What are the 7 Chakras?

Many people will have heard of the term Chakra but perhaps don’t not fully understand how the Chakras impact upon our body, our health and our well-being.

Silhouette of man with chakras and esoteric symbols

Silhouette of man with chakras and esoteric symbols

So what are the the 7 Chakras?

The word chakra refers to 1 energy centre and each chakra is part of a highly complex system of thought relating to the energy field that flows throughout our physical body. The 7 chakras combined are the energy centres which feed and are crucial to maintaining health and balance within the body. They are incorporated into our body’s meridian system and each has a distinct form of energy related to an essential body, mind and spirit functionality. Most often Chakras are mentioned in relation to Yoga and also Eastern mysticism and are commonly referred to as the spiritual energy centres.

When asked what are the 7 chakras we must also be mindful of some other related terminology and also think about how to balance chakras. The following terms, while not discussed in great detail today, need to be known as they combine with the chakras to form our complete energy matrix, meridian system or auric field

Prana

Prana refers to all of the life energies found in every part of our body, you may also hear this commonly referred to as the “subtle winds.” It is the totality of energy; being the subtle body and the expendable energy produced by the body.

Subtle Body

If you hear someone refer to the Subtle Body they are referring to what in the West we call the Soul. The Subtle Body is the essence of life, the energy that remains post death and an energy which is immortal. This Subtle body is the energy field that contains the chakras and which is believed to reincarnate.

Nadis

This is the matrix or grid of energy channels, or meridians. The Nadis are similar to our physical body’s veins. They run throughout the subtle body and serve as conduits for the prana. The central Nadi (Sushumnaor), the largest of all meridians runs alongside the spinal column and is directly connected to the central nervous system.

With this terminology understood we are able to look specifically at what are the 7 chakras as well as how to balance chakras.

Person in lotus position displaying chakras

Person in lotus position displaying chakras

Chakras

The Sanskrit word Chakra when translated means wheel or disk. In Ayurveda, Yoga and other Eastern practices Chakra refers to wheels of energy throughout the body. To visualize and understand what a chakra is imagine a swirling coloured wheel of light and energy, it is in this swirling mass where matter (physical expendable energy) and consciousness (subtle body) meet. This totality of energy, or the Prana, is a vital life force and it is this energy which keeps us balanced, healthy, and alive.

The Chakras are large energy reservoirs, which feed and control specific types of energy throughout the body. These portals of energy are located along the Sushumnaor (Central Nadi) which runs the length of the subtle body, from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. The Sushumnaor and two other primary Nadi’s interlink with each of the 7 chakras, which in themselves are central hubs for thousands of smaller or secondary Nadi’s, and it is these large and smaller Nadi which are responsible for distributing the various Chakra energies throughout the body.

Most widely known is that each chakra has a distinct mantra “seed-syllable” (usually a Sanskrit word) being a specific vibration (matching a musical note) and also a particular color.

The Kundalini

Widely recognised by most people, and central to any belief system which includes the chakras as central energy centres, is the Kundalini, which when translated means “that which is coiled.” Kundalini is a meditation technique and also the name of a goddess or deity.

When we talk of Chakras it is believed that the Kundalini is the raw and potent energy field or “divine force” located within Muladhara at the base of the spine (being the first of the 7 chakras).

When “awakened,” via meditation or focused thought this Kundalini energy begins to travel up and along the Sushumnaor (central nadi), being dispersed via the other smaller or secondary nadis feeding vital energy throughout our system.

As the Kundalini energy passes along the Sushumnaor it also passes through the rest of the remaining 6 Chakras finishing at the final chakra located at the crown of the head. From base to crown, this uncoiling “goddess” transforms from the original raw pure physical energy to heightened or divine energy and bringing spiritual awareness to the individual
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For those experienced in meditation or usage of chakral energy it is said that when the energy reaches the uppermost chakra (crown), it generates an ineffable, highly mystical experience and forms a connection with the divine.
What are the 7 chakras and how to balance chakras

Muladhara Chakra

MULADHARA or the ROOT or BASE CHAKRA

Zodiac signs Capricorn, Virgo and Taurus.
Vitality, Courage and Self Confidence
Sound: note “C”
Color: Red
Meridian: Circulation / Sex and Large Intestine
Location: Base of spine
Physical Body Component: Spinal column, legs, feet, bones, teeth, large intestine
Glands: Adrenals
Emotional Component: Fear
Purpose: Foundation
Basic Rights: To be here and have

This chakra represents the start of Kundalini and is the most earthly, physical and raw centered chakra. It controls and is responsible for our inherited beliefs, or those beliefs developed based on our experiences throughout our formative years (in chakral terms the ages of 0-7).

It is the energy centre that controls and enforces self-preservation, personal survival and our identification with our place in the physical world.

Having a healthy or well-balanced Muladhara chakra means a strong and vital connection or attachment to family, those who raised you, immediate society and also the global community.

Those individuals whose formative years were somehow challenging, without love or experienced serious trauma of any description may have an unbalanced or damaged Muladhara chakra and therefore their base chakra will function much differently. Individuals with an unbalanced or damaged Muladhara often face issues associated with their survival in society when relating to others such as adhering to societies norms/expectations of family, community relationships.

It is common for these people to experience issues such as emotional dysfunction, stress, anxiousness, and restlessness. Attachment issues may not necessarily be the inability to form close bonds or connections but could be the opposite and mean they may have fears of letting go, jealousy and possessiveness, inability to recognize boundaries or personal space.

All of the issues with blocked, unbalanced or damaged chakras, be it Muladhara or any of the others, can be resolved through meditation and holistic chakral therapies.

Svadhisthana Chakra

SWADHISTHANA – SACRAL/NAVAL CHAKRA

Zodiac signs Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio
Happiness, Confidence and Resourcefulness
Sound: Notes “D” & “C#”
Color: Orange
Meridian: Bladder, Kidney and Large Intestine
Location: Lower abdomen
Physical Component: Pelvic area, sex organs, fluid functions, kidney and bladder
Glands: Testicles and ovaries
Emotional Component: Guilt
Purpose: Movement and connection
Basic Rights: To fear and to have pleasure

Swadhisthana is the next chakra up from Muladhara and is also primarily concerned with relationships, the difference being the energy concerns our relationship with creativity, sexuality, control and money.

Swadhistana energy relates to post formative years, or the time when we begin to develop our individuality and realise we are a separate entity from our parents and family. During this time we are utilising Swadhisthana energy and learning about the polarity of opposites, male and female, positive and negative (similar to the Tao, or Yin-Yang). Relationships with the opposite/same sex are explored here.

Blockages, imbalance or damage of the Swadhisthana chakra will be displayed by inner feelings, or outward acts, of sexual jealousy, betrayal, control and power plays. Those who have these imbalances have usually experienced trauma in the development of their individuality by being overshadowed, put down or often have been ignored or rejected by those they had given or had placed with great love, trust or affection.

It should be noted that even in adulthood we continue to use all chakral energies and therefore imbalance in a chakra may occur at any age. It is important for individuals who have imbalanced Swadhisthana chakras to focus on correcting this energy flow as left unchecked can lead to self-enforced social isolation, feelings of inadequacy which then is often followed by severe and restrictive depressive illness.

Manipura Chakra

MANIPURA – SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA

Zodiac signs Aries, Leo and Sagittarius
Wisdom, Clarity and Self Esteem
Sound: Notes “E” & “Eb”
Color: Yellow
Meridian: Stomach, Spleen, Small Intestine, Gall Bladder, Liver
Location: Solar plexus
Physical Component: Liver, digestive system, stomach, spleen, gall bladder, autonomic nervous system, muscles and lower back
Glands: Pancreas and adrenals
Emotional Component: Shame
Purpose: Transformation
Basic Rights: To act and to be an individual

Manipura is the chakra that connects us with the energy to take action.

It is the energy which controls and enforces our self-esteem and the way in which we express our personal power. In adulthood Manipura is the energy centre which controls our relationship with the world around us and our beliefs about our place within it.
Manipura is responsible for the energy which enables the beginning of self-honoring, the concept or realization that you must give time and energy to yourself as if you are not well, healthy and accepting of yourself you will be unable to be of service or give appropriate love to others.

It is with Manipuras energy we learn of self-empowerment, integrity and self-respect. A healthy Manipura chakra honors emotions, warmth, intellectual understanding, and self-confidence. The development and conceptual awareness of your persona and the way you display yourself to the world comes from this chakra.

Imbalance or blockages in Manipura amplify any issues from Swadhisthana and Muladhara such as fear of rejection, over sensitivity to criticism, it may lead to people needing to exert power over others, having uncontrolled, yet usually short lived, temper explosions. Individuals may become overly demanding and blaming of others, develop highly judgmental attitudes. They may also revert to self-destructive thought patterns such as feelings of lack of recognition, aloofness, fear of change and things new, low energy, and will be confused about which direction to go leading to even lower self-esteem.

anahata chakra

ANAHATA – HEART CHAKRA

Zodiac signs Aquarius, Gemini and Libra
Balance, Love and Self Control
Sound: Notes “F” & “F#”
Color: Green / pink
Meridian: Heart
Location: Chest
Physical Component: Heart, blood circulation, lower lungs, ribcage, skin, upper back
Glands: Thymus
Emotional Component: Grief
Purpose: Love and balance
Basic Rights: To love and to be loved

The energies from the Anahata chakra are responsible for us beginning to see the possibilities of there being an internal world(spirit, soul,) as well as the known external (physical/earthly form) world.

The Anahata chakra is the integration point for the seven chakras of the body, because it is where the sacred spark of the divine and the intuition of the Mother is held. Anahata is also central to our life balance and holistic well being. If we are to gain true balance this only becomes possible firstly by ensuring our Anahata chakra is healthy as then the heart chakra will assist in regulating and creating harmony and balance between the upper three and lower three chakras.

When Anahata is balanced and open we are able to love, accept love and forgive those who have in anyway mistreated or done us wrong. Physically our lungs are clear and our immune systems are healthy.

Having Anahata in balance and healthy is vital as until we do the higher 3 chakras cannot be accessed by pure energy. The energy required to access the higher, more spiritual chakras must pass through Anahata and only a fully functioning heart chakra can send on the purity of energy required at the higher levels.

Imbalance, blockages or damages to Anahata is referred to as having a heavy heart meaning one that carries resentment, anger from denied feeling and emotions and that carries with it feelings of guilt.

For individuals suffering imbalance or blockage in Anahata, it is not an indication of your wrong doing but a consequence of past hurt and negative emotional experiences. It is critical that you do not continue to suppress these emotions but allow them to surface, heal, and fall in love with yourselves.

Inability to do this will only lead to more bitterness and lack of forgiveness, of self or others. An unhealthy heart chakra causes loneliness, feelings of low self-worth and despair.

We must recognize that how you love yourselves is ultimately how you will love others. It may be the most difficult lesson in human existence but if others do not love us the way we wish them to we must accept, understand that there are reasons for it and focus on Anahata’s lessons of self-love, forgiveness of yourself and acceptance of yourself as a beautiful and deserving person.

vishuddha chakra

VISHUDDHA – THROAT CHAKRA

No Zodiac signs
Knowledge, Health and Communication
Sound: Notes “G” & “G#”
Color: Blue
Meridian: Lung
Location: Throat
Physical Component: Jaw, neck, throat, voice, airways, upper lungs, nape of neck, arms
Glands: Thyroid
Emotional Component: Lies
Purpose: Communication and creativity
Basic Rights: To speak and hear the truth

Vishuddha is all about our choice, willpower and the right to speak and be heard.

This energy helps us develop our ability to speak our minds and discuss our own personal truth.

A balanced and healthy Vishuddha allows us to speak with authority, compassion and brings peace. Even if our opinion is at odds with others Vishuddha enables us to express ourselves in a manner that does not offend or cause harm.

It is through Vishuddha that we manifest what we want in life. A healthy throat chakra makes your voice clear and resonate with truth. Your words are a creative expression of the honestly and trust we feel within.

Blockages and imbalance in Vishuddha make it difficult to communicate what we want in the way that we want because we feel suppressed by swallowed emotions and feelings. The voice is weak and your feelings may come across as unclear or confused.

Integrity plays a huge part in the proper functioning of the throat chakra. Since Vishuddha is directly located between the head and the heart it works to maintain integrity between what we think and what we feel.

It is important to remember that some of what we say will empower us and some dis-empowers. Often a lot of what we say is a direct result of previous life experiences for example the loving or unloving imprints from our past.

Vishuddha brings the lesson of Self-empowerment.

Ajna chakra

AJNA – THIRD EYE Chakra

No Zodiac signs
Intuition, Mysticism and Understanding
Sound: Notes “A” & “Bb”
Color: Indigo
Meridian: Triple Warmer
Location: Forehead
Physical Component: Face, ears, eyes, nose, sinuses,
nervous system
Glands: Pituitary
Emotional Component: Illusion
Basic Rights: The right to see

Our intuition and our ability to see with vision comes from Ajna.

Ajna is the center of divine wisdom often referred to as the third eye, or the spiritual eye that seeks to know the truth in all things.

It is at this point of the Central Nadi, from the Ajna Chakra, that we close our physical eyes and look at the world from all aspects of self, allowing and trusting in our intuition to guide us.

A healthy Ajna or third eye gives us the power to perceive correctly influences and reflections from the outer world. Ajna allows us to accept it as ours, heal and love it.

Blockages or imbalance in the Ajna chakra causes individuals to become delusional and overly worry about issues. They may suffer from poor concentration, have poor memories and low self-esteem may lead to being unimaginative, indifferent and uncaring towards others and themselves.

Sahasrara chakra

SAHASRARA – CROWN CHAKRA

No Zodiac sign
Beauty, Creativity and Inspiration
Sound: Note “B”
Color: Violet
Meridian: Central and Governing
Location: Cerebral cortex
Physical Components: Right brain hemisphere, central nervous system, right eye
Glands: Pineal
Emotional Component: Attachment
Purpose: Understanding
Basic Rights: The right to know and to learn

The Sahasrara chakra, or crown chakra, is located at the top of the head.

It spins very quickly and is often shown as a 1000 petal lotus. The 100 petal lotus Sahasrara is our direct connection to God. Through Sahasrara we receive guidance directly from the divine.

The life force from the creator enters our Nadi energy system through Sahasrara, and unlike the other Chakras this energy moves down, still via the Central Nadi via the other energy centers finishing at the root chakra. This completes the full flow of energies within the Nadi. Energy directly from the divine feeds the Muladhara and Kundalini which in turn is fed up throughout the chakras and returns to connect us with the creator via Sahasrara.

With a healthy Sahasrara Chakra we are inspired by God, filled with Grace, because we accept in and trust in our connection to a power greater than ourselves. A healthy Sahasrara allows us to live in the present with harmony and love.

Blockages or imbalance within Sahasrara can cause extreme confusion and severe bouts of unexplained depression. Individuals lose faith in themselves therefore they fear success and lack inspiration to change or develop. A damaged, blocked or unbalanced Sahasrara not only prevents energy being gained from the other 6 chakras but also denies and stops the flow of energy from the divine.

When this happens there is usually an extreme response in one of two possible scenarios. Individuals may develop spiritual addiction, become overzealous and radicalized as well as developing a dissociation with the physical world or they become over intellectualizing, over analytical and develop extreme antagonistic feelings about religion and established belief systems.

In the next article we will focus on techniques easily used to ensure alignment and harmony amongst the Chakras.