The invisible engine: your 7 chakras

Sep/18/2021 / by Team SEEMA
Image credits: Kalineri via Unsplash

What are the 7 chakras?

7 Chakras are invisible energy centers located at seven points of your body while you’re sitting in lotus pose. “Chakra” is a word in both Sanskrit and Pali meaning wheel and so you can imagine them as spinning disks from the base of your spine to the crown of your head. It’s a concept, an ancient science that overlaps across many different religious and spiritual healing cultures.

Think of your 7chakras like gears in an engine. When any one of them (or more than one as is the case with most people) is out of whack, there are disturbances in many areas of life. When they’re all working together seamlessly, you feel aligned in every way. You feel bursting with vitality and life force, secure, confident, balanced, ready to take on the world and make your lovely noble dreams come true.

Actually, beyond the preliminary understanding, some people argue that there are over a hundred of these energy centers, but broadly, it is agreed that there are seven. Working on their alignment and balancing can be a wonderfully rewarding part of your healing journey, whether it be physical or psychological. And so for this article, we’ll be focusing on them.

What do the 7 chakras mean?

Judith Anodea frames this beautifully in her book, Wheels of Life .

“Chakras are organizing centers for the reception, assimilation, and transmission of life energies. Our chakras, as core centers, form the coordinating network of our complicated mind/body system. From instinctual behavior to consciously planned strategies, from emotions to artistic creations, the chakras are the master programs that govern our life, loves, learning, and illumination. As seven vibratory modalities, the chakras form a mythical Rainbow Bridge, a connecting channel linking Heaven and Earth, mind and body, spirit and matter, past and future.”

What is each chakra responsible for?

The seven chakras are located at seven points on your body. While in lotus pose, they are “numbered” from the base of your spine (first chakra) to the crown of your head (seventh chakra). Each point also corresponds to a colour. Here is an overview of what each chakra is located, is responsible for, what happens when it is balanced and clear versus imbalanced and blocked, plus a few yoga asanas that help improve its functioning. Please note that you will have to work with a qualified professional healer in order to understand your chakra dynamics better and get the right techniques to understand your healing needs.

First Chakra: The Root Chakra, also known as the Muladhara Chakra (Red)

7 chakras
Image credits: Jason D via Unsplash

Why is the “first” chakra, located at the smack center, most vulnerable part of the body, considered the “root” chakra? Well, the sciatic nerve, running from the sacral plexus down through the legs, is the largest peripheral nerve in the body (about as thick as your thumb), and functions much like a root for the nervous system. It is literally the nerve that connects us to the earth, which is directly the source of our food and livelihood.

Location: The first three vertebrae in the spine (base of spine).

Function/Emotion:Survival, bottom three rungs of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

7 chakras
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When the Chakra is balanced, you feel: Grounded, secure about your future.

When the Chakra is imbalanced, you feel:Greed, obsession with materialism

Yoga Asanas for this Chakra:
Apanasana (Knee to Chest Pose), Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose), Shalabhasana (Half and full Locust Pose)

Second Chakra: The Sacral Chakra also known as the Svadhisthana Chakra (Orange)

When one acts on the second chakra, according to the French Academy’s book, Svadhishtana – The Second Chakra: “One arrives at what is commonly defined as a process of self-healing…once balanced, its positive energy will expand accordingly to all other chakras. It is, whose correct activity allows the human being to appreciate life and, therefore, make

it in a sense easier and more pleasant.” It continues, though a little less optimistically, that an unbalanced chakra leads to a “a small but very efficient

personal hell.”

Location: Lower abdomen, genitals and womb.

Function/Emotion: Pleasure and sensuality

When the Chakra is balanced, you feel: Passion, joy and sensuality

When the Chakra is imbalanced, you feel:Either low or overactive libido, inability to experience true joy

Yoga Asanas for this Chakra:
Goddess Pose, Hip Circles

Third Chakra: Solar Plexus Chakra also known as the Manipura Chakra (Yellow)

Also called the navel chakra, the solar plexus chakra is connected to your gut. Remember the old butterfly feelings? Or even gut feelings that tell you when you’re in a possibly dangerous situation? That’s your Manipura chakra. There’s lots to gain from balancing your third chakra.

Location: Navel to the solar plexus, your gut

Function/Emotion: Will, Power, Assertiveness

When the Chakra is balanced, you feel: Purposeful, a sense of self-worth and high self-esteem

When the Chakra is imbalanced, you feel:Judgemental, always complaining

Yoga Asanas for this Chakra: Bow Pose

Fourth Chakra: The Heart Chakra also known as the Anahata Chakra (Green)

Adriene Heart Openers

This is probably one of the most fun chakras to work with, if you’ve ever done heart-openers in yoga class, you’ll probably remember them as one of the most wonderful happy-happy experiences you’ll have while you’re body isn’t sore and aching.

Location: Heart, chest

Function/Emotion:Regulate all emotions, affinity, healing

When the Chakra is balanced, you feel: Self-love extending to love for all

When the Chakra is imbalanced, you feel:Intense relationship issues

Yoga Asanas for this Chakra:Cobra Pose, Fish Pose

Fifth Chakra: The Throat Chakra, also known as the Vishuddha Chakra (Blue)

As we move upwards among the sequence of the chakras, we start to feel the pull of mind and spirit. Many who have received vocal training in any region of the world will testify that as your throat opens up and you breathe into your diaphragm, that the feeling is almost spiritual. The Vishuddha chakra is all about communication and creativity.

Location: Throat, Neck

Function/Emotion: Communication, creativity

When the Chakra is balanced, you feel: Confident, able to speak your authentic truth

When the Chakra is imbalanced, you feel: Sore throat, stiff neck, colds, hearing problems, inability to speak up, always having to hold your silence

Yoga Asanas for this Chakra: Shoulder stand, Plough pose, Fish pose

Sixth Chakra: The Third Eye Chakra, also known as the Ajna or Agya (Indigo)

The Sanskrit names for the Third Eye chakra are Ajna or Agya, which means to perceive or to command. Anodea writes “This speaks to the twofold nature of this chakra-to take in images through perception, but also to form inner images from which we command our reality, commonly known as creative visualization.” It controls our ability to manifest reality. If you’re a fan of books like The Secret, or Thoughts are Things or any self-help describing manifestation, you’ll be a fan of developing this chakra.

Image credits: Sarah Brown via Unsplash

Location: Pineal gland

Function/Emotion: Intuition, Perception

When the Chakra is balanced, you feel: Connected with your higher self, like you can depend on your intuition

When the Chakra is imbalanced, you feel: Immense self-doubt, depression, purposelessness

Yoga Asanas for this Chakra: Pranayama, Child’s pose, Prasarita Padottanasana

Seventh Chakra: The Crown Chakra, also known as the Sahasrara Chakra (Violet)

Sahasrara means thousandfold. “Just as the Muladhara chakra is both the source point of the rising Kundalini and the place where we press our roots deep into the ground,” writes Anodea, “the Sahasrara is the origin of all manifestation and the gateway to the beyond.” This is the point where in Vipassana (aka Insight) meditation, meditators are taught to begin before moving their attention downwards.

Location:Top of the head, where

 Function/Emotion: Spirituality

When the Chakra is balanced, you feel: Connected with others, oneness with all life

When the Chakra is imbalanced, you feel: Disconnected with the world

Yoga Asanas for this Chakra:
Headstand, half-lotus pose

How do I activate my 7 chakras?

All your chakras are activated—they are either blocked in an imbalanced state or unblocked in a balanced or imbalanced state. The science of this is slightly complicated (which is why we mentioned working with a qualified professional healer) but there are several techniques you can use on your own OR work with your healer on to get yourself on the path to getting your chakras in sync.

1. Yoga— Refer to the previous section to see the relevant poses for each chakra that you would like to work on.

2. Breathwork—Yoga and Ayurveda offer several wonderful breathing techniques known as Pranayama that work on opening up specific chakras as well as on your overall well-being. The fire breath, Ujjayi breathing, as well as the famous Nadi Shodhana technique are great for beginners but if you have any respiratory/pulmonary conditions. For a more Western point of view, a good place to explore is the Wim Hof method. A bit of caution for those suffering from mental health conditions, you might want to check with your therapist before you try any of these out.

3. Barefoot walking—This one is the simplest and most cheerful of the methods available and all you need for it is a green, grassy patch or a beach. This is great for the Muladhara chakra because you are quite literally connecting your roots with the earth. This improves your sense of connection to nature and its healing powers. Nature after all, is the source, the beginning of our livelihood and survival.

4. Nutrition—We earlier mentioned the third chakra, localized around the gut. If you’ve ever heard about the gut-brain connection, you’ll be having a Eureka moment when you realize that much of your body’s serotonin is produced in the gut and not your brain. There are more than thousands of nerve endings connected to your stomach that link back to your brain. So if you’re having tummy issues or struggling with anxiety and depression (aka imbalanced chakra symptoms), now’s the time to give your diet a do-over.

5. Meditation—Meditation is a daunting word, but its effects are overwhelmingly positive and proven to impact many areas of your life in ways you never imagined. Just begin with mindfulness: paying attention to your breath. Once you have a routine around it, you can move on to trying out guided chakra meditations and colour meditations, after consulting your mental health specialist (if you’re seeing one).

6. Sound therapy— The rule of seven is much like the rule of thirds. Science has managed to prove the connection between sound waves and colours as well as the vibrations of cells. You can find plenty of tools for sound therapy on YouTube, even those tailored to chakra healing such as the one below:

7. Crystal healing: As chakras all have a corresponding colour, so do they also have corresponding crystals that help raise the vibration of particular chakras. For example, the crown chakra, which is violet in colour corresponds to the amethyst. This one will need you to work with a crystal healer who can work closely with you to ensure you are on the right track.

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How do you open your lower chakras?

Opening the lower chakras are the foundation of your well-being. They control your security, joy and volition. Progress in the chakras department begins from the bottom up, so the first few things to look at are:

  1. Your food, shelter and clothing security.
  2. Your gut health and general physiological well-being (time to re-look at your diet?)
  3. Your immediate support network: your family, friends, etc.
  4. Exercise, including yoga
  5. Beginning a breathing practice
  6. Mindfulness throughout the day

What is my weakest chakra?

Just as with mental illnesses, the more you read about them, the more you think you have every disorder in the book. The truth is, your weakest chakra should only be diagnosed by a healer with complete knowledge about chakras. You should not be trying out any free online quizzes or trying to diagnose yourself.

Signing off

Remember, self-healing, the path to peace, is a way of life and not just a straightforward linear route. It will be slow and difficult, and sometimes bring out emotions that will be hard to deal with. Just sit with them and allow yourself to experience the transience of emotions themselves. Just, as Emerson said, “To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”


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