If you’ve ever attended a yoga class, you will have heard the word ‘chakras’ in between various poses, oms and profuse sweating. They’re the seven energy centres within the physical body that give, receive, store, and flow energy throughout our being.
Each one corresponds with a major nerve plexus along the spine, a.k.a. places where the nerves branch out and send messages to the arms, legs, and organs. While the chakras can’t be seen by the human eye, they can be felt or sensed and are inextricably linked to our emotions, thoughts, actions, and intentions.
Therefore, when our chakras are blocked and out of balance, so too are all these aspects of our lives. So by learning to not just observe the chakras, but also unblock and restore balance to them, we will greatly improve our day-to-day existence.
The origin of chakras
The belief and study of chakras dates back to ancient times. They were first mentioned in the ancient sacred texts of spiritual knowledge known as the Vedas, from 1500 to 1000 BC. They only recently become popularised in the western world through the boom of yoga and New Age philosophies. In Sanskrit, the word ‘chakra’ translates to ‘wheel’ or ‘disk.’
Your guide to the 7 chakras
Here’s everything you need to know about the 7 chakras, starting from the crown chakra and flowing down to the root chakra.
Located: On top of your head.
Associated with: Your connection to your spiritual self. Awareness, intelligence and enlightenment.
When aligned: You understand your purpose and you’re able to find the answers to all that you seek. Because it’s considered to be the chakra of enlightenment, those whose crown chakra is peaking will be closer to reaching enlightenment.
When blocked: You’re sceptical, stubborn and narrow-minded. You feel lost, depressed and unsure of your goal in life.
Third eye chakra
Located: In your forehead, just above your eyes.
Associated with: Imagination and intuition.
When aligned: You will have heightened awareness, intuition and will be able to see all.
When blocked: You will feel stressed, lack imagination and will have headaches, migraines, nightmares and sore eyes. You’ll struggle to access your intuition and will feel out of touch with your spirituality.
Located: In your throat.
Associated with: Communication.
When aligned: You’ll be articulate, expressive, and can engage in thoughtful and meaningful conversations with others. You’ll also feel inspired to speak your truth.
When blocked: You’ll have a sore throat, sinus problems and dental issues. You’ll struggle to communicate properly, including speaking without thinking and engaging in gossip. You’ll also be socially anxious.
Colour: Green and pink.
Located: Near your heart.
Associated with: Love, hope and compassion.
When aligned: You’ll be able to love and feel loved by others. You’ll constantly be surrounded by good vibes that you’ll emanate to those around you and attract to yourself.
When blocked: You’ll lack confidence and will be unable to feel compassion and love for others (and yourself), and will be riddled with insecurities.
Solar plexus chakra
Located: In your stomach area.
Associated with: Strength, courage and your willingness to take risks in life.
When aligned: You’ll feel confident and have great self-esteem. You’ll have strong instincts, powerful intuition and can summon inner strength.
When blocked: Lacking confidence and self-esteem. Feeling stressed, weak, forgetful and unable to focus. You’ll also struggle to make decisions.
Located: Just below your rib cage above your belly button.
Associated with: Creativity, sexuality and pleasure.
When aligned: Your mind, body and spirit will be connected and thriving. Your creative juices will be flowing and you’ll be in touch with your sexuality.
When blocked: You’ll have low self-esteem, lack of sex drive, creative blocks, addiction, and you’ll be dependant on other people or things.
Base / root chakra
Located: At the base of your spine.
Associated with: Your connection to nature, the earth, and the ancestors.
When aligned: You’ll feel grounded, safe and secure. You’ll feel a flow of positive energy through your being.
When blocked: You’ll feel anxious, alone and empty. You’ll have nightmares, bladder issues and you’ll constantly be in a state of fear and panic.
How to unblock your chakras
The enormous stress and pressure that we’re constantly under (cheers, covid!) can cause the chakras to become blocked, and therefore throw our alignment out of balance. The good news is, there are many methods that will restore said balance and allow energy to flow freely.
Yoga and Pilates: It should come as no surprise that these two forms of exercise are great for chakra health and hygiene.
Spending time in nature: Been cooped up indoors for too long? It’s likely that your chakras are way out of whack, and the best remedy for this is to get back into nature. Go for a swim, a hike, hell, even a nice outdoor picnic! Fresh air and vitamin D will do your chakras a world of good.
Movement: Now that you know the location of each of the chakras and how to know when one (or all) of them are blocked, when you feel an imbalance, be sure to move and exercise the affected area. If it’s your third eye chakra that’s affected, for example, gently rub one finger around your third eye area to stimulate the chakra.
Chakra meditation: There are many specific meditations that target the chakras when you’re feeling out of balance. Below is a chakra meditation that you may find useful…
- Sit on the floor or lay flat on the ground.
- Close your eyes and focus on each chakra one by one, going from the base chakra and working your way up. Alternatively, if you don’t have time to work through each chakra and only want to focus on one, put your energy into the chakra that feels blocked.
- Visualise the colour of the chakra and see its symbol as a spinning wheel in your head. You can even massage the area as you focus on it for posterity.
- Breathe in and out, focusing on each chakra as you breathe.
- When you’ve reached the crown chakra and feel that you have meditated enough (use your intuition to guide you), recite a mantra to complete the meditation. Here’s one example, but feel free to roll with whichever one suits you best:
"I release all negative energy from my being, I ground myself and invite energy to flow through me."