Chakras are centers of spiritual power within the human body. Many ancient traditions, including Hinduism and Buddhism, have long explored the importance and meaning of the chakras, while newer practices have built upon traditional wisdom to include associated chakra colors, stones and more. Yogic and tantric disciplines incorporate the chakras into their practices in order to promote relaxation, health and wellbeing.
Many minor chakras — perhaps hundreds or even thousands — interconnect throughout the human body. These are used, for one example, by acupuncturists, who tap into points of healing along these energy meridians. But when most people talk about chakras, they are referring to the seven major chakras that ascend up the center of the body, from the base of the spine to the top of the head. The lower chakras are associated with human instincts, while the upper chakras are associated with the intellect.
The word “chakra” derives from the Sanskrit word for “wheel” and reflects the idea that these spiritual centers are rotating vortexes of energy that is constantly being received and transmitted. Humans are born with our seven chakras in balance, but life and experience cause them to become off balance over time. When a chakra is imbalanced, it is said to be either over- or under-active, or perhaps blocked. These blocks in the natural flow of energy within the body can lead to depression, physical illness and other effects. Furthermore, the chakras are interdependent, so when one chakra is imbalanced, it can impair the balance of its neighboring chakras as well.
The seven major chakras are outlined below, along with their basic associations and the possible effects of an imbalance:
· The Root Chakra — The first chakra, located at the base of the spine, is associated with survival instincts, security needs and the sex drive. Its associated color is red. When the Root chakra is imbalanced, you may be overly anxious or fearful, resistant to change, materialistic, or obsessed with security.
· The Sacral Chakra — The second chakra, located below the naval in the sacrum, is associated with relationships, emotional needs, sexuality, intimacy and creativity. Its associated color is orange. When the Sacral chakra is imbalanced, you may be either overly emotional or withdrawn from other people; emotionally attached; or overly sexual.
· The Solar Plexus Chakra — The third chakra, located in the center of the abdomen, is associated with personal power, fear, anxiety and opinions. Its associated color is yellow. When the Solar Plexus chakra is imbalanced, you may be timid, passive or indecisive, or alternately, overly aggressive or oppressive in your opinions.
· The Heart Chakra — The fourth chakra, located at the center of the chest, is associated with unconditional love, compassion and happiness. Its associated color is green. When the Heart chakra is imbalanced, you may be aloof and distant even from loved ones, or you might smother others with your love.
· The Throat Chakra — The fifth chakra, located above the collarbone, is associated with communication and expression. Its associated color is blue. When the Throat chakra is imbalanced, you may be rather shy and introverted, or you might talk too much and fail to be a good listener.
· The Brow Chakra — Also known as the Third Eye Chakra, the sixth chakra, located above the eyebrows, is associated with intuition and psychic awareness. Its associated color is indigo. When the Brow chakra is imbalanced, you may be overly rigid in your thinking or submissive to authority. Alternatively, you might live in a fantasy world.
· The Crown Chakra — The seventh chakra, located at the very top of the head, is associated with spirituality, wisdom and pure consciousness. Its associated color is purple. When the Crown chakra is imbalanced, you may lack a sense of spirituality or intellectualize your emotions. Alternatively, you might become overly spiritual, at the expense of real-world concerns.
Addressing an imbalance in your chakras is a matter of bringing a different, more positive energy to the affected chakra. Many people believe in the power of color, since color enters the skin through light waves and affects the chakras. If you are feeling an imbalance in a particular chakra, wear clothing in the color associated with that chakra, drink pure water from a glass of that chakra’s color, or find other ways to invite that color’s vibrations into your life, thereby bringing its healing effects to your imbalanced chakra. Other healing methods include meditation; positive thinking; maintaining a pure and balanced diet that represents foods in all the colors of the chakras; and engaging regularly in creative processes such as music, dance and art. These will reenergize your chakras and restore balance to your body’s internal network of spiritual energy.