Overview of the Seven Chakras

Chakras are energy centers in our body. They affect us spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally.  There are dozens of chakras in your body and energetic sphere, but the main seven run from your perineum up to the top of your head.   Those are the centers I’m going to focus on here.

The world chakra is the Sanskrit work for “wheel”.  Sanskrit is the language of the ancient Hindus.  It’s a powerful, sacred language that encompasses the cosmic sounds of the Universe.  The language is no longer spoken as a common tongue, but the mantras, chants, and sacred symbols you see and you hear in cosmic shops, yoga studios, and massage parlors are all Sanskrit.

The fact that Chakra translates to “wheel” is fascinating symbolism in and of itself.  The wheel is the original symbol for the sun, which is depicted as the Solar cross, which is an icon found in every single ancient religion across the globe. The Solar cross morphed into the Celtic cross in Paganism, and is most widely understood in our modern culture today as the Christian cross.  Even though Christian mythology incorporates the cross as a symbol of Jesus’ death, it is also a symbol of his regeneration.  If we take the Christian cross all the way back to its roots, we get the wheel, which symbolizes change, rebirth, growth.  So, you can see how our modern symbolism ties in to all walks of ancient symbolism.

But back to the Chakras (or at least the seven we’re covering today).  Spiritual workers are most familiar with the Hindu chakras, but again, you can find reference to these energy centers in many spiritual traditions and cultures, dating back centuries and spanning the globe.  And we all feel these centers.  All of us.

It’s the pit of fear in your stomach.

The ache in your heart.

Or conversely, the singing of it.

So, let’s dig into these power centers learn how we can use them to our best advantage!

The Root Chakra

“Muladhara”, meaning “root support”

Element: Earth
Location: This chakra is located at the perineum, or the tailbone, if that’s an easier location to visualize.
Color: Red
Deals with: security, grounded, fears, instinct, survival, family, tribe, group-think

When the root chakra is in alignment, you are grounded in your body with a good ability to keep your physical body in good working condition.  You aren’t dogged with family issues, even if you had a difficult upbringing.  You are comfortable in groups, tribal settings, and you easily navigate political situations, whether at work, or among your social group.  Manifesting is easier for you. Because you’re not worried about survival, you can reach beyond your immediate needs.

When the root chakra is out of alignment, or energetically blocked, you find yourself running on “fear fumes”.  You have a basic sense of insecurity in the world; like the ground isn’t stable under your feet.  Issues from your childhood and relationship with your parents haunt you, and cause problems in your day-to-day life.  You have a hard time fitting in to social groups, or staying fit in.  You may find social dynamics tend to blow up in your face.  You often feel like an outsider, and don’t fit in well to the group dynamic. You are in near constant survival mode, stressed out about the next dollar, the next meal, the next anything that you need for basic survival, which will keep you ungrounded and exhausted.  Wealth and abundance seem completely out of reach: you’re not sure if you can survive, let alone generate wealth!

If you recognize yourself as out of alignment with this chakra, try not to let it add to your survival stress.  Most of us have some work in this area, and many of us have a lot of work in this area.  It’s the human design to be born into an environment that squeezes us into a box we don’t fit in, and it’s our life purpose to release ourselves from that box, and step into our full power.  That usually starts at step one: the root.

Daily work with this chakra: ground yourself: spend time in nature, grounding exercises, relaxation, meditation, physical exercise.

The Sacral Chakra

“Svadhishthana”, meaning “one’s own base”

Element: Water
Location: Abdomen, 2 inches below the naval, womb on a woman
Color: Orange
Deals with: sensuality, luxury, divine feminine, sexuality, sexual connection, acceptance, deserving, guilt, vulnerability, sensitivity, creativity

When the sacral chakra is in alignment, you’re living the good life and feeling great about it.  This helps you stay present in the moment, enjoy the little things and the sensuality life brings. You authentically enjoy and immerse yourself in taste, touch, smell, dreams, luxuries, sex, and all of life’s comforts and joys.  You have no fear of showing your true self to anyone, be they family or strangers.  You carry what I’d describe as an air of experienced innocence.  You don’t mind what people think about you, because it doesn’t affect your experience in the moment.

When this chakra is out of whack, you tend to oversensitivity and a rushed style of living. Issues around physical intimacy and sex come to the surface, sometimes prominently.  You try and make up for perceived inadequacies by emulating a masculine energy, whether you are male or female.  You tend toward a miserly attitude, penny pinching for yourself as well as others.  However, you may have financial blow outs.  What I mean by this is, you pinch and pinch and pinch your pennies, until you “explode”, and end up spending a bunch of money on a luxury item you don’t need or even want. This makes you feel guilty, and tighten the purse strings that much more, before the next blow out. You have a push-pull between “I deserve” and “I don’t deserve”.

Since the sacral chakra deals with the divine feminine, most of us living in a patriarchal society are going to have issues in this area, whether you are physically male or female.  Men are taught early on to be tough, hold in their tears, don’t show vulnerability, because it’s not “manly”.  Women who wish to participate in our society in a role other than wife and mother are urged to put on a masculine costume, to stuff their innate femininity and drive forward in a man’s world.  She’s supposed to be “one of the guys” but at the same time maintain her sex appeal.

Daily work with this chakra: stay present. Enjoy a few moments out of your day completely, without a thought to the next or the previous. Doing a creative project is a great way to attain this state.

The Power Chakra

“Manipura”, meaning “jewel city”

Element: Fire
Location: solar plexus
Color: yellow
Deals with: personal power, how we show up in the world, divine masculine, self-confidence, drive, self-esteem, energy, action

Life is a sweet deal when the power chakra is doing well.  You’ll show up in your life with confidence, determination, drive, and energy.  This chakra deals with masculine energy, but when the engine is running smoothly, that doesn’t mean aggression: it means assertion.  Assertion is diplomatic, calm, and confident.  Aggression is flailing, chaotic, and angry.  When this chakra is in alignment, action flows, challenges are overcome with interest and determination, and people react positively to your personal power.

You’ll know when this energy center is out of alignment because you’re struggling in your action.  Everything you do feels sluggish and uninspired.  When this center is out of wack, your assertion turns one of two ways: meek or aggressive.  Meek presentation of the power center has us showing up as self-deprecating, low self-esteem, and low energy.  Aggression is high energy, but it is unfocused and hostile.  You try to strong arm people to your way, but meet lots of resistance in your efforts, further aggravating your aggressive impulses.

Daily work with this chakra: once you have lined up with your integrity, practice asserting your needs and desires. 

Heart Chakra

“Anahata”, meaning, “unhurt, unstruck, and unbeaten”

Element: Air
Location: center of the chest
Color: green
Deals with: connection with others, joy, fun, love, relationships, dreams, gratitude

When your heart is energetically open, you go through life with a sense of wonder and genuine appreciation for the people in the world.  It’s hard to sway your positive nature, or your willingness to see the good in others.  When this chakra is open, you are naturally peppy, optimistic, and joyful.  You fall in love easily, and you let go just as easily, understanding both the permanence and transience of connection.  You naturally connect with others in a genuine manner, and people can feel your authenticity.

When this chakra is blocked, or more often, energetically protected, it’s harder for people to “reach” you in a real way.  When this center is very blocked, it can manifest as a chameleon-like personality, where the you change your persona drastically to mimic the people you are with.  It can also show up as uncaring, cruel, cynical, pessimistic, and selfishness.

As children, this center is naturally wide open.  This is the physical location of our God-self, our divine essence, and that place of God is where we are born to live from.  It’s through trauma, heartache, early rejection, and grief that this center closes off over time.

Daily work with this chakra: consciously look for the good in others.  Write a daily gratitude list.

Throat Chakra

“Vishuddha”, meaning “especially pure”

Element: Ether (space or emptiness)
Location: throat
Color: blue
Deals with: communication, speaking, writing, listening, body language, being understood, understanding, intellect, critical thinking

With this chakra open and accepting, you’ll find communication with yourself, people in your environment, and your higher power effortless and invigorating.  You’ll be comfortable speaking in front of large crowds, writing for an audience, and stepping on the stage to communicate with your body (for example, dancing).  People who have a strong communication center are natural orators, storytellers, poets, and scribes.  People with this center in alignment are intellectually curious, and love to explore theories and concepts outside of explored areas.

When this chakra is clogged, communication is hard – it’s hard to speak, hard to write, and hard to be understood.  It’s a challenge to get your point across.  Intellectual endeavors may feel exhausting or boring.  Writing feels like a chore, and public speaking is out of the question.  There can be a fear that people will react badly to what you say.  What you say and what people hear can be two different things.

In my experience, this is a chakra that many women need to work on routinely.  Even though it’s not usually said outright to us anymore, there is an energy in our patriarchal society that communicates “sit down and be quiet, dear”.  I’m not blaming men for this – at this point, it’s almost entirely unconscious most of the time.  But, according to a study done by Brigham Young University and Princeton, for every conversation that includes a man and a woman, a woman will speak only 25% of the words that her male counterpart speaks.

But that doesn’t mean that men can’t have issues in this area too.  Speaking truth is hard for anyone in our culture.  We’re very aware of the need to say the right thing in the right way to avoid negative reactions.  We’re all aware of “the spin” in most of our important life situations, like a job interview, or dating.

Daily work with this chakra: speak your truth and speak authentically.  Avoid the spin.

Third Eye Chakra

“Ajna”, meaning “command”

No element association

Location: point between the eyebrows
Color: purple
Deals with: spiritual sight, spiritual wisdom, spirituality, intuition, inner realms, higher consciousness

Spirituality is an easy way of life when this chakra is operating at full force.  You feel connected to your own spiritual path.  You can see people and circumstances more clearly for the spiritual experiences they are, rather than reacting from a place of insecurity.  This chakra deals with intuition and psychic energies.  When this chakra is aligned, your intuition is stronger, and you have an easier time trusting it.  You can access your higher consciousness throughout the day.  A spiritual practice becomes essential to you.

When this chakra is blocked, you lose touch with your spirit self, and associate entirely with your physical being.  You ignore your intuition, which diminishes over time.  Intuitive leaps are hard for you – you’re much more comfortable with list making, pros and cons, and seeking advice from people rather than our own experience, intuition, or source.  You don’t focus on self-improvement or self-analysis.

This chakra deals with spirituality, not religion.  Religion is group-think, tribal stuff, and is related to the root chakra.  Spirituality is direct connection with the divine.  That doesn’t mean you can’t have spirituality and religion.  You absolutely can.  Just be aware that the two are different energies, and governed by different centers in the body.

Daily work with the third eye chakra: before looking around for a logical or intellectual explanation, look within.  Just see what comes.  And when you’re ready, act on that instead of the advice someone else gives you.

The Crown Chakra

Sahasrara”, meaning “thousand-petaled”

No element association

 Location: top of the head
Color: Violet
Deals with: enlightenment, divine consciousness, channeling, source energy, connection with God, spiritual awakening

This is the most subtle chakra, as it deals with the formless divine source we all sense, and put in all kinds of different boxes.  This chakra opens you up to spirit communication, enlightenment, and what the Hindu’s call Sammadhi, which is when you reach such an exalted spiritual state, that you leave your body.

Daily work with the crown chakra: continued work with the rest of your chakras.  This baby opens in its own time.                                                                                       

You are the healer: healing your chakras with energy work

The first step to healing is accepting where you are right now.  When it comes to chakras, we all have blockages and issues.  We wouldn’t be in human form if we didn’t have work to do in this physical realm, and every issue we face comes back to the energy flow in our body. Which we can change!  That’s pretty exciting.  But you can’t change a thing until you accept where you are right now.  Every block, bump, self-sabotage, less-than-endearing quality needs to be looked square in the eye, and seen for what it is…without judgment.

And that takes a fair bit of bravery.  For everyone.  So, kudos to you, my friend, for stepping off the cliff, and landing where you’ve landed.  You’re almost there.

Now, when I see energy blocks in your body, I don’t see them as they are typically described.  I see it more like muscle knots, which need to be worked out and redistributed through the centers.  Anything that doesn’t belong in your body will naturally move out of the body when you complete this exercise.  But most of the energy is your own, it’s just all balled up where it shouldn’t be, causing constraints and reducing divine flow.

So, here’s the energy exercise I use myself, and I use with my clients.

The first thing I want you do to is take three deep breaths.  The breath is how you line yourself up energetically for any meditation, healing, and spiritual practice, so we always start here.

Take a deep breath in through yours nose, filling your abdomen, and then your lung cavity.

And then breath out through your mouth, squeezing the air out of your abdomen, and then out of your lungs.

Now, I want you to focus your attention on your root chakra.  The red chakra located at the perineum.  Begin to feel the energy that is swirling in that center.  Notice its texture, any images, any impressions you receive when you focus your attention there.

If you can’t feel it yet, that’s okay.  Just focus on that area, and use your imagination.

Now, take that energy in your root chakra, and start to move it up to your sacral chakra.  This is the orange chakra, located in your abdomen, about two inches below the belly button. Take your time.  It moves at the pace it moves.  Just gently move it up to your sacral at the rate it wants to go.

Notice the energy now in your sacral.  Notice the textures, feelings, images, whatever comes to you.  It’s just good information.

And again, if you don’t feel it yet, that’s perfectly okay. That will come.  Just focus on that area for now.

Next, you’ll move the energy up to your power chakra, which is the yellow chakra at your solar plexus. Repeat your intention to observe, and mentally note what you experience.

Now move the energy to your heart chakra, the green one in the center of your chest.

And now move the energy up to your throat, which is blue.  What information are you receiving?

And then move the energy to your third eye, which is purple.

And finally, move the energy into your crown, which is violet.

You will feel any excess energy move out of your body through your crown chakra.

Now I want you to check in with your body.  Where do you still feel blocked, or plugged, or weird in any way?

Those are the chakras that still need your attention.

You can do this exercise starting with the chakras that are plugged up, and move the energy down to your root, and then up through your crown.

For example, if you feel a block in your heart chakra, you would focus your attention on the heart, and then start to move the energy down to your solar plexus, then your sacral, then your root.  And the you’d re-focus your attention on your heart, and move the remaining energy up to your throat, then your third eye, then your crown.

Whenever you run into an issue, or a negative feeling, you can check in with your body and feel which energy center is affected.  You can feel your anxiety in your body.  That anxiety is an energy block.  Do this exercise right then and there, distributing that energy out from that chakra, down to the root, and up to the crown, and it will clear it out, and you’ll be able to see your situation much more clearly.

Continue to do this exercise whenever you think of it, or whenever an event or a feeling precipitates a negative response, and you will gently begin to redistribute your energy, and open up those trouble centers.

And that is how you change your life.

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