I never really understood Chakras. I’ve heard people talk about them casually, randomly in movies, seen the ascending rainbow circles. I made sure that the chakras was one of the first things I learned about during my yoga teacher training as I was strongly drawn to these enigmatic energy wheels.
Let’s start with the basics, then work our way up the spine.
Chakras, which translates to “wheels”, are energy centers in our body. Many practices believe in 8 major chakras, which are those rainbow circles I was talking about earlier. Seven of these chakras are related to the physical body, and the eighth has to do with the aura, or magnetic field of the body.
The first 3 chakras (Lower Triangle) and fifth, sixth, and seventh chakras (Upper Triangle) are balanced by the Fourth Chakra; the Heart Chakra. Once we begin to open our Heart (Anahata) Chakra, our consciousness begins to shift from “me to we”; we begin to not only give love, but also to receive love. Once we begin to let love into our hearts, we are able to properly give it back to others and the universe, collectively moving closer to enlightenment.
Wheels can not move on their own, physically or energetically. Think of a car; an amazing feat of technological advancement that has 4 wheels. However, these wheels are useless without the car moving forward due to its fuel. The same goes with chakras; they can not move without their ‘fuel’; prana. Prana is life force. We take it in when we inhale, eat, or drink anything. Prana powers the chakras by moving thru them & clearing any energetic blocks to facilitate the free, natural flow of energy.
The following is a quote from The Aquarian Teacher, written by Yogi Bhajan:
“The chakras affect our perceptions, feelings, and choices. They affect the flow and types of thoughts we have, and the energies we can gather to act upon them, and manifest our thoughts. In all of our behavior, they affect the relationship between the conscious and the subconscious. Opening and balancing the chakras opens the senses, and integrates them into a responsive network that can relate to the larger source field of energy from which we come and to which we return.”
Yogi Bhajan. I love this guy. You should really listen to his stuff on YouTube. Not only is he an enlightened Kundalini master, he’s also really funny. Let’s get to it! A breakdown of the 8 chakras, their location, organ, color, and qualities.
First (Root) Chakra; Muladhara
Security & Survival; Earth
Location: The base of the spine at the pelvic floor
Qualities: Grounded, centered, security, stability, healthy elimination functions.
This first step is the most important, and cannot be skipped. Many people have a massive block in their Root Chakra, and therefore cannot move forward in their lives. In addition to certain asanas, daily habits must be implemented to open the Muladhara Chakra; meditation, a proper vegan diet, and financial stability are a few. We can do handstands and headstands and look super cool, but if we don’t work from the bottom up, they are simply displays of our ego.
Second Chakra; Svadhisthana
Creativity & Sexuality; Water
Location / Organs: Sexual organs, reproductive glands, kidneys, bladder
Qualities: Positive sexual activity, patience, creativity, healthy relationships
This Chakra is difficult to master, especially in the west. We are bombarded daily thru our phones, televisions, and advertisements with overly sexual messages. Combining this with the immense amount of instant gratification we gain our our phones, a lot of people now have a strong desire to constantly have disconnected sex with multiple partners right now. No control of sexual desires, little to no patience,and jobs that discourage individuality/creativity all lead to unhealthy relationships. This chakra takes much time to master, mostly because of the environment we were raised in. Although it is difficult, it is not impossible.To do this, we can eliminate pornography, watch less TV/videos on our phones, listen to less sexualized music, meditate, and spend your time around people who want to do the same. Your patience will build after consistently carrying out these habits & eliminating the negative ones.
Third (Navel) Chakra; Manipura
Action & Balance; Fire
Location: Navel point, solar plexus
Organs: Navel plexus, liver, gallbladder, spleen, digestive organs, pancreas, adrenals
Qualities: Personal empowerment & commitment, self-esteem, identity, judgement.
Once the first two chakras are cleared, the third begins to open naturally. We have eliminated unhealthy habits, grounded ourselves, and controlled our sexual desires, so it makes sense that we now have these strong, positive feelings of self-improvement & empowerment. We are happy with the person that we are becoming & our commitment to this new identity. Our minds are now clear, intentions are becoming more pure; we look forward to waking up in the morning instead of going to bed at night. That is a sign of true self-love, waking up happy with the person you are. Some habits to help with blocks in your Manipura chakra can include a steady, positive routine, repeating positive affirmations, reading positive, forward-moving books, speaking of your new identity to others who are on the same level as you.
Fourth (Heart) Chakra; Anahata
Love & Compassion; Air
Location: The middle of the chest
Organs: Heart, lungs, thymus gland
Qualities: Compassion, kindness, forgiveness, service to others, love; recognizing all of these qualities in others. Awakening to spiritual awareness.
Ah, the Anahata Chakra. Such a powerful part of the human condition! This is where we begin to ‘turn the page’ on our consciousness. We have removed all blocks in our lower energetic self, and are now ready to seriously begin our journey to enlightenment. Although powerful, this change can be scary to some people, rightfully so. We begin to lose interest in things that we held interest in for our whole lives. We begin to detach from people who don’t understand what we’re trying to accomplish. In place of going to the movies, bars, or playing sports, we are now interested in more asana practice, waking up early for meditation, volunteering to help others, studying ancient text for truth, being kind to strangers. Our thought process changes entirely. Some run the other way from opening their heart; they become depressed and scared because their attachments to their old self is too strong, and that’s okay! Even the great Buddha wandered off the path for many years. The great thing about this path is that it will always welcome you back. To help yourself remove any blocks and eliminate past attachments, simply embrace this monumental change. Look at it right in the eyes with open arms, accept it, challenge it to make you a better person, and don’t look back. Keep your gaze forward and continue this momentum. This is where you really begin to control your mind.
Fifth (Throat) Chakra; Vishuddha
Projective Voice; Ether
Organs: Trachea, throat, cervical spine, thyroid
Color: Light blue, like a very light shade of the ocean on a warm summer day
Qualities: Truth, language, effective communication, authenticity, inspiring & teaching
The throat chakra is where we begin to enter the mysterious unknown. This chakra is ruled by Ether, the condition of space and time that allows something to exist; it is the seed of manifestation. Ideas only become ideas after they are spoken to another, just as seeds only grow after they are planted. When this chakra is opened, truth, love, and positivity flow. The power of manifestation begins to move. Things we say begin to take shape and enter our reality. We can work on removing blocks for our Throat Chakra thru chanting mantras, thinking about what we say before we say it, and most importantly, remaining silent when nothing needs to be said.
Sixth (Third Eye) Chakra; Ajna
Intuition, Wisdom, Identity
Location: The space between the eyebrows
Organ: Pituitary Gland
Qualities: Clairvoyance, visualization, concentration, power of projection
Ajna in sanskrit translates to “to command”. This is where our intuition comes from, our inner light. The invisible and silent voice that guides us. The eye you can not see, but sees more than you do; depth, dimension, and scope in the subtle worlds. Once we master our Sixth Chakra, we master our mind, and can effortlessly share our inner light with others. We can work on this chakra thru meditation on the third eye, observing our thoughts instead of reacting to them, and yoga mudra.
Seventh (Crown Chakra); Sahasrara
Location: Crown of the head
Organ: Pineal Gland
Qualities: Enlightenment, unity, relationship to the unknown, connection to higher self
Just as the Ajna Chakra is associated with light, the Crown Chakra is associated with cosmic sound. The awakening of perception is seen as a massively loud yet harmonious boom. Ancient seers attempted to encapsulate this sound by creating the gong. Surrender and humility is crucial to attain enlightenment. Even at this stage of the path of a yogi, the ego can kick in full gear and take over. The awareness of this feeling & information can result in ‘spiritual ego’. To work on this block, maintain humility. Bow all the way down so that the crown of your head is touching the earth. Remain in service to others, and even if you reach this stage, always know that you will never know everything. Once you think you know all there is to know, you know nothing.
Eighth Chakra; Aura
Location: The electromagnetic field around your body
No organs associated
Qualities: Combines all qualities of all chakras; projects and protects
In order to imagine your aura, imagine yourself floating above your standing body, looking straight down. As you look down with your mind’s eye, you will see a circle of light around yourself. This is your aura. When your chakras are cleared, your aura is strong, and negativity is automatically filtered. When your chakras are blocked, your aura is weak, and you are vulnerable to negativity that passes thru you. The healthier you are both physically and energetically, the more complete and symmetrical the aura appears. Your aura is associated with a sense of being, or the ability of being able to fill a room with your presence. Once all chakras are cleared, your aura will be so strong that your presence alone can achieve anything.
Thank you so much for reading my thoughts on the chakras, I hope you have a better understanding of the importance of these energy wheels and how to work thru them.
I invite you to some of the yoga classes I teach, there is a strong focus on the chakras as well as an explanation of which poses help which blocks.