Chakras are energy centres located in the body from the very base of the spine to the crown of the head. The word ‘Chakra’ as with most meditation terminology is derived from the ancient language of ‘Sanskrit’ and can be translated as ‘wheel’ or ‘turning’. Thus, chakras are seen as ‘wheels of energy’.
In terms of western Meditative practice, there are typically seven chakras that we are concerned with. Each of the seven chakras has a corresponding color and certain characteristics that deal with aspects such as physical, psychological/emotional and spiritual state.
If we are well and in good health, our chakras are said to be balanced. If one of your chakras becomes blocked or unbalanced, this will manifest itself in the form of illness. One common method to unblock the affected chakra is to visualise the color of the chakra. There are also essential oils associated with each chakra that will promote the re-balancing process.
Root Chakra (Muladhara)
The Root chakra signifies our foundations and of feelings of security and of being grounded. The Root chakra provides energy to the other chakras, thus if this chakra is blocked, then the other chakras will be blocked to some extent also.
Location: Base of the spine
Focuses on: Survival and stability and covering the necessity of basic needs such as food and money.
Seed syllable: Lam
Balanced chakra: Well-grounded and focused
Unbalanced chakra: Feelings of insecurity and frustration
Use rosemary or cedar wood essential oils.
Any Yoga asana that opens your lower spine will prove beneficial. The bridge pose is another good yoga pose to try. Sitting in the butterfly pose, take hold of the outside of your feet with both hands and begin to rock backwards and forwards allowing your hips to raise and then drop, and thus stimulating the perineum.
Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana)
The Sacral Chakra is concerned with the ability to be creative, sexuality and acceptance of change.
Location: Just below navel
Focuses on: Association to others with regard to emotional needs, sexuality, pleasure and creativity.
Seed syllable: Vam
Balanced chakra: Empathy for other people, balanced with a good sense of humour
Unbalanced chakra: Shy with feelings of guilt
Use sandalwood or orange blossom essential oils.
Moving your body or exercises that involve whole body movement and allow a greater flow of energy will help open the sacral chakra. The Cow Face yoga pose or the Fire Log pose will also aid the opening of this chakra.
Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
Focuses on: Personal attributes such as confidence and self-esteem. Also concerned with decision making.
Seed syllable: Ram
Balanced chakra: Happy and confident, respectful
Unbalanced chakra: Suppressed emotions, signs of depression and low confidence
User amber or lemongrass essential oils.
To rebalance the Solar Plexus chakra, any Yoga pose that develops your core strength will be very beneficial and holding that pose for several minutes will provide greater rebalancing. Try the Chair pose, the Plank, the Four Limbed Staff pose or Warrior 1.
Heart Chakra (Anahata)
Location: Centre of the chest
Focuses on: Love, joy and compassion.
Seed syllable: Yam
Balanced chakra: Empathetic, wanting to help others
Unbalanced chakra: Unloving, upset, mean
Use basil, peppermint or fennel essential oils.
Rebalancing of the Heart chakra can be done by visualising the color green, wearing green clothing and/or eating green leafy vegetables; eating, sleeping and thinking green is a sure fire way to eliminate heart blockages.
It is important to get rid of any negativity you are holding and forgiving anyone that has shown you negativity.
Camel pose and eagle pose are good Yoga poses to open up the Heart chakra.
Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)
Focuses on: The ability to communicate, self-expression.
Seed syllable: Ham
Balanced chakra: Good communication skills and creative flare
Unbalanced chakra: Suppression of feelings, uncommunicative
Use blue camomile or lavender essential oils.
To rebalance the Throat chakra, it is important to release any feelings of guilt. This may be quite a journey of self-discovery and lead you to deeper, unchartered areas of your life, which have been suppressed.
Singing, poetry recital and consuming good quality foods that lubricate the throat are also beneficial.
Brow/3rd Eye Chakra (Ajna)
Location: Third eye
Focuses on: The ability to make decisions and intuition. Also concerned with wisdom and vison.
Seed syllable: OM
Balanced chakra: Indecisive, lack of thought and vision
Unbalanced chakra: Preoccupied mind, lack of clarity and confusion and undisciplined. May experience headaches and sinus issues.
Use camphor or eucalyptus essential oils.
To re-balance the Ajna chakra, we can incorporate the use of crystals into our practice .For the Ajna chakra, the use of blue gemstones such as sodalite or lapis lazuli can be very beneficial. If using visualisation techniques then try to visualise the an indigo light or a indigo flame. Meditation with brainwave audio created specifically for the Ajna chakra will also help in the re-balancing.
Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
Location: Crown of the head
Focuses on: Sacredness and complete bliss. Connection with the divine.
Seed syllable: Om
Balanced chakra: High level of spirituality and intelligence, open minded and peaceful
Unbalanced chakra: Lower levels of concentration, depression
Use jasmine, juniper or lavender essential oils.
Rebalancing of the Crown chakra can be done by simple meditation techniques. The most beneficial yoga pose to rebalance this chakra is the Half Lotus.
Choose the chakra on which you want to focus on and surround yourself with objects or wear clothing of the color specific to that chakra.
Whilst in a comfortable seated meditation position, begin by chanting the seed syllable associated with the chosen chakra; whist chanting, focus your attention on the energy center.
Visualise the color linked to the chakra being drawn into the specific area of the body and then radiating out of the body;
Incorporating this meditative practice into your yoga practice can be very dynamic from a physical, psychological and spiritual perspective.
The above article outlines a non-exhaustive list of methods to realign the body’s Chakra system. Before starting any method of exercise, it is important to seek the advice of a qualified physician.
When working with the body’s different energy centers, guidance should also be sought from a Realised Guru. Different practitioners will have different experiences and it is important to understand what these experiences mean and what effect they are having on the body.