Introduction to the Chakras

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An Introduction to Chakras

Chakras are swirling energy wheels observed throughout the body. They are commonly associated with different mental, emotional, and physical traits originating from eastern spiritual traditions. The seven main chakras have been adopted by western culture as a pathway to connecting with your spiritual self by cultivating awareness to these concentrated energy centers.

The origin of the chakras

The idea of chakras was first developed in ancient India thousands of years ago, the earliest evidence of chakras can be found in the Vedas. The Vedas are an ancient religious text written in Sanskrit (the written language of ancient India), they are the oldest known scriptures of Hinduism and the oldest known written Sanskrit dating back to 1500-500 BCE. Evidence of chakra philosophies are found in the Upanishads (part of the Vedas) and helped to shape the spirituality of Hinduism, Buddhism and other ancient eastern religions.

The Upanishads are centered around two main spiritual forces, Brahman (ultimate reality) and Attman (soul self). Brahman exists outside of time and space and creates everything in every universe. Attman is the life force within every living being, the essence of an individual.

Attman energy (often called prana) flows through the human body along specific lines of energy called Nadis. These energy lines cross one another at certain points in the body forming wheels of energy called Chakras. “Chakra” in Sanskrit literally translates to “wheel” or “disc”, these spinning wheels of concentrated energy are where matter and consciousness meet.

Chakra locations

      Chakras are found at specific locations in the body. The number and location vary from philosophy to philosophy, some mystics suggest there are over 100 chakras in the body. Common western philosophies acknowledge seven main chakras that are located along the spine. These seven chakras are: the root chakra, the sacral chakra, the solar plexus chakra, the heart chakra, the throat chakra, the third eye chakra, and the crown chakra. Each of these chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs as well as emotional, spiritual and psychological centers.

The contemporary western view of the seven chakras associates them with the seven colors of the rainbow. A healthy chakra is bright, vibrant and clear in color whereas an unhealthy or blocked chakra will appear to be more dim, muddy, and muted.

The seven main chakras stretch from the base of the spine to the crown of the head as follows:

The Root Chakra, Muladhara, is located at the base of the spine and is commonly seen as red. This chakra is focused on stability, security, and survival. When this chakra is open we feel safe and fearless.

The Sacral Chakra, Svadhisthana, is located in the lower abdomen above the pubic bone, and commonly appears orange. This chakra is our creativity and sexual center. This chakra brings vitality and joy through various forms of pleasure.

The Solar Plexus Chakra, Manipura, is located above the belly button and appears as yellow. This chakra is our source of personal power, assertiveness, confidence, and willpower. The solar plexus chakra empowers the rest of your body and helps you feel self-assured and independent.  

The Heart Chakra, Anahata, is located in the center of the chest and is commonly seen as green. This chakra is a source of love and connection and rules our relationships, unity, and balance. The heart chakra governs friendships, romance, and spiritual connections.

The Throat Chakra, Vishuddha, is located at the base of the throat and appears blue. This chakra gives us the ability to speak our truth, it is associated with communication, self-expression, and speech. A healthy throat chakra helps us express our views, let things go, and live in the moment.

The Third Eye Chakra, Ajna, is located on the forehead just above the space between the eyes and is commonly seen as indigo. This chakra governs spiritual awakening and intuition.  

The Crown Chakra, Sahasrara, is located at the top of the head and its color is violet. This chakra represents enlightenment, pure awareness, and spiritual connection. The crown chakra ultimately connects us with the divine spirit.

When all seven of your main chakras are in balance you will feel healthy spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. All is great and as it should be in the world, you’ll feel wonderful and like you can handle anything that is thrown your way.

However, it is common for one or more of your chakras to become temporarily blocked. If one chakra is blocked it is quite likely your other chakras will become out of alignment to compensate for this imbalance. The best way to identify which chakra(s) are out of balance is by bringing awareness to each one of them. Once you begin to cultivate awareness in your chakras you will be able to identify the root of the issue and begin the healing process.  

If you enjoyed this article, check out our intro to mudras blog post. You’ll discover here, how hand mudras can influence the chakras! And for a bit deeper understanding of the chakras check out this chakra blog post written by Abigail Cox.

You can also learn more about the chakras by joining the Ambuja Yoga Newsletter, where you will receive our downloadable chakra guide and receive updates about upcoming retreats where you can learn more about the chakras on an experiential level. Enter your email in the sidebar… easy peasy!

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The 7 Chakras Every Yogi Must Know

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If you are a yogi, aspiring yogi, or interested in mind/body/energy healing, Chakras play a big role in these activities. Chakras are our energy centers. The sanskrit word stands for “wheel”, “circle”, as well as “cycle”. There are seven main “energy centers” on each and every one of our bodies. At each of the seven energy centers, there are openings for life that allow energy to flow in and out of the aura. These openings start at the bottom of the spine and work their way up to the crown of the head.

You may be wondering what the purpose of these openings are. Well, the Chakras function is to stimulate the physical body and help aid and develop our self-consciousness. We must keep our Chakras open to flowing energy because a blockage in a chakra can result in illness. The invisible energy flowing through our Chakras is called Prana, which is what keeps us vibrant, healthy, and alive.  The swirling energy flowing through each Chakra harmonizes with nerve centers within our bodies. This flow of energy helps benefit our bodies psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally.

So how do you know if you have a blocked Chakra? You may be feeling off balanced emotionally or physically aching, sore, stiff, or even sick. One of the best examples I have heard is of a son who lost his mother and shortly after developed bronchitis. The ache in his chest from each time he cough was directly correlated to the ache in his heart he felt because his mother passed. Typically when we have a physical issue it results in weakness in our emotional behavior and vice versa. By guiding your awareness to a blockage it will help open your blocked chakra and promote healing for your body physically as well as emotionally.

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Identifying The Seven Chakras:

1. The Root Chakra (Muladhara)

The Root Chakra is our main hub, our survival center. Located at the base of our spine, it has the deepest connections with our physical bodies, environment, and Mother Earth. It holds the first three vertebrae, our bladder, and our colon.

  • When this chakra is open we feel safe and fearless.
  • When there is a blockage or an imbalance in the Root Chakra it will result in physical issues such as; tailbone, legs, feet, rectum, immune system. Emotional imbalances includes negative feelings affecting our basic survival needs such as; money, food, shelter, ability to provide necessities for oneself.

2. The Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana)

The Sacral Chakra holds our ability to accept others. It is our creativity, passion, grounded intuition, and sexuality center. It is located above the pubic bone, about two inches below the navel and two inches in.

  • When the chakra is open we feel committed, creative, passionate, sexual, outgoing.
  • When there is a physical imbalance in this chakra it may result in sexual disfunction, reproductive issues, urinary problems, kidney issues, hip, pelvic, and lower back pain. Emotional Imbalances include problems with commitment to relationships, inability to express emotions, fear of betrayal, and addiction issues.

3. The Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)

The Solar Plexus Chakra is our ability to be confident and have control over our lives. It is located at the upper abdomen and stomach region extending to the breastbone.

  • When the chakra is open we feel confident, have self worth, willpower, self discipline, warmth in our personality.
  • Some physical imbalances of this chakra include digestive issues, liver dysfunction, chronic fatigue, stomach ulcers, diabetes, high blood pressure, pancreas and gallbladder problems, colon diseases. Emotional Imbalances include our inner critic coming out, no self worth, fears of criticism, rejection, physical appearance.

4. The Heart Chakra (Anahata)

Located at the heart this chakra is in the middle of the seven and unites the lower chakras of matter and the upper chakras of spirit. The Heart Chakra is our source of love and connection. The fourth chakra is a bridge between mind, body, emotion, and spirit.

  • When the Heart Chakra is open we feel at peace, love, and joy. “Unhurt, unstruck, and unbeaten”, is the Sanskrit meaning of this chakra.
  • When physical imbalances occur, asthma, heart disease, lung disease, breast issues, lymphatic system issues, upper back and shoulder problems, along with arm and wrist pain. Emotional Imbalances include over loving to the point of suffocation, jealousy, anger, bitterness, fear of loneliness.

5. The Throat Chakra (Vishuddhi)

The Throat Chakra is the voice of our body. The fifth chakra is located in the throat. This chakra focuses on the ability to communicate and express how we feel.

  • When this chakra is in balance we have the ability to speak our highest truth, honest and truthful, good listener, free flowing words and expression.
  • Physical issues resulting from an off balance Throat Chakra is thyroid issues, laryngitis, TMJ, sore throats, ear infections, facial problems, neck, and shoulder pains, as well as ulcers. Emotional Imbalance includes issues of self expression through communication, the fear of no power or choice, no willpower, or feelings of being out of control.

6. The Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)

Our source for intuition and ability to focus and see the big picture. This chakra is located between the eyebrows.

  • When our Third Eye Chakra is balanced we will feel clear, determined, and focused. We can distinguish between truth and illusion. We are open to insight.
  • When our Third Eye Chakra has a physical imbalance we may have headaches, sinus issues, blurred vision, hearing loss, hormone malfunction. When there are emotional imbalances we may be moody, volatile, have the inability to learn from others, daydream and have an exaggerated imagination.

7. The Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)

The Crown Chakra is the high chakra and it represents spiritual enlightenment. This chakra is located at the top of our head. It centers trust, devotion, inspiration, happiness, and positivity.

  • When this chakra is balanced we feel present in the moment and have an unshakable trust within ones self.
  • When there is a physical imbalance of the Crown Chakra depression, inability to learn, sensitivity to light, sound , and environment may be present. When there is an emotional imbalance issues with self knowledge may arise, constant confusion, and alienation.

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Abigail Cox
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Abigail Cox

Digital Marketing at Gaia Gals
Abby was raised in a small town in Arizona. She started her professional career in Marketing, but her nag for cooking, holistic health, and crafting was always her true passion. She, her husband, and two rad kids moved to Oregon in 2015 to pursue a more fulfilled life that targeted their interests to be able to spend more time outdoors with Mother Nature. Being surrounded by nature is Abby’s natural realm. She loves to hike, play chef, read and expand her library, keep up on her green thumb, paint, practice yoga, kayak, bike, and regularly stops to smell the flowers. Follow Abby on Instagram @gaiagals
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