Have you ever just felt off? Like you’re physically present, but your mind is somewhere else? Or maybe you don’t feel pain, but you don’t feel comfortable in your skin either? If you have, don’t worry! It’s quite common to feel that way every so often and there are entire ancient philosophies built on the notion of multi-system energy within the body.
The Western medicine approach relies on reactive healthcare that waits for symptoms to appear before treating anything. By waiting for a problem to present instead of trying to prevent, it can be difficult to diagnose the root cause of the issue and prolonged, sometimes lifelong, symptoms can dampen your quality of life. Unfortunately, this is one reason why the Western world struggles with having optimal physical, mental, and spiritual health and wellbeing.
The philosophy and practices within Eastern medicine are a bit different. Focusing on the holistic approach to wellness and incorporating remedies that work with the body instead of masking a few symptoms, the preventative healthcare of the Eastern world has led to living a healthier, balanced, and longer life for many.
What Are Chakras?
The term chakra comes from Sanskrit, the ancient Indo-European language of India, which means ‘wheel’ or ‘disc’. It refers to the wheel of energy within our bodies that flows through us at any given time. Ancient practices are all about flow and balance – like in traditional Chinese medicine where that life-force energy is called ‘chi’ (also known as ‘tai chi’) and in Japan, where it is called ‘qigong’ (pronounced ‘chi-gong’).
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From a scientific and spiritual perspective, our chakras relate to our mind, body, and soul on a cellular level. We are more than our physical bodies and mental capacities because what makes us human is more than our being. Energy cannot be created or destroyed and instead changes from one form to another, per the first law of thermodynamics, so it stands to reason that the energy systems within us are an important piece of our overall health. Chakras are the energy systems that link the well-being of the mind, body, and soul together. (There’s even a medically-reviewed WebMD article about chakras discussing how the life-force energy can be a great tool for many seeking balance in their overall health.)
If you’ve ever studied yoga or looked into alternative methods like holistic wellness and Ayurveda (the Eastern-influenced medicine, not the hair salon and spa), then you’ve probably come across the seven main chakras representing the energy flow from the base of your spine to the crown of your head. Here’s a breakdown for each one:
The Seven Chakras
Location: Base of the spine, also known as the tailbone or perineum area
Meaning: When your root chakra is balanced, you feel safe, grounded, and even keeled. When this chakra is imbalanced, you may feel blocked and insecure emotionally as well as uncertain in areas of your life such as your finances or health. You may feel physical issues arise in areas of your body like the bladder, bowels, and arthritis.
Location: Only a couple of inches above the root chakra, just below the belly button and above the public bone, the sacral area is closest to your reproductive organs.
Meaning: When balanced, you’ll feel more secure in your finances, more creative in your passions, and more playful in your relationships. This core chakra thrives on creativity and builds your self-confidence when you focus on having more positive and pleasurable experiences in your personal relationships.
Solar Plexus Chakra
Location: This third chakra sits at the start of your digestive system in the stomach and upper abdomen area.
Meaning: When you have a healthy sense of self and are known for being strong-willed, you can thank the chakra of personal power. Because this chakra is at the center of your body, any digestive or stomach-related issues like IBS, eating disorders, heartburn, and ulcers come from this energy system.
Location: In yoga, this area is called your heart center, which is in the center and slightly above your heart.
Meaning: The fourth chakra has a lot to do with your well-being as the heart is the hardest working muscle in your body. Issues that could appear due to a blocked chakra include heart problems, asthma, and weight issues. Relationship imbalance can also come from a lack of self-care and putting others’ needs before your own too often. Centering this chakra helps the upper and lower energy systems reconnect.
Location: Your throat chakra covers your larynx, esophagus, and mouth.
Meaning: Your fifth chakra represents communication and voicing your inner thoughts, dreams, fears, and ideas aloud. If you’ve ever hesitated to speak up for yourself or others, then you may feel blocked from expressions that cause stress on the other chakras. Physical issues with your vocal chords, mouth, teeth, and gums as well as mental blocks can show up as trouble talking to others, gossiping, and speaking without thinking. When aligned, this chakra supports compassionate and confident self-expression and easy conversation with others.
Third Eye Chakra
Location: Also known as the ‘brow chakra’, your third eye rests right in the center of your forehead, just between the eyes.
Meaning: The center of your forehead is a point of concentration, which means that headaches and problems focusing or with your vision are common when out of alignment. When balanced again, your intuition heightens and your analytical mind sharpens. Those who focus on the big picture and follow their intuition without doubt often have a more balanced energy in their third eye chakra.
Color: Violet or White
Location: Because the seventh chakra is located at the top of your head, your brain and central nervous system are linked to every other chakra in your body.
Meaning: One of the only chakras to be represented with two different color energies, your crown chakra protects your capacity for awareness and intelligence. Linked to the other chakras through your central nervous system, this ‘chakra of enlightenment’ affects your overall wellbeing by aligning the others with your life’s spirituality and sense of purpose. Blocking this chakra leads to narrow-mindedness, high levels of skepticism, and a disconnection from reality. When balanced and open, this energy keeps other chakras ready to receive enlightenment and a stronger sense of one’s spirituality.
Whether one or all of the seven chakras resonated with you, it’s important to know how to identify when each chakra needs attention at different times in your life. Trauma can affect one chakra at a time and throw things off balance to leave you feeling fatigued, sluggish, languished, stuck, or anxious. Dedicating time to learning about how chakra healing can help you is key to reconnecting with yourself, finding joy in what you do, appreciating who you’re with, being grateful for what you have, and expanding in wisdom from your experiences.
Starting Your Chakra Healing Journey
- Start with a few minutes each day, ideally 5 to 10 minutes, to begin a habit of body scanning for any physical, mental, and emotional blocks.
- Keep in mind that you are only trying to identify what is going on, not fix it just yet.
- Take this time to see if you’re holding tension in your muscles or have uncomfortable movements anywhere in your body.
- Breathe deeply, expanding your belly through your upper chest and hold it for a few moments and then release and repeat until you feel comfortable.
- Close your eyes and visualize any wandering thoughts passing in front of you, recognizing whether they leave you feeling positive or negative, and take your time in letting each one pass by.
- You can also picture a light at the top of your crown chakra and let that light move through your body, lighting each chakra as it travels down through the root chakra.
After identifying any energetic imbalances in your daily body scan, you can incorporate activities that support a more balanced mind, unified body, and centered soul.
Balancing Your Mind
- Practice stillness in your day through meditation, deep breathing, and unplugging from everything, every once in a while. Have you ever woken up feeling groggy, even when you know you got 7 to 8 hours of sleep? A digital detox can help you realign your chakras by staying present. The blue light from your phone or tv keeps you alert while the amount of content you consume creates that infamous brain noise that stays on, even when we’re sleeping. Being still is about turning off what is not vital at that moment and tuning into what is vital within yourself.
- Stillness is an underrated tool when it comes to your mental health and highly revered in Eastern medicine for overall health and wellness. You lead a busy life and are inundated with working and doing and moving on to the next thing that could make your life better. Learning the art of stillness can reset those wheels constantly turning in your mind, refocus on gratitude, and realign to what’s important in your life right now.
- Support for your mind can include mental health therapy, healthy personal boundaries, and intentional social connections with others. Finding a great therapist can help you remove those blockages of your chakras by dealing with unresolved trauma and underlying issues you may not even realize you have. Incorporating boundaries and investing in your personal relationships can prevent feelings of anxiety or loneliness that block free flowing chakras as well.
Unifying Your Body
- Movement allows the energy within your body to flow freely. Exercising keeps your body healthy, which also clears your mind. This can also mean traveling as moving in new places can open your chakras to new experiences and find balance when circumstances change unexpectedly.
- Rest is key to keeping your chakras healthy throughout your body, mind, and soul. Getting quality sleep is the first step in making sure your physical self can support your basic functions and replenish your chakras for optimum wellness.
- Nutrition is the fuel that determines how your body feels. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to hop on the current “clean eating” trends or buy high-priced ingredients to “detox”. It does mean that you should focus on mindful eating by listening to your body to stay hydrated and eat when you’re hungry. Nutrient dense food helps you feel healthier, happier, and in harmony from within.
Centering Your Soul
- Finding purpose in your life can feel like a burden, but you can avoid this by focusing on what you enjoy, why you are doing it, and who you want to be in the future. Stay present and you’ll find your purpose in places you may not expect.
- Seek out the things in life that bring you joy. Happiness is fleeting, but joy comes from working towards alignment in who you are, what you do, and who you choose to spend your time with every day. Choose wisely.
- Your belief system, whatever it may be, is an important element of who you are as a person. Beyond religion, it is necessary to invest time in finding out who you are, what you will or will not stand for, and why you take the actions you do. Focus on doing good in this life for yourself and for others and enlightenment may not be as far away as you think.
Whether you make time for a morning yoga session or meditate after writing in your gratitude journal or learn more about chakra cleansing – taking care of yourself needs to be a priority for your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Maybe you consider working with a health coach to guide you on that journey.
Now you know a bit more about chakras and how those energy systems affect your mind, body, and soul. What steps will you take to find alignment within each one?