Yogi Diaries: A Crash Course on Chakras

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Now that the yogi lifestyle and zen vibes are having a moment in pop culture, the 7 chakras are everywhere – and for a good reason! Balancing and awakening your chakras can have so many benefits that most of us are largely unaware of. Because the concept of energy centers in the body can be somewhat foreign to most of us Americans, the chakra system has the potential to be hard to “buy into” or understand. Well never fear, my soon-to-be energetically balanced friends, I’m here to boil it all down to the simplest of terms and help you understand the basics of the 7 chakras.

The chakra system dates back to over 3,000  years ago in India where they were first recorded in The Vedas, or the oldest collection of writings in India. Since then many variations of the chakra system have become extremely important in many Eastern spiritual traditions, including Hinduism and Yoga.

The basic and most widely accepted chakra system is made up of seven unique energy centers – or chakras – spread between the base of the spine and the space directly above the crown of the head. This system is based on the Hindu chakra system, where each chakra is regarded as a perpetually evolving energy hub and is associated with certain emotions, issues, and other aspects of human life.

Having “balanced chakras” basically means that each chakra is adequately functioning and governing its characteristic emotions, issues, etc, and that no one chakra is over or under active. It could almost be compared to a seven sided seesaw. An over active or under active chakra can be associated with emotional, mental, spiritual, even physical issues, which is why it’s important to be in touch with your own chakras on a regular basis.  If one chakra isn’t functioning properly, there are countless different ways to get in touch with it and to foster a more balanced relationship between that chakra, the other chakras, and you (including meditation, chanting, vibrational healing, yoga, the list goes on..).

Like I said, each of the seven chakras is tied to certain aspects of human life, including emotions and issues. Beyond this, however, each chakra is also associated with its own color and personal strengths or weaknesses (among many other things that I won’t delve into here) and is located in a specific area along the spinal cord. Without further ado, may I introduce to you the seven chakras, starting from the first, bottom-most chakra and moving upward:

  1. The Root Chakra:
    • Location: Base of spine at tailbone/coccyx
    • Color: Red
    • Sanskrit Name: Muladhara
    • The Root Chakra is associated with ones basic needs (home, health, safety and security) being met. It regulates our sense of groundedness and stability, especially in our home lives. This can be literal, such as our basic human needs for food and shelter, or it can be more metaphorical and tied to things like financial security and familial relationships.
  2. The Sacral Chakra: 
    • Location: Lower abdomen, about 2 inches below the navel
    • Color: Orange
    • Sanskrit Name: Swadhisthana
    • The Sacral Chakra is associated with feelings and sensations, sexuality, creativity, and emotions. It encourages us to feel the world around us and take pleasure in it and it governs our sense of well-being, sensuality, and happiness.
  3. The Solar Plexus Chakra:
    • Location: Stomach or upper abdomen
    • Color: Yellow or golden-yellow
    • Sanskrit Name: Manipura
    • The Solar Plexus Chakra is related to ones sense of self-worth and self-esteem, as well as ones personal identity and independence. It governs ones ability to find direction in life and make choices, it is strongly tied to ones inner power and self-image.
  4. The Heart Chakra:
    • Location: Mid chest, above the heart
    • Color: Green
    • Sanskrit Name: Anahata
    • The Heart Chakra governs ones relationships and feelings (especially those of love, empathy, and forgiveness) as well as ones connectedness to his or her world. It is tied to ones sense of inner peace, as well as ones ability to give and receive emotionally.
  5. The Throat Chakra:
    • Location: Throat
    • Color: Blue
    • Sanskrit Name: Vishuddha
    • The Throat Chakra is related to ones ability to communicate and truly express themselves. It’s said to help one find his or her vocation or purpose in life as well as ones personal truths.
  6. The Third Eye Chakra:
    • Location: Space between the eyebrows
    • Color: Purple, or bluish purple
    • Sanskrit Name: Ajna
    • The Third Eye Chakra is known as ones center of intuition, insight, and wisdom. It regulates ones connection to the less physical aspects of life, as well as ones creativity and ability to make decisions. The third eye is associated with one’s ability to access intangible realms and spirituality.
  7. The Crown Chakra:
    • Location: Top of head or slightly above
    • Color: White, although also associated with a deep purple
    • Sanskrit Name: Sahasrara
    • The Crown Chakra is said to regulate ones connection to the universe or higher power, open-mindedness, spirituality and wisdom, and sense of inner and outer beauty. It is associated with the ultimate form of bliss or enlightenment, as well as connection with the divine form of ones selfChakrasWomanDescription

There is so much to say about each chakra that I would never be able to cover it all in a simple explanation, but I hope these brief excerpts about each one can serve as a basic introduction. I encourage you to continue to research the chakras on your own if they are of interest to you, you can even start by taking this short chakra test to see how balanced your own chakras are.

My relationship with chakras has been one of healing, realization, and gratitude. It’s my hope that more people will be touched by healing through chakras in the same way that I have, and perhaps this post can serve as a starting point for someones journey. If you have any questions or comments about chakras, this post, or my relationship with chakras, please feel free to comment or reach out to me! Otherwise, happy meditating & stay balanced 🙂

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