Updated: Jul 6, 2021
You've probably heard of the chakras before, at least in passing. The chakras (pronounced like chalk-ra) are energy centres that reside in the body, and represent physical, emotional, and elemental states of being. The word chakra means "wheel" in Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language, commonly used in yoga. The chakras are to be thought of as spinning wheels of energy. When these energy centres are "open" we feel at our best. When they are "closed" or blocked, we experience negative outcomes and physical ailments. When a chakra is out of balance, the emotions that go along with that chakra will be overactive or underactive, and we will feel off-balance ourselves.
There are said to be 7 chakras, though some belief systems mention hundreds! The 7 chakra system is the most common. To align the chakras, one must begin with the first and lowest chakra in the body and work their way up. The chakras build and reply upon each previous chakra, like building blocks in a child's tower.
Here is a quick overview of each chakra below, which we will be exploring in depth over the next few weeks.
Muladhara (Root) Chakra
The muladhara chakra is located in the tailbone (root) area of the body. It represents safety, stability, and home, as well as our basic needs of food, water, and shelter. Signs of imbalance in this chakra include anxiety, fear, and dependancy...on the other end, one might be over-materialistic, and hoard things and attention. The colour associated with the muladhara chakra is red, and it represents the earth element.
Svadhisthana (Sacral) Chakra
The svadhisthana chakra is located in the pelvic bowl area of the body. It represents creativity, sensuality, and pleasure. Signs of imbalance in this chakra include feeling stuck in projects and pursuits, low libido, and general discontent...on the other end, one might feel insatiably aroused, constantly seeking thrills, or inundated with so many ideas that they get nothing done. The colour associated with the svadhisthana chakra is orange, and it represents the element of water.
Manipura (Navel/Solar Plexus) Chakra
The manipura chakra is located in the navel/solar plexus area of the body. It represents power, drive, and confidence. Signs of imbalance in this chakra include social anxiety, fear of judgement, lack of motivation, and low self-worth...on the other end, one might be too aggressive, prideful, or obsessed with status. The colour associated with the manipura chakra is yellow, and it represents the element of fire.
Anahata (Heart) Chakra
The anahata chakra is located in the heart centre area of the body. It represents love, kindness, compassion, and acceptance. Signs of imbalance in this chakra include grief, jealousy, judgement, and hate of others or self...on the other end, one might go too far in helping others and forget to be kind and compassionate to themselves and their own needs. The colour associated with the anahata chakra is green, and it represents the air element.
Visuddha (Throat) Chakra
The visuddha chakra is located in the throat area of the body. It represents communication, expression, honesty, and authenticity. Signs of imbalance in this chakra include inauthenticity, inability to speak your truth, or fear of judgement...on the other end, one might be boastful, condescending, and overly judgmental. The colour associated with the visuddha chakra is light blue, and it represents the element of space, or ether.
Anja (Third Eye) Chakra
The ajna chakra is located in the area between the eyebrows. It represents intuition, clarity, and vision. Signs of imbalance in this chakra include lack of clarity, over-intellectualization, overwhelm, and anxiety about the future. The colour associated with the anja chakra is dark blue or indigo, and it represents the element of light.
Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra
The sahasrara chakra is located in the crown of the head. The sahasrara chakra represents our higher consciousness and connection to all things and the universe. Signs of imbalance include lack of connection, direction, or purpose, superficiality, or materialism. The colour associated with the sahasrara chakra is purple or white, and it represents the element of thought.
If you're science-minded, like me, you might use the chakras as a figurative method for tuning into various emotions. There is scientific evidence that our emotions are held in the body. Check out this video from the American Museum of Natural History, showing thermal images of the body as people experience various emotions:
Another great read regarding the relationship between emotions (particularly, trauma) and the physical body is "The Body Keeps The Score" by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk.
Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we dive deeper into each chakra. You can also find my yoga nidra (guided meditation) chakra series on YouTube here: