Chakra is a term often used in yoga, meditation, Reiki, and aura healing. If you've been dabbling in these practices you've surely heard about them, too. Many people know chakras to be the energy centers of the body. But how do chakras influence our health and well-being? What happens to us when these energy centers are unbalanced?
Read on to unpack what chakras are and discover how they affect our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual states.
From a spiritual perspective, the human body doesn't only consist of the physical and mental. Every person has a network of energy known as chakras. The word chakra is Sanskrit for wheel or cycle, according to WebMD.
Teaching about the chakra system can be traced to 1500-500 BC India. It is mentioned in India's oldest text called the Vedas. Anodea Judith, a scholar who wrote about the chakra system in her book Wheels of Life, wrote that the knowledge of the chakras was spread through the Indo-Europeans' oral tradition. It's been ingrained in the New Age tradition since then.
Chakras are believed to supply subtle energy to our mind, organs, and intellect so we can function at our optimum. At present, there's no medical evidence confirming the correlation of the chakras, spiritual energy, and healing. But chakra healing practices are said to relax the mind and body, thus relieving the mind and body of stress.
What Are the 7 Main Chakras?
Some people believe that we have at least 114 chakras in our bodies. However, prevailing beliefs about the chakra system claim that there are 7 main chakras that run from the base of the spine to the top of your head.
In a circular pattern, each chakra vibrates at its own frequency and draws energy from the universe into the energy system, says yoga teacher Lacey Gibson. The 7 chakras are:
1. Sahasrara (crown chakra) - Called the chakra of consciousness, the crown chakra is located at the top of the skull. It is thought to secrete hormones to communicate to the endocrine system and connect to the central nervous system.
2. Ajna (third eye chakra) - Connected to the pineal gland and is known as the chakra of light, awareness, and time. It also controls our sleeping and waking patterns.
3. Vishuddha/vishuddhi (throat chakra) - It is linked to communication and self-expression. The throat chakra is found parallel to the thyroid which is responsible for growth and maturity.
4. Anahata (heart chakra) - This chakra connects to love, compassion, and the whole range of emotions. It is found in the chest and is connected to the immune system.
5. Manipura or nabhi (solar plexus chakra) - Related to the transition of basic to complex emotions, energy, digestion, and assimilation. It is also responsible for digestion and the conversion of food into energy. The solar plexus chakras is located in the mouth of the stomach.
6. Swadhisthana (sacral chakra) - The chakra of creativity and sexuality located in the groin. It is related to the testicles and the ovaries involved in reproduction.
7. Muladhara (base or root chakra) - Located in the spot between the anus and the genitals, the root chakra is linked to security, survival, and instinct. It's also connected to ejaculation and sexual activity among males.
Theories That Explain the Functions of the Chakra System
While scientific studies on chakras are limited, some Western scholars attempted to shed light on the existence of chakras, where they're exactly located, and how they work to sustain our well-being and development.
One of these perspectives links the chakras to the endocrine system. Karla Helbert, a yoga therapist and licensed counselor, explains that certain chakras are aligned with specific glands. For example, the root chakra is linked to the testes or ovaries, the throat chakra to the thyroid gland, and the heart chakra to the thymus.
The functions of these endocrine glands are also thought to be connected with their corresponding chakra. Although this explanation is not backed by scientific evidence and is considered an attempt to give a physical structure to the chakra system.
Helbert further states that the chakras move at varying speeds to maintain homeostasis in the body which governs our physical and mental wellness. She says the 3 lower chakras control our reproduction, self-confidence, and survival instinct. Whereas the heart chakra controls our empathy and connection with others. The upper 3 chakras control non-physical attributes like intuition, self-expression, and connection to the higher being.
Another paradigm through which chakras can be understood is psychological development. This chakra theory compares the chakras with Maslow's hierarchy of needs or the order of needs a person must achieve to live a satisfactory life.
Anodea Judith relates the root chakra with physiological safety, security with sacral chakra, belonging with the solar plexus, self-compassion with the heart chakra, self-actualization with throat chakra, and transcendence with the third eye and crown chakras.
How Do Chakras Get Unbalanced? What Are the Effects?
Like a used battery, chakras can get low in energy or depleted. There can also be too much energetic activity in the chakras. Chakras can also become imbalanced due to poor posture, unhealthy eating habits, or self-destructive behaviours.
When a chakra is depleted, it will be difficult for you to live out the set of qualities attributed to that chakra. Whereas an overactive chakra may cause certain qualities to be excessively dominant in your life. These imbalances are said to manifest internally or externally.
Let's take for example the root chakra. It is associated with survival, security, and instinct. If it's low in energy, it can manifest as depression or self-esteem issues. If it's overactive, it can manifest as recklessness, fear without caution, or the compulsive need to hoard things to feel secure.
So how do you know if you have any unbalanced chakras? The tell tale signs can be both physical and mental including:
Physical (the location of the unbalanced chakra may affect the body part/s closest to that chakra)
- Pain in the head, neck, or back
- Digestion issues
- Colon problems
- Difficulty sleeping
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling stuck, overwhelmed, and confused
- Feeling disconnected from your body or from others
- Difficulty manifesting your desires, goals, and ambitions
- In serious cases, anxiety and depression
There's a number of ways to restore the balance of energies in your chakras. These practices are called chakra healing. The methods may differ but their ultimate goal is to balance and realign your chakras with one another.
7 Ways to Balance and Harmonize Your Chakras
Try out the following chakra healing rituals if you're experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above.
1. Practiced breathing - Taking deep and cleansing breaths is one of the simplest ways to balance your chakras. Focus on each of your chakra as you inhale and exhale slowly.
2. Meditation - Retreating into quietness lets you focus on your chakras. Meditation helps you lower your stress, reconnect with your mind and body, embrace unpleasant emotions, and raise your consciousness. There are several types of meditation so choose the one that suits you. Or use a meditation app that offers guided meditation.
3. Yoga - This is an avenue for opening up your chakras, allowing energy to flow smoothly. There are various poses targeted for each chakra. As you perform each pose, focus on the target chakra and the sensation that your body feels with it.
4. Smudging/smoke cleansing - The smoke released by burning sacred and aromatic plants brings the chakras into alignment. Smoke cleansing also clears stagnant energy in your space which may also contribute to an unbalanced chakra. White sage, cedar, lavender, and juniper smudge sticks are some of the common herbs known for their chakra cleansing properties. Make sure to perform the cleanse slowly and mindfully. Fan the smoke all over your body for a thorough cleanse.
5. Crystals and chakra stones - Healing crystals are also used for chakra healing. What's great about crystals is that they amplify the healing ceremony with the unique healing properties each crystal brings. Amethyst is used to heal the crown chakra, while turquoise and other blue stones are great for the throat chakra. Rose quartz works best with the heart chakra, while carnelian is for the sacral chakra. You can even use crystals to reduce stress and anxiety and amplify your intentions during meditation.
6. Spend time in nature - Walk barefoot on the beach, go camping in the woods, go sunbathing, or simply sit out on your patio and breathe some fresh air”all these are great ways to heal your chakras. Reconnect with the Earth's energy to balance your root chakra and melt away anxiety and insecurity.
7. Reiki - Another way to treat energy imbalance is through Reiki. If it's your first time, contact a certified Reiki professional. Reiki practitioners use hand movements and crystals as tools to harmonize the chakras. You can choose one or a combination of any of these chakra healing rituals. And you can do them, starting with the easiest ones like breathwork, meditation, and spending time in nature, every day to maintain balance among your chakras.
Our chakra system is the energy powerhouse of our body. And when any of our chakra is unbalanced, we may feel unwell physically, mentally, or emotionally. When you feel something isn't right, take a step back and perform a chakra healing practice.
Meditate, do a quick yoga, or spend an unhurried time in nature. Do what feels best for you! Keep in mind that the purpose of it all is to keep your mind, body, and spirit in sync so you can live a satisfying life.
If you need some tools for chakra healing, you've come to the right place. Stonebridge Imports carries a wide range of energy cleansing products that will surely make you feel your best again. Whether it's crystals, smoke cleansing herbs, or chakra stones, our store has all you need.
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