Updated: May 6
Today I want to talk about your chakras.
Before I begin, I will admit that I used to think chakras were a bunch of New-Age goofiness and emphatically rolled my eyes every time I heard someone talk about them. So, if you feel that way right now, just go ahead and give a big eye roll. I’m not offended. Just do it as you keep reading, because you might want to know some of this.
Now with that out of the way, let’s move on to the discussion of the chakras. They are generally associated with New-Age teaching in the West, but the origins actually go back thousands of years into ancient India. The oldest recorded mention of the chakras is in the Vedic texts written somewhere between 1500 and 500 BCE. It appears to have been adopted by several forms of Buddhist and Hindu teachings after that time and then at some point they became integrated into many yogic traditions as well, an association that continues to this day.
Now, lest you once again feel tempted to throw out the concept of chakras because of their past association with any of the above practices, know that chakras have long since become disassociated with their roots and now operate separately from any religious teachings. Learning about or working with chakras does not necessarily imply any indoctrination into Eastern religious thought. Also, the concept of chakras has been hashed and rehashed an infinite number of times on the internet and in books. There is no one definitive source of information regarding chakras and information can sometimes be conflicting and confusing. So today I will give you a general overview of the most commonly understood basics about chakras.
Now, on to the fun stuff.
The being that is you is made up of several parts including, but not limited to, the physical body and the energetic body. Your physical body has a well defined beginning and end. It is easy to tell where one body stops and another one begins. We use our physical bodies to communicate with each other using our voices, physical gestures, facial expressions, and much more. Your energetic body is a little less defined in terms of the space it occupies. It both fills and surrounds your physical body. You communicate with others using your energy body as well. If you have ever been in an emotionally charged room then you have felt the communication between people’s energy bodies. Your physical and energy bodies work in tandem to read and record a billion bits of information about your internal and external environment every moment of every day.
The chakras are the vital energy connections between your physical and energetic bodies. If your chakras are functioning properly your energy body and physical body should be in sync. Similarly, your chakras connect you with the energy of the outside world. When fully operational, they communicate with everything around you, exchanging information and energy with other people and things you interact with. It is the chakras that allow you to feel the emotional charge in a room as they draw that energy into your energetic and physical bodies. They also send energy out of your combined bodies to tell others how you feel about whatever is going on. This connection to the external world also regulates your internal energy systems. When you feel depleted they help you draw in energy from people and places. When you feel an abundance of energy they help you discharge it into the world so you can come back into balance.
It is generally agreed that there are seven main chakras in your body. There are various traditions that teach additional chakras above and below your body as well as traditions that work with a multitude of minor chakras. For today, we will stick with the primary seven.
The word chakra is Sanskrit for “wheel” and chakras are generally pictured as spinning wheels of energy that line up along the midline of your body. Most people agree that they extend out in the front and the back, although we most often work on them from the front. These seven chakras each have a fairly standard English name, a Sanskrit name, a color, a primary area of concern, and a lotus (flower) symbol. They are also associated with parts of the body, systems, glands, organs, emotions, and more. However, these associations are general and vary widely from source to source, so we won’t deal with that here. Let’s just look at the basics.
Typically the chakras colors are ordered from one to seven from the Root to the Crown and colored as a rainbow from red up to violet (ROY G BIV for those of you who haven’t had third grade science in a while). Each chakra helps you interact with the world in a particular way. It both reads information from the environment and projects information into that environment. The Root is located near the base of your tailbone and is connected to the energy of safety, security, survival, and comfort. The Sacral chakra is located just below your belly button and governs the energy of desires, passion, and creativity. Your Solar Plexus chakra rests just below the join of your ribcage and its energy signature is that of willpower, manifestation, determination, and self-confidence. The Heart chakra is exactly where you would expect it and deals with what you’d expect as well, including self-love, love of others, compassion, and acceptance. Your Throat chakra is also simple to find and its energy is of truth, communication, and self-expression. The Third Eye chakra rests just above the eyebrows and governs the energy of truth, insight, trust, and awareness. Finally, the Crown chakra is at the very top of your head and is your connection to the Divine, to knowledge, and to spirituality.
Healthy and balanced chakras are interacting with your physical body, your energy body, and the people/things around you to create the very best aspects of all these energies in your life and in the world. They regulate your internal energy and the intake of external energy so you can project love, truth, determination, creativity, etc. into the world. A properly functioning chakra system should be drawing in and releasing a balanced amount of energy while still having plenty of internal energy for a healthy physical and energetic body.
Unfortunately, many people do not have properly functioning chakras and this causes all kinds of problems. Let’s look at the heart chakra and the energy of love that it regulates. An overactive heart chakra could produce an aggressive love that results in possessiveness or emotional manipulation. An underactive heart chakra could create a deficit that creates the feeling of being clingy or codependent. A completely blocked heart chakra could result in someone who is unable to give or receive love at all. A fully open chakra that is unable to regulate its intake of energy could result in a person who is overwhelmed by the emotional needs around them.
Now obviously there are many other ways to explain why people might be clingy, or possessive, or unable to love. However, from my reading and practice I have noticed that no matter what combination of causes contribute to any particular emotional or energy imbalance, chakras always play a role on some level. Sometimes that role is huge and balancing a chakra basically solves the problem. Sometimes the role is small and there is a lot of other work that has to be done as well. Either way, chakra balancing is an effective practice in the toolbox of energy workers that helps significantly when dealing with poorly functioning energetic and physical systems.
Chakras are complicated and vital parts of your body. It could take a lifetime of study to truly understand how they work and all the intricate interactions they are involved in. However, just knowing the basics can provide you with a starting point to begin working with your own energy healing. If you carry a lot of stress in your abdomen, your Sacral chakra might be blocked and unable to release energy. If you feel unable to speak your own truth, your throat chakra might not be functioning. If you feel overcome by fear or insecurity, your root chakra might be acting up and keeping you from finding the stability you need.
I mentioned before that I used to roll my eyes at the silly New-Age chakra thing. About four or five years ago I started learning more about the system and trying energy techniques to clear and balance it. Well, I was certainly surprised at the results! I can’t report any major miracles, but I did find that chakra work always left me feeling calm and at peace. In subtle ways my emotional landscapes began to shift, my energy began to settle, I felt less overwhelmed by the world, and I was more comfortable in my own skin. Chakras that were totally shut down slowly came back to life, allowing me to interact more easily with the people around me. Of course, I did a lot of other energy work along the way that also helped significantly, but working with the chakras was always a vital part of the overall healing process. So I no longer roll my eyes when people talk about chakras (Well, maybe I do sometimes. There’s a lot of weird stuff out there. Read this post for more about my thoughts on weird energy work!).
As part of my energy work with clients I always check to see if a chakra balancing and clearing is needed. I’ve been truly surprised at some of the results. One young person I was working with was having trouble with uncharacteristically aggressive and bullying behavior. Balancing the overactive Root chakra significantly helped the problem. Another client was having trouble with headaches that were primarily caused by a complete block of the Third Eye chakra. I even worked with a bunny once who was having repeating problems with his physical and energy body not coordinating properly. Chakra balancing was a big step toward healing for the cute little guy. (In case you were wondering, I thought people who balanced the chakras on their pets went over the top. Count me wrong. I learn new things every day!)
If you are here because you are interested in energy work, or because you are working on a physical or emotional health issue, then I highly encourage you to work on chakra balancing. There are many ways to do it. I’ve used EFT to work on blocks in chakras. Meditation is a great way to begin to bring them into balance. People work with their chakras using sound, color, crystals, yoga, essential oils, and more. My current favorite chakra balancing technique is using the energy of Reiki to clear and heal.
As I mentioned before, chakras are complicated and sometimes a chakra balance creates amazing results and sometimes it doesn’t. So if you want to try working with your chakras, know that if something doesn’t happen right away it doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t working. You’ll probably have to give it a few tries before you see significant progress on any particular problem, although most people report that doing a chakra balancing feels immediately peaceful. If you’d like to try working with your chakras on your own, I’ve recorded a 15 minute chakra balancing meditation that uses visualization and color to start balancing your chakras. There is no music attached to this, so put on your favorite Zen tunes, find a safe place to relax, and give it a try.
Download the MP3 Balance Your Chakras Meditation.
Download the PDF Transcript of the meditation.
You can also look up tons of YouTube videos with chakra meditations and healing practices.
If you do some chakra work and feel that there is resistance blocking your way, there is probably a deeper issue in your chakras. I’ve found a lot of significant energy blocks in people’s chakras that would take years to pick away at, if they could come out at all. If you feel there is a larger issue, find a Reiki practitioner or someone who only works with chakras to help you break up the blockage. You can find people who do Reiki+color, Reiki+crystals, and Reiki+just about anything else. None of these additional elements are necessary, as Reiki can heal chakras perfectly well on its own, but some people are drawn to aspects of the additional healing modalities. If you’d like to work with me, I do chakra balancing as part of my overall healing package, or you can request just a chakra balancing session and see what you think. Check out my Services or Contact Me to talk about it!
Although on the surface they seem weird, chakras are actually a vital part of your energy and physical bodies that need to be balanced for you to live a healthy life. If something in your physical, emotional, or energy world feels off, take a little walk down crazy lane and give chakra balancing a try. If you still think it’s dumb, then you haven’t hurt anything. If you find you feel better, then you know you’ve invested some valuable time into healing yourself. You won’t know if you don’t try.