What are the Chakras?
What are the Chakras?
What are they? Where are they? And what do they do? Lots of questions surround the chakras when we first hear about them.
Maybe you’ve heard the word used in a yoga or meditation class or during a holistic treatment, but still aren’t entirely sure what they’re all about.
Chakra, is a word used a lot in yoga and meditation, in the ancient Eastern language of Sanskrit it translates as “wheel or disc” and is used to describe the main energetic centres of life force or prana/chi in our subtle body. This information dates back to around 500 – 1200 B.C.E. and is well mentioned in the sacred texts of the Upanishads and other esoteric texts, but before this, it would have been taught verbally and passed down from master to student.
The 7 Main centres
There are many chakras located in and around the body, 114 in fact, but often the seven major ones which align along the spine are the ones most yogis and healers will focus on. These 7 energetic centres which progress from the base of your spine to the crown of your head are closely linked with the endocrine system and hormonal glands throughout the physical body.
The chakras themselves are not physical in the literal sense, but can be perceived through areas of the body such as the head, throat, chest, heart and abdomen. Many of us I’m sure can remember times when we’ve experienced a “gut feeling”, “butterflies in our tummy”, or a “frog in our throat”, all examples of sensing the subtle body energy and the changing energy in the chakras.
The Universe is made of energy, so too are we human beings made of that same universal energy. There is a whole energy system within our bodies, made up of the chakras and nadis. The nadis are meridians or channels along which our chi or prana flows. The ancients say there are actually over 72,000 nadis that transport vital energy throughout our bodies and through the chakras acting like a transport network.
How we perceive our Chakras
Sometimes chakras may become excessive or deficient in energy. I like to think of chakras and nadis like a flowing stream. The chakras are certain locations along the stream and when balanced the water flows into and out of the chakra centres with no problem or hindrance. However when chakras get deficient in energy, I like to visualize it like the river having some huge boulders in the stream and water struggles to pass. The flow is disrupted and only some water can pass through the area or chakra, it is depleted.
On the flip side chakras can become excessive with energy and so I try to visualize the stream shape a lot wider and deeper, holding too much water and so out of balance.
Another idea is to think of your chakras like small batteries, we can over charge them and they can also run down and be depleted.
Stresses and strains of life, environmental issues, our negative thoughts and feelings are all ways in which imbalance can occur in the chakras, which can then filter through our energetic bodies to the physical body leading to illnesses and disease.
The universal energy around us is needed to restore balance to our “human universal battery” and yoga is one of the many amazing ways to do this.
How the chakras can help us navigate life.
When we start to understand our chakras and have an inner awareness of their balance and imbalance we can begin to interpret their messages. Through quiet practice we can discern our feelings and emotions as a guide as to where we may need to balance our chakras and our lives. This practice of understanding and sensing our energies comes with so many benefits and will help guide decisions you make in life.
Your energies can tune in and pick up on the energies of other people too. There are times when we have an instinct or intuition to call on or help another. If we are listening to our internal guidance it will draw us to certain people and help us avoid others. For instance following your “gut feeling” to not get on this bus, but to wait for the next may result in a significant and desirable outcome.
So this post introduces you to the 7 main chakras, how keeping them balanced enhances your whole life, mind, body and spirit.
An overview of the seven chakras:
The Root chakra: Muladhara
The Root Chakra, is also known as Muladhara. It is linked with our fundamental sense of security, safety and being grounded. Located at the base of the spine it is the first chakra to develop after birth.
It’s associated with our core needs, so survival (fight or flight), food, shelter and financial matters. It resonates with the colour red and the earth element.
It is associated with your lower extremities and organs; in particular the feet, legs, bones, large intestine and adrenal glands. When you feel the fight or flight response, this originates in your root chakra. Imbalances may display as fear, disconnection from the physical world and other people, procrastination, anger, or defensiveness.
The Sacral chakra: Svadhisthana
The Sacral Chakra, is also known as Swadhisthana, (Sacred home of the Self). This chakra governs the energy of pleasure, creativity, emotions and flexibility.
Located in the abdomen it is the second chakra to develop around 6 months – 2 years. It’s associated with the body’s fluids, letting go of worry, guilt and enjoying the flow of life.
This chakra, seen as orange, is positioned just below the navel. It is associated with joy, pleasure, emotion, creativity, sexuality and procreation. Linked with the element of water, it resonates with our ability to go with the flow of life.
The areas of the body ruled by this chakra are your abdomen, kidneys and bladder, as well as your reproductive system.
When blocked, you can experience emotional difficulties, there’s no joy, life feels resistant, shame and guilt, fear of change and uninspired. Physically linked with lower back issues, pelvis pain, reproductive problems, sexuality issues.
The Solar Plexus chakra: Manipura
The Solar Plexus Chakra, is also known as Manipura, “City of Jewels”, (Mani means “jewel” and pura means place). This chakra governs will power, self esteem, change, personal growth.
Located above the navel the third chakra develops around 18 months – 3.5 years. It’s associated with your sense of self, action and transformation. When in balance you feel alive, powerful, confident and in control.
The solar plexus chakra is yellow, and physically it affects your muscles, pancreas and digestive system, imbalances can be digestive issues, liver or mid spine issues, diabetes or gastric ulcers. Linked with your ego and self worth, imbalances can show as the need to control, angry, frustrated, bossy, no self respect, easily manipulated, a victim and self hatred.
The Heart chakra: Anahata
The Heart Chakra, is also known as Anahata, meaning “unstruck note”. This chakra governs unconditional love and acceptance of yourself and others.
Located in the chest, the fourth chakra develops around 3.5 – 7 years. It links the physical & spiritual realms, associated with circulation, passion and devotion.
This green (and sometimes seen as pink) chakra, positioned in the heart, and relates to all things associated with the heart, so peace, harmony, compassion, forgiveness and unconditional love.
Being the central point between the upper and lower chakras, it is the links between the physical and spiritual centres. When you get that warm fuzzy loving feeling of being ‘in love’ your heart chakra is balanced and glowing
The heart chakra is associated with the heart and lungs, arms and hands, and the thymus gland. When it’s out of balance, you could have problems with these parts of the body such as, heart disease/attack, asthma, lung issues, high blood pressure, chest or shoulder pain. Emotionally holding grudges, can’t forgive, fear commitment, toxic relationships or trust issues.
The Throat chakra: Vishuddhi
The Throat Chakra, is also known as Vishuddha, meaning “the pure place”, the bridge between heart and mind. This chakra governs your sense of truth, decision with choice of words.
Located in the throat the fifth chakra develops around 7 -12 years. Linked with harmonising our subtle vibrations within in order to harmonise outwardly with others. The throat chakra is associated with expression, communication and truth,
A clear and balanced throat chakra in people will demonstrate good communication, be articulate, diplomatic and tactful. It’s also linked for self-expression and judgment. This chakra is usually seen as light blue or turquoise and is positioned in the throat area. Physically it relates to the neck, shoulders and thyroid gland.
When blocked, you may feel unable to express yourself or speak out, be misunderstood. Sometimes gossipy, opinionated and dishonesty are also symptoms of an imbalanced throat chakra.
The Third Eye/Brow chakra: Ajna
The Brow (Third eye) Chakra, is also known as Ajna, “to perceive”, the command centre managing the conscious and unconscious mind including the 5 senses .
Located at the brow the sixth chakra develops around 12 years and over. Linked with perception of subtle energies, psychic abilities, where left ‘Pingala’ and right ‘Ida’ nadis end.
The Third Eye chakra is responsible for your intuition, inner vision, wisdom, and imagination. Located between your eyebrows, it is associated with the pineal gland in your brain, which was labeled the ‘seat of the soul’ by French philosopher René Descartes.
This chakra is responsible for enlightenment; when functioning optimally, it helps clear thoughts, visions, and seeing beyond the physical.
The third eye chakra is represented by the color indigo. Your deeper perceptions and inner wisdom originate here. When blocked, you may have nightmares, delusions, hallucinations, be obsessive. Depression, poor judgement and austerity may be other symptoms.
The Crown chakra: Sahasrara
The Crown Chakra, is also known as Sahasrara, and “thousand-petalled lotus”, Transcending the mind connecting our individual consciousness to infinite consciousness.
Located above the head the seventh chakra develops in early adulthood onwards, it’s the gateway to the divine and to route to Samadhi, (the union of the lower self with the higher self).
The crown is depicted in violet or white, the crown chakra, Sahasrara, relates to our connection to our source or the divine, information, understanding and acceptance. it is responsible for faith, universal love, and ecstatic states.
When the crown chakra is balanced, you will experience peaceful states and bliss. On a physical level, this chakra is associated with the central nervous system, the pituitary gland and anything related to the head.
When blocked, your problems are likely to be depression, learning difficulties, weak faith and ungrounded; on a physical level you might experience neurological disorders, nerve pain, insomnia, headaches or migraines and brain fog.
Understanding your chakras more
The chakra energy system is a wonderful way of understanding your life in more depth and navigating smoothly though it. When you can identify by your feelings, whether they are physical, mental or emotional, what feels balanced and imbalanced, you are at a fantastic advantage to lead a happy fulfilling life.
There are many ways to balance the chakras and keep them balanced. Yoga, meditation, healthy eating and exercise are some ways of clearing blockages and staying balanced.
If you are interested in the chakra system and want to learn more, please sign up and I can send you my FREE ebook “Practices to balance the Chakras”, I also run Live Zoom yoga classes where we always focus on chakra balance.
Love & Light