What are chakras?

Avatar for Mish Khot By in Chakra Meditation, wellbeing, yoga on 17/02/2023
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Chakras are more than just a spiritual buzz word.

If you’re an energy healer or attend yoga class, you’ll know all about these colourful energy channels. And how they relate to your spiritual connection.

But, if you’re reading this you may have no idea what chakras are. Or how the subtle body connects to your physical human body. If so, you’re in the right place to learn about these magical disks of energy.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about the concept of chakras.

What are chakras?

The word chakra means wheel or disc in Sanskrit. The first mention of the chakra system was made in the Vedas, an ancient Indian text. Chakras are wheels of energy located within the body that allow the flow of cosmic energy. These wheels are responsible for numerous aspects of the physical, spiritual and mental self.

There are seven major chakras (primary chakras) in the body and each is represented by seven colors. They are energy centres and conduits of life energy. When the chakras are working well, this energy flows smoothly in your body. It maintains balance in your physical health, as well as your mental and spiritual wellbeing.

Chakra Balancing Yoga

The chakra system affects many aspects of your life, including:

  • Sense of security
  • Life purpose
  • Personal power
  • Self confidence and worthiness
  • Desires, both physical and spiritual
  • Connection to your energy body
  • Mental health
  • Emotions
  • Beliefs.

Minor and Major Chakras

The seven major chakras form a central chakra line down the middle of the body. They co-exist with minor additional chakras that are more off-centre.

There are feet chakras, knee chakras, shoulder chakras and more. All these chakras represent different aspects of the same cosmic energy. Both masculine and feminine forms flow through them.

It’s essential that all major and minor chakras are aligned with one another. This is how energies seamlessly flow through them, supporting your optimal wellbeing. When researching what are chakras, you’ll usually only see references to the major chakras. That is, unless you take a deep dive into ancient scriptures or investigate buddhist traditions. This is because knowing about the major ones is usually enough to give you a preliminary understanding.

What are the seven chakras?

The first five chakras directly relate to your physical body and drive your physical desires, health and wellbeing. Knowing what are chakras will help you understand the benefits of working on them.

Root Chakra or Base Chakra (Muladhara)

The Muladhara chakra is your foundational chakra. It’s defined by the feeling of being grounded and connects you directly with your environment. It’s also the centre for physical manifestation in the material world. This is where the kundalini – serpent power – begins to rise.

Root Chakra Yoga
  • Location: Base of the spinal cord, between the excretory organs
  • Colour: Red
  • Emotional aspects: Sense of security, stability, family lineage, control
  • Physical aspects: Movement, feelings of safety and security
  • Body parts: Sexual organs, hips, legs, rectum

Sacral chakra (Swadhisthana)

The next chakra is related to your ability to connect with and accept all the people and experiences in your life. While its location links it with reproduction, it also guides your creativity, intuition, self-worth and joy on a deeper level.

Scral Chakra for Yoga
  • Location: At the tailbone
  • Colour: Orange
  • Emotional aspects: Sexual pleasure, abundance and sense of wellbeing
  • Physical aspects: Constipation, kidney problems, lower back pain and muscle spasms
  • Body parts: Female sexual organs, large intestine, kidneys and bladder

Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)

When in balance, this chakra fills you with confidence and a sense of control over in life. It has a strong connection with digestion (physical and emotional). Plus, it’s an important point of power that houses the ego. The 3rd chakra guides your impulses, anger, inner fire, strength and willingness to be ‘seen’ in the world.

Solar plexus Chakra for Yoga
  • Location: Behind the belly button
  • Colour: Yellow
  • Emotional aspects: Anger, passion, self-belief, natural urges, confidence
  • Physical aspects: Liver concerns, digestive issues, nervous system, fatigue
  • Body parts: Liver, small intestine, stomach, gall bladder, pancreas, bundles of nerves

Heart Chakra (Anahata)

The anahata chakra sits behind your heart. It represents your heart center, and the connection between your head and heart. The heart chakra guides feelings of connection, devotion, love and passion. It affects your ability to love yourself and others and recognise the body, mind, spirit connection.

Heart Chakra for Yoga
  • Location: Heart
  • Colour: Green
  • Emotional aspects: Compassion, spirituality, love
  • Physical aspects: High or low blood pressure, heart problems, breathing difficulty, insomnia
  • Body parts: Lungs, shoulders, heart, upper back, circulatory system, thymus gland

Throat Chakra (Vishudha)

Located at the throat, it’s associated with communication and sound. It also guides creativity through speech, thought and writing. It’s also an energetic center for transformation, healing and change.

Throat Chakra for Yoga
  • Location: Throat
  • Colour: Blue
  • Emotional aspects: Spiritual growth, mental growth, maturity change
  • Physical aspects: Sore throat, skin issues, thyroid concerns, inflammation and back pain
  • Body parts: Neck, teeth, throat, ears, thyroid gland

The last two chakras do not relate to the physical body directly. Instead, they connect to the realm that lies beyond the 3D world we see. These two chakras are:

Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)

The sixth chakra is also known as the Ajna chakra. It’s a gateway that allows environmental energy to enter your body. This spiritual energy center is often referred to as the psychic and intuition centre in the body.

Third Eye Chakra for Yoga
  • Location: At the centre of the eyebrows
  • Colour: Indigo
  • Emotional aspects: Wisdom, decision making, thinking, imagination
  • Physical aspects: Eyestrain, headaches, blurry vision
  • Body parts: Brain, eyes, lymph system, face, pituitary gland, and endocrine system

The Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)

The seventh major chakra allows divine energy and enlightenment to enter your being. It relates to detachment from the illusory nature of the world. An awakened crown chakra allows you to be self-aware and at one with higher consciousness. It’s often represented by a lotus flower with many magnificent petals.

Crown Chakra for Yoga
  • Location: Top of the head
  • Colour: Violet
  • Emotional aspects: Bliss, spirituality, inner beauty
  • Physical aspects: Depression and migraine headaches
  • Body parts: None

Earth Chakras

The chakras system doesn’t only live in your body. It also exists on our planet.

The Earth Chakras are believed to be the primary power centres of the planet. It’s said that by visiting the location of these chakras, you can align the energy frequency within your own body with that of the planet’s chakra. This allows you to resonate at that right frequency, releasing any blockages of energy and resulting in an unprecedented spiritual experience.

Earth Chakras at Uluru

The chakras of the earth are similar to whirlpools of energy. They’re located where there is the greatest concentration of cosmic energy, and are supercharged with abundant life vibrations. Many cultures believe in the same concept and have identified different spots. Some locations are highly contested, but a few are agreed upon by almost all cultures as being significant spots of energy.

Here are 7 locations around the world that are believed to resonate with the chakra energy centers. If you visit any of them, notice how you feel. Your chakras may become charged simply by being in that location.

Base Chakra: Mount Shasta, California, Unites States of America

Sacral Chakra: Lake Titicaca, South America

Solar Plexus Chakra: Uluru, Australia

Heart Chakra: Stonehenge,  Glastonbury And Shaftesbury

Throat Chakra: There are 3 Vishudha chakra locations – The Great Pyramid of Giza and Mount Sinai, Egypt;  Mount Of Olives, Jerusalem

Third Eye Chakra: It’s said there is no fixed Ajna location. Instead, the energy shifts as the planet’s consciousness does.

Crown Chakra: Mount Kailash, The Himalayas

How can I activate my chakras?

Chakras begin forming when you’re in the womb. They innately connect to an intelligence beyond what our human minds can fathom. That’s why chakras influence you, even if you don’t know they exist. It’s also why you don’t have to do anything specific to activate them.

In saying this, learning about chakras from a young age is empowering. It helps to super charge the subtle body energy that flows in, through and around you. 

Life experiences (and possibly karma) can ‘block’ this free-flowing energy. This is why your chakras can be light & bright some days, but dark & heavy other days. Regular exposure to negative emotions, toxins and stress can restrict their energy flow. This is when you may feel the need to activate (or re-activate) your chakras.

You can awaken your energy body and strengthen chakra alignment using:

What happens if a chakra is blocked?

When your chakra is blocked, you don’t get a phone call from your angelic guides to let you know.

Your body develops physical symptoms. This could be reproductive issues if your sacral chakra is blocked. Digestive problems if your solar plexus chakra is murky. Or a sore throat if your throat chakra needs clearing. Each chakra relates to different parts of the body. So, when symptoms arise it’s wise to check which chakra they relate to. Doing this can give you a deeper understanding of what’s going on in your body. As well as how to clear it.
You may feel ‘different’ on an emotional level. Your emotional reactions can change when your chakras are blocked. You may feel more prone to anger if your root chakra is blocked. Or you may cry more than usual if your heart chakra needs care. Notice any emotional shifts and note which chakra they connect to. If you can rebalance a chakra while you’re noticing emotional imbalances, you could prevent physical symptoms developing.

How can you unblock a chakra?

Understanding what are chakras is important. But, knowing how to balance them is even more important.

Each chakra spins at a unique and high frequency. Sometimes, they become stuck or pick up energy from an external source. This throws off chakra balance and has a negative impact on physical, emotional and spiritual health.

When needed, you can unblock your chakras using the ‘activation’ methods listed above. But, you can also unblock a chakra using your intention. Here’s how:

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Notice which chakra feels blocked
  3. Focus your attention on this chakra, without judgement
  4. Using your intuition, sense how this chakra looks. Is the colour light & bright or dark & murky? Is the colour consistent or does it vary?
  5. Set an intention to unblock this chakra
  6. Visualise a bright, crystalline light flowing into the chakra. Send the light through all areas of the chakra, from the middle to the edges. Keep the light here until you notice it’s the dominate energy in this chakra.
  7. Next, imagine this light turning into a vibrant colour. The colour will relate directly to the chakra you’re clearing. See this colour beginning to spin in a clockwise direction over your chakra area. Allow this spinning colour wheel to increase in speed, in your own time. Continue working with this colour until you feel it permeate all parts of your chakra. It may take 30 seconds or a few minutes.
  8. Your chakra is now unblocked. Sit in this energy with gratitude as long as you need. Open your eyes when you’re ready. 

Using your chakras to improve your wellbeing

You can visualise the chakra system as a power line that runs from the top of your head to the base of your spine. This connects all seven centres of energy. When functioning optimally, these chakras conduct cosmic energy and keep you balanced and healthy. Each chakra distributes this energy to your physical body when needed.

When these chakras are blocked, the flow of energy is irregular and congests in some areas. This can manifest as:

  • Physical illness
  • Sense of general discomfort
  • Poor emotional health, resulting in anxiety, stress and depression
  • Mental misalignment resulting in fogginess or confusion

You can use this awareness to improve your wellbeing.

Simply spend a few minutes each day connecting with your chakras. You can do this by visualising their colour and spin speed. Or you could use yoga poses to support them. If you consciously decide to work with a chakra, your wellbeing will improve as your chakra clears.

Why is it recommended to do yoga for chakra health?

Yoga for chakra health uses yoga postures, breathing and mental techniques to align the seven chakras.

For some people, it feels more useful than other chakra activation techniques. That’s because this inclusive practice uses multiple ways to promote chakra development. You’ll practice conscious breathing, movement, meditation and clearance of emotional issues.

Yoga teachers undertake specialised training to understand the chakra system in great detail.

Health Chakra for Yoga

If yoga is not your thing, you don’t have to try yoga for chakra balancing. Some of these techniques are considered just as effective:

  • Conscious movement
  • Positive visualisation
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Mindfulness
  • Clearing out physical clutter in life
  • Forgiveness
  • Flower essences
  • Reiki
  • Meditation

These techniques and practices also help to strengthen your energy field and balance chakras. As a result, your physical, spiritual and emotional health can change.

The benefits of yoga for chakra balancing

There are many types of yoga, so you can be sure of finding one that suits your lifestyle. Yoga for chakra health leaves you feeling open, energetic and rejuvenated. Many first-timers experience a significant internal shift after the early sessions and report a feeling of fluidity and balance. Individual power can increase. Creative energy may rise. There could even be an unexpected expression of feelings, while a chakra is clearing. All of these are clear signs that energetic health in improving.

It can greatly benefit anyone with a stressful schedule and wants grounding or a moment of me-time. It also offers healing energy and positive vibes to those with serious illness.

If you want to browse and compare yoga studios, Avaana can help you find one in your location.

Health Chakra Poses

Putting it all together

From a young age, we’re conditioned to live a busy life and focus on material possessions. This disconnects us from the natural flow of energy that passes through our being.

Chakras (energy centres) influence you, whether you’re aware of it or not.

Making a conscious choice to slow down and live mindfully helps you (re)connect with your chakras. Learning about their distinct properties helps you understand dis-ease in the body. It also helps you locate where, within your energy database, imbalances may be occurring.

Many alternative health practices support chakra development. Choose ones that resonate with you, and you’ll always have tools ready to help you live a vibrant, healthy and happy life.

Avatar for Mish Khot

Mishana Khot is a fiction author and co-founder of The Great Next, an adventure travel company. She has been featured in National Geographic, Forbes magazine, and other publications, and has over 15 years of experience with health, travel, and lifestyle brands.

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