7 Chakras: What You Need to Know About Chakra Alignment
Chakra comes from the Sanskrit word for wheel and is more commonly translated to mean a point of physical or spiritual energy in the human body.
If you picture yourself sitting cross-legged in Lotus pose, the 7 chakras are located on one’s body from the top of one’s head to the base of one’s spine. Each chakra has a specific location and several unique attributes. While they are aligned with the physical body, they are not something you can touch, but are something you can feel and sense.
One thing that most people don’t realize is that your chakras can both be too closed or too opened. Leaving your chakras too open or vulnerable is just as unhealthy as having closed chakras. As you read the descriptions of the 7 main chakras below, be thinking about how they relate to you.
A few years ago, I had digestive issues that modern medicine couldn’t tackle. As it turns out, my Manipura chakra was blocked. A blocked chakra can often be the cause of health or emotional issues; therefore, it is important to be conscious of the healthy of each chakra before it becomes a more serious or chronic condition.
A.K.A. THE MULADHARA
Located at the base of the spine, this chakra is all about being grounded and connected to the universe.
Signs of a balanced root chakra include feeling grounded, having healthy kidneys, and lacking adrenal issues.
Once you have established that you have a weak or overactive chakra, try a combination of these techniques to realign that specific chakra:
- Apply myrrh or cedarwood essential oils to your wrists or lower back before going to sleep
- Cook with cloves and marjoram and enjoy these root chakra foods.
- Meditate with the mantra Lam
- Concentrate on these positions in your yoga practice: Grounding into feet poses like Mountain Pose, Side-Angle Pose, Warrior Pose, Standing Forward Bend, and Bridge Pose
A.K.A. THE SVADHISHTHANA
Located just below the belly button, this chakra is related to sexuality, pleasure, and emotions.
Signs of a balanced sacral chakra include healthy reproductive organs and sex hormones Other signs of sacral chakra health include feeling friendly, sexual and satisfied. It is thought that this chakra is closely related to basic emotions, so the more you are in touch with this chakra, the more you are in touch with your emotions.
- Apply jasmine or ylang slang essential oils first thing in the morning or at night
- Meditate with the mantra Vam
- Concentrate on these positions in your yoga practice to Clear the Sacral Chakra: Hip opening poses like Standing Wide Forward Bend, Sitting Wide Forward Bend, Bound Angle Pose, and Supine Bound Angle Pose
A.K.A. THE MANIPURA OR SOLAR PLEXUS
Located above the navel, this chakra related to personal power, fears, and anxiety.
Signs of a balanced chakra include a healthy digestive system and adrenal glands.
- Apply rosemary, ginger, or lemon essential oils to your wrist
- Drink herbal, preferably decaffeinated, tea with lemon and ginger (this one is my personal favorite!)
- Meditate with the mantra Ram
- Concentrate on these positions in your yoga practice: Heat building poses like Sun Salutation and Warrior, backbends like Bow, twists like Half Twist, and of course abdominal strengtheners like Boat Pose
A.K.A. THE ANAHATA
Located in the chest, this chakra relates to love and compassion.
A dear friend of mine has had a string of messy break-ups and not surprisingly she has all the signs of a blocked anahata or heart chakra. I have shared some of my clearing techniques, listed below, with her and am hopeful that given some time and work, she will open her heart and be rewarded with a healthy, loving relationship.
Signs of a balanced chakra include a strong, healthy heart, immune system, endocrine system, and good circulation. This chakra is incredibly sensitive to stress. During periods of high stress, try some of these chakra practices to balance the chakra.
- Apply rose, bergamot, or thyme essential oils before starting your day to activate this chakra
- Mediate to the mantra Yam
- Include these positions in your yoga practice: Chest openers like Camel, Cobra, and Fish. Also breathing exercises like deep breathing and alternate nostril breathing
- Try this 30-minute yoga routine which focuses on Clearing the Heart Chakra
A.K.A. THE VISHUDDHA
Located in the throat, this chakra is about communication.
When you think about this chakra, think about people in your life that may not be able to say what they are thinking or feeling. Even if they know in their mind what they would like to say, they have trouble, for whatever reason, saying their thoughts out-loud. This would be an example of having a closed vishuddha chakra. Someone who over-shares might have an unprotected or overly-open chakra.
Signs of a balanced chakra include healthy lungs and respiratory systems, and a stable thyroid hormone.
- Apply eucalyptus essential oil at bedtime
- Meditate with the mantra Ham
- Concentrate on these positions into your yoga practice: Fish, Lion, and neck stretches and shoulder openers like Supported Shoulderstand, Camel, Bridge Pose, and Plow Pose
THIRD EYE CHAKRA
A.K.A. THE AJNA
Located between the eyebrows, this chakra is related to your intuition.
Signs of a balanced Ajna chakra include healthy eyes, head, and an in-tune intuition. In addition, this chakra is closely related to the pineal gland, which secretes melatonin. It is thought that this means healthy, uninterrupted sleep can often be found by aligning your Ajna chakra.
This is one chakra that I have been working on, because women have very strong intuitions and it is a gift we should foster. How I work on it is by lighting spearmint or jasmine candles and cooking with lots of bay and sage. Also, it is a good excuse to hold my Child’s Pose a few deep breaths longer!
- Apply clary sage, bay, helichrysum, or jasmine essential oils to activate the chakra
- Cook with bay leaves and mint
- Meditate with the mantra Om
- Include these positions in your yoga practice: Child’s Pose and Seated Yoga Mudra
A.K.A. THE SAHASRARA
Located in the crown of the head, this chakra is about a connection to the spiritual.
Signs of a balanced crown chakra include a general blissful feeling and a healthy central nervous system.
- Realigning this chakra is best done through mediation.
- There is no mantra for this chakra, silence is suggested
- Start adding daily outdoor walks into your routine
- Apply sandalwood or lotus essential oils to activate this chakra
- Include these positions in your yoga practice: Balancing poses that bring awareness to the body and the consciousness like Tree and Eagle, also try extended sitting in Yoga Audra
There are dozens of quizzes and questionnaires online that can determine if you have a misaligned or closed chakra, but you probably already have a sense of your body and what might need some adjustments. If you’re like me, you are probably already doing some of the chakra practices and alignment techniques listed above, because they make you feel better, and now you have a better understanding of why they make you feel that way and how these actions better align your chakras.
Chakras: What They Don't Tell You at Yoga Class
Six blind men lived in a village. One day a villager said, “Wow, there’s an elephant here today!” The blind men had never experienced “elephant.” After conferring, they decided to go touch the elephant and find out what the excitement was about. They gathered around the beast and each took hold of a different part.
The blind man holding the elephant’s leg said, “Hey, this elephant is like a pillar.”
Another, holding the tail, said, “No no! It’s like a rope.”
The third, touching the elephant’s trunk, said, “You’re both wrong — the elephant is like a thick tree branch.”
Another, holding the elephant’s ear, said, “It’s like a big banana leaf.”
“No. It’s like a huge wall,” said the blind man touching the elephant’s side. At this point one can only wonder at the patience of this elephant.
The sixth blind man said, “You’re all wrong. An elephant is like a solid pipe.” He was touching the elephant’s tusk, perhaps just prior to the elephant using it to toss the him over its shoulder.
Aside from the ensuing arguments about who was “right,” each blind man was correct in his perception — there was truth in each experience. In the Jain tradition, it is said the truth can be stated in seven versions or points of view, and the lesson is to be tolerant of the experiences and perceptions of others.
Thus it is with chakras. We’re like blind men with an elephant — each with our own view of the chakra system based on experience, exposure, what we’ve seen, read, heard, or been told — but ironically, it is the cherished belief in our “rightness” (about virtually anything) that ultimately blocks the development and unfolding of the subtle body’s energy centers. Defending any position can launch us into a state of emotional reactivity — the kryptonite of spiritual evolution.
“In different traditions, one can find wheels, flowers, angels, animals, animal parts, geometric shapes, children, the seven dwarves, deities, buddhas, yantras, or mandalas. But in fact, across the board, believing in any judgements which give rise to emotional reactivity is the one sure way to ‘block’ the performance of a chakra,” said Lar C. Short, author of The Way of Radiance and co-author of The Body of Light. By referring to the “performance” of a chakra, Short distinguishes these centers as activities (verbs) rather than things (nouns).
So gentle seeker, or finder as the case may be, suspend disbelief for this exploration of the paradoxical human chakra energetic system.