The Seven Chakras
The word ‘chakra’ means ‘wheel’ in Sanskrit. The yoga Upanishads (circa 600 A.D) refers to the chakras as psychic centers of consciousness. The seven chakras are located in the spine, in the subtle body surrounding the gross physical body. The subtle body is not visible to the ordinary eye. Chakras are constantly moving, continuously absorbing, currents of energy. Each of the chakras resonate with a certain colour, sound and frequency. When the chakras function well, then energy flows unhindered through our system, which is utilized for our growth and development.
When these energy centers are awakened, they whirl in a clockwise direction and help to establish the inner balance, the key components for good health. When the energy flow in the chakras is clear and unhindered, then a person’s body, mind and soul experience a sense of well-being. But, if the energy flow in the chakras is blocked, then, there is an imbalance in the person’s being. The union of prana and mind with the self is the goal of Hatha yoga. There are three important Nadis in the spine. They are:
- Ida nadi represents – negative force – flow of consciousness.
- Pingala nadi represents – positive force – flow of vital energy.
- Sushumna nadi represents – neutral force – flow of spiritual energy.
The Seven Energy Centers in Detail:
The seven chakras correspond to the nerve plexuses in the physical body. They are:
- First Energy Center - Root Chakra – Muladhara
The official name of this chakra, muladhara, comes from the words Mula, which means root and Dhara, which means support. So, this chakra’s role is to connect all of your energy with the Earth, which is called grounding.
Location: This chakra is located at the very base of your spine, near your tailbone. It goes up to just below your belly button.
What balanced feels like: When your 1st chakra is balanced, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and peace when you think about things like money, safety and shelter.You will feel connected to your human experience.
When this chakra is overactive: Our root chakra gets a lot of use, so having an overactive one is very common. An overactive root chakra will cause problems like anxiety and jitteriness. This happens because fear is based out of the need to survive. That is fear’s role – to keep us alive.
- Second Energy Center - Sacral Chakra – Svadhishana
The 2nd chakra is the sacral chakra or svadhishana which translates to “the place of the self.” This chakra is all about your identity as a human and what you do with it. This chakra brings you creative energy to enjoy life. Your sacral chakra is the home of the creative life force energy that helps you enjoy your life here on Earth.
Location: The sacral chakra is located right below the belly button and extends to its center.
What balanced feels like: When your 2nd chakra is balanced, you will relish in the pleasurable things life has to offer, without overdoing them. Good food and creative activities will be inspiring and enjoyable, and you will get a sense of wellness and abundance from them.
When this chakra is overactive: The sacral chakra is often overactive when we face things like addiction and gluttony. Pleasure is a good thing, and you should never feel guilty for enjoying the good things life has to offer.However, if you find yourself enjoying things that aren’t nourishing for your soul or healthy for you, then your sacral chakra is likely out of balance. Symptoms include addiction, obesity, hormone imbalances and restlessness.
When this chakra is underactive: If you’ve spent a lot of time focusing on very practical things without enjoying the fruits of your labor, your sacral chakra may be underactive. Symptoms of this include depression, impotence, decreased sex drive and a lack of passion and creativity.
- Third Energy Center – Solar Plexus – Manipura
The 3rd chakra is the Solar Plexus or Manipura which translates to “lustrous gem.” This chakra is where your self-confidence, identity and personal power are born. Have you ever been in a situation that you just knew wasn’t right for you? Perhaps you’ve been in a situation that you knew was going to work out. Where did you feel those cues in your body. Most people say they feel those types of cues in their “gut.” In reality, this is the seat of your personal power, your solar plexus, and you can physically feel that confidence and wisdom in its location.
Location: The solar plexus starts in the center of the belly button and extends up to the breastbone or where your two sets of ribs connect in the center of your chest.
What balanced feels like: When your 3rd chakra is balanced, you will feel a sense of wisdom, decisiveness and personal power. Many call this chakra the warrior chakra, as the feeling you get from it is comparable to a wise warrior going into battle. He has the confidence to win and the wisdom to know the personal truth he is fighting for.
When this chakra is overactive: The solar plexus chakra becomes overactive when the power we have over our own lives extends into the lives of others. When this chakra is too energized, you may feel quick to anger, the need to control and micromanage, greediness and a lack of compassion or empathy. You may suffer from digestive issues or even imbalances in your internal organs like the appendix, pancreas, liver and kidneys.
When this chakra is underactive: When our personal power is taken away from us either by another person or through extenuating circumstances, we may be left with a lack of energy in our 3rd chakra. When this happens, you may feel indecisive, insecure, timid and needy.
- Fourth Energy Center - Heart – Anahata
The 4th chakra is the Heart or Anahata chakra, which translates to “unhurt.” This chakra is where your love, compassion and kindness are empowered. We all associate our hearts with love, and that’s exactly what the 4th chakra is all about. This includes love for others and love for yourself, which is why this chakra is also associated with health and healing.
Location: The heart chakra’s center is located right over your heart and it radiates down to your breastbone and up to your throat.
What balanced feels like: When your 4th chakra is balanced, you are able to equally feel love for yourself and others. Even when tough things happen, you can still see the compassion and kindness in others.
When this chakra is overactive: When the heart chakra becomes overactive, we lose our personal boundaries and start to make unhealthy choices, all in the name of love.It’s important to treat yourself with the same compassion and kindness that you give others, but when the heart chakra is overactive, you may find yourself always putting the needs of others before your own. Symptoms include a fast heart rate, palpitations, heart burn and interpersonal relationship issues.
When this chakra is underactive: Many people have an underactive 4th chakra. Life can send us a lot of heartbreak as a way to teach us lessons about ourselves and the world around us. But, it can be hard to not take those lessons personally.When your heart chakra is underactive, you will feel like it’s hard to get really close to anyone. It’s like building a wall around your heart and not letting anyone in. Physically, you may feel out of touch with your body and suffer from circulation problems.
- Fifth Energy Center – Throat – Vishuddha
The 5th chakra is the Throat chakra or Vishuddha which translates to “very pure.” This chakra gives a voice to your personal truths. Where does your voice come from? What provides the energy for you to speak? On a physical level, of course the answer is the throat, but on an energetic level, this energy actually comes from your 5th chakra. This chakra lets you speak your truth with clarity. Resting right above the heart, the throat chakra is connected to the compassion and love you have for yourself and others.
Location: The throat chakra’s center is right in between your collar bone, and it radiates down to the center of your heart and up to the center of your eyes.
What balanced feels like: When your throat chakra is balanced, you will be able to clearly speak with love, kindness and truth. You will know exactly which words are appropriate for each situation. Speaking with a balanced throat chakra will enlighten and inspire those around you.
When this chakra is overactive: Our 5th chakra becomes overactive when we’ve spent a lot of time trying to make our voice heard. If you’ve often felt ignored or invalidated when you express yourself, you may have tried to overcome this by giving yourself a louder voice. Those with overactive throat chakras will often interrupt others, often be told they have a loud voice or “love to hear themselves talk.” Physically, you may suffer from throat pain, frequent infections, cavities or mouth ulcers.
When this chakra is underactive: Sometimes, we have been ignored and invalidated so much that we react in an opposite way – we shut down our voices and never speak our truth. If you have an underactive throat chakra, you have likely been called shy or quiet. You may find yourself unable to express your emotions or struggling for words when you try to speak your truth. Physical symptoms often include digestive issues, because energy diverted away from the throat chakra often ends up being “swallowed” or sent down to the 3rd chakra.
- Sixth Energy Center - The Third Eye – Ajna
The 6th chakra is the Third Eye Chakra Ajna which translates to “beyond wisdom.” This chakra opens up your mind to information beyond the material world and the 5 senses. Extra sensory perception, intuition or psychic energy, all comes from the third eye. There is actually a small pinecone shaped gland in your brain that takes in light. This gland, the pineal gland, is responsible for helping you feel awake in the daytime and sleepy at night.
Location: The third eye’s center is in between your eyebrows. It radiates down to your mouth and up to the top of your head.
What balanced feels like: A balanced third eye is a beautiful thing, and it’s really what you are trying to achieve when you start on a path to spiritual development. When your third eye chakra is balanced, you will equally feel in tune with both the physical world and the material world. You will receive psychic information as frequently as you receive information from your 5 physical senses, but it will not overwhelm you.
When this chakra is overactive: It is very unlikely your 6th chakra is overactive. Most of us are very in tune with our physical reality and find it difficult to receive information outside of it. That being said, if you have an overactive third eye, you likely spend most of your time engrossed in psychic activities like tarot card readings, astrology and paranormal experiences. When your 3rd eye chakra is overactive, those activities become overwhelming and distract you from living a human experience.
When this chakra is underactive: Most people have an underactive 6th chakra. We live in a world that often invalidates intuitive development. Because of this, we close off our Third Eyes and ignore our own psychic experiences. Doing so can cause us to feel disconnected from spiritual experiences. Physically, you may feel headaches or have problems with allergies and your sinuses.
- Seventh Energy Center - Crown – Sahaswara
The 7th chakra is the Crown or Sahaswara, which translates to “thousand petaled.” This chakra is pure consciousness energy. The Crown chakra is one of those energies that is hard to explain. You can think of it like magnetism. When you hold a piece of metal to a magnet, you can feel the energy and tension, but you can’t see it. Consciousness energy is everywhere and in everything. It connects us to the entire universe. Our own personal consciousness is located in the 7th chakra, but it’s really more like the seed of a universal energy than something personal or individual.
Color: Violet – White
Location: The crown chakra’s center is at the top of your head. It radiates down to between your eyes and then extends infinitely upward and outward, connecting you to the energy of the rest of the universe.
What balanced feels like: Achieving a balanced crown chakra is the goal of every spiritual warrior, and it’s not easy to do. You can think of it like the Buddhist concept of achieving nirvana. Once you achieve it, you’re not really human anymore – you’ve conquered suffering and death. Of course, it is the journey of attempting to achieve this balance that brings us happiness, good health and wisdom. Trying to balance your 7th chakra will align and balance your other chakras.
When this chakra is overactive: It’s not possible to have an overactive crown chakra. Because it is the seat of universal energy, it is innately infinite. In other words, you can’t exist in the material world and be overcome with consciousness energy.
When this chakra is underactive: An underactive 7th chakra means you’re human. It feels exactly like being a human. Some people may be closer to achieving it, while others may be far away. In any case, practicing spiritual development and balancing your other chakras will bring your closer to experiencing the consciousness energy in your crown chakra.