A chakra is an energetic center within the auric and physical body of every human. Chakras are also referred to as discs or wheels of energy and serve as the nonphysical highway through which cosmic energy travels, connecting this energy with the physical body. This cosmic energy is what we call Life Force or Prana. In the human energy body, there are technically 114 chakras but we will be focusing on the 7 main chakras which run alongside the spine. They start at the perineum (the space between the genitals and anus) and run up in a straight line to the top of the head. The topmost chakra is just outside of the body above the top of the head.
What Does A Chakra Do?
The word chakra is derived from the Sanskrit word for “wheel” or “disc”. These energy centers are depicted as spinning discs of light that govern our psychological experience as affected by both mental and emotional stimuli. Depending on whether a chakra is open or closed, aligned or misaligned, underactive or overactive, each spinning disc can drastically alter one’s energetic, physical, or spiritual state of being. Achieving a balance among the chakras and working to release blockages within these energetic points allows Prana to flow through easily, for a healthy, balanced, and enlightened existence. When the chakra system is in balance, we are balanced. Chakra imbalances can manifest in behavioral, emotional, spiritual, and physical illnesses and issues.
What is the History of Chakras?
Some believe chakras to be religious symbols. But the truth is they don’t belong to any particular religion. The first writings about the chakras are dated at approximately 1000 B.C., and their origins are based strongly within Hinduism and Tantric Buddhism, but the concepts of chakras and energy centers are also fundamental within the Ayurvedic concepts of prana and the Chinese practice of qi.
The 1st Chakra – Base/Root Chakra – Muladhara
The official name of this chakra, Muladhara, comes from the words Mula, which means root and Dhara, which means support. This is considered the first chakra, located at the base of the spine. Its color correspondences are red and brown. The Root Chakra resonates with groundedness, stability, and security. This is the chakra to focus on in meditation if you are feeling afraid or unsafe. If you are too stuck in your ways, unwilling to accept change or transition, your Root Chakra may be overactive. This chakra influences the male reproductive system, rectum, elimination, kidneys, adrenals, and lower spine.
Color: Red and Brown
Location: Base of the Spine/Tail Bone
Mantra: "I can't grow from an unsteady foundation."
Musical Note: C
Gemstones: Any red or red/brown colored stones (e.g. ruby, garnet, and red jasper)
Physical Body: Blood, immune system, bone marrow, the base of the spine, legs, feet
Emotional Body: Connected with our survival instincts and primal needs (food, shelter, safety)
Spiritual Body: This is the center from which we ground ourselves and connect with Mother Earth
The 2nd Chakra – Sacral Chakra – Svadhishana
The Sacral Chakra, or Svadhishana, translates to “the place of the self.” This is considered the second chakra, located in the pelvic area, between the hips. Its color correspondence is orange. The Sacral Chakra resonates with sexuality, passion, and creativity. This is the chakra to focus on if you are feeling emotionally rigid, apathetic, creatively stumped, or closed off to intimacy. And if you tend to be hypersexual or get emotionally attached easily, your Sacral Chakra may be overactive. This chakra influences the female reproductive system, kidneys, bladder, and large intestine.
Location: Lower Stomach/Pelvis
Mantra: "I always honor others but not before myself."
Musical Note: D
Gemstones: Any orange-colored stones (e.g. carnelian, orange sapphire, imperial topaz)
Essential Oils: Vetiver, black pepper, rosemary, cedarwood, angelica, clove
Physical Body: Sexual organs, lymphatic system, kidneys, pelvis, hips, bladder, prostate, large intestine, pancreas, appendix
Emotional Body: Connected with our sexual desires and creativity
Spiritual Body: This is the center from which we create and give birth to new life and new ideas
The 3rd Chakra – Solar Plexus Chakra – Manipura
The Solar Plexus, or Manipura, translates to “lustrous gem.” This chakra is where your self-confidence, identity, and personal power are born. This is considered the third chakra, located above the belly button. Its color correspondence is yellow, or gold. The Solar Plexus Chakra resonates with personal power, self-confidence, and force of will. This is the chakra to focus on if you are feeling powerless or timid. And if you tend to be domineering, bordering on aggressive behavior, your Solar Plexus Chakra may be overactive. Self-esteem issues often arise here. This chakra influences the liver, upper spine, pancreas, gallbladder, stomach, small intestine, and helps with metabolism.
Location: Belly Button
Mantra: "Self-love starts when I accept all parts of myself."
Musical Note: E
Gemstones: Any yellow colored stones (e.g. citrine, yellow sapphire, amber)
Essential Oils: Lily of the valley, lemon, helichrysum, juniper, grapefruit, neroli, tea tree
Herbs: Anise, celery, cinnamon, lily of the valley, marshmallow, mint, melissa, turmeric, cumin
Physical Body: Small intestine, liver, gallbladder, spleen
Spiritual Body: This is the center from which our self-power and inner strength come from
The 4th Chakra – Heart Chakra – Anahata
The Heart Chakra, or Anahata chakra, translates to “unhurt.” This is considered the fourth chakra, located at the heart. Its color correspondences are green and pink. The Heart Chakra is where your love, compassion, and kindness are empowered. This is the chakra to focus on if you are feeling closed off, cold, and lacking kindness towards yourself and/or others. And if you tend to smother people with your affection, your Heart Chakra may be overactive. This chakra influences the thymus, heart, and lungs.
Color: Green and Pink
Location: Center of chest
Mantra: "When I love myself, loving others comes easily."
Musical Note: F
Gemstones: Any green or light pink colored stones (e.g. jade, rose quartz, and emerald)
Essential Oils: Rose, jasmine, cacao, cardamom, palmarosa, bergamot, black spruce
Spiritual Body: This is the center from which we integrate our earthly needs (connected with the lower three chakras) with our spiritual endeavors (connected to the upper 3 chakras). It is with an open heart that we are able to connect with a higher power.
The 5th Chakra – Throat Chakra – Vishuddha
The Throat Chakra, or Vishuddha, translates to “very pure.” This is considered the fifth chakra, located in the throat. Its color correspondence is blue. The Throat Chakra resonates with self-expression and honest communication. This is the chakra to focus on if you are feeling withdrawn and aren’t able to speak from a place of truth. If you tend to speak too freely and openly, bordering on dictatorial or offensive, or if you tend to be a poor listener, your Throat Chakra may be overactive. This chakra influences the thyroid, neck, jaw, upper lungs, mouth, and throat.
Emotional Body: Speaking one’s truth, authenticity, self-expression, feeling heard, verbal and non-verbal communication
Spiritual Body: Connected with intuition (especially claircognizance and clairaudience). It’s also the bridge between thinking with your heart and thinking with your brain.
The 6th Chakra – The Third Eye Chakra – Ajna
The Third Eye Chakra, Ajna, translates to “beyond wisdom.” This is considered the sixth chakra, located at the forehead, between the eyes. Its color correspondence is indigo. This chakra opens up your mind to information beyond the material world and the 5 senses. Extrasensory perception, intuition, and psychic vision, all come from the third eye. This is the chakra to focus on if you are feeling out of touch with your instincts. If you tend to carry a sense of paranoia about what your gut tells you, or overanalyze ordinary experiences, your Third Eye Chakra may be overactive. This chakra influences the pituitary gland, hormones, eyes, and brain.
Location: Center of the forehead, at the brow level
Mantra: "I am open to exploring what cannot be seen."
Musical Note: A
Gemstones: Any dark blue or indigo-colored stones (e.g. lapis lazuli, sapphire, or tanzanite)
Essential Oils: Mugwort, blue lotus, juniper, cypress, yarrow, opoponax
Herbs: Eyebright, juniper, mugwort, poppy, mandrake root, blue lotus, cypress
Emotional Body: The Third Eye allows one to look within and exam his/her own thoughts and limiting belief systems. It is located where the left and right hemispheres of the brain connect so it is connected with balancing our creative mind and analytical mind.
Spiritual Body: This is the mind’s eye. It’s through this chakra that clairvoyance (clear seeing) occurs. The Third Eye is sometimes called, “the seed of the soul”. It’s where our ability to see within ourselves and others is combined with a greater universal understanding. The Third Eye allows us to see the truth and the meaning behind it.
The 7th Chakra – Crown Chakra – Sahasrara
The Crown Chakra, or Sahasrara, translates to “thousand petaled.” This is considered the seventh chakra, located at the top of the head. Its color correspondence is purple. The Crown Chakra resonates with wisdom, connection to the spiritual realm, and attunement with the Universe. This chakra is pure consciousness energy. Focus on this chakra if you are feeling spiritually disconnected or making foolish decisions. If you tend to be “in the clouds” all the time, your Crown Chakra may be overactive and you may need grounding in your lower chakras. This chakra influences the pineal gland, brain stem, spinal cord, and biological cycles – including sleep.
Color: Violet and White
Location: Centered at the top of the head
Mantra: "I am a vessel for love and light."
Element: Time & Space, Divine Consciousness
Musical Note: B
Gemstones: Any purple or clear colored stones (e.g. amethyst, quartz, and diamond)
Herbs: Gotu kola, lavender, pink lotus, St. John’s wort
Physical Body: Central Nervous System, Brain, Head, Skin
Emotional Body: Feeling of life purpose, sense of self, connection to a higher power, source of dream activity
Spiritual Body: The center from which we connect to Star energy and divine source
How Do You Open/Clear/Unblock Your Chakras?
Chakras can get clogged and cause numerous problems in your everyday life. So, in order to regain your energetic balance, here are a few things you can do to open your chakras.
Meditation is perhaps the most powerful tool for opening the chakras. Chakra meditation is calming and can improve the overall quality of your life. One meditation technique includes breathing energy into your chakras, starting at the base, seeing the colors vividly and visualizing your beautiful energy centers spinning in a healthy way, filling your body with health, wisdom, and light. When starting out, guided meditation tracks are very helpful. They consist of a visualization + music and it’s very easy to follow because all the mental work is done for you.
There are so many of these you can try. My favorite one is called the chakra shower. While in the shower, imagine that the water is not clear but is in the color of the corresponding chakra. Imagine it flowing inside you and washing away any dirt in the area of the chakra. So you start with red, then orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and finish with violet.
Using Mudras and Mantras
Mudras are specific hand positions that help open the chakras. These are a perfect addition to meditation, so be sure to try them out. Mantras are a sound, word, or phrase that you can chant during meditation. Each chakra has its own set of mudras and mantras so don’t be afraid to experiment with them and see how you feel.
Singing bowls and tuning forks an excellent way to open chakras using sound. Tibetan singing bowls are generally made of brass and when they’re struck with a mallet, they emit a melodic tone representing a note of a musical scale. When the side of the mallet is rubbed against the lip of the singing bowl, the bowl sings in that same musical frequency. If you are familiar with making wine glasses "sing" at different musical pitches by adding or subtracting water, it's very much the same principle. Each of the chakras has an associated musical sound (i.e. the musical note "D" and the sound "Ohm" for the Sacral Chakra).
Crystals are a powerful tool for opening chakras. When we interact with them, our energy and the energy of crystals combine and so they affect our mental and physical health. Meditating with crystals that represent the color of a specific chakra is thought to strengthen and balance that chakra. For instance, the Throat Chakra is associated with the color blue. Blue crystals like blue lace agate are thought to help balance communication and bring harmony to the Throat Chakra.
Each chakra is related to a color in the rainbow. Therefore, if you are deficient in one chakra you can help to balance it by surrounding yourself with the corresponding color.
Massage, reflection, meditation, and energy work using essential oils are thought to help restore specific balance to each of the chakras. We can use essential oils to help balance the chakras by treating any of the issues of the physical body, emotions, mood, and spiritual connection that throw us out of balance. To support your chakras with essential oils, diffuse any or several oils in your home. You can also dilute the oils and wear them as scents.
In yoga, there are certain asanas that you can do that help to balance your chakras. We recommend researching this for yourself and finding a program that resonates with you.
Chakra Meditation for Beginners:
First, start by making sure you’re in a quiet space. Sit quietly for a moment and take a few deep breaths. Let tension and stress slide away for a moment. Just be in the moment, with your body.
Now, bring your attention to the base of your spine, your tailbone, and imagine a bright spinning red light. Feel it pulsing and rotating with your breath. Sit with that for a moment.
Next, move your attention up your spine to the area a couple of inches below your belly button. Feel the warmth of a bright, orange spinning light. Again, notice how it moves with your breath.
Now, guide your attention to a couple of inches above your belly button. You’re probably familiar with this area because when you feel strong emotions like love or fear, you likely feel it here. Notice how you can sense the intense yellow light rotating in that spot.
Bring your attention further up to the center of your chest where your heart is. This area harnesses a bright green light. When you’re touched or moved, you might instinctively place your hand over this spot. Connect with that area now.
Then, bring your attention to your throat, the dip in between your collar bones. Imagine a bright blue light spinning in that area. You may feel the urge to swallow or clear your throat.
Next, move your attention up to the space between your eyebrows, your third eye. This area holds a deep indigo light. Imagine it spinning and becoming brighter.
Finally, shift your attention to the very top of your head. Imagine a vibrant, spinning violet light that shines right out of the top of your body. This light connects you to the universe. Feel the peace that comes with noticing this light.
So, there you have it. You should have a better understanding of the chakras, where they’re located, and how to balance them. Now that you have a general overview, you can start to unblock and balance each of your chakras!