Thursday, September 8, 2011

Introduction to Chakras

What is a chakra? The word chakra is derived from the Sanskrit word for "wheel." You can think of a chakra as a spinning wheel of energy residing within the body. There are 7 primary chakras and several lesser ones. The primary chakras are concerned with our emotions and spirituality, while the lesser chakras are aligned along meridians within our bodies and often used to manipulate "prana" or "chi", the energy that exists within all living things. 

The 7 chakras are the root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, brow, and crown chakras (see illustration above). They correspond with the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and indigo/white, respectively. Below is a summary of each chakra:

Root Chakra

Color: Red
Location: Between anus & genitals, at the base of the spine
 Associated Areas of the Body: Spinal column, bones, teeth, nails, rectum, anus, blood, building of cells
Emotions: Fear, attachment, letting go, clinging
Glands: Adrenals

This 1st chakra is concerned with survival and instincts. Its purpose is to keep us grounded and it deals with concerns of food, shelter, communication, clothing, and other practical things. If this chakra is blocked and we are not connected to the grounding energies of the earth, we may hoard things or be fearful of loss or letting go. To remove this energy, practice detachment. Give things away, clean up your environment, or just let go!

A root chakra that is not in optimal condition can lead to digestive disorders, either constipation (blocked chakra) or tummy upsets (overactive chakra). Surround yourself with the color RED to stimulate this chakra or BLACK to soothe it. 

Kundalini energy, "the coiled serpent" (another post for another day) resides beneath this chakra and begins to rise here.

Sacral Chakra

Color: Orange
Location: Lower abdomen, above the navel
Associated Areas of the Body: Pelvis, kidneys, bladder, liquids within the body, including urine and reproductive fluids
Emotions: Passion/Desire
Glands: Prostate, Ovaries, Testicles

This 2nd chakra is concerned with our emotional lives. Any negative childhood experiences that damaged or supressed our emotions may have blocked this chakra. This chakra is also associated with our creative and reproductive energy. Most people who find themselves in need of chakra healing work with the 2nd chakra. 

A sacral chakra that is not in optimal condition can lead to problems in relationships and relating with others. A blocked chakra can lead to inhibitions, emotional coldness, or suppression of desire. An overactive chakra can lead to promiscuity, sexual addiction, and excessive fantasizing. 

Solar Plexus Chakra

Color: Yellow
Location: Below Ribcage, Upper abdomen
Associated Areas of the Body: Digestive Organs
Emotions: Anger
Glands: Pancreas

This 3rd chakra is concerned with our power and intellect. It is the source of the term "gut feeling" as we instinctively process information through this chakra when it functions properly. 

When the solar plexus chakra is overactive, anger, hatred, and an overemphasis on power, acquisition, and validation can be present. When it is underactive, digestive problems, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and feelings of powerless are usually present.  

Heart Chakra

Color: Green
Location: Heart Center
Associated Areas of the Body: Lungs, Chest, Arms, Breasts
Emotions: Joy, Sorrow, Grief
Glands: Thymus

This 4th chakra governs our abilities of love and compassion. It is concerned with our ability to surrender to joy, to experience empathy, and to perceive and appreciate beauty.

When the heart chakra is overactive, issues of co-dependency, possessiveness, jealousy, cardiovascular problems, and hypertension may surface. When it is underactive, the person may experience feelings of shyness, loneliness, depression, or be unable to forgive. Physical symptoms may include asthma and other lung diseases.

Throat Chakra

Color: Blue
Location: Throat
Associated Areas of the Body: Jaw, Neck, Mouth, Throat, Tongue
Emotions: Faith/Truth
Glands: Thyroid

This 5th chakra is the first of the spiritual chakras and is the bridge between the upper and lower chakras. It deals with communication and inner truth.

When the throat chakra is overactive, it can cause hearing problems, excessive talking, and an overactive thyroid. When it is underactive, it can cause neck and shoulder problems, jaw issues, throat problems, an underactive thyroid, and fear of speaking, in public or otherwise.

Brow Chakra

Color: Purple
Location: Forehead, between the eyes, "third eye"
Associated Areas of the Body: Eyes, Head, lower brain
Emotions: Insight
Glands: Pituitary

This 6th chakra is associated with perception. It deals with visualization, intuition, imagination, and telepathy.

When the throat chakra is overactive, it can cause headaches, hallucinations, nightmares, and difficulties with concentration. When it is underactive, it can cause memory dificulties, eye problems, and inability to visualize.

Crown Chakra

Color: Violet/White
Location: Crown of head
Associated Areas of the Body: Upper brain
Emotions: Illusion/Enlightenment
Glands: Pineal

This 7th chakra is associated with the highest states of enlightenment and the infinite. It is the culmination of all the chakras and the gateway to higher realms.

When the crown chakra is overactive, it can sometimes cause an overly intellectual nature. When it is underactive, it can cause spiritual skepticism, apathy, and materialism. To stimulate this chakra, practice meditation and yoga. 

If you feel that you need chakra work, a good place to start is my Chakra/Aura cleansing post (see labels) or an experienced yoga or reiki practitioner.

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