Originating from the ancient spiritual practices of Hinduism, the chakras refer to our subtle energy system. Our vital energy, also known as prana or chi, flows through this energy system along spine through seven chakras. Although not physical, the chakras interact with the endocrine and nervous systems and are associated with specific parts of the body. An imbalance of energy can manifest as many physical or emotional problems. By understanding the chakras and learning how to align the different energies in the body, we can learn more about ourselves and how to maintain all aspects of our wellbeing.
Located at the base of the spine is the root chakra, responsible for our sense of security, belonging and basic needs for survival. Like how a tree wouldn't stand without its roots, the root chakra must be open in order to feel grounded and secure. When blocked, we may become anxious and feel a lack of belonging or direction. This can also manifest as aggressiveness, restlessness and problems in the colon, lower back and legs. To balance this chakra, we should connect to the Earth element by spending time in nature and doing outdoor activities. Meditating on the image of red roots stemming from the ground into the base of the body is very grounding.
Situated near the reproductive organs is the sacral chakra, the centre of passion, pleasure, sensuality and creativity. The paradox of modern society which objects against losing self-control yet is rife with sex and sensory overloads means this chakra is easily blocked or in excess. When blocked we may have difficulty expressing emotion and intimacy, and in excess we may be over-emotional, have unhealthy attachments to relationships and be prone to creating drama. An imbalance leads to feelings of guilt, shame and self-doubt. In order to be self-assured and able to deal with the ebb and flow of life this chakra must be balanced and to do this we should have more fun and do what makes us happy. Listen to music, find a hobby, meet friends or just do whatever ignites that little fire in your belly. Topaz and amber also heal the sacral chakra.
Between the navel and sternum is the solar plexus, the centre of the ego, willpower and intention. This chakra empowers us to fulfil our truth and when blocked, results in feelings of helplessness, lack of self-worth and low motivation. An excessive solar plexus can make someone arrogant, agitated and over-reactive. To balance the solar plexus, we must recognise and cut anything from our life which does not serve us. It's important to get out of our comfort zone and explore the reasons behind our fears as it frees up energy to let them go. Self-affirmations such as 'I can', 'I will' and 'I am strong' are simple reminders that you enough.
In the centre of the chest is the heart chakra where our capacity to love, compassion, empathy and forgiveness are located. When open, we radiate loving energy and can understand and connect deeply with others. However, when blocked codependency, jealousy, holding grudges and withdrawal from relationships can occur. This chakra is vulnerable and prone to blockages due to emotional turbulence in life and relationships. To balance, we should aim to see the beauty in everything and express gratitude for what we have instead of focusing on what we don't have. We should also be aware of our give and receive ratio and alter if necessary. Practicing yoga, particularly while visualising green light radiating from the chest, also opens the heart chakra.
The throat chakra is all about self-expression and the propensity to communicate our creativity, originality and authentic voice. Our voice, in any form, is the mediator between the head and heart and the challenge is to find and trust our inner voice while navigating through the external world in harmony. Self-doubt and criticism overcast the throat chakra like a rain cloud and struggling to express how we feel, fear of being ridiculed and feeling that people don't know the 'real' you are signs of a blockage. Excessive energy can make someone seem gossipy and condescending. One of the best ways to open this chakra is sing! Look at yourself and say “I honour my true voice, and I let it speak” to reaffirm your voice. Wearing blue clothing or healing stones also supports the throat chakra.
Physically expressed by the pineal gland, the third eye is the centre of intuition and spiritual consciousness. If blocked, we may have a lack of clarity and be unable to look past problems and trust in a bigger picture. An excessive throat chakra can manifest as indulgence in fantasies and illusions. The third eye affects and is equally affected by balancing reason and emotion, trusting gut feelings and moving forward or feeling stagnant. To cultivate intuition, we must first be grounded. Our intuition naturally becomes stronger as we make decisions and attract that which is right for us.
At the crown of the head is the seventh chakra which connects us to all that is and allows us to experience oneness. When open, we feel connected to everything and experience deep peace and serenity, however when blocked we may feel disconnected from body and spirit and feel like we are living life without meaning. To open or heal this chakra we should learn how to release the ego and approach things with more humility. We can also wear amethyst or quartz stones. Regular soul food including setting intentions or praying and meditating on the image of bright light surrounding your head is also healing.