Introduction to the Chakras

According to yoga tradition everyone has a subtle body that we cannot see or touch, and that’s where the energy flows. There are seven points in this subtle body, which are thought to be vortexes of energy, called chakras. They are aspects of consciousness interacting with the physical and energetic body through the nervous and endocrine systems. The chakras are aligned with the spine from the base through to the crown of the head, each of them associated with a particular bundle of nerves.  Each chakra relates to our psychological, emotional and physical wellbeing. They’re connected to specific organs, glands and body systems. When you feel tension in your consciousness you also feel it in the chakra, in the specific part of the body. For example if you’re hurt in a relationship you feel the tension in your heart. When the chakras are open the life force, Prana, can flow freely and you feel in balance. When one or several of the chakras are blocked Prana cannot flow which manifests itself in various physical, mental and emotional symptoms. When one chakra is blocked the others start to compensate by becoming either over or under-active.

The first three chakras, starting at the base of the spine are chakras of matter, physical in nature whereas the last three chakras are spiritual in nature.

The first one is called The Muladhara, The Root Chakra, which is located at the base of the spine. It is the chakra of stability, security, and our basic needs. When the Root chakra is in an imbalance it may manifest as anxiety, fears and nightmares. In the physical body problems with the bladder, elimination, lower back and legs may appear. When the Root chakra is in balance you feel grounded, supported and safe.

The second chakra is called The Svadhisthana, the Sacral Chakra, which is our creativity and sexual center. It’s located above the pubic bone, below the navel. When this chakra is out of balance you may experience emotional instability, fear of change, lack of creative energy, depression and addictions. Physical symptoms include urinary tract infections, sexual dysfunction and reproductive issues. A balanced Sacral Chakra brings feelings of abundance, joy and pleasure.

The third oneThe Manipura, the Solar Plexus Chakra, located around the navel, is our source of personal power and self-esteem. Blocked Manipura chakra manifests itself in low self-esteem, having difficulty making decisions, anger and control issues. In physical level digestive problems, issues with pancreas, liver and colon and ulcers may arise. When the chakra is open and balanced you feel confident, motivated and have a strong sense of purpose.

The fourth chakra is located at the heart center. It is called Anahata, The Heart Chakra. The heart chakra is the source of love, compassion and connection. It is serving as a bridge between our body, mind, emotions and spirit. A closed heart chakra can manifest in feeling grief, anger, resentment, unworthiness and jealousy. In the physical body problems with the heart, lungs and the circulation can appear. When your Anahata Chakra is balanced you feel love and compassion, you’re quick to forgive and you accept others and yourself.

The fifth chakra, The Vishuddha, is located in the throat, bridging the heart and the mind. It is the center of verbal expression and the ability to speak your highest truth. When the Throat Chakra is blocked, it can result in sore throat, neck and jaw pain and issues with hearing. You may feel like you don’t know how to ask what you need. When the Throat chakra is aligned you are able to express ideas clearly and communicate your needs, desires and boundaries effectively.

The sixth chakra, The Ajna, The Third Eye, is located in between the eyebrows and it is the source of intuition. Physical symptoms of a blocked Third Eye Chakra may appear as headaches, migraines, dizziness and problems with vision. When the Ajna is open you begin to see things as they are, without the stories of the ego, leading to an inner knowledge. You feel clear and focused.

The seventh chakra is called The Sahaswara, The Crown Chakra, at the crown of the head. It is the chakra of enlightenment and our spiritual connection to our higher selves, others and to the Spirit. Sahaswara means thousand-petaled and represents the lotus flower. Complications from blocked Crown Chakra can be confusion, depression and inability to learn. There may be issues with rigid thoughts, prejudice and lack of connection to the world. When this chakra is balanced you live in the present moment and trust your inner guidance.

The symptoms are there to communicate to you what you’ve been doing to yourself in your consciousness. Asana, pranayama and meditation practices can free up energy and stimulate an imbalanced chakra. Each chakra has a corresponding color, sound, crystals and element. To balance the chakras sound healing, color therapy, crystals and gemstones can be used as well. In order to balance your chakras you need to learn to tune in to feel and figure out which chakra to stimulate to restore the balance. For example, if you’re feeling tired and sluggish you can practice asanas that target the Manipura chakra to revive your inner fire. Or if you’re feeling anxious and un-rooted you may want to work on the Muladhara Chakra to feel more secure and grounded. When we change something about our being, the stress and tension causing the symptoms can be released. Balancing the chakras through various methods guides you to return to your natural state of balance and health.

Written by Suvi Kuparinen