Basics of the 7 main chakras
Chakra means wheel in Sanskrit.
It's called a wheel because our energy - or prana - moves within us, spinning and spiralling around. This is no shock because energy is everywhere. The Universe is made up of energy and it's no doubt that we are too.
The 7 main energy wheels are positioned along the centre of your body - beginning at the base of the spine and ending at the crown of the head.
Though the chakras align with specific physical body parts, the imbalance of these fascinating energetic wheels may contribute to a whole bundle of ailments - including mental, emotional, and spiritual.
How do these chakras become blocked?
Well, they become blocked, slow or stagnant when we are unable to release built up energy. Most commonly, this stored up energy is emotional.
How to release blocked chakras.
The most common way is through meditation and mindfulness practices, however there are other ways to unblock and rebalance.
Talk it out
This can be tricky, especially if you're unfamiliar with the symptoms of an imbalanced chakra. This is where therapy, a mentor, or a good friend can be a wonderful tool. They may help you get to the root of a minor (or major) trauma which has consequentially blocked you.
Reiki and energetic work
Another wonderful technique. Reiki can be performed by a practitioner, or on yourself (if you are trained). This is essentially when we use Universal flow to release stagnant energy of the wheels. It may sound a bit "woo" at first, however with the right practitioner and in the right mindset, Reiki is extremely healing.
If you're unsure, check out my healer and dear friend Ines Heals. She's got a grounded approach to the esoteric world that will shine light on alternative approaches of healing, holistically. She's even got a Youtube channel so you can start learning from her today!
Develop a regular spiritual practice
If you're not interested in sitting in meditation for extended periods of time, yoga is a great way to tune into the subtle bodies. With a regular yoga practice, you'll begin breaking down the barriers between physical, mental, and emotional bodies - thereby enabling you to release built up tension, or blockages, of the chakra system.
Now, let's get into the specifics of each chakra.
Muladhara Chakra (Root)
Located at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae, the root chakra is responsible for your sense of safety and security in this world.
Imbalances of the root chakra can manifest as anxiety, fear and nightmares. Physical imbalances may appear as problems of the colon, with the bladder, with elimination, or the lower extremities.
To balance Muladhara aim to ground yourself. Spending time in nature, meditation and connecting with your higher self and connecting with anything in the natural world will allow a sense of stability, trust and security.
To learn more about Muladhara, check out this page by the Chopra Center.
Svadhisthana Chakra (Sacral)
Located above the pubic bone, below the navel, and encompasses the genital region and the hypo gastric plexus. Svadhisthana is also known as the creativity and sexual chakra.
When out of balance, a person may experience emotional instability, fear of change, sexual dysfunction, depression, or addictions. When in balance, one may experience feelings of wellness, abundance, pleasure, joy, and both creative and sexual desire.
To balance the Svadhisthana chakra, aim to maintain a healthy relationship with your sexuality and honour and respect your body. Learn to understand your emotions and identify what brings you joy, as well as what takes energy from you. Make the commitment to processing and releasing your emotions in a healthy way.
To learn more about Svadhisthana, check out this page by the Chopra Center.
Manipura Chakra (Sacral)
Located around the navel in the area of the solar plexus and up to the breastbone.
Self-confidence, having a strong sense of purpose, and self-motivation are all signs of an open and healthy solar plexus chakra. Imbalances can manifest as low self-esteem, difficulty making decisions, anger and cortisol (stress) issues.
To balance Manipura, get clear on your vision and goals. Write them down, revisit them daily, and work towards them bit by bit. Understanding and honouring your intentions and desires are another way to strengthen Manipura.
To learn more about Manipura, check out this page by the Chopra Center.
Anahata Chakra (Heart)
Located at the centre of the chest and includes the heart, cardiac plexus, thymus gland, lungs and breasts. The heart chakra is where the physical meets the spiritual (the space between the base three chakras and upper three chakras).
When Anahata is open, you are flowing with love and compassion, you are quick to forgive, and you accept others and yourself. A closed heart can give space for anger, grief, jealousy, fear of betrayal and hatred towards yourself and others.
To balance the heart space, we must visit the law of attraction. Give love to receive love. Give love freely and unconditionally, especially to those who may frustrate or challenge you. Allow space for self-care practices and adopt the practice of positive self-speech.
To learn more about Anahata, check out this page by the Chopra Center.
Visshudha Chakra (Throat)
Located in the throat area and governs the anatomical region of the thyroid, parathyroid, jaw, neck, tongue, larynx, mouth and ears.
When open, listening, speaking and expressing yourself from your higher sense of communication seems natural and flows with ease. When imbalanced, communication (such as listening, speaking your truth and expressing your feelings) is much less easy. You may feel a sense of being judged or unheard.
To balance Visshuddha, practice speaking openly, honestly and asking for what you truly want. You may also practice listening intently to others by staying perfectly silent when being spoken to and waiting until they are finished speaking before adding your input. Even "hms" and "ha's" during a story can be dis-empowering for the person speaking, so holding space for others to speak their truth is crucial.
Additionally, you may begin listening to your intuition and your own needs more intently. Rather than succumbing to the fear of missed opportunities, change the narrative to the joy of spending time caring for your needs.
To learn more about Visshudha, check out this page by the Chopra Center.
Ajna Chakra (Third Eye)
Located in the area of the third eye (the space between your eyebrows), Ajna encompasses the pituitary gland, eyes, head, and lower part of the brain.
This is your centre of intuition, a spiritual space which, if you let it, will guide you to inner knowledge.
When open, Ajna controls our discernment and intuition, imagination and dreams, our spiritual awareness, our perception of the truth. It may also enable clairvoyance, expanded imagination, lucid dreaming, and visualization. When imbalanced, one may experience a sense of not-belonging, lack of faith, memory loss, headaches, difficulty concentrating, denial or insensitivity.
To balance Ajna, meditation is an excellent tool. Now before you dismiss this as "woo" or something you've previously tried and "can't do" - understand that there are many different forms of meditation to choose from. Some use sound, others use guided meditations, yoga or yoga Nidra, some may prefer being silent in nature or sun gazing. Being present looks and feels different for each person. Find a format that fits your needs!
To learn more about Ajna, check out this page by the Chopra Center.
Sahasrara Chakra (Crown)
Located at the crown of the head, Sahasrara is the 7th and final chakra in this system.
True opening of Sahasrara means self-realization and a conscious awakening. Crown chakra is our spiritual connection to Source, Divine, God, Higher Self, Universe, All That Is, Allah, Universal Consciousness... whatever name you feel most comfortable with.
For Sahasrara to be truly open, the base six chakras must first be balanced and aligned. Daily mindfulness practices are necessary for an energetic alignment and will guide you to increased moments of spiritual connection. These disciplines are meditation, prayer, and daily silence.
Once you have established a regular daily practice of activities that connect you to this universal consciousness, You will begin to experience unconditional love on a consistent basis. You will show more humility, and be more compassionate, kind, and forgiving. Life will no longer be solely about you and your desires - instead it will be more about serving others... and you will LOVE it!
To learn more about Sahasrara, check out this page by the Chopra Center.