The word “chakra” literally means wheel, and in yoga and other spiritual practices, we believe there are seven major wheels, or centers of energy, that spin within the body. These chakras are connected to our physical and emotional health, and they’re believed to be affected by the energy centers we ingest and the thoughts we have. When the chakras are out of balance, they can harm our mental and physical health.
When the chakras are balanced, energy flows both up and down along the spine. The energy that moves upward is called kundalini, or shakti, and it’s said to represent the current of liberation. The downward movement of energy is referred to as the current of manifestation. When these two energies are in harmony, the chakras spin.
A blocked chakra is thought to manifest itself physically in the areas where the chakras reside, as well as in the whole of our auric bodies. For example, if you have a blockage in the throat chakra, it can affect your ability to speak and express yourself. It can then affect your relationships and career performance.
Luckily, there are many ways to help bring the chakras back into alignment. You can try yoga poses, breathing exercises, meditation, and energy healing methods such as reiki, crystal healing, or aura cleansing. The goal is to downregulate the stress response and calm your thoughts, which will then allow prana to move through the chakras.
The chakras are energy centers that connect to feelings and help maintain balance throughout your life. They are also thought to play a role in your spiritual connection to self, others, and the universe. If one of these chakras feels blocked or unbalanced, it can impact your daily life in a variety of ways.
You might feel stuck, unable to express yourself clearly, or be open to new ideas and people. The good news is, there are many ways to improve the flow of prana through these energy centers — from yoga to meditation and specialized types of bodywork.
The first chakra is the root, Muladhara, which relates to basic survival needs like food, shelter, and security. When it’s in balance, you feel rooted and grounded, which can help you feel calm and balanced.
Next is the sacral chakra, Swadhisthana, which relates to our creativity and sexuality. It’s the core of our personality, identity, and ego. When this chakra is in balance, you feel confident and capable of living a pleasurable and abundant life.
The sixth chakra, the throat chakra, known in Sanskrit as Vishuddha, is all about communication and self-expression. When it’s in balance, you speak your truth, listen to others, and are willing to consider contrasting opinions. The associated color is blue. When this chakra is out of balance, you might be prone to gossiping and speaking negatively about others. It can also impact your ability to hear and understand what other people are saying.
In yogic philosophy, the chakras are places where subtle energy channels, called nadis, converge. They run along the spine from a person’s root to the crown and correspond with different aspects of well-being and health. They are centralized in areas where nerves branch off from the spinal cord in bundles (plexuses) and connect to different parts of the body. Chakras are said to be connected to various glands in the body, including the pituitary and pineal glands.
According to yoga texts, a person’s spiritual state determines whether or not their chakras are open. A person with an auric or egotistical nature may experience the heightened activity of the lower chakras, but their experience will be tainted and their functioning deranged. A true kundalini awakening is only possible for people who have purified their minds. It takes years or even lifetimes for a person to become fully enlightened and the chakras will be opened naturally as a result of a deep practice of pranayama, mantra, meditation, and a disciplined lifestyle.
If a chakra is blocked or misaligned, it can manifest as issues with the area it governs, such as problems with the throat and voice (the Throat Chakra) that can cause people to gossip or not speak their truth, or the Third Eye Chakra that affects intuition and imagination. The crown chakra, Sahasrara, is associated with joy and oneness with the universe.
A blocked chakra can also manifest as heaviness, pain, or numbness in the body. Activating and unblocking the chakras requires patience and dedication, but practicing yoga, meditation, crystal therapy, Reiki, and embracing your inner child through regression therapy can all help.
Located at the belly button, this chakra is associated with our sexual desires. When it’s open and balanced, you’re able to express your emotions fully while also getting in touch with your inner sexual powers. When it’s blocked, you might experience digestive problems or low self-esteem. To stimulate the solar plexus, try massaging your stomach in big circles clockwise. It helps to move energy through this center and encourages courage, discipline, and confidence.
Known as the seat of personal power, this chakra is responsible for your ability to make decisions, set goals, and feel powerful in the face of challenges. If it’s open and balanced, you’ll have the courage to stand up for yourself and speak your truth. Signs that the throat chakra is blocked or out of balance include sore throats, thyroid issues, neck and shoulder stiffness, and difficulty speaking your mind.
When this chakra is blocked, you’ll find it difficult to love yourself and others or let go of old wounds. You might become codependent or possessive of others, and they suffer from physical ailments like heart palpitations or chest pains. To stimulate the heart chakra, try chanting “OM” or taking time to focus on your breath while visualizing the indigo color of this chakra growing brighter and stronger.
Blocked chakras take energy from the other healthy ones to function, so it’s important to work on clearing and balancing them with regular meditation, yoga, acupuncture, light therapy, sound healing, and other holistic techniques. But don’t be discouraged if one chakra doesn’t respond to your efforts right away: The other seven will eventually catch up.
The answer to Which chakra releases emotions depends on which emotional energy is getting “stuck” in which layer of the chakra. One way to find out is to mentally scan the body from the feet to the head (first chakra to seventh chakra) and then notice what areas cause pain or feel a little off. It could be due to something going on now or it may be the result of old suppressed emotional energies.
What it is: The sacral chakra, which sits about 2 inches below the navel in your lower abdomen, is associated with feelings of wellness, pleasure, and sexuality. When it’s in balance, you feel creative, fluid, and able to flow. If it’s blocked, you may experience sexual dysfunction or problems with your reproductive organs and GI system. It can also manifest as a lack of self-worth or power struggles.
When this chakra is in balance, you’re able to love and accept others, as well as yourself. But if it’s out of whack, you may develop jealousy or possessiveness and have trouble forming healthy relationships. It can also lead to depression, anxiety, and fear of change. To rebalance the heart chakra, you can do things like meditate or eat foods that are red, such as tomatoes, watermelon, and other fruits and vegetables. Activating this chakra can help you learn to trust your intuition and embrace life’s joys. It can also help you overcome fears of intimacy and death.
When the chakras are open, aligned, and unblocked, energy flows freely throughout the body harmonizing your mind, emotions, and spirit. When they’re blocked or out of balance, the disruption sows discord within your energetic body and can create specific mental and physical health issues.
Traditionally, each chakra corresponds to different parts of the body as well as particular feelings and emotions. For example, the root chakra is associated with feeling grounded and secure, and it’s also connected to your sense of connection to nature. When you have a blockage in this area it may make you feel disconnected from the earth, anxious or fearful, or physically unwell (such as digestive issues, lower back pain, or sciatica).
Blocked and imbalanced chakras can result from various factors, including lifestyle habits, emotional experiences and traumas, and physical environments. However, they can be balanced and rebalanced using practices that don’t involve yoga poses or meditation — like breathing exercises and relaxation techniques.
If you’re interested in exploring the chakras, consider journaling with chakra prompts to identify limiting beliefs, suppressed emotions, and difficult memories that are blocking your energetic body. From there, you can use reiki, crystal healing, acupuncture, tapping, and other forms of energy healing to support your chakras once you know where they’re stuck. If you’re dealing with a traumatic past, consider seeking professional help from an experienced energy healer. They’ll be able to help you work through the energetic layers of trauma and find a release that will leave you feeling more whole and healthy.
Sri Yogi Anand is an ordained Yogi, Yoga, Mindfulness, Meditation and Spiritual Master. He is a Software engineer, musician, writer, orator, and founder of Adwait Yoga School.
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