga-blog/2020105christianity-chakras-and-separating-the-baby-from-the-bathwater.
  25.  See, for example, Loftur R. Gissurarson and Asgeir Gunnarsson, “An Experiment with the Alleged Human Aura,” The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 91 (January 1997), https://www.researchgate.net/profile/A-Gunnarsson/publication/235634817_An_Experiment_with_the_alleged_human_aura/links/0912f5121f2872f94e000000/An-Experiment-with-the-alleged-human-aura.pdf.
  26. Yes, Friends is still wildly popular despite its official end in 2004 as it lives on in syndication.
  27. Elliot Miller, “The Christian, Energetic Healing, and ‘New Age Paranoia,’” Christian Research Journal 14, no. 03 (1992), available at https://www.equip.org/articles/the-christian-energetic-medicine-new-age-paranoia/.
  28. Elliot Miller, “The Yoga Boom: A Call for Christian Discernment — Part 1,” Christian Research Journal 31, no. 02 (2008), available at https://www.equip.org/articles/the-yoga-boom-a-call-for-christian-discernment-part-1. See also Elliot Miller, “The Yoga Boom: A Call for Christian Discernment — Part 2,” Christian Research Journal 31, no. 03 (2008), available at https://www.equip.org/articles/the-yoga-boom-a-call-for-christian-discernment-part-2/; Elliot Miller, “The Yoga Boom: A Call for Christian Discernment — Part 3,” Christian Research Journal 31, no. 4 (2008), available at https://www.equip.org/articles/the-yoga-boom-a-call-for-christian-discernment-part-3/.
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