What Are Chakras?
Chakras are the body’s centres of spiritual energy and are very popular knowledge among those who practise yoga and Reiki. The word ‘chakra’ is Sanskrit for ‘disk’, or ‘wheel’, so we can imagine our chakras as little spiritual disks of energy within us. They start from the base of the spine and go up.
The concept of chakras first began with Indian Hinduism but started to become popular in Western culture in the late 19th century. Kundalini yoga utilizes breathing exercises, visualizations, mantra chanting and other techniques to guide the flow of energy through the different chakras.
There are seven main chakras that originate from ancient Hindu texts, or twelve if you include secondary chakras – actually no there are thirteen, but they call it the Twelve Chakra System, as one of them is number 0. 7+6=12 now! There are actually more than a hundred chakras but we will only cover the main chakras in this article.
The Seven Main Chakras
These are the seven main chakras: their Sanskrit names, their location, colour and what yoga poses can help balance them.
1) Root Chakra
Location: Lower Spine
The Root Chakra is found at the base of the spine and is related to ambition and stability.
When the Root Chakra is unbalanced, a person feels unstable and ungrounded. They may suffer a lack of motivation and ambition, and feel insecure about many things. Practicing the yoga positions the ‘Tree Pose’ and ‘Mountain Pose’ will bring return balance to the Root Chakra and these feelings of insecurity and demotivation will subside.
2) Sacral Chakra
Location: Below the navel
The Sacral Chakra is related to sexuality, but also self-value and creativity. An unbalanced Sacral Chakra may cause someone to feel grumpy and lack energy and sexual drive, or it may do the opposite – they may be completely obsessed with sex and unable to concentrate on other things.
To overcome this sexual frustration, the yoga positions ‘Crow Pose’ and ‘Triangle Pose’ should help balance the Sacral Chakra.
3) Solar Plexus Chakra
The Solar Plexus Chakra is related to anger. When your Solar Plexus Chakra becomes unbalanced you may get depressed, have a lower self-esteem and a much shorter fuse before you lose your temper. An imbalance in the Solar Plexus Chakra is very serious because it could lead to digestive problems and even diabetes.
Yoga poses such as the ‘Forward Bend’ and ‘Cobra Pose’ will help to rebalance the Solar Plexus Chakra.
4) Heart Chakra
The Heart Chakra is not only located physically near the heart, it is also related to love and things of the metaphorical heart, such as trust, compassion and intimacy. Imbalance of the Heart Chakra will manifest itself as issues like a lack of trust, jealousy (not to be confused with covetousness) and a ‘cold shoulder’.
A healthy, balanced Heart Chakra enables a person to be caring, considerate and kind to others. Yoga poses such as the ‘Half Bridge Pose’ and the ‘Fish Pose’ will help a person come back to this healthy state.
5) Throat Chakra
Colour: Light Blue
The Throat Chakra is not only located in the throat but is also metaphorically about the things of the throat, i.e. talking and communication, the ability to express yourself. An imbalanced Throat Chakra may be responsible for someone being shy, timid, or unable to express themselves. For example, a stutter may have its origins in an unbalanced Throat Chakra.
To rebalance the Throat Chakra and recover the ability to express yourself boldly, try the yoga poses ‘Shoulderstand’ (also known as the ‘Candle Pose’) and the ‘Plough Pose’.
6) Third Eye Chakra
The Third Eye Chakra, located between the eyebrows, is all about concentration and awareness. A healthy, well-balanced Third Eye Chakra makes a person wise, intelligent, and gives them deep insight into their own self. An imbalanced Third Eye Chakra can make a person egotistical and self-centred, and manifests itself physically as pain around the head and eyes, such as a headache or blurry vision.
One yoga pose that can help rebalance the Third Eye Chakra is the ‘Headstand’.
7) Crown Chakra
Location: Top of the head
The Crown Chakra, on the top of one’s head, is the highest spiritual centre, and is all about enlightenment and spiritual energy. Those with an unbalanced Crown Chakra often feel like they want to break things and hurt people, and are not in touch with their spiritual selves.
Like the Third Eye Chakra, the Crown Chakra can be rebalanced with the ‘Headstand’ yoga pose.
The Six Secondary Chakras
While the seven main chakras are inside the body, the six secondary chakras are outside the body. These chakras are quite modern and new so not all of them have sanskrit names.
0) Earth Star Chakra
Location: 15cm below the feet
The Earth Star Chakra is labeled as number 0 because it is below the first chakra, the Root Chakra. It grounds us, keeps our feet on the ground. It is our spiritual ‘umbilical cord’ that supplies us energy from the Earth.
8) Soul Star Chakra
Location: Six inches above the Crown Chakra
Colour: Light green
The Soul Star Chakra is a vessel of our soul’s energy. It contains the power and the essence of all the accumulated experiences our soul has participated in throughout all our lifetimes.
9) Spirit Chakra
Location: Above the Soul Star Chakra
The Spirit Chakra is a swirling vortex of spiritual energy given to us for this life. It is in this sacred vortex that we make a direct connection with the Great Spirit, the Eternal Source. We can also use it to communicate with other beings of light such as angels.
10) Universal Chakra
Location: Above the Spirit Chakra
Colour: Pearl white with golden rays
The Universal Chakra accesses the cosmic Qi in which all things subsist and abide. By accessing the Universal Chakra one can access all things.
11) Galactic Chakra
Location: Above the Universal Chakra
Colour: White with pink rays
The Galactic Chakra grants us access to all the cosmos. It takes us to another world, to venture and explore the stars. Another dimension, new galaxy; intergalactic, planetary. In doing so we see past the base things of this world and appreciate the bigger picture, beyond our everyday lives.
12) Divine Gateway Chakra
Location: Above the Galactic Chakra
Colour: Shimmering gold
The Divine Gateway Chakra is exactly what it sounds like, a divine portal, a holy door. By entering it we can explore the realm of the divine and learn new spiritual knowledge that we previously did not have the mental capacity to perceive. It is then we can guide others to learn their chakras.