Chakras are energy centers in the body.
It’s important to consider our chakras, or energy system, as an integral part of our total picture of wellness. It’s a part that often gets overlooked in the western world with so much focus on physical and mental health.
The truth is, everything is energy. We are in an energetic exchange with everything, all day long: people, places, and food, for example. Our chakras are constantly receiving, assimilating, and transmitting life force energy so that we can make sense of the world around us.
You can think of chakras like portals connecting our inner and outer worlds.
There are seven main chakras in the human body, from root (base of the spine) to crown (top of the head). Each chakra has a corresponding color, element, symbol, vibrational sound, and relates to a specific part of the body. For a more in depth explanation of what a chakra is and where the system came from, read my post titled “What is a chakra?”
Here is a simple guide to your chakras.
Know that the system works as a whole, so we can break down each one to understand its qualities, but ultimately everything works together, like the parts of a car.
Chakra one is about our health, our survival, and our grounding. It is located at the base of the spine and its element is earth. It has to do with our basic needs – shelter, food, water. Think self care. Exercise. Eating habits. Allowing yourself to slow down and relax. Feeling at home in your body. Because it is the foundation of the entire chakra system, it represents stability, which is also reflected in our financial situation. Fear, anxiety, eating disorders, and financial problems are some examples of root chakra imbalance. For ideas on how to balance this chakra, read my post titled “Six Ways to Balance Your Root Chakra.”
Chakra two is about pleasure, sensuality and sexuality. Its element is water. Water moves and flows, just as a healthy second chakra allows us to move and flow with life… not resisting change, not being rigid. This chakra is all about our emotions. We have to let them move and flow. When considering the health of this chakra, look at your emotional stability, your attitude toward sex, toward self pleasure, and the health of your hips and sexual organs. Self love practices of any kind (taking a warm bubble bath, buying yourself flowers or treating yourself in some way – doesn’t have to be sexual pleasure) will bring balance to this chakra. It’s important for our health to allow ourselves to feel pleasure. We are sensual, sexual beings. The fact that we have skin proves that we were meant to feel, and when we deny ourselves this basic human need, we get closed off energetically to enjoying life in general. Sexual problems and pain in the hips and low back are common signs of sacral chakra imbalance. Read more about this chakra including ways to balance it in my post titled “All About the Sacral Chakra.”
Here lies your personal power. Your will, your fire, your energy. No surprise that it correlates to the sun, its element being fire. Imagine rubbing two sticks together to create a spark. The sticks represent the first chakra, the movement needed to create the spark represents the second chakra. The fire of chakra three is born. The first three chakras provide the basis for the entire chakra system above to flourish. With this fire and energy deep in our core, we now have the power to choose how we want to direct it. This shows up in our career choices, ways we are of service to others, and what we choose to do in our lives in general. It has everything to do with our self esteem and confidence. Chakra three governs our belly and digestive system, so any issues with these parts of the body can point to imbalance. Low energy, low self esteem, indecisiveness, and lack of motivation in life are all signs of imbalance. Running or cardio exercise, laughter, and setting healthy boundaries (learning to say “no”) are all ways to balance this chakra.
Representing the center of the chakra system is the fourth chakra, the heart. Its element is air and it deals with love, relationships, connection, compassion, balance, and forgiveness. With three chakras below and three above, the heart chakra represents balance in its purest form with the grounding energies of the first three chakras below and the ethereal qualities of the upper three chakras above. This chakra governs the heart, lungs and respiratory system, so any health issues with these body parts can point to imbalance. Depression lives here, as sadness is often a matter of the heart. Breathwork is a wonderful tool for balancing this chakra. Pay attention to the posture of your shoulders. Notice if you are often hunching over, protecting your heart. As the center of the system, it is paramount that we pay close attention to this chakra every day, and attempt to keep it healthy and open.
We now move into the upper chakras starting at the throat, which is all about communication, creativity, and self expression. How do you speak your truth? How do you create? We are all creative, some of us are just more tapped in than others. Notice your attitude toward creativity. Creative expression can come out in song, written word, or art. This is also about how comfortable we are speaking and listening. The element of this chakra is ether, or sound. Vibration. As we move upward through the chakras, they become less dense. The throat chakra deals with sound and vibration, so singing, chanting or repeating mantras is a great way to balance this chakra. Again, we have to look at all the parts as a whole. We have to be grounded (chakra one), emotionally stable (chakra two), confident (chakra three), and open-hearted (chakra four) in order to express our truth and creativity in a healthy way. If there are major imbalances happening in the lower four chakras, creative expression and communication may be challenging.
The brow chakra is the seat of your intuition. “Trust your gut” is the perfect phrase to describe it. The sixth chakra’s element is light and it has to do with truly seeing the world around us. Think vision, visualizing life, not just seeing what’s in front of you but actually seeing with clarity and making connections about what you see in a greater sense… seeing the way all the parts work together as a whole. Those gut feelings you get… that you shouldn’t go to that party or you just know you need to see that person but you’re not sure why… that is your intuition. The world we live in is a disempowering society telling us how to live, how to eat, how to dress, how to be, and everything in between. We are at a constant struggle to listen to our own wisdom within, which resides in our bodies… our skin, our bones, our hearts, our bellies… this is our intuition. It is a voice we can hear if we listen close enough. In order to get more connected to your intuition, you need to connect to your body and breath. Yoga and meditation are wonderful tools. This chakra has to do with the eyes so vision problems correlate with it, as well as headaches. Lavender is a wonderful essential oil to help balance this chakra and invite in a sense of calm clarity.
Finally, we reach the crown at the top of the head, symbolized by a thousand petaled lotus. This chakra represents higher consciousness, connection with divine spirit, and with our higher self. The best “element” to describe it is thought. The crown chakra is primarily associated with the pituitary gland, and secondarily to the pineal and the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland work together to regulate the endocrine system. Because of its location, the crown chakra is closely associated with the brain and the whole nervous system. The crown chakra is associated with the transcendence of our limitations, whether personal or bound to space and time. The quality of awareness that comes with the crown chakra is universal, transcendent. Being immersed in the energy of the crown chakra feels like bliss… a state of union with all that is. Signs of imbalance include being disconnected from spirit, living in your head (disconnected from your body), and closed-mindedness. The best way to balance this chakra is to meditate. Check out my post titled “Meditation 101” and “Guided Meditation – 10 Minutes” to get started with meditation!
Eating plenty of fresh fruits and veggies will help balance your chakras. Foods correspond to the chakras based on their color. Check out this Rainbow Buddha Bowl recipe for some serious chakra balancing deliciousness!