What are chakras and why should we care about them? Most people in the modern world would probably have come across the concept of chakras. At the very least, they would have heard the word and thought it was another new age frou-frou that they didn’t care about.
However, what is fascinating is that the general yogic culture (and chakras included), have started become a growing part of our culture here in the “West”. Thanks to the yogis who have studied this ancient system of the subtle bodies and brought these lessons into the modern world.
What are Chakras?
Chakras are wheel like structure that reside inside our energy or subtle body. They are our energetic centers. There are 114 chakras in and around your body. The most common knowledge ones are the 7 that reside in the subtle body “within” your body. There are 5 additional chakras that reside above your head providing the pathway to higher dimensions.
We will be focusing this article on the 7 chakras that are “inside” your body. The reason most yogic teachers and Ayurvedic practitioners focus on these chakras is because they are the main ones that we can feel and heal.
Where did Chakras come from?
Chakras have always been there as long as humans have existed. The concept or discovery of these wheel-like structures can be traced back to the Vedic traditions of ancient India dating back to 5000+BCE. The rishis of India believed that these energy centers held in prana or life giving energy. And when prana is flowing in a pure and heightened manner, the chakras are at their optimal. In this case, the person is able to function at their optimal too.
Most modern therapists would state that if you have a childhood block about money, for example, then you will not have a good relationship with money. They would proceed to ask you to “deal with the block and remove it”. This is so that your move that stuck energy away from the belief of money being bad. Most people who successfully deal with their blocks, will not need further therapy.
In the same way, the rishis ask us to deal with our energy blocks that reside in these 7 areas of the body. Since each chakra has a specific role – physically and mentally, if we are able to clear out the block or stagnant energy, we are on a path of healing.
How Do the Chakras Work in our Body?
They are strung upon one of the main nadis – the sushumna nadi. In English, this is the main channel for energy in the body. This goes from the base of the tailbone up through to area of the nostrils – where prana or life enters and leaves our body.
The concept of these chakras can be understood with its biological parallel. Each of the areas of the chakra have a corresponding nerve plexi in the human body. And these nerve plexi move electric energy so that our bodies can function. Without these electric signals traveling through the nerves, we wouldn’t be able to act or react.
In the same way, the chakras are said to be these subtle body energy centers that allow for energy to move through them so that we can function at optimum too. And while the nerve plexi control the physical aspect of our bodies, the chakra control the subtle aspect.
What are the 7 Main Chakras?
The 7 chakras are listed below in order of how they are said to appear in our body. This goes from our tailbone to the crown of our head. As mentioned above, there are 5 other chakras that reside in the subtle area above our head, but we will not be discussing those here.
The goal here is to get you acquainted with your physical chakras so that you know how to work with them for your benefit.
- Muladhara chakra – root chakra for stability
- Svadisthana chakra – sex chakra of desire
- Manipura chakra – gut chakra of achieving goals
- Anahata chakra – heart chakra of consciousness or awareness of true self
- Vishuddha chakra – throat chakra of self-expression
- Anja chakra – eye chakra of perception
- Saharsa Padma – crown chakra of openness to divine and self awareness
Now that you know the 7 main chakras, lets discuss how you can use them for your benefit. There is no point learning about them without trying to experience them for yourself.
1. Muladhara Chakra
The muladhara chakra is located at the base of your spine, near the perineum. This chakra is said to be of the color red. During meditation it is good to chant and focus on this chakra if you are feeling ungrounded or unsafe.
This is the chakra that will help bring stability and balance to your life. It is also said to bring more emotional solidity too. Without this chakra being in balanced flow, it will be difficult for the individual to sustain spiritual awareness. They wouldn’t be grounded enough for that activity to take place.
2. Svadhistana Chakra
The svadhistana chakra is located a few inches below the belly button and above the pubic bone. It has a dark blue color.
This chakra is responsible for desire, love, and devotion. Most people who do not understand this chakra will associate it purely to the physical act of sex. While it also sustains that activity, the chakra is meant to bring more pure love into the world. Spiritually, it is said to move this sexual desire into devotion and self love towards the higher aspect of the person’s soul – or God.
3. Manipura Chakra
The manipura chakra is located a couple of inches above your belly button. It is the exact area where you can feel that sinking feeling in your gut. When things go bad, most of us can immediately feel that connection to the gut. That is your manipura chakra in action. This chakra has the color of blue.
The chakra is responsible for actions that set out to achieve physical and spiritual goals. Keeping this chakra healthy and unblocked will help you be more focused in achieving your goals.
4. Anahata Chakra
The anahata chakra is located in the area of your heart or upper chest. It has the color of red. This field of consciousness is where the mind is said to operate from. While we know the brain processes the actions of thought, the origination of thought is said to first appear in the anahata chakra. If we are open and don’t let thought overwlem us, we work with the forces of life.
If we however hold onto thought and emotion, we can stuck and blocked. We lose focus and can make decision based purely from emotions that are not healthy. Releasing thought and emotion is the first step to healing this chakra. It is here that we can love unconditionally too.
5. Vishudha Chakra
The vishudha chakra is located in the throat. It has the color of grey. The vishudha chakra is important in our world as it is our means for self expression. Whether we express ourselves from a place of ego vs a place of absolute truth, depends on how spiritually awakened we are.
The power of this chakra lies in how open it is for you. If you were always told to suppress yourself, you could possibly have a semi blocked chakra. However, if you always expressed yourself no matter who or what, you could have an chakra that needs some balance. The goal is to heal the chakra so that divine or absolute truth is what is expressed. And that we do not speak from a place of the lower self or ego.
6. Anja Chakra
The anja chakra is located in between our eyes. This is often referred to as our third eye. This chakra has the color of silvery white. This chakra is responsible for what we taken into our mind and body through of sense of vision. All of us have different perception of things we see.
No two people have the exact same experience of what they see. Knowing this, we want to purify our perception or filter of the world, so that we can see through the eyes of the divine. When we can see from a place of higher awareness and understanding, we can see the world with more compassion and love. Contrary to that, when we see the world through ego, we have more judgment and fear.
7. Sahasra Padma Chakra
The sahasra Padma chakra is located at the crown of your head. It is the center of the top of your head. Ancient rishis believe that this is where the divine connects with us. Our hearing is used to hear the voice of the divine and allow that energy to flow through us. We are already truth and one with God.
Allowing all of chakras to have clear flow of prana through to the top of our head helps us in our journey of spiritual awakening. By knowing that we connect to divine from this point, we also know that all of creation exists at this point too. If we are able to fully open to that truth, we open to knowing the oneness of all creation.
How to Know if Your Chakras are Blocked?
There are different signs your body will give you to tell you something is off in one or more of your energy centers / chakras. Some of these signs are pain and stiffness, lack of satisfaction, lack of passion, low self-esteem, abdominal pain, constipation, tightness in the chest, etc.
To understand yourself better, sitting in quiet meditation and taking your mind’s focus to the different chakra areas will help you understand if your chakra feels weird/strange/off. The most common feeling I personally have when something is not right in my chakras is a sense of tightness and discomfort.
You can read more in this article about what signs to look for in each chakra and how to release it with meditation and the most powerful technique of mantra chanting.
Now that you have understood what chakras are and why we have them, I hope you will start your journey towards healing both your physical and energetic bodies.
I hope you had some aha moments here for your own spiritual journey. And while it is not my place (atm) to provide mantras here to help you open and clear up your chakras, I do recommend looking up mantras on Youtube to help you focus on any one or all of the chakras you want to heal.
Good luck on your spiritual journey to a life of health, love, and light.
What chakras do you feel are blocked? Are you going to try to work on them? Let me know below!
Featured photo courtesy of pixabay.com