The term “chakra” comes from the Sanskrit word for “wheel”, but actually commonly refers to each of the 7 energy centers that are thought to be located throughout the body. Starting at the base of the spine and continuing to the crown of the head, these energy centers help regulate all of our natural processes, ranging from our emotions to organ function and the immune system. So, let’s learn a little more about them.
Each of the 7 chakras tends to have its own vibration frequency (color) and specific function in the body. Furthermore, each chakra is associated with a certain body part, such as the kidney, heart, throat, and so on. That’s because each of the 7 chakras is paired with an endocrine gland, and is thought to affect its function. Although the chakra chart does not show us the underlying network of glands and their corresponding organs, science and eastern philosophy agree that they are one and the same.
Generally speaking, the gland network is tasked with producing and distributing hormones throughout the body. As basic science shows us when hormones are released into the bloodstream, they greatly influence our body’s ability to grow and function properly, and so there’s a lot of effort put into making sure the 7 chakras, which effectively correspond to these glands, are in fact open and aligned. When they are not, health problems may arise.
Interestingly, most people don’t realize that chakras actually operate in the same way as a pendulum; an over or under active chakra will throw the energy centers off balance. This is why maintaining the alignment of the 7 chakras is a process and not a one-time activity. Currently, there are a number of different disciplines that show us how to align the chakras. They are often a mix of eastern philosophy and western science and are applied in psychology, fitness, nutrition, and spirituality. But, let’s start at the beginning:
An Introduction to the 7 Chakras
1) The Root Chakra
Also referred to as Muladhara, which means “root” (mula) and “base” (adhara) in Sanskrit, the root chakra is “located at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae” in the human body. If this chakra is balanced, it serves as a solid foundation for the chakras situated above it and is responsible for our sense of safety, security, and belonging. If it’s imbalanced, people often experience anxiety and panic disorders, colon or bladder problems, as well as lower back or feet issues.
2) The Sacral Chakra
The second chakra is called Svadhisthana, which means “the dwelling place of the self”. It’s located above the pubic bone, just below the naval, and is the energy center of creativity and sexuality. When this chakra is balanced, people tend to feel grounded, joyful and connected to the universe. When it’s out of balance, people may suffer from sexual dysfunction, emotional instability, addiction, and a deep fear of change. Having a creative outlet and a satisfying sex life can balance it out.
3) The Solar Plexus Chaka
Third on the list is Manipura, which means “lustrous gem”. It’s located around the naval, close to the solar plexus and the breastbone. This chakra controls digestion and metabolism, influencing our self-esteem, personal power and capacity for change. When it’s balanced, people are self-motivated, as well as have a strong sense of drive and purpose. When it’s out of balance, individuals may be plagued with anger and control issues, have low self-esteem, or lack decision-making ability.
4) The Heart Chakra
The fourth chakra is known as Anahata, which means, “unhurt”. This is the chakra that’s located fourth from the top as well as the bottom. In other words, it’s in the center of the chest and corresponds to the heart, lungs, breasts, cardiax plexus and the thymus gland. It is also where our spiritual and physical energy come together. When it’s balanced, people tend to feel a lot of love, empathy, and compassion. When it’s not, grief, anger, fear, hatred and jealousy can flood the system.
5) The Throat Chakra
This one is referred to as Vishuddha, which means “especially pure”. The chakra exercises influence over the thyroid, parathyroid, neck, jaw and tongue. When the chakra is open and aligned, individuals can practice a higher form of communication by being a lot more conscientious about how they express themselves. When it’s closed, however, people are prone to lying, being too accommodating instead of voicing their thought and goals, and are prone to verbal manipulation.
6) The Third Eye Chakra
Now we have the Ajna chakra. It means “beyond wisdom” in Sanskirt and is considered to be the location of the third eye. It encompasses the pituitary gland, head, eyes, and parts of the brain, and is thought to be the center of intuition. When it’s aligned, a person may experience a deeper sense of self and a more intuitive understanding of the world. Furthermore, an individual can experience lucid dreaming, telepathy and even clairvoyance when the charka is open. When it’s closed, a person may feel lost, disconnected, and misguided.
7) The Crown Chakra
The seventh and final chakra is called the Crown Chakra or Sahaswara, which means “awareness”. Its symbol is the thousand-petal lotus and it’s supposedly located at the crown of the head. It’s commonly referred to as the source of our spiritual connection to the universe, as well as the personal center of our enlightenment. Opening and aligning the chakra can lead to the realization that human existence is very much about awareness. It’s the reason meditation and mindfulness practice is so important to our personal fulfillment.
Once we develop a deeper understanding of the 7 chakras, what they are and how they work, we can begin to apply this information to our daily lives. Those of us who don’t follow a discipline that is specifically about aligning and opening our chakras can attain similar results by engaging in Pilates or yoga, practicing mindfulness and meditation, as well as develop an interest in philosophy, psychology or nutrition. Regardless of whichever way we choose to reach the ultimate goal of awareness, doing so will help us live better, healthier, and more satisfying lives.
So, here’s to opening and aligning your 7 chakras for optimum health, happiness, and general well-being.