Yoga 101 – The Seven Chakras

The seven chakras are a complex and ancient energy system that originated in India. They were first mentioned in the Vedas, an ancient sacred text of spiritual knowledge dating back to 1500-1000 BC.

Chakra (cakra in Sanskrit) means “wheel” and refers to energy points in your body. They are thought to be spinning disks of energy that should stay “open” and aligned, as they correspond to various nerves, major organs, and areas of our energetic body that affect our emotional and physical well-being.

Some say there are 114 different chakras, but there are seven main chakras that run along your spine from bottom to top. These are the chakras that most people refer to when talking about chakras. Each of these seven chakras have a corresponding name, color, specific alignment on the spine, meaning, health focus, and meditation mantra. click each image in the gallery below for more information.

1. Muladhara – the Root chakra [red]

Alignment on the spine: between the genitals and the anus

The root chakra is about: being physically in a place and feeling at home in situations. You feel present in the current moment and are connected to your physical body. The root chakra gives you the ability to feel grounded, stable and secure. You don’t unnecessarily distrust people, instead you use our judgment appropriately.

Health Focus: A closed or “blocked” root chakra can cause physical issues like arthritis, constipation, and bladder or colon problems, and emotional confusion through feeling insecure about finances, our basic needs, or general well-being.

How to open this chakra: Let the tips of your thumb and index finger touch. Concentrate on the Root chakra at the alignment point. Chant the sound LAM.

 

2. Svadhishthana – the Sacral chakra [orange]

Alignment on the spine: at the sacral bone (on the lower back)

The sacral chakra is about: feeling and sexuality. When it is open, your feelings flow freely, and are expressed without you being over-emotional. You are open to intimacy and you can be passionate and creative. You have no problems dealing with your sexuality.

Health Focus: A closed sacral chakra can cause issues with the associated organs, such as urinary tract infections, lower back pain, and sexual impotency. If you tend to be stiff and unemotional or stoic, this could mean that your sacral chakra is blocked and that you’re not very open to people.

How to open this chakra: Put your hands in your lap, palms up, on top of each other. Left hand underneath, its palm touching the back of the fingers of the right hand. The tips of the thumbs touch gently. Concentrate on the Sacral chakra alignment point and chant the sound VAM.

3. Manipura – the Solar Plexus chakra [yellow]

Alignment on the spine: a bit above the level of the navel

The solar plexus chakra is about: asserting yourself, this could be in a group or alone. When it is open, you feel in control, have good self esteem and self confidence.

Health Focus: Blockages in the solar plexus chakra are often experienced as digestive issues like ulcers, heartburn, eating disorders, and indigestion. When the solar plexus chakra is blocked, you tend to be passive and indecisive. You might be timid and are less likely to get what you want, which can cause you stress or affect your self-esteem.

How to open this chakra: Put your hands in front of your stomach, below your solar plexus. Let the fingers join at the tops, all pointing away from you. Cross the thumbs. It is important to straighten the fingers. Concentrate on the navel and chant the sound RAM.

4. Anahata – the Heart chakra [green]

Alignment on the spine: level with the heart

The heart chakra is about: love, kindness and affection. When it is open, you are compassionate and friendly, and you work harmoniously at relationships.

Health Focus: If your heart chakra is closed, it can affect your physical heart health, related to issues with asthma, and weight gain. But blocks are often seen even more clearly through people’s actions. If your heart chakra is closed, you tend to be cold and distant and may not show affection openly to others. This could have long term health issues on heart and artery circulations.

How to open this chakra: Sit cross-legged. Let the tips of your index finger and thumb touch. Put your left hand on your left knee and your right hand in front of the lower part of your breast bone (slightly above the navel). Concentrate on the heart and chant the sound YAM.

5. Vishuddha – the Throat chakra [blue]

Alignment on the spine: at the base of the throat

The throat chakra is about: self-expression and communication. When it is open, you have no problems expressing yourself, this includes doing so as an artist, musician, dancer, etc.

Health Focus: Health problems surrounding the throat chakra are usually associated with the teeth, gums, and mouth, which can indicate a blockage. If your throat chakra is closed, you use your communication in a negative way by dominating conversations instead of listening to others, spreading gossip, speaking without thinking, and having trouble speaking your mind.

How to open this chakra: Cross your fingers on the inside of your hands, without the thumbs. Let the thumbs touch at the tops, and pull them slightly up. Concentrate on the the base of your throat. Chant the sound HAM.

6. Ajna – the Third Eye chakra [indigo]

Alignment on the spine: slightly above the point between the eyebrows

The third eye chakra is about: insight and visualization. When it is open, you have good intuition. You may tend to fantasize or let your imagination run freely.

Health Focus: Since the third eye chakra is physically located on the head between your eyebrows, blockages can be associated with headaches, issues with sight or concentration, and hearing problems. People who have trouble listening to reality (who seem to “know it all”) or who are not in touch with their intuition may also have a block.

How to open this chakra: Put your hands in front of the lower part of your chest. The middle fingers and thumbs should be touching and point straight up at you. The other fingers are bent and touch facing inwards. Concentrate on the third eye point between your eyebrows. Chant the sound OM or AUM.

7. Sahasrara – the Crown chakra [purple]

Alignment on the spine: at the top of your head

The crown chakra is about: wisdom and being one with the world. When the crown chakra is open, you are unprejudiced and aware of the world and yourself. This chakra helps keep all the other chakras open and bring bliss and enlightenment to the individual.

Health Focus: The crown chakra is linked to every other chakra (and therefore every organ in this system), and it also affects our brain and nervous system. If you have a blocked crown chakra, you may seem narrow-minded, skeptical, or stubborn.

How to open this chakra: Put your hands in front of your stomach. Let the ring fingers point up, touching at their tops. Cross the rest of your fingers, with the left thumb underneath the right. Concentrate on the top of your head and chant the sound NG.

If chakras interest you beyond the above breakdown, I will be publishing new blog content every day this week that covers the eight limbs of yoga, everyday yoga practices, holistic healing and energy management, crystal rituals and much more. So, stay tuned and make sure to follow me on Instagram @theversatilewriter for daily updates. And don’t forget to share this blog wherever you share cool content. Thank you for reading! See you next time!

Sources:

  • Eclectic Energies, website (2003-2021)
  • Healthline, website (2005-2021)
  • The Holy Vedas ; Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda, translated by Dipavali Debroy (2006)
  • The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translated by Sri Swami Satchidananda (2012)