What are chakras?
The word chakra comes from Sanskrit meaning wheel or disk and are spinning energy centers in our body. There are 7 main chakras that run along our spine from the base of our spine to the crown of our head.
The chakra system was first mentioned in ancient Vedic and Tantric texts, some of the oldest Hindu writings dating from 1500 to 500 B.C.
In acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, they speak of a similar energy system, known as qi or chi and this energy flows through paths known as meridians.
Today, in modern times, the chakra system has been linked to major organs and nerve centers in our body as well as to our psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of being.
Why do our chakras need to be “open”, “unblocked” or “balanced”?
Knowledge and care of the physical and energy body has been a long-standing tradition in many Eastern cultures.
It is believed that our chakras store the energy of our thoughts, feelings, emotions, experiences and actions. They have an influence on our mental and emotional well-being. The blockage of a chakra restricts the flow of energy in our bodies and this could lead to emotional and physical symptoms or disorders.
To keep a chakra open or balanced, there are alternative or complementary practices that are now a mainstream part of culture. Meditation, visualization, yoga, Reiki, qi-gong, dance, crystal or sound healing and a variety of other practices can connect us to our chakras. An awareness of our chakras is a start to help bring them back to balance.
Sometimes a process of healing is needed to release old wounds and negative emotions. To keep our chakras open, balanced or unblocked is to activate or maintain the harmonious flow of energy throughout our energetic body.
The 7 main chakras
There are 7 main chakras located along the spine, each of unique importance, none more so than the other. Each energy spinning chakra has been associated with a specific colour akin to colour meanings and color psychology. Each chakra also corresponds to specific parts of our physical body and the human attributes associated with it.
The Root Chakra
Location: Base of the spine
The root chakra located at the base of the spine is often considered the foundation of chakras, akin to the foundation of a house. It relates to our sense of security, stability and our basic needs for survival such as food, water, shelter, money and feelings of safety and being grounded. In the physical body, its associated with the first 3 vertebrate, the bladder and the colon.
When this chakra is balanced, we feel safe in our body, physically and emotionally. We feel connected to nature, to the earth and are more likely to trust in our potential and the story of our life. When this chakra is unbalanced, we could feel fearful, anxious, insecure, stress-related symptoms and issues with associated organs.
The Sacral Chakra
Location: Above the pubic bone and below the navel
The sacral chakra is associated with our creativity, sexuality, desires, manifestation and connection. The colour orange exudes a sense of enthusiasm and is linked to our creative expression and expressing emotions. In the physical body, it is associated with the female reproductive organs, the lymphatic system and the pelvic glands.
When this chakra is balanced, we’re able to manage our desires, balance vulnerability, relationships as well as have an awareness of body consciousness and emotions. When this chakra is unbalanced, we might feel guilt for our desires, emotional instability, uninspired creatively and potentially experience addiction-like behaviours or depression.
The Solar Plexus Chakra
Location: From the navel to the breastbone
The solar plexus chakra translated from Sanskrit means lustrous gem. It is linked to our personal power and will, self-esteem, action and vitality. This chakra is associated with the adrenal glands in our body.
When this chakra is balanced, we feel strong, confident, a sense of empowerment and sovereignty and tend to have a stronger sense of self. We might also have good energy, feel productive or have a sense of motivation and purpose in our lives. When this chakra is imbalanced, we might have difficulty making decisions, suffer from shame, self-doubt, or low self-esteem, or on the flip side, if this chakra is over-active, suffer from a rampant ego, anger, or aggression coupled with reckless decision making. Physically, there might be gut or digestive issues.
The Heart Chakra
Location: Center of the chest
The heart chakra, located right in the center of our chest is our source of love and connection. It is linked to compassion, community, forgiveness, inner peace and wholeness. The heart chakra is also considered a bridge to profound truths and spirituality. Physically, it is parallel to our heart, lungs and cardiovascular system.
When this chakra is balanced, we have the ability to feel compassion, love, and joy around us. When there is distrust, envy and unfaithfulness, the heart chakra weakens. Healing the heart, releasing past pains and forgiveness are major themes of the heart chakra. An open heart chakra will allow us to feel open to experiences in life and truly connect to ourselves, our loved ones, and the natural world.
When this chakra is unbalanced, we might find it difficult to deal with our emotions or might become emotionally closed off. There might also be a lack of trust with ourselves or with the world, fear, anger or jealousy. When there is loss or grief, this could block the heart chakra, and taking the time needed for healing is important. Physically, we might experience heart or lung-related issues such as chest pains, heart palpitations, lung infections, and shortness of breath to name a few.
The Throat Chakra
Location: Throat to the eyes
The throat chakra is about communication and authenticity; speaking, writing, or sharing ideas. It is also about listening and being heard. In the physical body, it is associated with your throat, jaw, mouth, teeth, ears, and other glands in the mouth.
When this chakra is balanced, we are more likely to be able to speak our inner truth and express ourselves without being self-conscious. We are also able to listen intently, to others, to ourselves, and even to the universe. A balanced chakra might allow us to tune into inspiration, express ourselves creatively and allow our voice, ideas and intuition to flow through.
When this chakra is unbalanced, we might feel that we do not have a voice or that what we say does not matter. If there has been an abusive experience in the past, we might have difficulty speaking our truth or standing up for ourselves. On the flip side, there might also be denial, ego and fear-based communication, over-talking others and being judgmental of others. Physically this could manifest itself in a sore throat, a cough, a cold, thyroid problems or other throat, mouth-related ailments.
The 3rd Eye Chakra
Colour: Indigo or purple
Location: Between the eyebrows
The 3rd eye chakra, also the sixth chakra is our center of intuition and wisdom. It is also linked to our ability to envision, imagine and see beyond face value the unlimited possibilities in this universe. It is linked to the pineal gland.
When this chakra is balanced, we are more likely to be able to recognize and tune into our intuition. We could see through the filters of past conditioning and let go of old judgments and assumptions of the world. This chakra is also associated with spiritual wisdom.
When this chakra is unbalanced, we might have trouble tapping into our intuition, learning new skills or trusting in our own inner voice. We might be unable to see beyond what is right in front of us and the possibilities that exist in the future. A blocked chakra could manifest as headaches, migraines or dizzy spells.
The Crown Chakra
Colour: Violet or White
Location: Top of the head
The crown chakra, according to Chopra.com is the chakra of enlightenment and spiritual connection to our higher selves, others, and ultimately, to the divine. It is also linked to concepts such as universal consciousness and ego transcendence.
Unlike the other chakras, this chakra is only open at specific moments such as during meditation, prayer, and silence. This chakra has also been thought to play a role in our life purpose. While it might seem impossible to attain, adopting a regular practice of meditation, yoga, self-reflection and quiet time all lead to increased moments of spiritual connection.
When this chakra is unbalanced, we might feel a sense of disconnection from others and from the universe. As a result, we might try to fill that disconnection with material things which might never be enough. In our physical body, this has also been linked to depression, our nervous system and our pituitary gland.
What is chakra balancing in Reiki?
In Reiki, a chakra cleansing and balancing session helps to clear the energy system and harmonise the chakras. A practitioner will place their hands on or above different areas of your body near where the chakras are located.
An intention is set to send Reiki healing energy to unblock any energetic blocks and get the energy flowing. When the energies flow freely, it helps your body to create harmony within and releases imbalances created by negative influences.
The session creates a feeling of calm, balance, and centeredness.
For more information on Reiki, click here.