WHAT'S A CHAKRA?
It’s time for a little CHAKRA talk.
We hear it referenced more and more in our yoga classes and spiritual communities. Is it a thing, an idea... a feeling? And how do these ‘chakras’ really manifest in us?
We can think of chakras as energy centers that correspond to seven different locations along the spine. This system is a really incredible tool to tap into our emotional and spiritual intelligence. We also have the option to understand the chakras from a developmental standpoint, without getting lost in the more esoteric components. Embrace this system to the level that resonates with you.
If you’re a visual person, imagine length of the spine from the root of the tailbone, to the crown of the head. We start from the bottom with the root chakra, muladhara.
1) MULADHARA is associated with the earth element. It is our foundation, our place of building and maintaining stability. Muladara is literally our root – the energetic component that grounds us down deep so that we can grow stronger. On a developmental level, this is where our physical identity develops. Think about a baby’s first year of life -- development begins with the awareness of the physical body. The energies associated with Muladhara are very primal, centering around survival and basic needs. This is where self-preservation is born and where we establish the basic right to exist – to be present in our bodies and on this planet. A balanced root chakra promotes vigor.
-->fear, anxiousness, ungroundedness
simple actions to BALANCE Muladhara:
- Sit on the earth
- Walk barefoot outside
- Build your endurance
- Wear red
2) SVADHISTANA is associated with the water element, which provides the fluidity for our flowing emotional identity. The second chakra develops during our baby years (ages 6 mo-2 years), as we begin to discover self-gratification and principles of pleasure. This chakra is also the source of creativity and sexuality. Svadhisthana reminds us of your right to feel and to exist as the emotional beings that we were meant to be. A balanced sacral chakra promotes creativity.
--> shame, obsession, manipulation
simple actions to BALANCE Svadhistana:
- Go swimming at sunset
- Take a bath with a few drops of ylang ylang essential oil
- Practice self-discipline/patience
- Wear orange
3) MANIPURA is associated with the fire element. This is where we derive confidence and personal power. The third chakra gives us strength to advocate for ourselves and to define ourselves in social interactions. This is the development of the ego identity, which is established during the toddler & preschool years of life (ages 18mo-4 years). The opportunity for self-definition empowers us. It has the potential to activate us and reminds us of your right to act. A balanced solar plexus chakra promotes a strong will.
--> guilt, narcissism, power-cravings
simple actions to BALANCE Manipura:
- Gaze at a flame
- Bask in the golden sun
- Endure extremes,
- Wear yellow
4) ANAHATA is associated with the air element and the heart space. This is where we derive joy, openness and receptivity. The heart chakra develops in our kindergarten & early elementary years (4-7), when we first have to opportunity to access the tools to establish and embody self-acceptance. Accepting ourselves is the first step in establishing the right to love, the self and others. This openness to others also sets the foundation of our social identity. A balanced heart chakra promotes compassion.
--> grief, hatred, close-mindedness, insufficient self-love
simple actions to BALANCE Anahata:
- Be amongst the trees
- Engage in self-less service
- Accept your karmas
- Wear green
5) VISHUDDHI is associated with the ether/space element and resides in the throat center. Vibration exists in space and is responsible for producing sound. The fifth chakra is associated with communication and the right to express. Just before our middle school years (7-12), we start to develop the potential to speak our truth. Vishuddhi is the place of self-expression, an opportunity to truly embrace our creative identity. A balanced throat chakra promotes authenticity.
--> lies, timidness, inability to express
simple actions to BALANCE Vishuddhi:
- Lie on your back & watch the sky
- Listen to inspiring music
- Engage in mantra
- Wear blue
6) AJNA is associated with light. The corresponding location on the body is the third eye space in between the eyebrows. The sixth chakra is associated with our connection to spirituality, an exploration that generally begins in our adolescence and may continue throughout our entire lives. This is where we develop the skills for self-reflection. With this energy we have the opportunity to connect to pure wisdom. This intuitive force/momentum gives rise to our archetypal identity. Ajna guides toward our right to see the world for all its infinite beauty. A balanced third eye chakra promotes insight.
--> illusion, non-assertion, irresponsibility
simple actions to BALANCE Ajna:
- Watch the stars
- Reflect on a higher power
- Gently bring your attention to the third eye
- Wear purple
7) SAHASARA is associated with the infinite, corresponding with the crown of the head and beyond. To engage sahasara is to connect with pure consciousness and the universal-identity of Oneness. This challenge generally presents itself in our early adulthood and sticks around throughout our entire life. As we connect to our own true self-knowledge, we begin to radiate and receive pure cosmic energy. Within this energy we begin acknowledge our right to know our highest selves. A balanced crown chakra promotes divine bliss.
--> attachment, self-centeredness, frustration, destruction, dullness, disconnect
simple actions to BALANCE Sahasara:
- Summit a mountain
- Practice non-attachment
- Bring greater awareness to your thought
- Find brilliance in the mundane
- Develop spiritual discipline
- Wear white
Again, if envisioning physical or symbolic locations doesn’t work for you, just consider the ideas of each chakra as they relate to the unfolding of your own spiritual and emotional development.
*You may encounter slight variance in spelling and associated colors as you pursue chakra knowledge from different sources, and that is OK :)
Interested in exploring more ways to meditate on the chakras? New post coming soon: Chakra Affirmations & Nature Contemplations.
Eastern Body, Western Mind
by Anodea Judith
*this book LITERALLY changed my life