The word Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning "wheels" or "disc" but references spiritual energy centers within the human body, of which there are seven along the spine and through the neck and the crown of your head. The chakras along the shushumna nadiare (nadi for short) are the power centers where the left channel (ida nadi) and the right channel (pingala nadi) intersect (yin yang energy). These energy channels and psycho-power centers make up what is known as “the subtle body.” The subtle body is in a different realm than the physical body and the mind but has a powerful impact on the body, mind, and entire system. The Chakras in order from bottom to top are: Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye, and Crown.
When the Chakras are blocked and misaligned: The Chakras can either be overactive or under-active. In either case, this results in living a challenging life. Sometimes the misalignment isn't apparent on the surface but peel back a few layers and you'll quickly come to realize the work ahead. Below are a few warning signs that your chakras may be unaligned.
Something feels “off”
You get sick often
Out of touch with emotions and closed off
Feeling ungrounded, unsafe, and insecure
Homelife feels chaotic and unsettled
Everything seems to be falling apart
Feeling easily overwhelmed emotionally
Loss of imagination and no creativity
Inability to commit
Inability to follow through with goals
Feeling a sense of lack or loss with regards to love
When the chakras are aligned and balanced: Life tends to flow easily and coherently. We experience a sense of wholeness in all aspects - emotional, mental, and physical; mind, body, and soul. Our relationships, conversations, actions, goals, and interests simply flow with the divine design. Below are a few examples of things you can do to begin aligning your chakras.
Connect with the earth: go for a hike, walk in the sand or grass.
Ground your feet in the dirt
Eat vegetables and fruit—food from the earth (try a vegan diet or a raw cleanse)
Get in touch with your feelings through journaling or therapy
Practice loving-kindness/Metta meditation for yourself and others
Practice self-care, self-love, and express love to others
Practice yoga poses that are related to a specific chakra
The seven chakras are part of the subtle body or the energetic body. It’s the part that we can’t see or touch but can always feel. It’s the part of us that makes the heartbeat, the piece of us that feels a gut intuition, and the energy within us that connects moves, and creates our being.
The 7 Chakra System Explained and Explored
1. Muladhara Chakra
The Root or Muladhara Chakra is the first wheel of energy and it begins at the base of the spine.
This chakra is associated with the earth element and is directly linked to the roots we’ve planted – how deep they are, how strong they are, and how supportive they are. The Muladhara Chakra symbolizes root or fundamental issues: shelter, safety, security, water, food, and family.
When this chakra is balanced, we feel grounded, secure, and safe. Our lives flow gracefully with calm and steady energy.
When out of alignment, life is tough. We feel insecure, fearful, and our survival mode turns on. This can lead to weight gain, constipation, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, and stress. Location: Base of the spine Color: Red Mantra: LAM Element: Earth Chakra Mantra: “I am always safe at the center of my being.”
2. Svadhisthana Chakra
The Svadhisthana Chakra is associated with the element of water. When water comes to mind, we imagine fluidity, versatility, and freedom. The second chakra is just that – it’s our ability to be sexual, creative, emotional, and in tune with ourselves and others.
When this chakra is balanced, life is filled with abundance, creativity, movement, procreation, pleasure, and fulfilling relationships.
When out of alignment, you can experience emotional instability, fear of change, sexual dysfunction, depression, lack of creative energy, chronic lower back pain, reproductive issues, and other pelvic-lower issues. Location: Above the pubic bone and below the navel Color: Orange Mantra: VAM Element: Water Chakra Mantra: “I flow with the rhythms of life.”
3. Manipura Chakra
The Manipura or the Solar Plexus is the third wheel of energy and is associated with the element of fire. This chakra represents our personal power, governs our self-esteem, personal identity, digestion, and metabolism.
When this chakra is balanced, you’ll find that self-confidence, a sense of purpose, and self-motivation are present in your life. When presented with an issue, you’re able to let it go and not attach to the external circumstances at hand.
When out of alignment, you can experience digestion issues, low self-esteem, and have difficulty making decisions. Location: The navel area, from the solar plexus up to the breastbone Color: Yellow Mantra: RAM Element: Fire Chakra Mantra: “I stand in my personal power.”
4. Anahata Chakra
By balancing and aligning the first three chakras, the fourth chakra is able to integrate and open. Thus, each wheel must spin simultaneously in order to remain in balance.
The fourth chakra represents everything that involves love, compassion, and joy. It’s one of the most beautiful yet emotional chakras for people to tap into.
When this chakra is balanced, love, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance of others (and yourself) are all present.
When out of alignment, you can experience poor circulation, high or low blood pressure, co-dependence, manipulative behaviors, and feelings of unworthiness. Location: Center of the chest (including the heart, lungs, and entire surrounding area) Color: Green Mantra: YUM Element: Air Chakra Mantra: “I open my heart to fully living.”
5. Vishuddha Chakra
The Vishudda or Throat Chakra is the fifth wheel of energy and it’s the first of the three spiritual chakras.
The Throat Chakra is associated with ether or a space-like quality that symbolizes an open voice from where authenticity and truthfulness can flow.
The fifth chakra represents your ability to speak your truth, express ideas clearly, and be in tune with both your inner and outer intentions. Because it’s the first of the spiritual chakras, the lower four chakras must also be in tune.
When this chakra is balanced, you speak, listen, and express yourself through a higher form of communication and authenticity.
When out of alignment, you can experience the inability to speak your truth, to ask for what you need, want, or desire, and it can result in a sore throat, thyroid problems, and neck/shoulder pain. Location: The throat Color: Blue Mantra: HUM Element: Space Chakra Mantra: “I follow and speak my truth.”
6. Ajna Chakra
The Third Eye Chakra is the sixth wheel of energy and it represents our intuition or sixth sense. Its location in between the eyebrows is integral to our lives and how we perceive the exterior world as well as our own interior dialogue.
When this chakra is balanced, you trust your intuition to face life challenges and decisions, the ego dissolves into the background, and you can begin to uncover what your true value is in life.
When out of alignment, you can be cynical, too attached to logic, untrusting, and possibly have problems with vision, headaches, and migraines. Location: The space between the eyebrows Color: Indigo Mantra: SHAM Element: All Chakra Mantra: “I follow the path of truth and intuition.”
7. Sahasrara Chakra
The Sahasrara or Crown Chakra is the seventh and final chakra. It represents our spiritual being. This chakra represents that you are a divine being having a human experience on this Earth.
When working on this chakra, you’re acknowledging to yourself and the world that you are ready to dissolve separation, that you are ready to integrate with everything, and that you are ready to transcend the physical world for a more spiritual experience.
When this chakra is balanced, a source of enlightenment, spiritual connection, and connection to our higher selves are present.
When out of alignment, you mistake happiness as an exterior trait when in truth, it’s created from within. Or quite the opposite, you can be hypersensitive to the divine aspect of Self, and struggle to function in normal day-to-day activities. Location: Outside the body and hovering above the crown of the head Color: Violet or White Mantra: OM Element: Cosmic Energy Chakra Mantra: “There is only divine oneness.”
'When you balance your seven spiritual centers, you begin to undo the damage caused by living your life backward, from the head first, forgetting the body and spirit altogether. If your life isn't supported by a grounded source of energy, it will wither and lose its vitality. As you learn about chakras, you'll discover that balancing them isn't particularly hard, especially if you think of it as a process of not just living your life, but actually loving your life.'