An Introduction to the Chakras
Ever seen that picture – the one with a yogi and colorful symbols running up and down the body? The image looks mystical, colorful, spiritual, and possibly weird.
I know you’ve seen it…
The colorful symbols are what us yogis call chakras. There are 7 chakras total, each one located at significant locations in the body, and each one representing a piece of our energetic being.
The chakras can be thought of as wheels – wheels that spin simultaneously to create a combination of energy and life force. This energy and life force runs from the root base of the body, to the crown of the head, and then beyond.
When the chakras are balanced and spinning effortlessly, life is beautiful. We experience a sense of fullness in all aspects – emotional, mental, and physical; mind, body, and soul. Our relationships, conversations, actions, goals, and interests just flow…
A balanced chakra system can be thought of as refreshing water running down a stream, gently caressing everything it meets, and continuing down its journey with ease, grace, and fluidity.
When the chakras are misaligned – one being overactive and another being underactive – life can be challenging. This misalignment might not be apparent on the surface, but delve down a layer or two and you’ll quickly notice where your work lies.
This is where yoga comes into play and why we love the practice so damn much. But unlike our physical yoga postures, the chakra system is unseen and internal.
The seven chakras are part of the subtle body, or the energetic body. It’s the part that we can’t see or touch but can always feel. It’s the part of us that makes the heart beat, the piece of us that feels a gut intuition, and the energy within us that connects, moves, and creates our being.
This topic, the chakras, has an abundance of information and depth to it, a depth that cannot be accomplished here.
What can be accomplished here is an overview of each chakra, what they represent, and how they affect the body, mind, and soul.
So yogis, are you ready to dive in with me?
1. Muladhara Chakra
The Root or Muladhara Chakra is the first wheel of energy and it begins at the base of the spine.
This chakra is associated with the earth element and is directly linked to the roots we’ve planted – how deep they are, how strong they are, and how supportive they are.
The Muladhara Chakra symbolizes root or fundamental issues: shelter, safety, security, water, food, and family.
When the first chakra is balanced, we feel grounded, secure, and safe. Our lives flow gracefully with a calm and steady energy.
When this chakra is out of alignment, life is tough. We feel insecure, fearful, and our survival mode turns on. This can lead to weight gain, constipation, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, and stress.
Location: Base of the spine
“I am always safe at the center of my being”
2. Svadhisthana Chakra
The Svadhisthana or Sacral Chakra is the second wheel of energy and represents our creative and sexual energy within the body.
The Svadhisthana Chakra is associated with the element of water. When water comes to mind, we imagine fluidity, versatility, and freedom. The second chakra is just that – it’s our ability to be sexual, creative, emotional, and in tune with ourselves and others.
When the second chakra is balanced, life is filled with abundance, creativity, movement, procreation, pleasure, and fulfilling relationships.
When it is out of tune, you can experience emotional instability, fear of change, sexual dysfunction, depression, lack of creative energy, chronic low back pain, reproductive issues, and other pelvic-lower issues.
Location: Above the pubic bone and below the navel (the sexual organ area)
“I flow with the rhythms of life.”
3. Manipura Chakra
The Manipura or Navel Chakra is the third wheel of energy and is associated with the element of fire.
This chakra represents our personal power, governs our self-esteem, personal identity, digestion, and metabolism.
When balanced, you’ll find that self-confidence, a sense of purpose, and self-motivation are present in your life. When presented with an issue, you’re able to let it go and not attach to the external circumstances at hand.
When out of alignment, you can experience digestion issues, low self-esteem, and have difficulty making decisions.
Location: The navel area, from the solar plexus up to the breastbone
“I stand in my personal power.”
4. Anahata Chakra
The Heart Chakra is the fourth wheel of energy and is the bridge between the three physical chakras and the three spiritual chakras. By balancing and aligning the first three chakras, the fourth chakra is able to integrate and open. Thus, each wheel must spin simultaneously in order to remain in balance.
The fourth chakra represents everything that involves love, compassion, and joy. It’s one of the most beautiful yet emotional chakras for people to tap into.
When this chakra is balanced, love, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance of others (and yourself) are all present.
When out of alignment, you can experience poor circulation, high or low blood pressure, co-dependence, manipulative behaviors, and feelings of unworthiness.
Location: center of the chest and includes the heart, lungs, and the entire surrounding area
“I open my heart to fully living”
5. Vishuddha Chakra
The Vishuddha or Throat Chakra is the fifth wheel of energy and it’s the first of the three spiritual chakras. The Throat Chakra is associated with ether, or a space-like quality that symbolizes an open voice from where authenticity and truthfulness can flow.
The fifth chakra represents your ability to speak your truth, express ideas clearly, and be in tune with both your inner and outer intentions. Because it’s the first of the spiritual chakras, the lower four chakras must also be in tune.
When balanced, you speak, listen and express yourself through a higher form of communication and authenticity.
When not aligned, you can experience the inability to speak your truth, to ask for what you need, want, or desire, and it can result in a sore throat, thyroid problems, and neck/shoulder pain.
Location: The throat
“I follow and speak my truth”
6. Ajna Chakra
The Third-Eye Chakra is the sixth wheel of energy and it represents our intuition or sixth sense. Its location in between the eyebrows is integral to our lives and how we perceive the exterior world as well as our own interior dialogue.
When balanced, you trust your intuition to face life challenges and decisions, the ego dissolves into the background, and you can begin to uncover what your truly value is in life.
When not aligned, you can be cynical, too attached to logic, untrusting and possibly have problems with vision, headaches, and migraines.
Location: the space between the eyebrows
“I follow the path of truth”
7. Sahasrara Chakra
The Sahasrara or Crown Chakra is the seventh and final chakra. It represents our spiritual being. This chakra represents that you are a divine being having a human experience on this Earth.
When working on this chakra, you’re acknowledging to yourself and the world that you are ready to dissolve separation, that you are ready to integrate with everything, and that you are ready to transcend the physical world for a more spiritual experience.
When balanced, a source of enlightenment, spiritual connection, and connection to our higher selves is present.
When not aligned, you mistake happiness as an exterior trait when in truth, it’s created from within. Or quite the opposite, you can be hyper sensitive to the divine aspect of Self, and struggle to function in normal day-to-day activities.
Location: Outside the body and hovering above the crown of the head
Color: Violet or White
Element: Cosmic Energy
“There is only God”
And the chakra information overload is over. I know that’s a lot of words and terms above, so here’s my best advice on how to digest it all:
Read through each chakra and what it represents. Then choose one or two that you are drawn to to focus on, strengthen, balance, and learn more about. In time, you’ll slowly learn what your energetic body needs and how best to implement practices that help realign and balance yourself.
By learning the chakra system and what each one represents, we are better able to understand, change, and control our livelihoods. And since we’re only here for one moment, one lifetime, I urge you to take full advantage of it.
Learn the how’s and why’s behind your actions, movements, and emotions. Then use this powerful information to transform yourself into the person you want to be.
Stay tuned for my next article that will explore yoga postures to balance each chakra. Until next time yogis – xoxo!