Chakras are essentially internal energy centers that are responsible for regulating the physical and spiritual aspects of the human body. Yoga is a practice that deals intensively with aligning each individual’s chakras. Various poses are designed to strengthen chakras to provide a more holistic wellbeing for the practitioner. But, what exactly are chakras and how can you use them properly?
The human body has 7 different chakras, each of which is located at a different location on the spine. Yoga gives you the opportunity to balance each of these 7 internal energy centers for a more enlightened body and spirit. Each of the 7 chakras also serves a different purpose both in your physical health and spiritual wellbeing. Below, you’ll find a basic guide to understanding the 7 chakras.
The first chakra (or Muladhara) is often referred to as the “root” chakra and is located at the base of the spine. This chakra is responsible for “grounding” us in reality and the reality of our existence. It is said to maintain the basics of human nature, familial bonds, and personal relationships. A balanced first chakra is important for feeling connected to both human society and the natural world.
The second chakra (or Svadisthana) is often a source for creativity, pleasure, and relationship harmony. It is located near the genitals and is frequently associated with sexuality and sexual pleasure. It is also associated with the bladder and kidneys. Although sexuality does play a role in the balancing of the second chakra, this energy is also very nurturing. It is often associated with motherhood and the womb.
The third chakra (or Manipura) is located on the spine near the stomach. It is thought to be associated with a “gut” response or wisdom, and is often linked to one’s self-confidence, ambition, and self-worth. An imbalanced third chakra leads to low self-esteem and often bouts with depression. A balanced third chakra opens you up to a sense of belonging and value, understanding that your ideas are worthy of being heard.
The fourth chakra (or Anahata) is located near the heart and is often considered the “love chakra.” It is also considered the median of sorts between the spirit body and the physical body. It envelopes numerous levels of love and compassion, including love for others and self-acceptance.
The fifth chakra (or Visuddha) is located near the throat and is often associated with speaking or communication. A balanced fifth chakra results in better communication, honesty, and personal expression. Many people who want to balance their fifth chakra employ the use of chants, mantras, or devotional singing.
The sixth chakra (or Ajna) is located near the “third eye” on the head and is often linked to perception, intuition, and sight (whether physical or mental). A balanced sixth chakra promotes a clear understanding of one’s own personal development. An unbalanced sixth chakra, however, leads to physical pain in the neck, headaches, and general feelings of aimlessness and wandering.
The seventh chakra (or Sahasrara) is often referred to as the “crown chakra” because it is located at the top of the head. It is thought to be the apex of spiritual development and enlightened thought. A balanced crown chakra produces spiritual awareness and physical health. Its place at the top of the body is meant to indicate a connection to the Divine.