What are Chakras? Most people have heard of the “7 Chakras,” but what are they really?
In essence, the chakras are dynamic energy centers within the body that influence the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual states of being. Each chakra has its own characteristic, name, and color, and governs different areas of the body.
The chakra points are located along the spine; starting at the tailbone and ending at the crown of the head. Although the chakras are rooted in the body, however, they actually extend outside of the physical body, composing the auric field. In order to better understand what the chakras are and how to use them, it’s smart to start at the root and work your way up.
A Brief History of the Chakra System
The word “chakra” comes from Sanskrit, meaning “wheel,” and the first mention of the chakra system can be found in the Vedas (an ancient Indian text). However, many metaphysicians believe that the concept was around long before this. The chakras are often linked to yoga in ancient descriptions, as the benefit and purpose of the practice help to strengthen the chakra system, and vice versa. Moving from the Vedas into yogic philosophy, the chakras have been well-documented and explored. However, oral tales and traditions are also responsible for keeping the knowledge alive.
Interestingly enough, the chakra system is also historically connected to Tantric practices, which are largely misunderstood in Western culture. Tantra means “loom,” which suggests that Tantric philosophy supports the chakras by deepening the exploration of polarity, the above and the below, and the balance of the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine.
Chakra studies were introduced to the Western world by Sir John George Woodroffe, also known by his pen name, Arthur Avalon, who authored the book The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga in 1919. Two decades later, former priest C.W. Leadbeater wrote The Chakras, which offers a clairvoyant take on the chakra system via detailed descriptions and colorful illustrations.
Interest in the chakras swelled in the 1960s, during the “hippie” revolution, quickly picking up speed and forming the basis of the “New Age” movement. In modern times, chakra has practically become a household word. While not many are aware of the full system and how it works, there’s at least a base understanding and an open-minded interest in learning more about these dynamic centers of life.
Chakra One: ROOT
The Root Chakra is where our journey through the chakra system begins. This is our center of survival, security, and primal needs.
- Location: Base of the spine
- Color: Red
- Element: Earth
- Corresponding areas of the body: Feet, legs, bowels
- Theme: To “be”
- Balancing chakra: Crown (located at the head)
When a chakra is blocked or closed, the energy within it is slow or stagnant, affecting the body parts and organs that it’s connected to. On the flip side, when a chakra has “too much” energy, it can absorb the energy from surrounding chakras, as well as overwhelm the entire energy system. The idea is perfect balance and harmony between chakras.
Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Root Chakra:
- IBS and other digestive issues
- Weak ankles/knees
- Feeling ungrounded
- Financial problems
- Concerns about personal safety
- Irrational fears
- Greed and possessiveness
Consider the sensations that arise in the body when we’re thrust into fearful situations, such as a reaction to fire, snakes, spiders, or even a near-death experience. We’re often intensely focused on our physical safety, becoming instinctive and animal-like in what we perceive to be a life-or-death situation. Our Root Chakra is our connection to our primitive, needs-based side, where the main concern is safety and survival.
Although many of us enjoy a life that meets our basic needs (like food, clothes, and shelter), we can easily succumb to a fear state when the Root Chakra isn’t functioning properly. To keep the Root open and flowing, there are many activities that you can practice that can help you form a deeper connection to your body and the earth.
Steps to Unblock Your Root Chakra:
- Grounding: An easy way to ground is to kick off your shoes and simply allow your feet to touch the earth. Take a few moments each day to sit on the earth, as well, allowing this chakra point to touch the earth.
- Aromatherapy: Woodsy, earthy essential oils and scents can help balance the root. Try pine, oak, juniper, and cedarwood to offer your root stability and security.
- Veggies: Root vegetables are great for this chakra of the same name. Anything that’s grown in rich, dark soil can help nourish your first chakra.
Chakra Two: SACRAL
Moving up to the second chakra of the 7 chakras system, we come to the Sacral Chakra. This is where our deepest emotions and sensations are held and expressed, as well as the balance of light and dark, yin and yang, and our creative potential.
- Location: Underneath the navel, within the lower abdomen
- Color: Orange
- Element: Water
- Corresponding areas of the body: Reproductive system, kidneys, bladder, hips, lower back
- Theme: To “feel”
- Balancing chakra: Throat
Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Sacral Chakra:
- Emotional imbalance
- Bladder issues
- Reproductive disorders
- Kidney disease
- Feelings of guilt
- Sexual confusion or shame
The key is to allow our emotions, pleasures, and creativity to flow unencumbered, but maintain equilibrium. When we’re overcome by desires and emotions, we can easily get thrown off kilter. Practices that encourage honest, healthy expression and deep emotional connection can help strengthen the Sacral Chakra.
Steps to Unblock Your Sacral Chakra:
- Baths: This practice not only allows you to surrender to the senses, it encourages you to literally “go with the flow.” If you’re able to bathe in fresh, moving water (such as a river or the ocean), even better!
- Artistic expression: Paint, garden, cook - anything that allows you to create.
- Sweets: Naturally-sweet foods, such as carrots, papaya, and mangos are great for the sacral chakra (especially when consumed in liquid form).
Chakra Three: SOLAR
The Solar Plexus is the next stop on our journey up the chakra points. This is where our inner fire stirs, igniting self-confidence and willpower.
- Location: Above the navel, within the upper abdomen
- Color: Yellow
- Element: Fire
- Corresponding areas of the body: Stomach, spleen, gallbladder, liver, pancreas
- Theme: To “do”
- Balancing chakra: Third Eye
Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Solar Plexus Chakra:
- Weight issues
- Lack of self-esteem (or overabundance of it)
- Weak will
- Control issues
- Excessive anger
Overly-confident people are often characterized by a protruding midsection, proudly strutting their stuff. On the flip side, people who don’t have much confidence are usually seen hunched over, as if in defeat or timidity. Make sure to aim for the perfect balance of the elements.
Steps to Unblock Your Solar Chakra:
- Exercise: This chakra thrives on doing, moving, and action, so incorporating an exercise routine into your wellness practice is recommended.
- Mantras: Creating empowering mantras or affirmations that you can chant throughout the day can help build your willpower and confidence. Some examples would be, “I can do this,” or “I embrace my fire.”
- Willpower: Make a list of goals and stick to it. Checking off tasks or accomplishments helps us with accountability, further enhancing self-confidence.
Chakra Four: HEART
This chakra is known as the Heart Chakra. It’s the area where we nurture and express our love and compassion.
- Location: Center of the chest
- Color: Green (can also be pink or gold)
- Element: Air
- Corresponding areas of the body: Heart, lungs, arms, circulatory system
- Theme: To “love”
- Balancing chakra: All of the chakra points balance the heart
Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Heart Chakra:
- Respiratory issues
- Tightness or pain in the chest
- Circulation problems
- Heart disease
- Tendency to hold grudges
Here in the middle of the 7 chakras lies the literal and metaphysical heart. When our lives are out of harmony, especially in giving and receiving love, the heart chakra may become affected. Quite often, when our hearts get hurt by betrayal, grief, or unrequited love, we close the heart off completely. While this may work as a temporary protective method, closing the heart interrupts the flow of the entire body.
The heart chakra thrives only on open, unconditional love. Thankfully, there are many ways to heal this chakra and use it to deepen your connections.
Steps to Unblock Your Heart Chakra:
- Open your heart: Not only do we need to trust our hearts to others, we literally need to expand the chest. Deep-breathing exercises can help with this - expanding and invigorating the lungs and the heart.
- Practice gratitude: Nothing is more inspiring than thankfulness when it comes to this chakra. When we take the time to express our appreciation for ourselves, our family, and the whole of humanity, we nurture our hearts while expressing pure, unconditional love and compassion.
- Respecting boundaries: Be more mindful of the balance of give and take, and disengage from any relationships that are not equal in this regard. Try not to over-sacrifice or adopt a martyr mentality.
Chakra Five: THROAT
Moving higher, we come to the Throat Chakra. This is where we express ourselves and honour our personal truths.
- Location: Throat
- Color: Bright blue
- Element: Ether
- Corresponding areas of the body: Throat, neck, shoulders, mouth, jaw, thyroid
- Theme: To “speak”
- Balancing chakra: Sacral
Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive throat chakra:
- Jaw tightness
- Throat discomfort
- Shoulder pain
- Thyroid disease
- Excessive talking (or excessive silence)
- Speaking issues
- Pathological lying
- Problems with communication
Offhanded comments such as “Be quiet,” or “You’re wrong” can unknowingly do a lot of damage to this delicate chakra point. Whenever someone shuts down our expression, we go even deeper into hiding.
The key is open communication that’s expressed in constructive, encouraging, and safe environments.
Steps to Unblock Your Throat Chakra:
- Chant: Find a healing, inspiring mantra or affirmation that you can repeat to open up the throat area. Simply encouraging purposeful movement and expression here can go a long way!
- Sing: If anyone ever told you that you “can’t” sing, it’s imperative that you include this practice in your life. Whether you think you can or not, try it anyway. Don’t worry about how your voice sounds, but instead concentrate on the act of expressing without fear.
- Journal: Writing is a very healing, introspective form of communication that can help you explore any emotions, memories, or wounds that are at the root of your expression issues.
Chakra Six: THIRD EYE
The sixth chakra, also known as the Third Eye Chakra, is where deep knowing and intuition dwells.
- Location: The center of the forehead
- Color: Indigo
- Element: Light
- Corresponding areas of the body: Eyes, ears, pituitary gland
- Theme: To “see”
- Balancing chakra: Solar Plexus
Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Third Eye Chakra:
- Illusions or hallucinations
- Denial of intuitive abilities
We’re all born with a “sixth sense” that helps us channel our inner knowing to feel out people and situations. When this area gets muddled, we can fall victim to confusion or disillusion, not knowing if our feelings are our own. To embrace your inherent intuitive abilities, you will need to unblock your Third Eye Chakra:
Steps to Unblock Your Third Eye Chakra:
- Meditation or hypnosis: The fastest way to connect with the third eye is to disengage from all outside senses and go within. Guided meditation, hypnosis sessions, and binaural beats can help you reach a state of stillness that encourages deeper introspection.
- Chromatherapy: Incorporate more indigo hues into your daily life, including clothing, crystals, and furniture. Opting for an indigo eye mask and/or bed sheets can help you enhance your intuition while you sleep!
- Trust: To nurture this chakra, you must trust it. When you get a “vibe” about someone or something that your logic can’t explain away, trust these impressions. Create a deep connection with your intuitive abilities and watch them blossom.
Finally, we reach the 7th chakra of the 7 chakra system! The Crown Chakra, where our connection to the spiritual realm, and the source of the divine is situated.
- Location: Top of the head
- Color: Violet/White
- Element: No corresponding element
- Corresponding areas of the body: Cerebral cortex, pineal gland
- Theme: To “understand”
- Balancing chakra: Root
Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Crown Chakra:
- Feelings of disconnect
- Dogmatic attitude
- Issues comprehending spiritual concepts
- Fear of mysticism, the occult, spirituality
- Denial of the existence of source/God
When our Crown Chakra is closed or depleted, we become disconnected from source itself; closing ourselves off from the the wisdom of our higher selves. It’s only when we can accept our connection to divine understanding that we can enjoy a more fulfilling, enlightening existence. To tap into the potential of the crown chakra, you can practice these steps.
Steps to Unblock Your Crown Chakra:
- Chanting and exploring the “Ohm”: This mantra is soothing to the crown, and simply uttering it can help balance your other chakra points, too.
- Transcendental meditation or Vedic meditation: This form of meditation is known to go much deeper than common meditation practices, “transcending” thoughts and the containment of the physical body. It often incorporates a mantra, as well, which further enhances the experience.
Once we deepen our knowledge of the 7 chakras and how to use them, we’re well on our way to optimum health and spiritual enlightenment. As always, balance is the key to fulfillment of the body, mind, and soul.
Let's start the healing and unblocking of our Chakras with a Mindbliss meditation called Grounding and Alignment. This meditation is designed to stimulate and open the first chakra - the Root Chakra. This cleanses and aligns the vertebral column, purifying and grounding your roots into Earth. Achieving a symbiosis of your heartbeat with the heartbeat of Mother Earth.
If you enjoyed this meditation and would like to listen to the rest of Mindbliss Chakra meditations to heal and unblock Chakras 2 to 7, download the app by clicking HERE from your iPhone or Android.
At Mindbliss we have a large and diverse range of 300 (and growing) quality meditations. We are always hard at work curating the best ones for you. :) We hope you love them. 💜