Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Chakras
It’s hard to avoid the buzzword chakra these days. However, what exactly the chakras are, how they work, why they are important in our modern lives is not always clear or easy to understand. Put very simply, your entire life - mind, body, and soul - is affected by and can be improved by understanding and cleansing your chakras.
The chakra system comes from Sanskrit writings used by a variety of ancient meditation practices created over thousands of years. Scholars and researchers found that Chakras have likely been studied since humans first developed language, and perhaps longer. Certain cultures religions have studied the energetic body at length, spending lifetimes in deep meditation and studying under enlightened masters. Thanks to new age medicine and psychology, the Internet brings those thousands of years of knowledge directly to you in an easily accessible way - years of meditation and study not required.
What are Chakras?
The chakras are centres or “wheels” of energy that interact with your emotions and even parts of your physical body. Chakras are the link between your physical and emotional selves. If your stress is focused in one area of your life, the chakra linked to that subject or emotion is likely blocked, which can also end up affecting the corresponding area of the body. Most health concerns, when the chakras are understood, can be traced back to their emotional roots.
The chakras interact with your energy field (or aura), which extends outside of your physical body and interacts with energy from the people and environment around you. The reason we feel immediately comfortable around some people and uncomfortable around others is essentially because of this energy field.
We have boiled down thousands of years of information into this easy to read and practical chakra beginners guide to help you stay healthy and happy.
Introduction to the Chakras: Names & Locations
- Root Chakra (Muladhara)
The root chakra is linked to your legs, feet, knees, ankles, tailbone, skeletal system, bladder, and large intestines. This chakra is located at the base of the spine. Weight problems, anemia, fatigue, or hemorrhoids can show an imbalance in this chakra.
- Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana)
The sacral chakra is linked to the reproductive organs, spleen, gallbladder, and kidneys. It’s located just below the navel. Eating disorders, urinary tract infections, candida, depression, and alcoholism can be linked to an imbalance in this chakra.
- Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
Your solar plexus chakra is linked to your digestive system, your small intestine, and your pancreas. The energy center is located at the diaphragm, right below where the ribs meet. Diabetes, ulcers, constipation, and addictions are symptoms that can reveal an energy block in this chakra.
- Heart Chakra (Anahata)
The heart chakra is linked to your lungs, thymus gland, bronchial tract, heart, shoulders, arms, and hands. The energy center is the largest electromagnetic field of all the chakras and surrounds the entire chest. Asthma, autoimmune disorders, respiratory illness, heart problems and high blood pressure can be symptoms linked to a block in this chakra.
- Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)
The throat chakra is linked to your tongue, mouth, gums, neck, vocal system, throat, glands, and perspiration. This energy center is located in and around the throat. Toothaches, fevers, cases of flu, TMJ, thyroid conditions, speech impediments, and mouth sores are some common symptoms of an imbalanced throat chakra.
- Third-Eye Chakra (Ajna)
The thrid-eye chakra is linked to your ears, nose, and throat as well as your brain. The energy center is located at the pineal gland between the two eyebrows on the forehead (you’ll sometimes hear this chakra called the brow chakra as well). Vision problems, insomnia, migraines, and anxiety indicate an energy block in this chakra.
- Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
The crown chakra is linked to the nervous system and pituitary gland. It’s located at the top of the head and extends up above the head. It’s linked to the lymph nodes, skin issues, veins, and mental disorders as well as confusion and senility.
What are the Emotions/Areas of Life Linked to Each Chakra?
- Root Chakra (Red)
The root chakra links to your ability to survive and feel stable and safe. When balanced you’ll have adequate energy, feel grounded, and have a sense of belonging.
- Sacral Chakra (Orange)
The sacral chakra links to your feelings of intimacy, your desires, your ability to manifest, and your creative energy. When balanced you’ll be able to express what you want, have innovative ideas, as well as a healthy sex drive.
- Solar Plexus Chakra (Yellow)
The solar plexus chakra links to willpower, confidence, sense of humour and optimism, and ability to take action. If it’s balanced you’ll find you can be a strong leader because you’ll have strong motivation and self-control.
- Heart Chakra (Green)
The heart chakra links to your self-love, ability to forgive and have compassion, as well as your ability to grow. When balanced, you won’t feel possessive, you’ll treat yourself with gentleness, as well as be able to cultivate meaningful relationships.
- Throat Chakra (Blue)
The throat chakra links to your ability to share your ideas, speak clearly, and voice your boundaries. When it’s functioning optimally, you’ll be able to listen and speak with mindfulness of others and self-assuredness.
- Third-Eye Chakra (Purple)
The third-eye chakra links to your imagination, your ability to understand things, your memory, and your intuition. When this chakra is active, you can experience premonitions, a strong imagination, and fearlessness.
- Crown Chakra (White or Pink)
The crown chakra links to your magnetism, wisdom, a sense of being a part of something bigger than yourself, and a state of pure joy. The crown chakra, when balanced, allows you to sense your true identity beyond your body and mind. It is the center for spirituality and enlightenment.
Why are Colours & Music Notes Associated with the Chakras?
Everything is energy! Even though we do not see this energy moving, all things are vibrating at a molecular level, which means we are constantly interacting not only with sound waves and light waves, but many types of invisible wavelengths and frequencies. The systems in our body are in constant energetic communication through our meridians and our body is in communication with everything around us as sensory beings.
The chakras each have a certain energetic frequency, and so does each colour! Colours are actually wavelengths that we perceive along the infrared light spectrum. Since certain colours are the same frequency as certain musical notes, the frequency of each chakra also responds to sounds that resonate at the same frequency of the chakra, which is a non-invasive form of therapy. Sound therapy is founded on these energetic principals which help balance and move energy within us by harmonizing our energy field. You don’t have to understand how this works perfectly to be able to improve your life! Phew!
How Can I Balance My Chakras?
Meditation also allows you to release negative emotions (and therefore negative energy) that are being stored in and blocking your chakras. Many
Affirmations are also a powerful way to balance your chakras by interacting with the subconscious mind. If you notice you are always in a state of fearfulness when out in public, for instance, this could signal a block in your throat or third-eye chakras. Blocks can be cleared by sending a new signal to the brain consistently, which can in effect retrain the subconscious and heal the chakra linked to those types of emotions. An affirmation such as, “I am safe and enjoy visiting new places,” could help you find a healthier perspective and new thought pattern.
There are also chakra balancing teas, chakra balancing incense, and even chakra balancing essential oils and sprays that are new age products for a new era!
Spiritual maintenance, as I like to call it, is a preventive health measure. Regular upkeep of the health of your chakras will ensure your energy is balanced and free-flowing. Here are some specific ways to address blocks in each individual chakra:
How to Clear Each of the 7 Chakras
- Root Chakra
Foods grown close to and under the ground can help balance the root chakra. Carrots, potatoes, onions, and beets are great for the root chakra. Red plants like pomegranate and strawberries also work well. Herbs like cinnamon, ginger and cloves which are all found in traditional chai can help your root chakra and aid in elimination.
Red and dark-coloured crystals can help balance your root chakra. Try onyx, black obsidian, red jasper, garnet, and hematite. You can use them in meditation or wear them.
Standing yoga poses such as warrior pose and balancing poses like tree pose, dancer’s pose, or pyramid pose are great ways to help activate your root chakra.
- Sacral Chakra
Eating spicy foods and orange foods will help activate this chakra. Ginger, cayenne and jalapenos as well as oranges, cantaloupe and mangos are great for the sacral chakra. Herbs like ginseng, ashwagandha, and maca root can help you clear this chakra by balancing the hormones.
Crystals that are orange such as tiger’s eye, citrine, and amber are used to help stimulate this chakra.
Yoga poses that strengthen the core and stretch the hips will help the sacral chakra. Try plank pose, boat pose, hanuman asana (splits), and warrior II, which stretches the hips well.
- Solar Plexus Chakra
Eating yellow foods such as garbanzo beans, oats, and bananas can help you balance your solar plexus chakra. Herbs that can help balance this chakra include turmeric, fennel, and milk thistle among others.
Crystals that are yellow such as sunstone, yellow calcite, and carnelian are great for the solar plexus chakra. Smokey quartz can help as well.
Yoga poses that help the solar plexus are core stabilizing poses such as chaturanga, upward facing dog, wheel pose and camel pose. Twists are also good for this chakra.
- Heart Chakra
Eating greens such as avocado, cucumber, celery, spinach, and kale can help this chakra. Green grapes, peppers, and lime are also great for this chakra. Herbs such as holy basil, vanilla, and chamomile are great for the heart chakra.
Crystals that are pink or green are known to help the heart chakra. Rose quartz, malachite, and rhodochrosite are great to meditate with or wear throughout the day.
Yoga poses that stretch your chest, spine and shoulders are good for the heart chakra. Try standing forward fold, standing wide legged forward fold, cobra pose, bow pose, and puppy pose are all great for this chakra.
- Throat Chakra
Foods that are blue such as blueberries, blackberries, and acai are great for the throat chakra. Pears and honey can also be great for this chakra. Herbs that help the throat chakra include rosemary, mint, hibiscus, lavender, and ginger.
Crystals such as aventurine, azurite, lapis-lazuli, and angel aura quartz are great to keep around to help this chakra.
Yoga poses that stretch your shoulders and neck will help this chakra stay active. Plow pose, thread the needle, child’s pose, and rabbit pose are all wonderful for the throat chakra.
- Third-Eye Chakra
Foods that are purple help balance the third-eye chakra. Eggplant, goji berries, red grapes, and raspberries are all great options. Herbs that help balance this chakra include valerian, mugwort, thyme, and dill.
Crystals that help balance the third-eye and activate it include amethyst, quartz, and labradorite. Any crystal used on the third-eye chakra will also improve the function of the mind.
Yoga poses where your head is below your heart (also known as an inversion) will help the third-eye. Try headstand, downward-facing dog, or bridge pose.
- Crown Chakra
Foods that are white and gold help balance the crown chakra. Onions, garlic, maca root, pumpkin seeds, horseradish, and golden berries are great for this chakra. Herbs that can help balance this chakra include passion flower, lavender, elderflower, and rosemary.
Crystals that are able to resonate at this high frequency include moldavite, phenacite, moonstone, and scolecite.
Yoga exercises that improve the crown chakra include breath of fire, handstands, corpse pose, meditation, and standing forward fold.
There you have it, folks! A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Your Chakras.
You’re now equipped with the knowledge to go forth and discover the power of your own chakra system. By taking care of your energetic vibration, you’ll watch so many elements of your life fall into balance where they weren’t before.
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