“The energy of the mind is the essence of life. Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
As a Yoga practitioner when we ascend to the seventh stage of Eightfold Yoga i.e. Meditation, we are advised to concentrate on an object or on our breath. Focusing attention on either of them brings us a peaceful and stable mind as well as the state of awareness. In order to gain the most benefits from Meditation one should try to concentrate on the different unseen Chakras present in our subtle body from the bottom of the spine to the top of the head. These Chakras help us to discover more about our individual and collective purpose.
The word Chakra literally means “Wheel” in Sanskrit. Life depends on the energy which we derive from our surroundings, including various things (living and non-living). This energy could be positive or negative one. A human body has a natural tendency to absorb those energies and thus life becomes energy by itself. All the physical and mental activities of our body are controlled by energy. There is an in-built energy system in our body that keeps the body activities going easily and uninterrupted.
The energy is derived from the imaginary wheels which are the transmitters of energy are called Chakras. Sometimes, it is called the power house or storage house of energy. Chakras are energizing wheels of light and color. They have seven colors (color of a rainbow) and they radiate light. The combination of these colors and lights forms our Aura.
Types of chakras
In Yogic terms, there are seven main chakras are in the human body. These imaginary chakras remain dormant and imbalance until it is awakened through spiritual practices. Each of these seven chakras is found in one straight line from the bottom of the spine to the top of the head.
They are as follows: Mooladhar Chakra, Swadhisthana chakra, Manipura Chakra, Anahat Chakra, Vishuddhi Chakra, Ajna Chakra and Sahasrara Chakra.
The first three Chakras, starting at the base of the spine can be described as the Chakras of the matter, means they are more physical in nature. The last four Chakras can be termed as the Chakras of the spirit. The fourth Chakra in the middle of them works as a bridge to connect the Chakras of matter to the Chakras of spirit.
These seven energy swirling wheels have their own individual traits. For instance, the seven main chakras are all different in colors. These colors match up to the colors of the rainbow (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet) going from bottom to top.
Unbalanced state of Chakras
All chakras are inter-related, despite the fact that they run over various characteristics and functions. If one chakra is unbalanced, it could be due to the chakra below it being unbalanced. They work individually and collectively at the same time. If our energy centers become blocked or worn-out then our body cannot act in a proper way and this, in turn, can give birth to a series of problems on any level. When one or more of the chakras are in a state of imbalance, the mind/body health becomes compromised since imbalanced chakras are those that have blocks. A blockage in the chakra originates from traumatic or negative experiences during a lifetime that have not been discharged. Negative thoughts or belief patterns will also cause blocks. The above mentioned psychosomatic conflicts are a result of insufficient energy being flowed to and within the chakra, due to blockages.
In the following content, we will discuss about the different types of Chakras and learn how to balance them by the help of Yogasanas.
The Seven Chakras
Here’s a brief description of the 7 most significant Chakras and how to recognize if one of them is blocked or unbalanced. The different types of Asanas (poses) are also listed here in order to get them balanced and unblocked.
Mooladhar Chakra • Root Chakra
Location: Base of the Spine.
Objective: It relates to the physical body and connection to the Earth. Just like a foundation, it is the chakra of stability, security, and our basic needs; and is concerned with the basics of survival: food, shelter, safety, comfort and belonging. It encompasses the first three vertebrae, the bladder, and the colon.
When the Root Chakra is unbalanced: You may feel “stuck and sluggish” and just can’t seem to move forward in life. You may feel ungrounded and self-rejected. This frequently happens following traumatic events, financial problems, family problems, death of a loved one, and major life changes. A blockage in the root chakra prevents the release of grief, guilt, and sadness, contributing the inability to move forward and preventing you from following your destiny.
Balancing through Asana (Poses): Padmasana (Lotus Pose), Shashankasana (Hare Pose), Tadasana (Mountain Pose), Vrikshasana (Tree Pose), Virbhadrasana (worrier Pose), Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knees Pose) and Padhastasana (Hand under Foot Pose).
When the Root Chakra is balanced: You feel safe and secured, release negative emotions, regenerate confidence and strong will power to move forward in life. A balanced Chakra encourages you to explore new potential, find your life’s purpose and achieve success. A balanced Root Chakra is also responsible for generating flow of energy to all other Chakras.
Swadhisthana Chakra • Sacral Chakra
Location: Below the navel.
Objective: It is associated with our connection to the other people, creativity, energy, confidence, and sexual health.
When the Sacral Chakra is unbalanced: You may feel a lack of energy flow throughout the entire body and also extremely lethargic and unmotivated for life leading to sadness, loneliness, and mild depression. You may experience difficulty allowing yourself to become emotionally and sexually intimate. Sometimes, you may feel abused, hurt and confused.
Balancing through Asana (Poses): Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), Rajkapotasana (King Pigeon Pose), Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), Naukasana (Boat Pose) and Utkatasana (Chair Pose).
When the Sacral Chakra is balanced: You feel energized and confident in all aspects of your life. You feel inspired and are able to express your creativity. You are able to live in the moment and experience life to the fullest. Physical tasks become easier while stamina increases. You radiate positive energy that attracts people towards you.
Manipura Chakra • Solar Plexus Chakra
Location: Above the navel and two inches below the breastbone.
Objective: It relates to transition from simple to complex emotion, energy, dynamism, will-power, assimilation and digestion. It is also associated with our physical center, personal power, desire, inner-strength, instincts, and “gut” feelings.
When the Solar Plexus Chakra is unbalanced: You may feel very stressed all the time that results in poor memory and lack of concentration. You feel like a victim in the world and often feel powerless. You will find it difficult to follow your gut feelings, leaving you in distress and discomfort.
Balancing through Asana (Poses): Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), Mayurasana (Peacock Pose), Salbhasana (Locust Pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Parivritta Trikonasana (Revolved Angle Pose), Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose), and Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose).
Some Kriyas like Agnisaar, Nauli and Kapalbhati.
When the Solar Plexus Chakra is balanced: Balancing and opening the solar plexus chakra enables you to feel focused in your mind, body, and spirit. You will feel relaxed and comfortable in your own skin. The energy of this chakra permeates to the other chakras and influences them positively. It allows you to be more aware of your own energy and being, comfortable in your decisions, and psychologically connected to your “gut” feelings so that you may act accordingly with confidence.
Anahat Chakra • Heart Chakra
Location: Center of Chest.
Objective: The heart chakra is our source of love and compassion. Love doesn’t mean only love for others; it also applies to self-love and self-acceptance. The heart chakra is the focal point of your spirit as well as the focal point of the chakras, making it a vital energy center for our spiritual, mental, and physical well-being. It is associated with love, compassion, safety, trust, adventure, self-compassion, forgiveness, and relationships. It is referred as seat of balance within the body.
When the Heart Chakra is unbalanced: You may feel detached from the world around you. It can lead to a disconnection from your loved ones, love for yourself, and love for your other belongings. You may face Problems in relationships and you tend to lose hope and trust. You may lose sight of beauty, love, empathy, and compassion. You hold grudges and become needy in relationships, and this often leads to anger and distrust. A weak heart chakra can be at the root of heart disease, asthma, and allergies.
Balancing through Asana (Poses): Ushtrasana (Camel Pose), Matsyasana (Fish Pose), Chakrasana (Wheel Pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose) and Rajkapotasana (King Pigeon Pose).
When the Heart Chakra is balanced: Balancing and opening the heart chakra makes you feel secured and comfortable in your relationships, which enhance the love for self and others. It enables you to feel compassion, empathy, and forgiveness for others, and reconnects you to your surroundings. It prompts you to generate adventure and zest for life. Peace and harmony flourish in relationships with others and self.
Vishuddhi Chakra • Throat Chakra
Location: Hollow of Throat.
Objective: The throat chakra is associated with communication, expression, freedom, responsibility, and leadership. This is our source of verbal expression and the ability to speak our highest truth.
When the Throat Chakra is unbalanced: You may feel you can’t convey verbally, physically, and emotionally. The throat chakra connects us to our ability to express ourselves, therefore creating a number of issues if this chakra is blocked or unbalanced. Severe injury in this area can cause this chakra to close, making it extremely hard to express one’s feelings and emotions.
Balancing through Asana (Poses): Sirsasana (Head Stand Pose), Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose), Halasana (Plough Pose), Matsyasana (Fish Pose), Singhasana (Lion Pose) and Viprita Karani (Half Shoulder Stand Pose).
When the Throat Chakra is balanced: Balancing and opening the throat chakra enables you to express your emotions and communicate freely, without worry of criticism or judgment from self or others. It promotes honesty and harmony with our feelings and actions, and encourages us to live more authentically and free. A balanced throat chakra helps us with successful communication in relationships and at work, and is particularly useful to those with careers depending on communication and self-expression.
Ajna Chakra • Third Eye Chakra
Location: Between the Eyebrows.
Objective: The third-eye chakra is associated with the mind, ideas, thoughts, dreams, instincts and psychic abilities. It is also responsible for your sense of purpose in life, self-reflection, perception, discernment, and trust of your own intuition.
When the Third Eye Chakra is unbalanced: You may feel assaulted with your own thoughts, unable to process them successfully and may feel stuck in an emotional and intellectual trench. You lose your feelings of instinct, making your judgment blurred and causing you to make poor choices. With a blocked third-eye chakra, you become closed to new ideas and fall off the paths of your true destiny. You get headaches and feel tension in your brow area often.
Balancing through Asana (Poses): Vajrasana (Diamond Pose), Savasana (Corpse Pose), Garudasana (Eagle Pose), Makarasana (Crocodile Pose), Natrajasana (Lord of the Dance Pose), Hal asana (Plough Pose), Padmasana (Lotus Pose) and Yoga Mudra .
Some Kriyas are like Tratak and Kapalbhati.
When the Third Eye Chakra is balanced: Balancing and opening the third-eye chakra promotes clarity, inspiration, and innovation. It enables you to follow your dreams and enhances your natural psychic abilities and spiritual connections. A balanced third-eye Chakra enables you to learn from your past, be present in the now, and see and achieve your future. You have a strong sense of your own inner truth and listen to and follow it as it guides you on your life path. Dream interpretation becomes easier, intuitions are stronger and clearer, and you feel a deeper connection to the universe. This sense of being “guided” opens up doors of possibilities to achieving your goals.
Sahasrara Chakra • Crown Chakra
Location: Top of the Head.
Objective: This is the chakra of enlightenment and spiritual connection to our higher selves, others, and ultimately, to the divine. It is associated with God (or your particular belief system), spirituality, divine wisdom, enlightening, connection to the universe, imagination, awareness, and optimism. This is the connection between you and the divine. Your brain functions and central nervous system are controlled by the crown chakra.
When the Crown Chakra is unbalanced: You feel disconnected from the spiritual side of life and as though you are living without any direction or purpose. Since this chakra affects the six energy systems below, and consequently your entire being, a blocked crown chakra can lead to many psychosomatic diseases and ailments such as migraines, headaches, depression and other nervous system disorders and feelings of being lost and insignificance.
Balancing through Asana (Poses): Siddhasana (Accomplished Pose), Savasana (Corpse Pose), Sirsasana (Head Stand Pose), Vrikshasana (Tree Pose), Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose), Padmasana (Lotus Pose) and Anjali Mudra .
When the Crown Chakra is balanced: You feel a strong spiritual connection with yourself, the universe, and God. Energy entering and leaving the Crown facilitates your flow of positive energy with the other six chakras, and creates the outlook we hold on life. In other words, if you succeed to balance this chakra, you will lead to deep purification, transformation and rejuvenation in your life.
Authored by Shobha Gupta
Shobha is a passionate yogi, an ayurveda enthusiast and unlocking chakras mysteries is her favourite subject. Holding a degree in yoga science from the renowned Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga in India, she shares her knowledge about yoga, meditation and ayurveda on Giving Hands Reiki’s blog. If you would like to read more articles by Shobha, clic here. If you would like to write an article for our blog, please read our guest posting guidelines.