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  • Writer's pictureKaren

What Are Chakras and Do They Help Our Wellness?



If you’ve ever been to a yoga, meditation, or reiki class, your teacher may have mentioned the chakras and asked you to breathe into them. And you might have been thinking “Ok, I’ve no idea what the teacher just said, but I’m going to pretend that I do and carry on anyway!”


So, what are Chakras? Where are they located in the body? Do unbalanced chakras affect our physical health? Can we balance our chakras? And what does breathing into our chakras actually do?


Read on, to find out.


What Are Chakras?


As well as being a physical machine that is greatly influenced by our psychological well-being (thoughts), our body also operates as an energetic system. And the chakras are a huge part of this energetic system.


Meaning ‘wheel’ in Sanskrit, a chakra is described as an energy center that provides vitality and health to the body in various ways. Located in different parts of the body, each chakra corresponds to different organs and areas of our life, with the ultimate role of balancing our physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual wellness.


Although there is little scientific evidence to support the existence of our spiritual energy, the practice of rebalancing and aligning the chakras has been carried out by yogis for over 3,500 years. The belief is that when the chakras are balanced, our energy flows freely through the body, enabling us to live a happy and carefree life without attaching emotions, reactions, and thoughts to every external experience that comes our way.


Where Are The Chakras Located?


Within the body, there are 109 chakras in total, but the seven central chakras are located along the spine - from the pelvic floor to the top of the head. And understanding the basics of each central chakra can explain a lot about the abundance, or lack, of our overall feeling of wellness.


The Root Chakra


The root chakra (Muladhara in Sanskrit) is the first chakra, located at the base of the spine around the pelvic floor and the first three vertebrae. Similar to the foundation of a house, our root chakra is the base on which all other chakras are stabilized. When the eyes are closed we can sometimes see the color red when we connect with the root chakra.


However, the root chakra can become unbalanced when we give in to fears and worries. This type of unbalance can cause us to feel insecure, anxious, weak, and apprehensive in our day-to-day lives. Physically, the first chakra is believed to result in lower back pain, sciatica, colon issues, bladder problems, and leg or foot ailments.


As a primary source of earthly energy, a balanced root chakra allows us to feel grounded, independent, and strong. It also provides us with a spiritual satisfaction that our basic needs like food, water, shelter, and emotional support are taken care of.


The Sacral Chakra


Located just above the pubic bone and below the belly button, the sacral chakra (Svadhisthana in Sanskrit) glows with the color orange, and it is from here that we derive our sense of fun in life. Representing the energetic connection to our passions, pleasures, sexuality, creativity, and self-worth, the sacral chakra, when balanced, gives us the feeling of being emotionally balanced and content.


However, this chakra can become unbalanced by feelings of guilt, causing us to experience more emotional outbursts, a lack of joy and happiness in life, and a fear of change. Physically, an unbalanced sacral chakra can result in low libido (or severely overactive libido), fertility issues, problems within the reproductive organs, and addiction issues.


When the second chakra is balanced and aligned we feel light, friendly, happy, and passionate about life. We also live from a sense of wellness and joy with a deep knowledge that no matter what happens, everything will be ok.


The Solar Plexus Chakra


Found between the belly button and the ribcage, the solar plexus (or belly) chakra goes by the name Manipura in Sanskrit, which means “city of jewels”. Radiating the color yellow, this chakra is known to be the center of our personal power, self-esteem, willpower, and confidence. And it is also known as the second brain.


As well as being the energetic center for our personal power, the solar plexus also controls our ego, and emotions like anger, frustration, and aggression. When the third chakra is unbalanced, usually due to feelings of shame, we can suffer from low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and depression. On a physical level, an unbalanced solar plexus chakra is thought to manifest as digestive problems, liver problems, or diabetes.


However, when balanced, the third chakra spurs us on in life with confidence, self-assurance, efficiency, and self-belief. The phrase “ follow your gut instinct” comes from the intention of connecting with the solar plexus chakra to find balance and confidence before making a decision.

The Heart Chakra


Located in the chest around the heart and lungs, the heart chakra, known as Anahata in Sanskrit vibrates the color green and it is here that our feelings of self-love and unconditional love for others reside. As well as connecting us with our inner compassion, love, and trust, the heart chakra also plays the role of connecting our lower chakras to the upper chakras.

The heart chakra can become unbalanced by grief, not only for the loved ones we have lost but also for opportunities, experiences, and missed chances in life. When unbalanced in the heart, we tend to suffer more mood swings, angry outbursts, jealousy, and a lack of trust in ourselves as well as others. Forgiveness and the ability to give and receive love are also largely affected by the heart chakra.


Physically, an unbalanced heart chakra can result in heart conditions, palpitations, and high blood pressure.


When balanced, the heart chakra bathes the body in a sense of self-love that radiates out toward everyone and everything we meet. Balancing your heart chakra is similar to the analogy of putting on your oxygen mask on a plane before your child’s. Essentially, balancing your heart chakra will help you to care for yourself and those you love in a more meaningful way.

The Throat Chakra


Associated with the neck, mouth, tongue, jaw, and larynx, the throat chakra, known as Vishuddha in Sanskrit, emits the color blue and is connected to our communication abilities (listening as well as talking), and speaking our truth clearly and openly.


The throat chakra can become blocked by the harmful lies that we tell ourselves in moments of weakness. And when we continue to hide behind the lies, we inevitably end up swallowing our words instead of speaking freely. On the other hand, an unbalanced throat chakra can cause some people to talk too much, become overly critical of others, and fear judgment to the point that they shout over other people’s points of view.


Physically, an unbalanced throat chakra can manifest as a sore throat, tight neck and shoulder muscles, tension headaches, and thyroid issues.


When open and balanced, the throat chakra helps us to express ourselves clearly and truthfully in a loving and non-critical way. Our self-talk within the quiet realms of our mind improves too, becoming more positive and loving toward ourselves, our bodies, and our journey through life.

The Third Eye Chakra


The third eye chakra, or Ajna in Sanskrit, is located between the eyebrows and governs the pituitary gland as well as the head, eyes, and lower brain. Radiating the color indigo, this chakra is believed to be our center of intuition, intellect, and wisdom.


When connected to this chakra, we live with a sense of being part of something bigger than ourselves, a sense that all things in the universe are connected energetically, and that we are never alone. However, the third eye chakra can become unbalanced by the intellect and an ill-conceived illusion that we are going it alone in the world without any spiritual connection to each other. While this concept might seem whacky to some, what is important to know about this connection is that it cannot be understood intellectually, but it can always be felt energetically.


Physically, an unbalanced third eye chakra can result in headaches, migraines, brain health issues, dizziness, blurry vision, depression, confusion, an overactive imagination, and an inability to focus.


When our third eye chakra is balanced we have faith in the process of life and can always see things for what they really are. We can trust more easily, follow our instincts, connect with our gut feelings, go with the flow, and be fearlessly open to the present moment.


The Crown Chakra –Sahastrara


At the top of the head and tied to our inner wisdom of the third eye, is the crown chakra, also known as Sahastrara in Sanskrit, or the ‘thousand petal lotus’. Emitting the color white for some and violet for others, this chakra is our center of enlightenment and spirituality.

It can become blocked by our unhealthy attachments to worldly possessions, greed, and happiness based solely on exterior appearances and materialism. Disconnection to the crown chakra can result in feelings of lethargy, numbness, or disconnection toward others, as well as arrogance, superiority, a feeling of never being satisfied, and a lack of true purpose in life.


When our crown chakra is balanced (and all the chakras below it) we feel a deep sense of purpose in the life we live and a resounding connection to both nature and the people around us. In essence, we feel more connected to the universe and happiness flows through everything we do, think, and say.


Can We Balance Our Chakras?


Yes, we can. And it’s not at all as difficult as you might imagine. Choose any of the chakras we outlined above and sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight. (Using pillows as support against a wall or headboard can help significantly for beginners to stay supported while sitting tall).


Now close your eyes, think about the area of your body where your chosen chakra is located, and imagine that you can expand the wheel of energy there, or make it spin more intensely, by consciously breathing into that part of your body in a calm and relaxed rhythm.


What Happens When We Breathe Into Our Chakras?


When breathing into our chakras, it helps to focus on the breath entering and exiting the part of your body where your chosen chakra is located. Allow a minute or two for your breathing to relax and your mind to quieten, all the while keeping your focus on the breath entering and exiting your chakra.


At first, you might see or feel nothing, but with time and a continued gentle focus on that area of your body, you may eventually start to see blotches or spots of color behind your eyelids that relate to the color of the chakra. When you give it a little more time, you might start to feel an expansion of energy in that area of your body. (For some, the energy feels a little like an inner tickling, or similar to what we call ‘butterflies’ when we get excited. For others, it can feel like a gentle vibration under the skin.)


Whether you see the related chakra color or feel the vibration doesn’t matter though. What matters is that each time you exhale, you let go of whatever might be blocking your chakra. You don’t need to understand what you are letting go of or recall where the feeling came from. If it comes into your mind as something that might feel like a blockage, just let it go. Continue this practice until nothing is coming up as a blockage and the energy in that part of your body starts to feel clear and fresh.


Keep breathing calmly until you feel like opening your eyes. Then smile to your inner self and get back to your day with more happiness and clarity.


Conclusion


Connecting with the central energy centers in your body known as chakras will deepen your sense of wellness in life. Whether you connect by practicing yoga, meditation, reiki, or breathwork, the chakras can provide you with a spiritual roadmap toward inner peace, as well as an understanding of what is going on in your physical body.


That said, while connecting with your chakras is an important part of your overall health and wellness, it is always advisable to consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any physical issues that could affect your long-term health.


For anyone interested in learning to clear and balance their chakras, I will be incorporating some tips into my Yoga & Wellness Retreats this year. You can check dates, prices, and availability by contacting me directly or click here.


Namaste,

Have yourself a great day!

Karen

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