Chakras are the energy centres in our body through which energy flows. The ancient Yogis in India described the energy systems that exist in our subtle bodies or energy fields. The word Chakras is a Sanskrit word which means wheel. Chakras are colourful spinning ‘wheels’ of energy. The 7 main chakras are aligned along the spine, they start at the base and finish at the top of the head. They are located at the front of the body and the back and pass through the spine. Each chakra rotates at a different speed, the size and brightness of the wheels vary with a person’s development, physical condition, energy levels, disease, or stress. The lower three chakras are associated with meeting your basic needs like food, sex, shelter and money. The 3 upmost are associated with more spiritual pursuits such as, evolving, finding purpose and meaning, and contributing to the world. The purpose of middle chakra (heart chakra) is to balance the lower and upper chakras to achieve harmony in the mind body and spirit. If a chakra becomes unbalanced or blocked it can manifest as illness, or emotional upset or distress, even depression, this allows diseases to develop. They become blocked/unbalanced by negative energy, repressed emotions, from imbibing toxins such as drugs and alcohol and via traumatic experiences.
The chakra system are an ancient discovery, but modern science is contributing to our understanding on how they can affect us. We now know that the location of each chakra is associated with a major endocrine gland and a major nerve plexus. The energy of the chakras can affect the systems that the glands and nerves control. The endocrine system affects almost every organ and cell in the body, it produces hormones that regulates our metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood (amongst other things). When energy is blocked or stuck in one of the chakras, the functioning of the corresponding gland may be altered, which can create imbalance in the production of hormones. The main function of a nerve plexus is to ensure that all areas of the body are able to send and receive messages from the peripheral nervous system. Each chakra is connected to several organs via the nervous system so when energy is congested in the chakra, communication can be altered affect the functioning of the organs, possibly resulting in disease. It is therefore important that we keep our chakras in balance!
Let’s look at each one a little more in depth now...
1. The Root Chakra (Muladhara in Sanskrit).
It represents our foundation, our feeling of being grounded, it is related with our contact with Earth Mother. It is also the centre of manifesting things in the material world.
- Colour: Red.
- Element: Earth.
- Location: Base of spine near the coccyx, its corresponding nerve plexus is the sacral-coccygeal. The root chakra affects the gonad glands and the reproductive system
- Emotional issues: Survival issues such as financial independence, money, and food.
- Physical issues: Problems like obesity, anorexia nervosa, and knee troubles can occur. Root body parts include the hips, legs, lower back and sexual organs.
- Yoga poses for balancing: Grounding poses such as Tree Pose (Vrksasana) and Warrior I & 2 (Virabhadrasana I & II)
2. The Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana in Sanskrit).
It represents our connection and ability to accept others and new experiences. It holds the basic needs for sexuality, creativity, intuition, and self-worth. It is also about emotions and friendliness, it is the seat of our creativity, confidence and sense of self-worth.
- Colour: Orange.
- Element: Water.
- Location: Lower abdomen, just below the naval near the spleen, its corresponding nerve plexus is also called sacral. The sacral chakra affects the Leydig cells in the gonads and adrenals and the genitourinary system.
- Emotional issues: Sense of abundance, well-being, pleasure, sexuality.
- Physical issues: Kidney weakness, stiff lower back, constipation, and muscle spasms. Belly body parts include sexual organs (women), kidneys, bladder, and large intestine.
- Yoga poses for balancing: Goddess Pose (Deviasana) and Suyra Namaskar A (Sun Slautes).
3. The Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura in Sanskrit).
It represents our ability to be confident and in-control of our lives. It is our centre of personal power, the place of ego, of passions, impulses, anger and strength.
- Colour: Yellow.
- Element: Fire.
- Location: Upper abdomen in the stomach area near the tip of the sternum, its corresponding nerve plexus is also named solar. The solar plexus chakra affects the adrenal glands and the digestive system.
- Emotional issues: Self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem.
- Physical issues: Digestive difficulties, liver problems, diabetes, nervous exhaustion, and food allergies. The body parts for this chakra include the stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, and small intestine.
- Yoga poses for balancing: Boat Pose (Navasana) and twists in general as they stimulate the digestive system.
4. The Heart Chakra (Anahata in Sanskrit).
It is our centre for love, compassion and spirituality. It affects our ability to not only love others but to love ourselves. It also connects the body and mind with spirit.
- Colour: Green.
- Element: Air.
- Location: Directly over the heart and the thymus, its corresponding nerve plexus is the heart plexus. The heart chakra affects the thymus gland and the circulatory system.
- Emotional issues: Love, joy, inner peace.
- Physical Issues: Heart attack, high blood pressure, insomnia, and difficulty in breathing. Body parts for the fourth chakra include heart, lungs, circulatory system, shoulders, and upper back.
- Yoga poses for balancing: Camel pose (Ustrasana) and backbends in general as they are heart opening poses.
5. The Throat Chakra (Vishudha in Sanskrit).
It represents our ability to communicate, it’s the centre of sound, and expression of creativity via thought, speech, and writing. It is also the location for the possibility for change, transformation and healing.
- Colour: Blue.
- Element: Sound.
- Location: In the throat over the thyroid gland and the larynx, its corresponding plexus is the cervical ganglia medulla plexus. The throat chakra affects the thyroid and the respiratory system.
- Emotional issues: Communication, self-expression of feelings, the truth.
- Physical Issues: Hyperthyroid, skin irritations, ear infections, sore throat, inflammations, and back pain. Body parts for the fifth chakra are throat, neck, teeth, ears, and thyroid gland.
- Yoga poses for balancing: Supported Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana) and Matsyasna (Fish Pose) as it opens the throat.
6. The Third Eye Chakra (Anja in Sanskrit).
It represents our ability to focus on, and see the big picture. It is also the centre for psychic ability and higher intuition.
- Colour: Indigo.
- Element: Light.
- Location: Forehead between the eyes , its corresponding nerve plexus is the hypothalamus pituitary plexus. The third eye chakra affects the pituitary gland and the autonomic nervous system.
- Emotional issues: Intuition, imagination, wisdom, ability to think and make decisions.
- Physical Issues: Headaches, blurred vision, blindness, and eyestrain. Body parts for this chakra include the eyes, face, brain, lymphatic and endocrine system.
- Yoga poses for balancing: Easy Pose (Sukhasana) and Childs pose (Balasana) as your third eye is directly connected to the Earth.
7. The Crown Chakra (Sahasrara in Sanskrit).
It represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually, it’s the centre of enlightenment, dynamic thought and energy.
- Colour: Violet
- Element: Thought
- Location: The very top of the head, its corresponding nerve plexus is the cerebral cortex pineal plexus. The crown chakra affects the pineal gland and the central nervous system.
- Emotional issues: Inner and outer beauty, our connection to spirituality, pure bliss.
- Physical issues: Migraine headaches and depression.
- Yoga poses for balancing: Corpse Pose (Savasana) and Sirsasana (Headstand) as it presses the chakra directly to the Earth.
We hope this little overview of the chakras has been interesting and informative. We could talk about them all day! Just a note, we only mentioned yoga poses as a way of balancing chakras here, but there are many other different ways, such as; chanting mantra, sound therapy, meditation, and aromatherapy to name a few. Also, next time you drop into the studio, head to the perfect potion chakras oils and have a sniff to find which one resonates with you.
Want to know more? Join us at one of our chakra workshops running throughout the year.
Western Wellness Team
(Your friendly neighbourhood yogis)