The Sanskrit word Chakra means a wheel, and in yoga this refers to the wheels of energy which flow through the body.
From the base of the spine all the way upwards to the crown of the head, there are seven chakras which align the spine.
To keep the energy flowing through them, it is important to know where they are, what they do and how to keep the energy flowing. Learning about the chakras helps us to understand our bodies.
It is by knowing them that we learn that there is more to us than just a physical form.
The seven chakras connect the spiritual body to the physical body.
When we know the workings of the chakras, we become finely attuned to the inner parts of our beings and souls. This is when we realise that we are one with the universe, we are on a spiritual journey of awakening to our true selves.
What is Chakra
Chakra is a collection of energy points located in various parts of the body.
Chakras are therefore the energy centres in the body which help to regulate our systems. The immune system, as well as our organ functions and emotions falls into this field.
There are seven accepted chakras which are positioned throughout our bodies, starting from the first one at the base of the spine, and working upwards through the body until the final chakra at the crown of the head.
Each chakra has its own different colour, and each one is in charge of a different function.
It is believed that there are many chakras but there are seven major ones which are considered the most important.
In Sanskrit, the word Chakra means ‘wheel’.
A simple beginners program, for people who have never done any meditation before, will lead to an understanding of how the chakras act on the body.
Meditation is designed to put you ‘in touch’ with the energy centres of your body.
If the various chakras in the body are not balanced and are either over active, or under active, inner peace cannot be achieved.
The chakras are divided into groups with the first three chakras being thought of as the ‘Chakras of matter’.
The first three start at the base of the spine and go upward. They are the physical chakras.
The fourth chakra is the connection between the first three and the last three. It unites the lower and upper chakras. This chakra serves as a bridge between the physical and the spiritual.
If we can fully open the physical chakras, we will find it easier to open the spiritual ones.
The fifth, sixth and seventh chakras are known as the chakras of spirit.
Knowing that your chakras are out of balance is the key to aligning them again. Our bodies move constantly between balance and imbalance and sometimes imbalances are hard to detect.
If we start to read signs that our body sends out, we will soon learn which chakra is out of balance.
A sore throat that does not get better may be a blockage of the fifth chakra, while frequent headaches may indicate that the sixth chakra is not fully open.
For us to restore balance to our chakras, we must first become ‘tuned in’ to what our bodies are saying to us.
This chakra is also known as Base Chakra because of the location, which is at the base of the spine.
The first chakra works with our foundation and gives us a feeling of being grounded.
This is the first of the important seven chakras, which are used to create a solid foundationfor all the other chakras to be built on.
Every single person has chakras in the body, which, when balanced allow us a deeper understanding of the connection between us and things around us.
The first Chakra is called the Root chakra and is located at the base of the spine right down at the tailbone. This chakra regulates the survival needs and plays a part in our ‘fight or flight’ mechanism.
The colour associated with this chakra is red. Focusing on red things, wearing red, using red gemstones will all assist in opening this chakra.
The root chakra is the most physical chakra and thus any form of exercise will strengthen it. Whether physical, emotional, or financial, this chakra is closely connected to security.
Feelings such as safety, stability and bravery are associated with this. When we say that we are well grounded, it means that this chakra is clear and energy is flowing strongly. This is when we feel confident and fulfilled.
If a person has an imbalance with this chakra, they may feel that everything is a potential risk, and that the world is not a safe place. The basic desire for security can influence such factors as health, shelter and job security.
Feelings associated with blocked root chakra are anxiety, worry and often depression. Signs that the chakra is blocked will also include lower back pain, fatigue, and cold feet and hands. As the name implies, this is the root of your being, and it is with the opening of this chakra that you make the deepest connections with your body, the earth, and the environment.
This chakra – also called Muladhara – is the one most related to instinct and survival. This is the primal and animal nature chakra. Here you will find your survival centre.
This is the chakra we turn to when we need to harness courage. It does this by connecting us to the spirits of our ancestors and their challenges and triumphs. This is the chakra that comes to the fore when we need resourcefulness during hard times.
Because this chakra is so perfectly connected to ancestry, most people will have blockages and challenges with this. Events which pose a threat to our survival such as natural disasters are all recorded within this primary root chakra.
Because the Root chakra is the first and most primary of all the chakras, it is important that we start here in the process of opening the chakra before we progress to the other levels. If we do not start with this chakra, we lack the stability and grounding to progress successfully. This beginning is the key for transformation and personal growth.
We also find that because all the chakras are so intimately connected to each other, balancing one chakra will go on to create change in others.
It is important that we feel safe and secure because if we do not, we will not be able to grow and change as we aspire to.
You will know if this chakra is blocked because you will have feelings such as restlessness and anxiety. You will feel fearful if it is blocked.
Because this chakra is connected to safety and courage, fear is a very big blockage. People who are disorganised may also be blocked with energy not flowing to the root chakra.
The opposite of this is also true in that people who have overstimulated root chakras often feel sluggish and are lazy. They may have a tendency to be greedy, and hoard things. They will be inherently afraid of change.
To open this chakra is one of the easiest things to do. Becoming more physically active is a perfect place to start. Run, swim, play tennis or any other activity that you enjoy. Giving and receiving a massage is another good way to unblock this chakra.
Gardening, cooking healthy meals, hiking and any pursuits where nature is involved will be beneficial. By surrounding ourselves with earth coloured objects and natural things we will bring the chakra into balance.
The colour red plays a significant role in this chakra so having red things around you will help to open up the chakra. Wear red clothing, choose red gem stones, focus on red things around you and this will help to trigger the flow of energy.
Rubies, garnets, and bloodstones are all associated with Root Chakra. Essential red oils such as sandalwood will place the focus on the colour which is associated with Root Chakra.
This chakra is also known as Spleen Chakra because of the location which is in the lower abdomen just below the navel. It is known as the sacral or svadhisthana chakra, and plays a part in our feelings.
The Sacral Chakra, or the second chakra, sits below the naval, and allows us to embrace our right to feel and experience true pleasure and emotions.
The colour which is associated with this chakra is orange and the element is water.
Svadhisthana means ‘one’s own centre’ and this chakra is associated with relationships and creativity. Pleasure and emotions are attributes which are affected by this chakra.
While the Root Chakra focuses on survival, the sacral chakra represents the way we feel about passion and pleasure. The ability to be social, sexuality and well-being all form a part of this chakra.
This chakra allows us to enhance the ability to accept others and understand new experiences.
This chakra is the focal point and the centre of feeling and emotion, pleasure, and intimacy. It is this chakra that helps us to move in and change our circumstances.
Possibly the biggest challenge to this chakra comes from society itself. We are taught that passion is frowned upon and to keep our emotions in check at all times.
Sexuality in society is glorified on one hand and despised on the other. The results are that the chakra becomes blocked.
This chakra is the well of all feelings of enjoyment. Simple things like walking barefoot on a beach and being aware of the sand between your toes is a direct attribution of this chakra.
You will also find that the sacral chakra is the centre of your creativity. Everything you create – whether it be a drawing of something or a child which has been conceived – has originated from this chakra.
The element of this chakra is water, which connects the emotions and the impulses.
People with open sacral chakras are sensual, creative, and passionate, as well as being connected to their inner feelings and emotions.
When there is an imbalance in this chakra, it is manifested by depression, allergies, sexual and urinary problems, alcohol and drug abuse. Yeast infections are also manifested by a blocked sacral chakra.
When the sacral chakra is opened, the person lives their lives to the full and is very passionate. They are then able to express themselves with confidence, and have the ability to experience pleasure.
A balanced chakra sharpens the senses and helps with sexual confidence. Overall self-confidence is displayed and we are then able to express ourselves freely.
The sacral chakra can be opened and balanced by eating or wearing anything which is orange coloured. Exposing yourself to this colour will help you to visualise the energy which comes from this chakra.
Exciting or emotional movies will also help to open this chakra. Orange food and drink, along with red essential oils is beneficial.
Wearing orange gemstones such as topaz, citrine, and carnelian will help to open this chakra. Massage is also beneficial.
Solar Plexus Chakra
The element of the third chakra is fire and this is symbolic of change and transformation. Just as a fire has the power to change a solid into a liquid and then into a gas, so the inner fire in each of us transform our lives and in fact, our very world.
The colour associated with this chakra is yellow, and it is located in the stomach area of the upper abdomen.
This chakra is the key to our personalities, our identity, and our ego. This is the chakra which comes into play when we feel a ‘gut feeling’. Every gut instinct that you feel is a result of this chakra. The third chakra is responsible for all our personal power, our self-confidence and self-control. It is also responsible for our intellect and sense of humour.
The solar plexus chakra is the centre of our will power and self-esteem. It is here that we come to value the perception of who we really are.
The Manipura chakra is our source of personal power. The energy of this chakra allows us to transform idleness into action. It helps us to move forward in life and meet challenges head-on.
Responsibility, reliability, and self-confidence are all attributes of this chakra, along with warmth of personality and will power.
Because of the energy in this chakra, one of the challenges is to use our personal attributes in a balanced manner. It means being proactive instead of inactive. The energy of this chakra must be constantly harnessed, in order to keep a balanced life.
People who have excessive energy often have emotional reactions to circumstances in life. Often they are stressed out. Physical imbalances of people who have an imbalance with this chakra are diabetes, constipation, digestive problems, and memory loss.
People who have this chakra blocked are often seen as passive and inactive, simply allowing life to pass them by. They will often stand by and watch while others benefit from good things.
People with a good balance in this chakra will move forward in life with confidence and self-assuredness. They will be able to make conscious choices about things which happen to them.
The message that should be learned from this chakra is that we all have the power to choose. We should accept the fact that we have the power to choose. We should stop judging ourselves because every time we do this we weaken our will power and deplete the chakra. Self-criticism is a negative aspect which does no good to us.
The main building block of this chakra is the acknowledgement of our own worth. Self-acceptance and self-love are other building blocks.
This openness of the Manipura chakra is often seen in women who are confident in their own abilities. They love and accept themselves, and may be willing to express the freedom that she chooses in the direction of her life.
This chakra brings out the daring nature of people. People who are outgoing, good leaders and charismatic have open Manipura chakras.
Balancing this chakra is enhanced by learning, and doing puzzles. Detoxing is a good way to open the energy channel.
Because yellow is the colour of this chakra, yellow food and drink play an important part in the balance of this chakra.
Essential yellow oils such as lemon, chamomile, rosemary, and bergamot work very well, and yellow clothing will balance things out.
Yellow gemstones such as tiger’s eye, tourmaline and yellow topaz will help in opening this chakra. Wearing gold jewellery is also beneficial and even going out into the sunshine is a help.
Being physically active will help here, as will taking risks every now and then! Any sort of physical exertion is beneficial.
This chakra is a place of ego and passion where our gut instincts are found.
The colour associated with this chakra is green and it is situated in the centre of the chest, just above the heart.
This is the well from which springs love, warmth, and compassion. This is the fount where your inner joy comes from.
Because this is the fourth chakra, it is thought of as the bridging chakra between the physical and the spiritual sides.
This chakra – Anahata – is the centre of all your bondings with other human beings, the sense of caring and compassion that you feel, and all your feelings of generosity, kindness and respect.
Most spiritual practises accept that love is a healing force, and Anahata brings this to completion. It is the healing centre of your body.
Anahata has an energy which teaches us to recognise the fundamental truths which runs through life and connects every single thing. This energy allows us to see that we are a part of something larger than we are, and that there is a very intricate web running through life and indeed, the universe.
This chakra is associated with our ability to love, and the joy and inner peace which we find in ourselves. To have this chakra open means that you will live your life in a kind and loving way towards others. You will have an open heart and try to inspire others with kindness and compassion.
Any environment you create will feel safe and secure. People who feel this love and warmth accept that they are loved unconditionally and accepted for who they are.
People who have this chakra open will not judge others, and therefore they will feel at peace when in this circle.
Love, compassion and forgiveness are all attributes of this chakra.
When this chakra flows freely and is not blocked or restricted, you will not only feel loving towards others, but also be at peace with yourself. People who have this chakra flowing freely within them know when to say ‘no’, and also when they need care and nurturing.
While all the chakras are important in aspects of our lives, it is recognised by spiritual traditions that love is the most fundamental forces in the universe.
Once this chakra is opened we can connect with the true essence of our spirit and soul.
Imbalances of this chakra will lead to breast cancer and high blood pressure. Muscle tension, breathing issues, and also heart problems, all stem from the imbalance in this chakra.
Hypertension, breathing problems, bronchitis, and lung infections are part of the manifestation of the imbalances. Being withdrawn and the avoidance of social activities are also signs that the chakra is not balanced.
To create a balance where the chakra is opened to perfection means spending time with family and loved ones. Focus on green food and drink, and wear green clothing.
Essential green oils such as eucalyptus and pine bring things into balance, and green gems play an important part in the opening of the chakra. Rose, geranium and jasmine are also beneficial with the healing process.
To awaken the Anahata chakra, you may want to sit in your normal comfortable meditation position. Begin to visualise a bright green chakra spinning slowly in front of your chest.
Imagine the radiation from the green circle filling your whole chest and melting all the negativity away. Let yourself feel waves of love and compassion filling up your body. 30 minutes is a good amount of time to do this meditation.
Anahata is located at the heart centre in the middle of the chakras and is the source of love and connection.
A simple technique for releasing sadness is a heart chakra meditation which will help to bring compassion into your life.
The Throat Chakra is the first of the spiritual chakras on the ladder. The Heart Chakra is the dividing line between the lower three and the upper three chakras.
The colour blue is associated with this chakra and the location is the throat, in the area of the neck and shoulders.
This chakra enables you to express your own truth, in your own authentic voice. It allows you to accept your own originality.
The throat chakra enables you to seek and find knowledge that is beyond cultural conditioning. You will seek knowledge that is true.
You will feel more enabled in communication and relationships. This chakra builds trust and loyalty.
Because this chakra allows you to seek a wider knowledge, the main challenge to it is that of doubt and negative thoughts. However, when the knowledge you have gained is true, the doubt will be removed.
Inspired creativity and seeking and sharing the truth are the way of the Throat Chakra.
This chakra allows us to govern the ability to communicate with the world.
People who have this chakra opened up will stand up for what they believe, say no when they need to and be open and honest in their dealings with others.
There is a direct link in this chakra to your personal sense of honour.
Not only does this chakra allow you to speak and express what you stand for, but it allows you to listen to others. People who have this chakra open are good listeners. They pay attention to the person who is talking to them and become part of the discussion.
People who do not have this chakra opened and balanced will experience hormonal issues, menopause, mood swings and thyroid problems.
Imbalances are also displayed by gossip and non-stop talking. Verbal aggression is also shown when the chakra is not balanced.
Positive affirmations work to open this chakra. Singing is a very good place to start!
The colour assigned to this chakra is blue, so blue clothing, food and drink are beneficial.
Allow yourself thoughts about beautiful blue colours. Inhale when you visualise this and when you exhale, imagine that you are releasing all your tension and stress.
Blue gemstones and blue essential oils such as chamomile all re-enforce this chakra.
When you are forced to speak up in public this chakra enables you to express your thoughts clearly and effectively.
Blockage of the throat chakra often manifest themselves as sinus infections and sore throats.
Third Eye Chakra
This chakra is also known as Brow Chakra because of the location, which is right between the eyes, on the forehead. It is situated in the brain.
The colour which is associated with this chakra is indigo.
This chakra emits energy which allows us to see both inner and outer worlds.
The gifts of the chakra are spiritual contemplation and self-reflection.
The energy of Ajna allows us to see beyond the mind, to access the inner guidance which comes from deep inside our beings. We are able to cut through illusions and find the deeper truths.
To observe things and events from a ‘witness’ point of view is the way of the third eye. It allows us to be mindful every single moment.
The gift of the third eye allows us to examine ideas which limit us, and to develop a wisdom that only comes from perspective.
The third eye allows us to help others to see the deeper meanings of events that take place in their lives.
This chakra is where our sense of justice and ethics stem from. Not only do you see what is happening, but you also understand what it means.
When the sixth chakra is open to perfection, both sides of the brain function together in harmony and synchrony. The right side creativity and the left side analytical become truly integrated and balanced.
Not only is the sixth chakra the seat of wisdom, but also the seat of conscience. It is here that the sense of justice stems from.
When the third eye is open, we see, and we also understand.
We automatically attain a meditative state when we focus on the third eye.
This chakra is associated with the ability to make decisions, our basic intuition, and our imagination. This is also where psychic abilities come from.
When unbalanced, this chakra shows itself as an imbalance, sleeping disorders, and learning disabilities. Fatigue and the inability to listen to other people are signs that this chakra is not open.
Poor vision and memory, and trouble remembering dreams are due to the chakra not being open.
Other signs that this chakra is not balanced include the feeling of being stuck in the same daily grind, rejection of everything spiritual and a lack of clarity.
People who have this chakra blocked feel non-assertive and afraid of success. They become egotistical.
The converse when the chakra is open to far is that the excess energy may cause hallucinations, nightmares, delusions, and headaches.
Finding it difficult to concentrate, and becoming obsessed with things is another sign of excessive energy.
To heal the third eye, we should watch the stars and meditate. Visual arts like colouring and drawing will help to balance things.
Wearing deep purple clothing and eating and drinking purple foodstuffs will also assist.
Indigo essential oils such as patchouli, and gemstones such as amethyst, azurite and tanzanite will help to restore balance to this chakra.
When we use the energy of the sixth sense, we open the senses to the higher worlds and energies.
This chakra is the centre and refers to the ability to see or perceive subtle energy changes.
The Crown chakra is right at the top of the chakra ladder. It is the seventh and highest chakra. The ladder starts with the Root chakra and ends with the Crown chakra. The first three chakras ground us, while the top three connect us to the universe and the source of all creation.
This chakra is associated with the colour violet and it is located at the very top of the head.
The gift of Sahasrara is that we experience unity and the realisation that everything is connected in one way or another.
The energy of the seventh chakra allows us to connect in knowingness and spirituality to God. It is then that we are able to experience a oneness with everything in nature.
At this level, there is serenity and joy, along with a deep peace about life.
Trust, devotion and happiness are found in this centre in the crown chakra.
There is a sense that there is a deeper meaning to life, and that there is order among chaos.
This is a level of connection and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Akasha’ or ‘field’.
This chakra transcends the limits that we place on ourselves. Ego fades away and the knowledge that all of creation is connected at a basic level is instilled in our minds.
The seventh chakra both gives and receives energy. Energy received is to sustain life and energy given is personal energy to unite with creation.
This chakra is regarded as the middle ground between the finite and the infinite where the finite is the body and ego, and the infinite is the universe and soul.
It is believed that in this chakra death and eternal life begin. Time and timelessness combine. The chakra embraces gratitude for our life.
When we begin to understand that everything is interconnected and that we are all a part of something larger than our own worlds, we then accept and live with gratitude, faith, and trust.
A life filled with fear and anxiety are no longer a part of our being.
A person who has this chakra open and balanced will be guided by the higher power and feel a divine presence from inside and outside.
With the energy that comes from this chakra, we also find that there is a challenge. The challenge with this chakra is to free the spirit, while staying firmly grounded.
People who have imbalances in this chakra will feel headaches and mental illness. Lack of co-ordination, rashes and senility are other signs that there is an imbalance.
An open and balanced chakra will give us a sense of spiritual connection and we will be more open minded. Wisdom also comes with an open chakra.
When this chakra is open in people, they are more able to analyse information and use it accordingly.
When this chakra is not balances, we will feel a cynicism towards anything sacred, being disconnected and close-minded. The converse when the chakra is too far open is that there is a disconnection to the body.
There is a realisation when the chakra is open, that we are all a part of the universe and all dependant on each other. Working together is to our advantage.
To heal and open the chakra we should focus on dreams, writing them down. Inventions should also be made note of. Establish the connection between the physical, emotional, and spiritual by retreating to an area of silence.
Allow yourself to connect through meditation and colours. Use the colours white and violet to achieve this.
Clothes of these colours will help balance the chakra, as will violet food and drink. Violet gemstones, diamonds and clear quartz are beneficial, as is violet essential oil such as lavender.
While this chakra does not benefit from healing foods, it does work well withfresh air and sunshine to bring out the advantages of it.
Sahasrara is regarded as the gateway to the universe and having it in balance leads us to absolute freedom and the ladder of immortality.
The literal translation of chakra means wheel of spinning energy within our bodies.
Although there are many minor chakras in our bodies, there are only seven major ones which take us from being firmly rooted to attaining spiritual knowledge.
Life is a spiritual journey and each one of us has a path to follow. There is no right and wrong path, every path belongs to the individual and only that person knows what is true.
Everything we do is either part of the healing process or the blocking of energy. We must learn to trust the process.
Each healing process we undertake brings us a step closer to learning our true nature.
Keeping each chakra open may sometimes seem to be a challenge but the more self-aware we become, and when we realise that the body, soul, and spirit are all connected, the sooner we become able to balance the energy flow and bring our lives back into balance.