Yogi Diaries: A Crash Course on Chakras

img_4655

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 🙂

img_4655

Street Art Got me Thinkin

As you’ll find out in posts to come, I’m super into street art. I wish I was artistic and gutsy enough to make my own street art, but alas I’m just an admirer. I’ve been seeing this stencil around the streets of Florence and sometimes it gets me to reflect. I thought these were some funny interpretations of how the media thinks for me…

img_4333

“Today I’m going to be original and take a picture of the sunset… I don’t think that’s ever been done before”

img_4332

Takes basic [vegan] gelato pic… “Am I trendy?”

Amalfi Coast, Italy 

This weekend my roommates and I spent the weekend romping around the gorgeous Amalfi Coast of Italy. It was hands down one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, I only wish we could have stayed longer! We spent our nights enjoying the sunsets and delightful restaurants in the town of Sorrento (we stayed at the Sisters Hostel, which I highly recommend) and spent one of our days on the island of Capri, and the other on the beach in Positano.

Our day in Capri was absolutely unforgettable. We took a boat tour around the Island, visiting a handful of beautiful caves. One of which was the famous “Blue Grotto” which is lit up on the inside with by natural fluorescent aqua lighting and can only be accessed via tiny row boats that you have to lay flat in to get inside the cave and are operated by Italian men who sing operatic Italian songs in the echoing cave. Another must-see highlight of Capri was the view from the chairlift up to the top of Mt. Solaro where there are more breathtaking views and a picturesque cafe where you can get a spritz or glass of prosecco and overlook the island.

Positano was yet another wonderful coastal location that I will never forget. In Positano we spent our time lounging on the beach, enjoying beachside cocktails with the Amalfi coast’s signature limoncello and Italian craft lemon beer, and popping in and out of quaint boutiques and delightful art exhibits. The view of the houses on the hillside of Positano was everything it’s built up to be and more, although the bus ride down it to the beach was a ride I feel blessed to have survived. This coastal town is a gem of the Amalfi coast, and if I ever have the opportunity to return I will make a point to stay there for a more extended period of time.

Below are some of my favorite photographs from this trip, although I took so many pictures it was impossible to choose! The Amalfi coast is such a magical place that it’s perfection could never be done justice by a camera, but I hope I was able to capture a little sliver of this big slice of heaven!

Sorrento:


Capri:


Positano:

Capri Succulant 

I’m currently on a bus on the beautiful Amalfi Coast in Italy driving from Sorrento to Positano having some fun playing around with the photos I took yesterday in Capri! I absolutely cannot wait to share more of my photos from this trip in a post on Sunday (update: I posted them, see Amalfi Coast, Italy ). For now, I have this fun adaptation of a pretty potted succulent I saw in Capri yesterday to share with y’all. Enjoy the weekend!

Venezia 

Before arriving at my temporary home in Florence, Italy I was lucky enough to have the wonderful opportunity to spend a couple days in Venice! I was absolutely enchanted by this city on the water, it’s unlike anything I have ever seen before and there are endless opportunities to enjoy yourself and your unique surroundings. Some of my favorite things in Venice are the gorgeous views of the water and the gondola boats. Here are a few of my favorite photos from vantastic Venezia 

My favorite Florentine violinist 

I added some personal touches to a photo of my favorite street violinist who sits outside the Gucci Store Florence and makes beautiful music (as if real life doesn’t do him enough justice).

Croatia – Rovinj, Split, Dubrovnik

This past week I had the opportunity to drive down the coast of Croatia. It was the most beautiful experience that I would recommend to anyone who loves coastal beauty. I made three stops, the first of which was Rovinj, a picturesque small Istrian town based around a castle on a hillside that overlooks the Adriatic Sea. Next, I saw Split which is a fun city that is also located on the Adriatic Sea. My favorite part of Split was the Old Town which is a collection of the most amazing shops, restaurants, and bars set in Diocletian’s ancient castle which overlooks the Adriatic Sea as well. Finally, I went to Dubrovnik which is where my favorite HBO show, Game of Thrones, did a lot of filming (it is where most of the scenes set in Kings Landing are shot). Dubrovnik is also a town set in an ancient castle overlooking the Adriatic Sea. It is one of the most dramatic and beautiful cities I have ever seen, with no shortage of breathtaking views and experiences. Here are some photos from my time in this beautiful country, I hope you enjoy!

Rovinj:


Split:


Dubrovnik:


These are just a few of the photos I got in magnificent Croatia, I hope you enjoy looking at them even a fraction of the amount I enjoyed taking them!

May 17 – Exploring Firenze

Today we (two of my freakin awesome roommates and I) spent a few hours exploring this fantastic city by getting lost in it and I had the opportunity take a few pictures in the process! Here are a few of my favorites, I hope you enjoy them 🙂

Inspiration Point, CA

This week I took a little trip to Inspiration Point with my trusty beagle companion, Diego and took some pictures. I hope you enjoy them!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.