Chakras 101

Chakras 101

Image courtesy of yoga.lovetoknow

Today I want to talk about chakras! Pronounced like shock-rahs (this is how most Americans seem to pronounce it) or chock-rahs (the actual pronunciation, where the ch is a hard sound).

The word “chakra” originates from Sanskrit and literally translates as “wheel”. Which makes sense, as our chakras are energy vortexes (or wheels) in our bodies; places where energy and consciousness meet. We have many chakras within us (and shamans believe we even have 2 outside of us); but most of the time, we focus on the 7 major chakras that align from the base of the spine to the crown of our head.

Chakras have specific correspondences and it’s important that we tend to our chakras regularly, to ensure there are no blockages. 

This is actually a foundational step when trying to live in the flow of life!

Before we get into how to tend to our chakras, let’s discuss the 7 major chakras and their correspondences.

Root Chakra (aka Muladhara)

  1. Root Chakra – this is the first chakra, located at the base of the spine, and is associated with the color red. This chakra is our connection to the Earth, mother energies, safety, a feeling of groundedness, security and stability (both physically and financially), and is the foundation in which we approach life. It’s also where our basic needs live (food, water, shelter, etc.); as well as our physical sense of self. When this chakra is blocked, out of balance, or overactive, we feel restless, insecure, and unsafe. We may struggle financially or feel greedy. We may even express ourselves in a negative manner through eating disorders or by being excessively negative or cynical.

Sacral Chakra (aka Svadhishthana)

2. Sacral Chakra – as the second chakra, the Sacral Chakra is located in the lower belly (approximately three inches below the belly button) and is associated with the color orange. The Sacral Chakra corresponds to the element of water and relates to our emotional body, our relationships, its our creative center, and is home to our sexuality and sensual pleasures. This chakra is motivated by pleasure and wants us to live a pleasurable life. When this chakra is blocked, out of balance or overactive, we can become dependent or co-dependent on other people or substances to feel better. We can feel overly emotional, or numb and out of touch. We may feel stuck in a particular mood or feeling. We can also overindulge in pleasurable activities, or have a complete lack of sexual desire or satisfaction.

Solar Plexus Chakra
(aka Manipura)

3. Solar Plexus Chakra – our third chakra is the Solar Plexus, located in the upper belly, just below the rib cage, pretty much where the diaphragm is. This chakra corresponds to the color yellow and the element of fire. This chakra is home to our “judgment center”, where we know right from wrong. The expression ‘you feel it in your gut’ is referring to the Solar Plexus. This is where we form our identity, our individuality, our will and personal power; our sense of self. We can credit our personal beliefs and opinions to the Solar Plexus. Its where we get our confidence from, and where we take responsibility for our lives. Its also associated to the intellect and our mental abilities (even though these traits are often correspondences of the element of air, not fire). When this chakra is blocked, out balance, or overactive, we can become control freaks, feel helpless or even act irresponsibly. We can focus too much on the details of something and lose sight of the ‘bigger picture’. We may even become manipulative, abuse our own power, or oppositely, we may have no clear direction, feeling of purpose or even ambition. Sometimes, we may have many ideas but no real idea of how to execute them.

Heart Chakra
(aka Anahata)

4. Heart Chakra – the fourth chakra is our Heart Chakra. Located in the center of the chest, this chakra is associated with the color green and the element of air. The Heart Chakra corresponds to everything related to the heart and our higher emotions. This includes: love for ourselves and others, relationships, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, acceptance, change, grief and peace. When this chakra is blocked, out of balance, or overactive, we may feel overly defensive, closed down, jealous, express a fear of intimacy and become codependent on others’ for approval and attention. We may also play the victim or put ourselves in the role of the hero. We can become hermits, feeling overly unsocial, hold grudges, or be unable to express forgiveness. On a physical level, we may manifest respiratory, circulatory or heart-related issues.

Throat Chakra
(aka Vishuddha)

5. Throat Chakra – our Throat Chakra is located in middle of our throat and is associated with the color blue. This chakra is multi-dimensional because it exists within our throat, but it also exists in other planes, which allows for a connection to spirit and intuitiveness. The Throat Chakra is our center of truth, where we can speak up, speak out. We can communicate using this chakra verbally, non-verbally, externally or internally. This is the chakra that will help you to put plans into action, realize your purpose, and gives a good sense of timing. When this chakra is blocked, out of balance, or overactive, we can feel a lack of control over what we say, by speaking inappropriately, or even too much. It can also manifest as an excessive fear of speaking (this includes occasions where it’s not public speaking), or we speak very softly, using a ‘small voice’. We also may betray others by not keeping a secret or even committing to our own word. We become liars, secretive and shy. We may even feel disconnected to our purpose.

Third Eye Chakra
(aka Ajna)

6. Third Eye Chakra – our sixth chakra is located between the eyebrows, above the bridge of the nose. The Third Eye is commonly represented as purple, or blueish purple. I like to think it’s specifically indigo colored so it falls in line with the “ROYGBIV” colors of the rainbow. The Third Eye is our intuitive center. This chakra allows us to see, to perceive much more than what meets the eye. There’s a saying that helps explain the Third Eye Chakra, it goes “I have three eyes, two to look and one to see”. The Third Eye gives us access to psychic abilities (mostly clairaudience and clairvoyance), and allows us to perceive subtle dimensions and movements of energy. It can grant us access to mystical states, connects us to wisdom and insight and inspires our creativity. When this chakra is blocked, out of balance, or overactive, we can feel stuck in our daily lives with no real vision on how to move forward. We can also believe that our fantasies are more real to us than our actual, real lives. We may overindulge in psychic fantasies or illusions. We can also feel like we have no vision for ourselves, we lack clarity. We may even reject everything spiritual or at least things that challenge reality.

Crown Chakra
(aka Sahasrara)

7. Crown Chakra – the last of our 7 main chakras, the Crown is associated to both the color violate, and the color white. It’s located at the top of our head (aka the ‘crown’) and is our connection to Source (not necessarily “God”, but could align with how we each define God, or the Universe, for ourselves). It’s the chakra that allows us to connect to higher states of consciousness, with the formless and the limitless. It is our realization, our bliss, and our presence, it’s the awareness of the sacred. When we engage our crown chakra, we’re engaging with Spirit, with other planes and we can transcend space, time, and our mundane lives. The Crown Chakra is linked to the infinite, the universal, the universal consciousness, the divine self. When this chakra is blocked, out of balance, or overactive, we feel disconnected to spirit. We’re cynical and devoid of the sacred. We may even feel a disconnection with our own bodies by living in our head too much. We could become close minded or even express obsessive attachment to spiritual matters.

Image courtesty of chakras.info

Now that we’ve covered each of the 7 main chakras, let’s discuss how we can balance, align and release any blockages from our chakras.

  1. Visualization through meditation. If you’re a recent reiki client of mine, you know that I have a “go-to” meditation that precedes any reiki session and connects us to Mother Earth, grounds us, clears and balances our chakras, cleanses our auras, shields us and releases everything that no longer serves us. This meditation leaves us feeling lighter, loved, healthier, more connected and is a great way to start a reiki session because it also helps us relax and become receivers for the reiki energy. Now, if you’re not a client of mine, you may be thinking “well that’s all well and good there lady, but what about me?!” I have two words for you: YouTube (ok it’s really one word, but come on, it’s really two words squished together). You can search hundreds of thousands of guided meditations on YouTube and find one that resonates with you, that will help you clear & balance yo’ chakras. (And FYI – one of these days, I plan to record this go-to meditation of mine for you lovely readers. My current excuse as to why I haven’t yet, is that I still have a cough that interrupts me whenever I start talking.)
  2. Sound Therapy. When I was going to school for Esthetics, I had one teacher that was just on another level… you know the type, she talked about energy work like it was normal (and to me, at this time in my life, I was enraptured with this topic and would hang on her every word, because energy work FELT RIGHT to me, but I knew nothing about it!). One day, she treated us to a “chakra opening” exercise that used tuning forks. This was one of the coolest experiences of my life (still!). She had a set of tuning forks, each one represented and corresponded to one of the 7 main chakras. She tapped each fork once or twice and you could FEEL the change in the room after we all experienced the opening of our chakras. I specifically remember having tears of joy when she worked on my heart. Now, tuning forks might not be your jam, or even a reasonable investment at this time. But fear not! We have other things that make sounds! Singing bowls, bells, chimes, etc. Your local metaphysical shop can provide more information to you in person, or you can use the old Google machine and do your research that way.
  3. Crystals! If you know me, you know I have a decent collection of crystals in my home. Some of them I use when doing chakra work. Basically, you’ll want to choose a stone or crystal that matches the color of the chakra(s) that you want to open, clear and/or balance. Place that stone on the associated spot on the body and allow it to rest there for a few minutes to do the work. You may want to be lying down if you’re performing this exercise on yourself. There are also sets of “Chakra Stones” online or in metaphysical stores. These Chakra Stones are similar in color to and carry the symbol of their associated chakra.

There are other ways to do this awesome chakra work but I personally don’t have much experience with them so I won’t speak to them here. Again, if you’re curious, let your fingers do the typing…

I’d also like to throw in an endorsement to smudging if you’re going to do any kind of energy work. As previously discussed, smudging is a great way to start work of this kind as it clears the energy of the space you’re working in and can even clear out a crappy mood.

I hope you liked this super long and detailed post about chakras. What are your thoughts? Did I miss anything? Have you done chakra work before? Let me know!

Sending you all the love!

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