You may have probably heard about chakras and how they can help in emotional as well as physical healing. Meditation, yoga, reiki – chakra is mentioned in many contexts.
The concept of chakra may not be easy to comprehend for many people. If you are finding it hard to understand chakras, their benefits, and their uses, you have come to the right place. This beginner’s guide takes you through the basics of chakras and ways to use them for healing and your overall well-being.
What are chakras?
Derived from Sanskrit, chakra means wheel or circle. The concept of chakra has its origins in Hinduism and Buddhism. Chakras are energy centers located along the spinal cord from the crown of the head to the base of the spine.
Each chakra lies around a vital organ or system, regulating its functioning as well as that of the entire body. Chakras influence every bodily function including immunity and emotional health.
Chakras are energy vortices and their proper balance and performance are vital for the unhindered energy flow within the body. They can get clogged or blocked due to various reasons. Such as stress, poor diet, or sickness. When they become blocked or out of sync, the consequences can be devastating for the physical and mental well-being.
Numerous techniques such as meditation, yoga, and affirmations are adopted to clear the blockage and bring back the balance. Maintaining the chakras open, unblocked, and in alignment is vital for the body to function at an optimal level.
7 chakras, their significance, locations, and more…
Our body has seven chakras or energy centers. These energy vortices are believed to radiate Prana or invisible healing energy to keep us in good health. Each one of the seven chakras has a corresponding name, number, color, health benefits, and specific location along the spinal cord.
Here are the seven chakras in order starting from the root of the spine.
1. The Root Chakra (Muladhara)
This foundational chakra is connected to all basic bodily functions you need for survival like breathing, sleeping, and eating. It connects your physical energy with the earth. Or in other words, it is the “grounding” chakra.
When the root chakra is in good order, you will feel calm and secure and have the courage to face challenges. Your confidence level will be high and your mind will be rooted in reality.
A well-aligned root chakra is vital for the success of a new endeavor or major life goals.
The blockage of root chakra happens when your basic needs are threatened like food, home, or finances. This happens even if the threat is not real and just a perception of the mind.
- Location: Root of the spine, near the tailbone
- Color: Red
- Element: Earth
- Signs of blockage: Fear, anxiety, and panic attack. Feeling of uncertainty, inability to concentrate, and mind preoccupied with health concerns. Hypochondria or neurosis may develop in rare cases. Physical signs include low energy levels, low back pain, and frozen limbs.
- Ways to open chakra: Walking barefoot on the earth is considered the best remedy. Yogasanas like Tree Pose, Mountain, or Warrior are good for establishing a strong bond with your body’s foundation and for clearing the blockage.
2. The Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana)
This is the seat of your creativity and imagination. This chakra also controls your sexuality and ability to change and adapt to situations in life. It manages your response to your own emotions and that of others. Your sense of well-being, pleasure, abundance, and sexuality is found here.
The chakra may get blocked by feelings of dissatisfaction and stress. Difficulty in experiencing pleasure and enjoyment can also lead to blockage of the chakra. This may happen when others drag you down with negative comments and feedback, resulting in low self-esteem and self-doubt.
- Location: Lower abdomen, two inches below the navel
- Color: Orange
- Element: Water
- Signs of blockage: Lack of energy, enthusiasm, inspiration, and motivation. Feeling of boredom, fear or resisting change, and low sex drive. Physical symptoms include allergies, addictions, and urinary discomfort. Addiction need not always involve alcohol and drugs.
- Ways to open chakra: As its element is water, immersing yourself in it can restore the connection and balance. Yogasanas such as Bridge Pose and hip opening poses like Pigeon Pose and Lizard Pose can be helpful.
3. The Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
This chakra relates to the control over our senses. Your self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, purpose, and independence are managed here. When this chakra is in alignment, you can see your path ahead with clarity and would have a clear plan for reaching your goals and succeeding in life. You feel as if the sky’s the limit and anything is achievable.
Blockage happens in this chakra by disagreeable experiences, notions of failure, and low self-esteem spilled over from childhood.
- Location: Upper abdomen
- Color: Yellow
- Element: Fire
- Signs of blockage: Low confidence levels, feelings of insecurity, and multiple issues related to low self-esteem. Feelings of inadequacy or not good enough and inability to learn from past mistakes and life experiences. Physical signs include digestive disorders and troubles associated with memory.
- Ways to open chakra: Take steps to feel good about yourself. Such as letting go of negativity and gaining control of things in life that are troubling you. Yogasanas to open the chakra are abs strengthening poses like Boat or Triangle.
4. The Heart Chakra (Anahata)
As the name suggests, the heart chakra is associated with everything concerning the heart. That is emotions such as joy, love, compassion, empathy, and inner peace. It is often described as the link between the body, mind, and soul. It also acts as the bridge between the lower and upper chakras in the body.
A balanced heart chakra allows you to feel the emotions intensely and comprehend them at a deeper and more profound level.
A heart chakra may become blocked by any negative events related to the heart such as love. A difficult or abusive relationship, breakup, and associated grief can lead to blockage in this chakra.
- Location: Above the heart, center of the chest
- Color: Green
- Element: Air
- Signs of blockage: Difficulty in understanding and relating to others is an obvious sign. Impatience, uncompassionate, inability to trust, and trouble in finding mental peace. Feelings of uneasiness, disgruntlement, and pent-up anger. Physical manifestations of blockage include high blood pressure and low immunity levels.
- Ways to open chakra: Reconnecting with nature and spending time in pristine natural surroundings are highly recommended for opening the chakra. Yogasanas include chest-opening poses like Camel Pose, Wheel, Cow Face Pose, or Humble Warrior.
5. The Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)
This chakra regulates your self-expression – how you reveal your true self to the world through your actions, words, and emotions. Your honesty, directness, and ownership of your needs and actions are linked to the throat chakra.
With the chakra in perfect balance, you will feel free to speak your mind at the right moment in the right way. And, it will be well-received by others and you will be understood and accepted. To put it another way, you will know how to be straightforward without being rude or blunt.
Negative experiences in communications can cause blockage in the chakra and upset its balance. For example, a sarcastic comment, a bad row, or a failed interview.
- Location: Throat
- Color: Turquoise blue
- Element: Ether
- Signs of blockage: Inability to express yourself or say what you want to. Feeling of being unheard, disinterest in others what you want to share, and struggle to convert your thoughts into words. Physical symptoms include throat ailments, pain in the neck region, and signs of hormonal fluctuations.
- Ways to open chakra: Positive affirmations work wonders in clearing the blockages in the throat chakra. You can open up the throat chakra with yogasanas like Plow and Fish.
6. The Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)
Ajna chakra is a veritable source of energy when in balance and working at its optimal level. It is the seat of your intuitive abilities. Your alignment with the Universe and your insight and perception are connected to this chakra.
When your third eye is open and energy is flowing unhindered, your ability to read signs is at its best. Trust your intuition and aim for the sky. Success in manifesting your goals with the Law of Attraction is linked to this chakra.
This chakra can get blocked when someone casts aspersions on your character or doubts your intentions.
- Location: Middle of the forehead between the eyes
- Color: Indigo
- Element: Extra-sensory perception
- Signs of blockage: Struggle with self-belief and retaining faith in your broader purpose. Feelings of dejection and disinterest in activities. You may feel like “What is the point of doing this?”. You find it difficult to make decisions. This state of mind is often described as mental paralysis. Physical manifestations of the blocked chakra include clumsiness, sleeplessness, and difficulty in acquiring new skills and learning new things.
- Ways to open chakra: Getting direct exposure to the sun is found to be beneficial. Meditation, mindful breathing, chanting “Om”, and candle gazing are also considered useful in clearing the chakra. Yogasanas that reiterate the connection between the upper and lower body such as Forward Fold and Folded Eagle can help in removing the blockage.
7. The Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
The topmost of the chakras, the crown chakra is associated with spirituality and your connection with the Universe. It plays a vital role in the creation of a happy and fulfilled life, peace of mind, and a sense of contentment.
However, maintaining this chakra open and in perfect balance is a hard task. This is neither easy to achieve nor simple to find complete success. The process demands delicate and subtle effort.
A well-balanced crown chakra helps you feel in harmony with everything in your life and the world in general. You experience pure joy, a sense of achievement, and mental tranquility. You would feel that life is worth living and it is a gift to be cherished.
The crown chakra can become blocked by traumatic experiences that cast shadows on your self-belief and confidence. An out-of-balance chakra can trigger distrust in one’s own ability and purpose.
- Location: Crown of the head
- Color: Violet
- Element: Consciousness/thought
- Signs of blockage: Trouble in connecting spiritually, inability to see the positive side of anything, and depression. Lack of enthusiasm, excitement, and motivation. Physical signs of a clogged crown chakra include chronic headaches and lack of agility or dexterity.
- Ways to open chakra: Reconnecting your physical body with the soul is the remedy for retrieving the balance. Mindful breathing is ideal for this. Yogasanas like Half Lotus, Full Lotus, and Savasana can clear the chakra of blockages.
As detailed in the article, there are multiple ways to clear chakras of blockages. Each chakra has specific ones based on its location and the element it is associated with. However, one of the easiest and fastest methods to clear chakras is meditation. Chakra meditation can open blockages and balance your chakras.
For beginners, chakra meditation may not come easy. Our minds are wanderlusts and holding them in one place even for a short period of 5 or 10 minutes is no easy task when you are not experienced enough. One of the greatest things about meditation is that it is flexible and does not have any hard and fast rules.
Do not be too hard on yourself in the beginning. Let your mind wander when it wants to. But learn to bring it back to the present slowly yet surely. All you need is some practice to get it right.
As you clear blockages and balance your chakras, you will be filled with joy, excitement, and well-being. The rewards would be well worth the effort.