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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!