Updated: Dec 9, 2019
Many of us have heard of chakras somewhere or somehow whether it was during a group meditation, yoga class or maybe during a reiki healing circle the instructor most likely spoke about the chakras and their vital importance when healing from physical, spiritual, mental and emotional traumas. In yoga classes that i have attended my instructor has mentioned the third eye chakra which is responsible for awakening and intuition or even the heart chakra which is responsible for loving yourself and loving others but what really is a chakra and why are they so important?
The word chakra comes from the Sanskrit word "wheel" or "disk" and references a spiritual energy center within the center of the body in which there are seven chakras along the spine through the crown of your neck and to the head. So what is the purpose of the seven chakras? They each correspond to specific organs as well as physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual states of being that influence all areas of your life.
While there isn’t much Western scientific evidence that translates spiritual energy into physical manifestations, the study of the seven chakras and chakra alignment is rooted in the belief that when the chakras are open and aligned, our energy is constantly free-flowing, allowing prana to flow through them. But before you can dive deep into each chakra, you need to know the basics first.
THE ROOT CHAKRA
What it is: Think about your root chakra (AKA first chakra) as the foundation of a house, except for your body—it’s sturdy, stabilizing, and supportive, keeping everything safely connected as long as it’s functioning properly. It’s associated with the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae, and responsible for an individual’s sense of security and survival. Because of that, it’s also connected to whatever you use to ground yourself, including basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and safety, as well as your more emotional needs such as letting go of fear and feeling safe. As you well know, when these needs are met, you tend to worry less.
When it’s blocked: A variety of ailments can occur from blockages, including anxiety disorders, fears, or nightmares, adherents say. Physically, the first chakra is associated with problems in the colon, with the bladder, with elimination, or with lower back, leg, or feet issues.
THE SACRAL CHAKRA
What it is: Consider the second chakra the most fun out of the seven. Located above the pubic bone and below the navel, it’s responsible for our sexual and creative energies. Associated with the color orange and the element of water, when your sacral chakra is aligned, you will likely feel great: You’re friendly, passionate, and successfully fulfilled while also eliciting feelings of wellness, abundance, pleasure, and joy. By honoring your body and expressing yourself creatively, you’re keeping the energy wheels turning and fluid.
When it’s blocked: When you’re feeling uninspired creatively or have some emotional instability, your sacral chakra may be misaligned. Likewise, this can also be associated with physical sexual disfunction, while also potentially experiencing fear of change, depression, or addiction-like behaviors.
The solar plexus chakra
What it is: With its name meaning “lustrous gem” in Sanskrit, the third chakra is said to be your source of individual power, ruling over self-esteem. it is the “action and balance chakra that focuses on individual willpower, personal power, and commitment.” Located from the navel to about the ribcage, it reportedly governs all things metabolic, digestive, and stomach-related.
When it’s blocked: You can suffer from low self-esteem, have difficulty making decisions, and may have anger or control issues. Olivia notes that it’s not just feeling badly about yourself, but also may lead you to outwardly express apathy, procrastination, or that you’re able to be taken advantage of easily. Likewise, you’ll also possibly have a tummy ache of some kind such as digestive issues or gas. (Ugh.)
The heart chakra
What it is: As the central chakra, the fourth chakra, found at the center of your chest, represents where the physical and the spiritual meet. Physically, it’s said to encapsulate the heart, the thymus gland (which plays a vital role in your endocrine and lymphatic system), the lungs, and the breasts. And as its name implies, is all about the love. It’s the awakening to spiritual awareness, forgiveness, and service. Associated with the color green and pink (yes, the millennial, rose quartz kind), it’s believed that when your heart chakra is aligned and balanced, love and compassion are flowing freely—both in terms of giving it out and getting it back.
When it’s blocked: A closed heart chakra can give way to grief, anger, jealousy, fear of betrayal, and hatred toward yourself and others—especially in the form of holding a grudge against something or someone. Holding onto hurt harbors negative feelings and cuts you off from opportunities to love.
The throat chakra
What it is: Have zero problem saying how you feel? Your fifth chakra, which is all about speaking your inner truth—or specifically, ensuring that your inner truths are properly communicated—is likely well-balanced. The throat chakra rules all communication, and is the first of the three solely spiritual chakras (as opposed to the lower ones, which manifest themselves in a more physical way). Anatomically, the throat chakra is associated with the thyroid, parathyroid, jaw, neck, mouth, tongue, and larynx. When this chakra is in check, you’re able to fully listen as well as speak and express yourself clearly.
When it’s blocked: In addition to having trouble speaking your truth, you find it hard to pay attention and stay focused, or fear judgment from others—which can further hinder your ability to keep it real. Physically, this blockage can manifest itself as a sore throat, thyroid issues, neck and shoulder stiffness, or tension headaches.
The third-eye chakra
What it is: Don’t let its name confuse you. The third-eye chakra is actually your sixth chakra, and is physically located between your eyebrows. Organs including the pituitary gland, eyes, head, and lower part of the brain are said to be ruled by the third eye. And it reportedly governs your intuition—plus the ability to recognize and tap into it. What’s more, the third eye is also said to be responsible for all things between you and the outside world, serving as a bridge between the two, allowing you to cut through any illusions and drama to see the clear picture.
When it’s blocked: You may have trouble accessing your intuition, trusting your inner voice, recalling important facts, or learning new skills. And if your lower chakras—AKA the root, sacral, solar plexus, and heart chakras—and are unbalanced, your third eye will likely be as well, which may cause you to act more judgmental, dismissive, and introverted. A third-eye blockage is associated with a broad range of issues, including depression, anxiety, and a more judgmental attitude—while physically, it’s said to cause headaches, dizziness, and a slew of other brain-health issues.
What it is: Known in Sanskrit as the Sahaswara chakra or the “thousand petal lotus” chakra, it is the center of enlightenment and our spiritual connection to our higher selves, others, and ultimately, the divine. As the name suggests, the seventh chakra located at the crown of your head. When aligned, the realizations that occur within you are said to be along the lines of pure awareness, consciousness, undivided, and all expansive. Basically, bigger than yourself and yet part of one giant universe.
When it’s blocked: A crown-chakra blockage may create feelings of isolation or emotional distress—basically feeling disconnected from everyone and everything. Or, you might feel like your normal self—just not in an exalted state of spiritual connection and enlightenment, which is totally okay and seriously normal. Unlike the other chakras, the crown chakra is often only opened up fully through specific yogic or meditative exercises, or at certain times—which is not a skill set you can call upon at any given moment. You may be able to get a taste of it, though, through daily practices—anything from meditation, prayer, to moments of silence and gratitude—to have those moments of spiritual connection.