“When you touch the celestial in your heart, you will realize that the beauty of your soul is so pure, so vast and so devastating that you have no option but to merge with it. You have no option but to feel the rhythm of the universe in the rhythm of your heart.” - Amit Ray
If you want to open your chakras, join hundreds of thousands of other Britons in doing yoga. Chakra is a Sanskrit word that wheel or circle. In yoga, chakras are the energy centres of the body. There are seven main ones and thousands of secondary ones.
In this article, we’ll be looking at chakras, what they do, and how you can deepen your understanding of them through yoga.
What Is a Chakra?
Chakras come from Hinduism. They originated in traditional Indian medicine and there are 88,000 of them. You can also find them in Ayurveda and under another name in Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Lifeforce energy, known as prana, passes through chakras.
Just like the earth’s magnetic field, the energy enters via the bottom of the body, passes upwards through the body, leaves the top of the body, and descends around it. The seven main chakras are located in the spinal column allowing energy to circulate by filling each chakra and connected vessels.
According to the principles of yoga, perfectly opening your chakras will lead to physical, emotional, psychic, and spiritual fulfilment. A chakra that’s too open or too closed can break the connection with your astral body. Energy will circulate less or not at all, which is said to lead to issues with the associated organs.
Chakras cannot be fully closed unless you’re dead.
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What Are the Seven Main Chakras?
Chakras are represented by lotus flowers. Each is a different colour, frequency, and associated with different organs.
The First Chakra: The Root Chakra or Muladhara
The root chakra is the base of Kundalini (divine energy). It’s located at the base of the spinal column by your coccyx and surrounds the first three vertebrae, the bladder, and colon. It connects you to the earth and represents your attachment to the physical world.
It’s represented by the colour red and is associated with our survival instinct. When it’s balanced, it gives us vitality, feeling, well-being, willpower, and self-confidence. If overdeveloped, it can lead to excessive physical and material pleasure. If underdeveloped, it leads to a lack of combativeness and dynamism.
The mantra Lam and the note C resonate with this chakra.
The Second Chakra: The Sacral Chakra or Svadhishthana
Just above the first chakra is the sacral chakra, which represents sexual energy and our relationships with others. It’s associated with organs such as the ovaries, testicles, kidneys, bladder, and the renal system.
It’s represented by the colour orange and is associated with a variety of emotions. When it’s unbalanced, it can lead to aggression and an overactive sex drive if overdeveloped. If underdeveloped, it can lead to shyness or a decreased libido.
In yoga, the mantra Vam and the note D are used to resonate with it.
Find out more about how yoga can balance your chakras.
The Third Chakra: The Solar Plexus Chakra or Manipura
The solar plexus chakra (Manipura) is located a couple of fingers above your belly button. It’s home to non-digested emotions like bitterness towards others. It’s associated with the digestive system, liver, spleen, stomach, and gall bladder.
Represented by the colour yellow, it can bring you spontaneity, joy, and help you finish projects if it’s balanced. If overdeveloped, it’s associated with a desire to be in control or always right. If underdeveloped, it leads to a lack of combativeness and dynamism.
In yoga, the mantra Ram and the note E are used to make it resonate.
The Fourth Chakra: the Heart Chakra or Anahata
Anahata is located in the middle of your chest and is associated with the heart, lungs, and immune system. It’s the centre of feelings of love, empathy, and our relations with others. It’s the connection between the top and bottom of the body, between our emotions and our body.
Represented by the colour green, it allows you to be open and friendly when balanced. When unbalanced, it can lead to fears of interacting with others or feelings of superiority.
To resonate with the heart chakra, use the mantra Yam and the note F.
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The Fifth Chakra: The Throat Chakra or Vishuddha
The blue chakra is located at your throat and associated with the thyroid, larynx, vocal cors, ears, and nose. It’s the centre of communication, listening, and creativity. It allows you to express your personality.
When balanced, it allows you to act confidently. If it’s unbalanced, it can lead to shyness and inarticulacy or talking too much and a lack of sincerity.
In yoga, you use the mantra Ham and the note G to resonate with the fifth chakra.
The Sixth Chakra: The Guru Chakra or Ajna
The guru chakra is also known as the third-eye chakra. It’s located on your forehead between your eyebrows and is associated with your face, eyes, sinuses, and brain. It’s the centre of your mental strength, intellect, and imagination and is responsible for decision-making and consciousness.
When balanced, it provides you with better intuition. When unbalanced, it can lead to distrust or a lack of conscience. It’s represented by the colour indigo.
The mantra Om and the note A are used to resonate with the guru chakra in yoga.
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The Seventh Chakra: The Crown Chakra or Sahasrara
The crown chakra is located on the top of the head under the crown of your head. It’s associated with your connection to the universe and the divine. It acts upon your brain and cerebral cortex.
It’s represented by the colour purple and when balanced, allows you access to your unconscious and subconscious mind. When unbalanced, it can lead to scepticism, frustration, and indecision.
You can resonate with the seventh chakra by using the mantra Ham and the note B.
Find out the best yoga poses for each chakra.
What Are Nadis in Yoga?
All the chakras are constantly interacting with the Nadis, the conduits through which life force energy flows. Just like chakras, there are thousands of them (72,000), but there are three important ones: Sushumna, Ida, and Pingala.
The Sushumna Nadi
It’s associated with the spinal column. The Kundalini rises through it like a coiled snake. Yoga and Qigong breathing exercises can cause Kundalini to rise.
The Ida Nadi
This begins at the left of the first chakra and ends at the left nostril. The Ida Nadi is associated with lunar energy and calm.
The Pingala Nadi
The opposite of the Ida Nadi, the Pingala Nadi starts at the right of the first chakra and ends at the right nostril. It’s associated with solar energy and heating.
The two latter Nadis intertwine along the spinal column and meet at the chakras.
The opening of chakras and the purification of Nadis allow prana (life force energy) to effectively circulate throughout the body. Yoga exercises and pranayamas allow you to balance your energy and Nadis.
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Going Even Further with Yoga: Kundalini
Kundalini is associated with divine energy which is why it's also called life force or spiritual force. In traditional Indian medicine there are two principles associated with divine energy:
- It’s assimilated by the first chakra. Kundalini climbs from the first chakra to the seventh through the Sushumna. Kundalini represents God’s feminine aspect.
- The other passes from the seventh chakra to the first through the same channel and represents the immaterial aspect of the divine.
Kundalini allows you to awaken the different chakras and make use of their abilities and strengths. The more Kundalini energy that’s circulating, the more someone reaches a heightened state of consciousness.
So which are your chakras are unbalanced?
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