The 7 Chakras: What You Need to Know
The month of February is all about love! But it's not just about expressing your love for others; it's also a great time to reflect on your own self-love and self-care habits. If you made a resolution to focus more on self care this year, what better time than now to put forth that extra effort?
Loving yourself means nourishing not just your body, but your mind and soul as well. Sounds complicated, right? It doesn't have to be. Actually, with a better understanding of the seven chakras and how they can impact your physical, mental, and emotional wellness—you can take steps to better nourish yourself in all aspects.
Specifically, this post will cover an explanation of the seven chakras that includes the location and function of each chakra, as well as tips for keeping the chakras open and balanced. With this info in mind, you'll be able to better engage your own chakras and spot the telltale "signs" of a blockage.
What Are the 7 Chakras?
The concept of chakras dates back to sometime between 1500 and 500 BC in India, where an ancient text known as the Vedas detailed seven centers of spiritual energy throughout the body. Specifically, the term "chakra" translates to "wheel" or "disk" in sanskrit.
There are believed to be seven chakras located along the spine, each with a different function. Each chakra is also believed to correspond to different organs throughout the body. As a whole, the idea is that keeping the seven chakras open will lead to more balanced physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being.
It's also worth noting that the chakras are believed to develop at different ages. For example, while the root chakra may develop as early as one year old, the crown chakra is thought to develop at closer to 45 years of age.
So, what exactly are the seven chakras and where are they located? Let's dive deeper!
1. The Root Chakra
Located at the base of the spine, the root chakra is responsible for that feeling of being "grounded." It is believed to influence a person's sense of safety and stability. With an open chakra, you may feel solidly grounded and confident in your ability to face challenges. WIth a blocked root chakra, on the other hand, you may feel unstable and even as though your survival is being threatened. People with blocked root chakras often suffer from nightmares, stress, and anxiety.
2. The Sacral Chakra
Located in the lower abdomen, a couple of inches below the belly button, the sacral chakra is believed to be closely connected to our relationships not just with our own emotions, but other people's emotions as well. The sacral chakra is often associated with a person's overall sense of well-being, creativity, and pleasure.
Those with open sacral chakras may find that they feel fulfilled and passionate in their own lives. On the other hand, a blocked sacral chakra may lead to a person feeling uninspired and unstable.
3. The Solar Plexus Chakra
Located in the upper abdomen near the stomach, the solar plexus chakra is most closely related to your feelings of self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth. Those with open and healthy solar plexus chakras may feel free to express themselves without fear, whereas a blocked solar plexus chakra may cause a person to feel shame or discomfort expressing themselves.
4. The Heart Chakra
As the name implies, the heart chakra is located in the center of the chest and directly above the heart. Most often associated with feelings of inner peace, happiness, and love, the heart chakra affects a person's ability to love and receive love from others.
Those with an open heart chakra have an easy time loving themselves and others; they may also have a strong sense of compassion for others. On the other hand, a blocked heart chakra is often associated with difficulty loving oneself and others.
5. The Throat Chakra
Your self-expression and communication skills are strongly influenced by the throat chakra, which is located along the vertebrae in the neck. An open throat chakra makes it easier for a person to communicate clearly and to get his or her point across strongly. Somebody with a blocked throat chakra may find that they have a hard time expressing their true feelings.
6. The Third-Eye Chakra
Located between the eyes (and also commonly referred to as the brow chakra), the third-eye chakra really does function as an extra source of vision. Specifically, this chakra is thought to be connected strongly to our own sense of intuition and wisdom.
Those with an open third-eye chakra will enjoy the ability to comprehend and process information that goes beyond the surface; they can think deeply about their own souls and have a strong sense of intuition. Meanwhile, those with a blocked third-eye chakra may struggle to process abstract concepts.
7. The Crown Chakra
Last but not least, the crown chakra is located at the very top of the head and controls a person's sense of consciousness and spiritual connection. Those with open crown chakras are able to achieve a greater sense of inner and outer beauty while feeling a strong spiritual and emotional connection with the world around them. This chakra is believed to be among the most difficult to open (and keep open), but the efforts are also among the most rewarding.
Engaging With and Opening Your Chakras
Keeping your seven chakras open and balanced at all times is hard work. In fact, it's generally best not to focus too much on keeping everything in balance all at once because doing so is simply not feasible for many people. The key is to be able to recognize when something feels "off" so that you can pinpoint which of your chakras may be blocked. From there, you can target that chakra specifically.
We'll go into detail about the signs of blocked chakras and what to do about them in another blog post. For now, however, there are a few things you can generally rely on to open up your chakras and keep them in better balance.
Yoga and meditation are a couple of tried-and-true ways to open up the chakras. In fact, some specific yoga poses are known to pinpoint different chakras. For example, mountain pose is often associated with the opening of the root chakra. Performing specific yoga poses based on the chakras you wish to open can make all the difference.
Meanwhile, practicing meditation and gratitude can also make a big difference in the balancing of your chakras. Many people find visualization exercises (as part of meditation) to be especially helpful; by focusing your efforts on actually visualizing the opening of your problem chakras and feeling the energy flow through them, you can find better balance.
Because each chakra is also associated with a specific color (the root chakra is associated with the color red, for example), color meditation can also be effective. People who practice color meditation will focus on envisioning the blocked chakra on the body and actually imagining its coordinating color radiating from it. This practice, combined with mindful breathing and gratitude, can make all the difference.
Believe it or not, your diet and nutrition can also have quite an impact on your chakras. Incorporating foods that are the same color that is associated with your blocked chakra can help to get the energy moving again. For example, if you suspect that your root chakra is blocked, you might try to incorporate more red foods (such as tomatoes, berries, and peppers) into your diet. This is another reason why you'll often hear the phrase "eat the rainbow" used to describe healthy diet and nutritional habits; when you're eating all the colors of the rainbow, you're nourishing your body with the fuel and energy needed for each chakra!
Finally, simply spending more time in nature is also thought to be great for opening up and engaging the seven chakras. If you've been feeling a little confined and "off" lately, you're not alone. The good news? Making an effort to get outside more may be all that's needed to open up those chakras. Whether it's going for a quick walk around the block or simply sitting on your front porch and soaking up the sun's warm rays, spending time outdoors is beneficial to all the seven chakras.
Focusing on the 7 Chakras in Your Everyday Life
You don't need to memorize the location or function of every single chakra to be a little more mindful about their powers in your everyday life. Simply taking inventory of your overall well-being and making note of where you're struggling can help you pinpoint which chakra(s) may be blocked and what changes you may need to make to strike a better balance.
And remember, keeping all your chakras open and perfectly balanced probably isn't realistic. You are human, after all. But by being more mindful and aware of the seven chakras (as well as the impact they can have on your health and wellness) will go a long way towards taking better care of yourself.