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Chakras are energy centers that regulate the flow of prana in and out of our bodies. There are 7 major chakras that lie along the spine (Shushumna Nadi) as well as many other minor chakras that are located throughout the body. Chakra means wheel and these spinning vortexes are often viewed as doorways or windows for energy. The locations of the chakras correspond to areas in the body with nerve plexis, or bundles of nerve endings that transmit electrochemical signals to the brain. In addition, the major glands of the endocrine system are also associated with the location of the body’s energy centers.
Each of the 7 major chakras have their own qualities that manifest in different physical processes, behaviors and emotions. Some styles of yoga and many energy healing techniques work directly with the chakras in order to open and balance their energies and clear energy blocks. The following is a brief introduction to each of the 7 major chakras and their corresponding qualities.
Muladhara Chakra- The first chakra is located at the coccyx (tail bone). Also called the Root Chakra with the mantra “Lam”, depicted in red and tied to our excretory organs and our survival instincts. This is the grounding chakra, which when balanced allows you to feel connected, with a positive outlook on life. When this chakra is out of balance stomach issues may arise along with an inability to control or contain emotions.
Svadhisthana Chakra- The second chakra is located in the area of the lower abdomen/sacrum. Known as the Sacral Chakra with the mantra “Vam”, colored orange and associated with our sexual organs, pleasure and creativity. This chakra is connected with change and when energy is flowing freely here, creativity and contentment are found. If unbalanced, fertility or the sexual organs may be affected and feelings of guilt or anxiety may arise.
Manipura Chakra- The third chakra is found at the naval. Called the Solar Plexus Chakra with the mantra “Ram” and in the color of yellow. This chakra is our personal energy storehouse governing the digestive organs. Energy, possibly in the form of heat or perhaps as self motivation or willpower is strong when the third chakra is balanced. When blocked one might experience indigestion, such as heartburn, or have feelings of jealousy, frustration or powerlessness.
Anahata Chakra- The fourth chakra is located at the center of the chest. Referred to as the Heart Chakra with the mantra “Yam”, depicted in green and associated with the circulatory system and chest. This chakra serves as the gateway between the grounding lower chakras (1-3) and the astral higher chakras (5-7).When this chakra is balanced, a sense of peace and love abounds. Imbalances in this chakra may be manifest as pulmonary or respiratory problems, a lack of sensitivity or martyrdom.
Visuddha Chakra- The fifth chakra is located at the base of the throat. Also known as the Throat Chakra with the mantra “Ham” and the color blue. This chakra corresponds with the muscles and organs of the neck and throat, serving as our center for communication, both verbal and non-verbal. When this chakra is open, communication is effective and from a place of truth. When this chakra is closed off, one may experience a sore throat or neck and may be overly secretive or feel as if they are not being heard.
Anja Chakra- The sixth chakra can be found between the eyebrows. The Third Eye Chakra, with the mantra “Om” and the color indigo is connected to the brain and face. This chakra is also associated with intuition and perception. When balanced this chakra allows us to see, assess and process information fluidly and with more understanding and acceptance. On the other hand, when this chakra is blocked, the resulting hormone and neurotransmitter imbalances may lead to headaches or feelings of skeptisism, close-mindedness and depression.
Sahasrara Chakra– The seventh chakra is located at the anterior fontanel or on the top of the head. The Crown Chakra, as it is called, is depicted by a thousand petal lotus and is associated with the color violet and the central nervous system. This chakra is our spiritual center and guides our search for meaning and detachment. When energy is flowing in this chakra there is a sense of awareness, understanding and belonging. When energy in this chakra is unbalanced, psychological issues, insomnia and a feeling of isolation may arise.
I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to the Chakras. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below and look forward to future, chakra specific posts that will include yoga sessions and other healing practices that work to explore, unblock and balance the chakras.
Until next time,
Ashley Freeman is a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance. Certified in Raja Yoga, her experience includes private in-home lessons, workplace wellness programs, and group instruction teaching various class formats and yoga styles. Find her on Google+