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Our etheric bodies are home to seven main chakras that sit roughly in line with the spine, from the sacral vertebrae at the bottom of the spine up to the top of the head.
Each chakra conventionally has several correspondences attributed to it, including color, sound, function, organs and emotional connections.
In order to achieve our optimum level of health and well-being, we need to keep these energy centers open, clear and in harmony with each other.
Chakras originated from the Hindu and Tantric Buddhism religions. While we look at Chakras today, it is through a very westernized-lens. Hindu and Tantric Buddhism religions don’t associate crystals, colors, or feelings with the different chakras. If you’d like to learn more about the history of chakras from a non-western perspective, please read here. And while you read through this, please keep in mind that this, again, is from a western yogi perspective.
The Seven Chakras Explained
The following is intended to provide you with a guide to how each chakra works and to give you some idea of how we can use our knowledge of our own feelings to help ourselves to an improved state of health.
The Base or Root Chakra
This is the chakra that is associated with our material needs and sense of safety and security in the outside world. It is traditionally a deep ruby red and can be visualized as a searchlight shining down from the very base of your torso into the ground below you.
If it is continually searching for areas of security, you can be left feeling slightly unbalanced and ungrounded, separate from the world and anxious about your survival.
Keep this chakra healthy by doing grounding exercises such as those in Tai Chi as well as in visualizations of roots growing down through your feet, anchoring you to the benevolent energies of the Earth.
The organs and areas of the body governed by this chakra are the base of the spine, the lower intestine, hips, ankles and feet.
More: Root Chakra Stones
The Sacral Chakra
This chakra is associated with a bright, vibrant shade of orange. When it is clear and working in harmony with your outer environment, you will be comfortable in expressing your sexuality and in enjoying all the pleasures of the senses.
If it is sluggish or blocked in any way you may find that you feel inappropriate amounts of guilt associated with pleasure of all kinds.
The organs governed by the Sacral chakra are the reproductive organs and the bladder. It also hold the lower back steady, so any form of lower back pain could result be an indicator that you need to ease up on the seriousness with which you approach life and work.
More: Sacral Chakra Stones
The Solar Plexus
Located just below the breast bone at the bottom of the ribs, the Solar Plexus Chakra is associated with cheerful sunshine yellow. This is where we hold our joy and delight in the vitality of life.
It can become tight or tired if we are feeling low or depressed for any length of time. It is also responsible for our “gut” instincts, so it is useful to take note of how this area feels when you are faced with a new situation or person in your life.
The Solar Plexus chakra governs the physical solar plexus, the intestines and stomach. If you are prone to stomach upsets it is worth taking the time to ask yourself if you are acting in a way that is not right for you. Stress can manifest in this area, so look at your life/work balance if you have lost your zest for life.
More: Solar Plexus Chakra Stones
The Heart Chakra sits in the middle of the chakra system and is the chakra most often called upon to balance our emotional bodies.
It carries the vibration of Universal benevolence and is responsible for our abilities to both give and receive love, in all its manifestations, in a healthy, supportive way. The Heart chakra can often become closed or frozen in sensitive people who feel that they have been betrayed or deliberately hurt by others.
It is associated with the fresh green color of buds in spring and with gentle rose pink.
In physical terms, the organ of the heart is governed by this chakra and also the lungs and thoracic vertebrae. The energies from the lower and upper chakras meet in the Heart leading to balance and harmony throughout the body’s energy systems.
More: Heart Chakra Stones
This chakra carries the vibration of communication in all its forms, but mostly verbal communication between individuals and the self-talk that most of us indulge in constantly.
For this reason, it is important to note how your throat area feels when you are struggling to speak out, to stand up for yourself, or to make yourself understood.
A clear throat chakra makes life much easier as it enables us to speak our truths without fear and with a sense of compassion. Its color is most often represented as a pure blue, ranging from a bright shade of royal blue to a gentler pale sky-blue.
The physical correspondences for this chakra are all areas of the mouth and throat, the esophagus and the ear canals.
More: Throat Chakra Stones
The Third Eye
This chakra is located behind and between the eyes on the brow. Its color is deep indigo, somewhat reminiscent of the midnight sky.
How you visualize the chakras is actually a matter of personal taste, although most people find it helpful to see them as flowers with many petals, and the energy system connecting them as a central stalk running the length of the spine.
The Third Eye is responsible for our psychic abilities and intuition. If the Third Eye is forced open, due to trauma or a shock, or through the use of certain drugs, the results can be profoundly disturbing.
When it is encouraged to open gently, in tune with our intuition, we can receive messages and signs that are always for our Highest good.
In the physical body, the Third Eye governs our eyes and vision as well as the nasal cavities and sinuses.
More: Third Eye Chakra Stones
This chakra is traditionally associated with the color white or very pale violet. Imagine a flower with thousands of petals sitting on the top of your head, much like a close fitting cap and you will have some idea of how the Yogic tradition perceives this chakra in physical terms.
Each petal vibrates at a slightly different speed and the whole flower is capable of opening and closing in time with the breath.
The Crown chakra is responsible for our mental clarity, our acuity and intelligence. It also holds the vibration of connection with the Higher realms and is responsible for our ability to open up to the energies of Divine wisdom from the heavens.
The organ governed by the Crown chakra is the brain, and the area of the body most affected when it is need of balancing or cleansing is the head, including the skull, neck and eye sockets.
More: Crown Chakra Stones
Stellar Gateway & Earth Star
These two chakras exist in our auric field. The Stellar Gateway can be visualized as a crystal cord or chalice hovering about 10cm above the crown.
It is the channel through which we communicate with our Higher Selves and with the benevolence of the Universe.
The Earth Star chakra can be visualized as a solid ball of energy, black in color, sitting between our feet and about 9cm below the surface of the Earth.
It is here that our next steps on our life paths begin to manifest. It also grounds us into the vibration and support of Mother Earth and the natural world.
How to Keep Your Chakras Balanced & Unblocked
Keeping your chakras balanced and unblocked will help your energy flow freely. When your chakras are balanced you’ll feel positive and uplifted.
How to Tell if Your Chakras are Blocked
Each chakra will feel different when it is blocked. Here are some of the symptoms you may feel if your chakras are unaligned.
- Feeling sluggish
- Trying to just “get by” with life
- Unable to leave toxic relationships
- Emotionally distant
- Low self-esteem
- Solar Plexus
- Low self-esteem
- Holding grudges
- Feeling unworthy of love
- Fear of commitment
- Difficulty speaking up
- Sore throat
- Third Eye
- Unable to make decisions
- Feeling as if there’s a rubber band around your forehead
- Unable to tap into your intuition
- Feelings of loneliness
- Feeling insignificant
How to Unblock Chakras
You can unblock your chakras in a variety of different ways. The first is to eat a variety of healthy foods the same color as the chakra you are trying to unblock. You can also wear clothing correlated to the color of the blocked chakra.
Chakra wands are also perfect for keeping you aligned.
Here are some different activities you can use to unblock and open your chakras.
- Eat red fruits and vegetables from the earth such as apples, cherries and red potatoes
- Walk barefoot in the sand
- Connect yourself with the earth by meditating on the beach or in the grass
- Give yourself a facial clay mask
- Eat bright orange fruits and vegetables such as oranges, papaya, pumpkin, turmeric and carrots
- Run a relaxing bubble bath
- Write down your feelings
- Eat yellow fruits and vegetables such as bananas, yellow bell peppers, lemon and corn
- Mindful breathing
- Eat green fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, celery, cucumbers and kiwi
- Meditate on positive affirmations
- Practice yoga poses to open the heart
- Drink coconut water
- Drink warm lemon water or other warm drinks
- Eat blue/purple foods such as blueberries or blackberries
- Sing without judging yourself
- Eat dark blue/purple foods such as eggplant, plums and purple kale
- Visualization exercises and meditation
- Eat purple/brown foods such as grapes and purple kale
- Drink cacao tea
- Meditate and connect with your spirit guides
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4 thoughts on “Chakras for Beginners: Chakras Explained Through a Western-Yogi Lens”
Thanks a lot and best wishes!
You as well, Roxy. Thanks for reading!
Although most of this information is valuable and accurate, you forget to include its origins as it is a closed practice unless you know more about it. For example, connecting colors to a chakra is a westernized version of the true practice. I think this is a great, well-written article and I was so happy to read it, I just wanted to make sure you knew as well as others. 🙂
Thank you for sharing such an important point Emma. I’ll be updating the piece with some of the points you made. I appreciate it.