The first time I heard the term “chakra” was during my yoga teacher training.
As a complete newbie to the subject, I remember feeling totally overwhelmed. I had no idea what it meant to unblock a chakra, let alone how to design a yoga class to balance specific chakras! Luckily my yoga teacher was gracious and slowly explained not only what the chakras are, but exactly why they are so important.
If you’re new to the chakras, learning about those energy centers can be confusing. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there before.
In this article, you’ll get a quick but thorough introduction to the chakras so you can start diving deeper into your yoga practice.
What Are The Chakras?
The chakras are the seven major energy centers that run along the spine. Each of the seven main chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs as well as our psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of being.
If one of the chakras is blocked or out of balance, then energy cannot flow freely and evenly throughout the body. This in turn can lead to ailments, both physical and emotional. Understanding the different chakras will help you to realize when one of your chakras is unbalanced — and the necessary practices you can take to re-balance it.
Location: Base of Spine
The Root Chakra is associated with stability and security. It also directly relates to our connection with Mother Earth.
Blockages in the Root Chakra occur when we don’t feel grounded. Often this might be because we are traveling, we are worrying about money, we dislike our jobs, or we otherwise feel like we don’t have the stability that we need.
If you feel like your Root Chakra is blocked, one of the best cures is to go outside and connect to the Earth beneath you. Walk barefoot, dig your toes in the sand or plop down in the grass. Repeating a simple mantra such as “I have all I need” can also be a powerful way to remind yourself that money comes and goes, but you have all you truly need inside of you.
Alternatively, take conscious steps to add more security in your life, such as starting a savings fund or putting down roots.
Location: Pelvic Area
If you have low energy, no passion, drive, or no libido, then it is a sign that your Sacral Chakra is out of balance. Alternatively, you could feel overly sexual.
To balance your Sacral Chakra, practice yoga hip openers and let go of any emotional or mental baggage you are carrying with you that no longer serves you. Another great way to fire up your Sacral Chakra is through dance. Don’t be afraid to sway your hips from side to side.
The Solar Plexus Chakra corresponds to our confidence and digestion. It relates to our self-worth, our will and our gut instincts.
If your Solar Plexus is unbalanced, then you will likely feel a lack of confidence or shame. Alternatively, you could be overly confident. You might also have weight problems, constipations, fatigue and even allergies.
One of the most powerful ways to balance the Solar Plexus is through core-strengthening exercises. This doesn’t necessarily mean crunches — there are loads of yoga poses that strengthen the core. Other great practices include trying new things or taking on new hobbies. Success in a new hobby can lead to a feeling of deep empowerment. Finally, try expressing yourself through the arts to tap into your self-worth.
Location: Center of Chest
As would be expected, the Heart Chakra relates to love, joy, connection and healing.
If you’re feeling lonely, lacking compassion or otherwise devoid of joy and love, then it is definitely a sign your Heart Chakra is blocked. Of course, you might also find your love is too overbearing or you have too much attachment.
To balance the Heart Chakra, begin by opening up the chest. Stop slumping, rounding your shoulders, and closing your heart off; instead practice postures that allow you to open your heart fully. Then, go out and express more love. This can be love for others, but don’t forget the importance of loving yourself as well.
The Throat Chakra is deeply connected to communication and creativity.
An imbalance of the throat chakra can be if you speak too often while having trouble listening to others. You might also find your Throat Chakra is blocked if you have difficulty with self-expression and communicating the way you feel.
One of my favorite ways to balance the Throat Chakra is with a great neck massage from a skilled body worker. Other great ways to unblock the Throat Chakra are by drinking plenty of water and even… allowing yourself to sing without judgement.
Third Eye Chakra
Location: Third Eye Center; Forehead
The Third Eye is a powerful chakra that corresponds strongly to our intuition and imagination.
If your Third Eye Chakra is not balanced, you may experience eye sight problems, as well as a lack of creativity, lack of imagination and being out of touch with your gut or intuition.
A common way to release any blockages in the Third Eye Center in a yoga class is by practicing with a blindfold on. This is a great way to remove obstacles around us and search for answers inside. Other great practices include free-writing, visualizations and repeating positive affirmations.
Location: Crown of Head
The final primary chakra, the Crown Chakra, is related to our consciousness, knowledge and understanding.
If your Crown Chakra is blocked, then it is likely you will feel the burden of a “monkey mind.” You might never be able to quiet your mind, be easily distracted, or be called flighty or spacey.
To balance the Crown Chakra, try incorporating a meditation practice into your daily routine. Additionally, get rid of any clutter—both physical and mental—that no longer serves you. Finally, make sure that all of your other chakras are balanced so that the energy can flow directly through you!
While this is just a quick introduction to the chakras, it will help you to understand these major energy centers and how they impact our total mind-body-spirit wellbeing.
If you have any questions, stories or thoughts about the chakras, leave them in the comments below.