The 7 Chakras explained
The 7 chakras as explained here are crucial to our holistic well-being. Chakra are certain points of life force (life energy vortexes – so to speak). It is taught in yoga that we as humans have four(4) bodies:
Physical, Mental, Causal and Astral
It is in the astral body where the Chakra reside, acting as transformers that move and regulate the flow of energy or life force between the four bodies.
A chakra is not physical. It is nothing that can be seen with the human eye even using a microscope. It is simply circulating energy.
It is believed that Chakra are areas (centers) of the body (connected to major organs or glands that influence other body purple ( kundalini ) parts where energy is collected.
It is thought that there are over 200 Chakras in all. The consensus of opinion is that there are 7 main Chakras aligned along the spinal cord (starting from the end of your spine or tail bone, and going upward to the top of your head). Each of these Chakra govern a specific physical region of the body dictating certain emotions and personality traits.
Root Chakra (Mulhadara)
Depicted as the color red – at the base of the spine (known as your tailbone)- it physically Governs the reproductive systems and excretory system. Influences feelings of security and fear.
The root chakra is your main or parent charka (if you will). It powers or runs the rest of your chakra system. If your root chakra is even partially closed then you will have problems accessing your other chakras.
Let me explain what the root chakra’s function is, how it works and how you can heal (or open it).
Red is the color associated with this chakra – red wine and food as well as anything red including red gemstones ex. ruby. Known as the root (base) chakra it deals with your connection to the earth.
It gains power from your family structure. In most instances a root chakra that is partially closed (meaning it has lost strength) indicates a broken family structure in which there is not much trust – consequently it becomes hard to trust anyone. As people age this weakness can become very problematic. The importance of family can not go understated when trying to heal this chakra. Family is very important to the health and healing of the root charka.
This chakra is directly related to your confidence and self esteem (both built during the early formative years of your life). It is connected physically to the bones and teeth, prostate (in men), the bladder and your lower extremities.
The root chakra represents survival instinct, finances, home and security. It directly relates to your connection with your mother, mother earth and your connection to your physical body (being in the now).
If the aforementioned connections are not somehow being satisfied a problem or disconnect from the other chakras will take place. This in turn will cause the natural flow of your body’s energy to get blocked. Once this energy becomes blocked it will manifest into unwanted physical symptoms.
How can you heal the root chakra? You need to get back to feeling grounded. One highly recommended method is mediation which can help you to learn to care for and love yourself. This will strengthen and heal your root chakra when disconnected. Some experts say while meditating you should imagine roots coming up from the earth and connecting to the base of your spine. It is believed that the earth has healing properties and when you are stressed if you put your faith in mother earth you will find the courage you need to deal with whatever it is. The stronger this love of self and others becomes the better able you will be to handle whatever goes sideways or upside down in your life. In no uncertain terms, trust is the order of the day for this chakra.
Music (using certain chants and vocal rhythms) can empower this charka and help to reinforce it. Over time as the root chakra begins to heal itself the other chakras will start to get power from it. This lost confidence now found will be transferred to the sacral chakra all the way up to the crown.
Sacral Charka (svadhisthana)
Depicted by the color orange – in the lower abdomen – controls emotions and sexuality as well as Influences self expression and creativity.
The sacral /spleen chakra , known as svadhisthana, is located a couple of inches below the belly button about 2 inches back within this area. This chakra is most often associated with the color orange which looks like the sky at sunset. Our sense of sexuality and pleasure, our reproductive organs, our feelings of abundance and well being are all connected to our sacral charka. If you have problems feeling emotion in any given situation (excitement, happiness or feeling zealous) it generally indicates this charka is problematic and that you have problems opening up to others. If on the other hand your emotions and/or feelings of passion are overwhelming your sacral charka may be overactive.
This particular charka lets us send energy throughout our body from bottom to top affecting our overall health both physical and mental. When working optimally (open to it’s full extent) we are able to be virile and both release and express our wants to everyone.
To positively affect our sacral chakra there are a couple of exercises we can do:
- In a sitting position – legs apart – bend forward. This helps the groin area and the flow of blood to the pelvic region,
- Then in any position try doing some pelvic thrusts.
- If you want to do something fun try doing some belly dancing – it’s good for the emotions and physique.
It has been used in preparation for conception and birthing.
Signs of Sacral Chakra in Need of Balancing:
- finding and become involved in an addiction
- feeling guilty, losing self confidence and having little (if any) sex drive.
Outward signs may include:
- pain in the lower back
- urinary dysfunction.
If this charka is working overtime then we may find ourselves overly emotional and wanting to be more sexually active than is comfortable so we will probably want to have it function a bit on the lighter side.
It all boils down to balance and control issues – basically we want no unwanted control problems and we want everything balanced in a healthy way.
When working well this charka:
- will make people realize not to be overly concerned about being rejected or accepted in a relationship.
- we will find that this charka energy will give us the power to make right choices on the personal level that will affect our life’s flow in a positive way.
We need to help the sacral charka stay nourished and well fed since it is – of course – the epicenter of our creativity and our sex drive.
Eat such fruits as:
- passion fruit
- citrus fruits
Eat such nuts as:
Eat such additives as:
- sesame seeds
So, if you wish to improve a relationship(s), be more creative and/or change your life’s direction then work on your sacral chakra.
Navel/Solar Chakra (manipura)
Depicted by the color yellow – it is located right above the navel (solar plexus) – its’ metabolic energy affects the digestive system and it influences willpower and anger.
The third chakra, the solar or navel chakra, is located in the navel just below the rib cage. Our solar plexus chakra influences the limits we set on ourselves and our sense of self . If we wish to change or grow as an individual than meditating on this chakra will help us to purify ourselves getting rid of lingering negative and hostile feelings. We will be able to feel positive and have more energy. Color representing the solar chakra is yellow. Balancing the Navel Chakra will give us a better sense of self worth. We will feel unique, confident, energized and (believe it or not) we will be more honest and forthright. When this charka is not balanced we have more trouble avoiding pitfalls (due to a weak sense of self). We also tend to be manipulative and our ability to take action (because of a fear of failure and/or rejection) on an idea may be severely limited due to our low self-confidence level.
Signs of Navel Chakra in Need of Balancing:
- Feeling angry and/or aggressive much of the time
- Your will power is weakHave
- Have trouble expressing your feelings
- Have low self-esteemSeem
- Think negatively much of the time
- Feel lethargic
- Have digestive problemsand/or constipation
- Have anxiety issues
Gemstones to help Navel Chakra:
- Yellow colored gemstones will stimulate the energy of our Naval Chakra.
- Yellow Jasper, Topaz, Amber, and Citrine are the recommended gemstones (quite powerful – I might add).
Each gemstone has a unique method of healing. Rely on your intuition (gut feeling) to pick the one you should work with.
Tips for using the gemstones:
- Close your eyes and picture in your mind your gemstone of preference suspended in the center of a yellow ball of energy.
- Relax and stay in your position for anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. You should feel the gemstone effects.
- They can be worn as jewelry (it is important that they touch the skin so our body can absorb the energy).
- If using Amber you should rub into your hand on a daily bases (this will activate its healing powers).
- For Citrine to be most effective place it right on the skin just above your navel.
For the daily activation of Navel Chakra think and use yellow.
There are 5 main things can help stimulate this power.
- Walking outside on a bright sunny day
- Open the blinds and curtains to brighten the room with sunlight
- Wear yellow colored clothes and include the color of yellow throughout your home (bed linen, towels, curtains and table linens).
- Light candles
- Do what peaks your passion and interest.
The main point is that a balanced Solar Navel Chakra enables us to cope effectively with negative emotions and empower us by giving us a better sense of self-worth thus enabling us to express ourselves in a positive way each and every day.
Heart Chakra (anahata)
Depicted by the color green / pink – it is located in the center of chest – it links spirit and matter, rules the circulatory system and influences the expression of love.
Our feelings of love (for ourselves as well as others) radiate from the Heart Chakra. Our desire to be generous, our ability to be and our level of generosity as well as our feelings of compassion and empathy emanate from our heart charka. The heart chakra is the one that allows us to connect with anyone we feel attracted to or love. Once connected, these connections are nearly impossible to break. This is the cause of our emotional grief at the death of a loved one or at the breakup of a relationship.
There are three parts of the heart charka (the center of our body’s positive chi energy) according to Mantak Chia:
- The left side – color red – positively charged
- The right side – color dark green – negatively charged
- The core – color pure white
Open Heart Chakra benefits:
- Our heart charka once fully opened will instantly increase our respect for self and for others.
- While having a more positive outlook we are able to attract love and allow a special someone to come into our life and we will feel greater love for those currently in our life.
- We will be able to conquer feelings of depression and anxiety.
Tips for Opening Your Heart Chakra :
- Take deep breathes and often. (this will give us the ability to be calm since if we are not calm our heart chakra will not be able to open properly)
- Keep any negative thoughts out of our mind. (the process of deep breathing doesn’t work if we allow negative thinking at the same time)
- Keep ideas and pictures of love in our thoughts when attempting to open our heart charka.
- We need to be relaxed. (it is very important that we remain in a state of relaxation when attempting to open our heart charka because being anxious and uncomfortable is considered negative, and being negative will prevent the process from working. Our spirit, mind, and body must be relaxed before we try to heal our heart charka and allow it to truly work for us.)
As long as we remember to follow the advice given above we will be able to fully open our heart chakra thus allowing us to love and be loved in the way of our dreams. Our entire well-being will feel the positive difference.
Throat Chakra (visuddha)
Depicted as the color blue – it resides in the throat area – it presides over the auditory and speech systems and influences communication.
We find this our 5th charka just above our collar bone.
Open Throat Chakra benefit(s):
Helps us to honestly share our thoughts and ideas. Our ability to communicate (in every sense of the word) emanates from our Throat Chakra.
- The ability to listen
- To hear psychically
- To speak metaphysically
- To communicate clearly
are all tied to this charka. The physical health of our throat, as well as the other non physical areas that it influences, is managed by our 5th chakra. Consequently all our attempts at communication will be severely hampered if our Throat Chakra is blocked.
To unblock our throat chakra:
It doesn’t matter whether you can carry a tune or not – just sing. Any vocalization through song no matter where or when will help to open the Throat Chakra. This will create a bond of trust between what is verbalized and what is actually meant when communicating. Your Throat Chakra becomes more relaxed, and using your voice in this manner helps to strengthen this chakra. This method will help to gradually unblock this very powerful fifth chakra.
- Use Artistic Expression:
Art is a great way to do this. A painting or quilt made by a family member and handed down from one generation to the next passes down family values to the youngest generation.
Poetry, crochet, and pottery are all ways of communicating to an audience.
- Rehearse what you wish to communicate.
Practicing what we plan to say beforehand will give us strength at the time of delivery. If our Throat Chakra is weak learning to assert our authority, and clearly sharing what is on our mind can be difficult. When we Rehears what we wish to say slowly our Throat Chakra becomes unblocked.
- Listen to the response that it emanates to get long-term results.
At this point there is no necessity for any immediate action, response or debate. What is important to our Throat Chakra is that we said what we planned to and that the words we have said have been taken in and understood.
- Wear Something Blue.
The color blue has always been linked to our Throat Chakra. But we do not have to wear a completely blue ensemble to help the strength of this chakra. Any piece of blue clothing is quite enough to strengthen a positive communication pattern. Going out on a date and want to flirt a bit – wear something blue to help your Throat Chakra do its thing.
- Turquoise Gemstone
This strong gemstone helps us to honestly and strongly express ourselves. The wearing of this gemstone (can be necklace, ring or brooch) helps to unblock our Throat Chakra and will increase our ability to listen in any occasion requiring strong communication.
Our throat chakra being open with positive energy will lead to stronger, more intimate relationships with family, friends and co-workers, and especially our soul mate. Our Throat Chakra always needs (insists upon) on our own individual integrity to be open and work well.
Brow/third eye Chakra (ajna)
– color indigo –
The Third Eye (Brow) Chakra is located between the eyes behind the forehead (just above the nose between the brows). The color associated with it is indigo and the mantra sound is ‘aum’.
It is the center for our intuitive, psychic and imaginative self the road to wisdom.
When well balanced we can distinguish delusions and fantasy from reality and can form our outlook based on our own personal experiences.
Signs of Brow Chakra in Need of Balancing:
- problems of sleeping
- problems learning
- being uncoordinated
- a state of disarray in a certain area of your home such as your windows, den, family room and/or your home office.
- you have episodes of paranoia, your judgement isn’t so good or what you perceive to be real isn’t real.
To balance (unblock) the brow chakra:
Charka can’t be seen or touched so we tend to ignore the fact that certain foods can and do have an effect on our charka.
Remember our color for this charka is Indigo – So – eat and drink fruits that are dark bluish in color:
- Red grapes
- berries (all kinds of berries – raspberries, black and blue berries)
- grape juice
- wine of the red variety
- Use lavender, poppy and mugwort
If you have episodes of paranoia, your judgement isn’t so good or what you perceive to be real isn’t real then do the following:
- Vivid dreaming and visualization (try a vision board)
If there is a state of disarray in a certain area of your home such as your windows, den, family room and/or your home office.
It is important that you be involved in the uncluttering/cleaning process of these areas.
Crown Chakra (sahasrara)
– color violet/white – top of head – spiritual realm – Rules the brain and nervous system. Influences the experience of enlightenment.
The Crown Chakra, known as sahasrara, is located at the very top of your head.The color associated with it is violet/white and the mantra sound is ‘ah’ or ‘om’.
It is the center for our intuitive, psychic and imaginative self – the road to wisdom.
When well balanced we are able to easily connect with our spiritual self. It is from here that our life force flows from the cosmos to our other 6 chakra. Our ability to be intuitive is drawn from here.
Signs of Crown Chakra in Need of Balancing:
- feel our life is pointless and insignificant
- feel too attached to inanimate objects, this world on earth and the people we associate with
- become selfish
- have trust issues
- fail to be able to see the larger picture
- we might ask “Who am I?”
- our skin and bones can be affected by disease
- we feel exhausted with no known medical source
- have sensory sensitivity
Because our charkas can’t be seen or touched we tend to ignore the fact that certain foods have an effect on them. The crown charka is a little different.
To balance (unblock) our crown chakra:
- fasting and detoxification
- inhalation (through the nose) of sage, juniper, myrrh, copal and frankincense.
Gemstones to help the Crown Chakra:
- clear quartz crystal
The areas of your home associated with you crown chakra are the top areas: attic roof gutters It is advised to keep them clean and/or in good condition.
The reason you might see this number as 5 instead of 7 at times is because Tibetan Buddhists put the traditional seventh and sixth Chakras as one and the traditional first and second Chakras as one. Voila, you now have 5 Chakra.
For the Buddhists this fits well with the five Buddha families, five aggregates of ego, five poisons, etc. all with specific vibrations that manifest as colors, sounds, and elements.
This five Chakra system is actually equal to the seven.
There are many different types of yoga – some more physically challenging than others – some better suited to beginners than others. This can be a bit confusing when starting out. Here are 11 yoga types I briefly explain in an attempt to give you an introduction to each and links for further info on each:
derives from kundalini, defined in Hindu lore as energy that lies dormant at the base of the spine until it is activated (as by the practice of yoga) and channeled upward through the chakras in the process of spiritual perfection. Kundalini is believed to be power associated with the divine feminine. Kundalini yoga as a school of yoga is influenced by Shaktism and Tantra schools of Hinduism. It derives its name through a focus on awakening kundalini energy through regular practice of mantra, tantra, yantra, yoga or meditation. Kundalini yoga is often identified as the most dangerous form of yoga because of the involvement of subtle energies. ( fromWikipedia)
Vinyasa Yoga is great for beginners. Experienced students will also benefit by learning to slow down their pace.
Vinyasa is explained as breath-synchronized movement. This type of yoga keeps you moving from asana to asana. Each pose includes inhaling and exhaling one or more times in a timely and synchronized manner.
Vinyasa yoga although similar to ashtanga is a lot more flexible than ashtanga.
Vinyasa strings postures together so that the movement from one to another is breathlessly seamless. It is also called “flow yoga” and ofttimes mixed up with “power yoga”. Each class of Vinyasa is different.
Vinyasa yoga helps to relieve anxiety and stress. It impacts our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual selves while connecting our mind and body. Vinyasa Yoga helps us to unclutter our mind.
The Sanscrit word हठ haṭha literally means “force” and therefore refers to a system of physical techniques. In the 20th century haṭha yoga began focusing particularly on asanas ( body postures). Hatha originally was and still is a general term for a sitting meditation pose. It was later extended to hatha yoga and modern yoga as exercise, to any type of pose or position – reclining, standing, inverted, twisting, and balancing ). It became popular throughout the world as a form of physical exercise. This modern form of yoga is now widely known simply as “yoga“.
I would not recommend this for beginners.
A type of yoga introduced to the western culture by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This type of yoga synchronizes our breathing with a series of postures which cause severe body heat and an intense, purifying sweat to detoxify our muscles and internal organs. This produces better circulation, a stronger body, as well as a calming of our mind..
Yin Yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga as exercise, incorporating principles of traditional Chinese medicine, with asanas (postures) that are held for longer periods of time than in other styles. For beginners, asanas may be held from 45 seconds to two minutes; more advanced practitioners may stay in one asana for five minutes or more. The sequences of postures are meant to stimulate the channels of the subtle body known as meridians in Chinese medicine and as nadis in Hatha yoga. Yin Yoga poses apply moderate stress to the connective tissues of the body—the tendons, fasciae, and ligaments—with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility. A more meditative approach to yoga, its goals are awareness of inner silence, and bringing to light a universal, interconnecting quality. (fromWikipedia)
here are a variety of Yin Yoga videos
Restorative yoga was originally created to help those of us who are not well, or who are injured. Yin and restorative yoga use different sets of postures.
Restorative yoga uses basically five or six poses using props that enable us to completely relax. They are held = > 5 minutes. The poses are composed of gentle twists, forward sitting bends, and very gentle back bends.
Much like other types of childbirth-preparation classes, prenatal yoga is a multifaceted approach to exercise that encourages stretching, mental centering and focused breathing. Research suggests that prenatal yoga is safe and can have many benefits for pregnant women and their babies.
Prenatal yoga benefits:
- Improve sleep
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
- Decrease lower back pain, nausea, headaches and shortness of breath (from Mayoclinic)
For Additional info on pregnancy: Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy 2nd Edition