Chakras: what are they and why should we care?
Odds are if you’ve attended a yoga class or group meditation, your instructor most likely spoke about your chakras. Sometimes your yoga class will talk specifically about one, such as the heart chakra, and the specific positions to open it up. But what actually are chakras?
The chakra system originated in India between 1500 and 500 BC in the oldest text called the Vedas. It is believed that there are seven chakras throughout our body, each corresponding to specific organs as well as physical, emotional, psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of being and influence all areas of your life.
These main chakras distribute not just food and liquid around our body but also our very vital energy called prana. This vital energy is what feeds us the power we need to tackle life and all that is thrown at us each day. Chakras cannot be seen as they are not physical, so we access them through things like breathing, yoga and meditation practices.
Chakras are a part of a greater healing system that helps to keep our body pain-free and our mind focusing on not just thoughts but what our greater purpose is in this lifetime. When chakras are open and flowing, the body is healthy and without ailment, but when the energy is blocked, this leads to illness.
Here is a summary of the seven chakras and what you can do for each one.
1. Root Chakra
The root chakra represents our foundation and feeling of being grounded. It’s connected to whatever you use to ground yourself, including basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and safety, as well as your more emotional needs such as letting go of fear and feeling safe.
Location: base of spine in tailbone area
When it’s blocked: feelings of anxiety, fear, or nightmares.
Are my basic needs being met?
Do I feel safe and secure?
2. Sacral Chakra
The sacral chakra is the most ‘fun’ chakra and is all about our connection and ability to accept others and new experiences. It is commonly associated with creation and play, when you’re in alignment you’ll feel friendly, passionate, and successfully fulfilled.
Location: Lower abdomen, about two inches below the navel and two inches in
When it’s blocked: you’ll feel uninspired creatively, potentially experiencing fear of change, depression, or addiction-like behaviours.
Activities: Get creative! Paint, draw, dance, play, and exercise your creativity. For further tips read - Why we need to bring playfulness back into our lives
3. Solar Plexus Chakra
The solar plexus chakra is said to be your source of individual power, ruling over self-esteem, confidence and control of your life. This chakra connects to our core self, true power, and values. This is where our power and our ego lies, helping us decipher what actions are in line with our values.
Location: Upper abdomen in the stomach area
When it’s blocked: you can suffer from low self-esteem, have difficulty making decisions, and may have anger or control issues. It also may lead to apathy, procrastination, or that you’re able to be taken advantage of easily. You may also have physical symptoms such as a stomach ache or digestive issues.
Activities: Take time to define your personal code of conduct or ethics. This could be through goal-setting or self-reflection whilst journaling.
4. Heart Chakra
The heart chakra physically encapsulates the heart, the thymus gland (which plays a vital role in your endocrine and lymphatic system), the lungs, and the breasts. It’s also all about love, the ways in which we allow love into our lives and the ways we express it to ourselves and the people around us. When your heart chakra is aligned and balanced, love and compassion are flowing freely—both in terms of giving it out and getting it back.
Location: Centre of chest just above the heart
When it’s blocked: A closed heart chakra can give way to grief, anger, jealousy, fear of betrayal, and hatred toward yourself and others—especially in the form of holding a grudge against something or someone. Holding onto hurt harbours negative feelings and cuts you off from opportunities to love.
Activities: Show yourself some love through self-care, take some time to create some breathing space in your life for some self-reflection and ask yourself:
How do I practice self-acceptance, self-love, and self-care?
In what ways do I show love to the people around me?
What is my language of love? Find out more about love languages here
5. Throat Chakra
The throat chakra controls our communication and how each person chooses to express themselves. The throat connects to language and the sounds we allow our voice to make. When this chakra is in check, you’re able to fully listen as well as speak and express yourself clearly.
When it’s blocked: You will have trouble with communication and specifically self-expression of feelings.
Activities: Start practices of singing, chanting, humming or speaking positive words of affirmation directed to yourself.
6. Third Eye Chakra
The third eye chakra governs your intuition, imagination, ability for manifestation and tapping into your unconscious.
Location: Forehead between the eyes (also called the Brow Chakra)
When it’s blocked: you may have trouble accessing your intuition, trusting your inner voice, recalling important facts, or learning new skills. Physically, it’s said to cause headaches, dizziness, and a slew of other brain-health issues.
7. Crown Chakra
The crown chakra, the highest chakra, it is the centre of enlightenment and our spiritual connection to our higher selves, others, and the divine. When aligned, it is believed that we have self-actualisation through heightened awareness and consciousness, so that you are the most authentic version of yourself.
Location: The very top of the head
When it’s blocked: it may create feelings of isolation or emotional distress—basically feeling disconnected from everyone and everything.
Activities: Unlike the other chakras, the crown chakra is often only opened up fully through specific yogic or meditative exercises. Start through daily practices of meditation, prayer or practicing gratitude - which helps to connect with your spirituality.
Written by Lucy Green; founder of Homebody Club, obsessed with coffee, the moon, deep conversations, nights in and any form of personality test (she’s an Aries / INFJ / Generator / Pitta Vata / Type 1).