What is a Chakra and What Does it Do?
A chakra is an energetic center within the auric and physical body of every human. They are also referred to as discs or nodes, and serve as the nonphysical highway through which cosmic energy travels, connecting this energy with the physical body. This cosmic energy is what we call Life Force or Prana. Although there are over 100 chakras total in the body (according to the tantric texts – and there is still debate about the exact number), there are only seven that are considered major. These seven align with specific, vertically stacked key points along the midline of the physical body, and are the main centers that yogis and energy workers tend to focus in on.
What Does a Chakra Do?
Chakra is derived from the Sanskrit word for “wheel” or “cycle.” These nodes are depicted as spinning discs of light that govern our psychological experience as affected by both mental and emotional stimuli. Depending on whether a chakra is open or closed, aligned or misaligned, active or inactive, each spinning disc can drastically alter one’s energetic, physical, or spiritual state of being. Achieving a balance among the chakras and working to release blockages within these energetic points allows Prana to flow through easily, for a healthy, balanced, and enlightened existence. When the chakra system is in balance, we are balanced. Chakra imbalances can manifest in behavioral, emotional, spiritual, and physical illnesses and issues.
Each chakra also has an association with a specific color, a certain group of emotions or feelings,behaviors, physical organs, and a precise location in the physical body. The chakras and their associations are as follows:
- The Root Chakra
This is considered the first chakra, located between the legs, at the base of the spine. Its color correspondences are red and brown. The Root Chakra resonates with groundedness, stability, and security. This is the chakra to focus on in meditation if you are feeling afraid or unsafe. And if you are too stuck in your ways, unwilling to accept change or transition, your Root Chakra may be overactive. This chakra governs reproductive glands and organs, kidneys, and spine.
- The Sacral Chakra
This is considered the second chakra, located above the pelvis, between the hips. Its color correspondence is orange. The Sacral Chakra resonates with sexuality, passion, and creativity. This is the chakra to focus on if you are feeling emotionally rigid, apathetic, creatively stumped, or closed off to intimacy. And if you tend to be hypersexual or get emotionally attached easily, your Sacral Chakra may be overactive.This chakra governs the adrenals, immune system, gall bladder, metabolism, waste organs, and spleen.
- The Solar Plexus Chakra
This is considered the third chakra, located above the belly button. Its color correspondence is yellow, or gold. The Solar Plexus Chakra resonates with personal power, self-confidence, and force of will. This is the chakra to focus on if you are feeling powerless or timid. And if you tend to be domineering, bordering on aggressive behavior, your Solar Plexus Chakra may be overactive. Self-esteem issues often arise here. This chakra governs the liver, upper spine, pancreas, stomach, and helps with metabolism.
- The Heart Chakra
This is considered the fourth chakra, located at the heart. Its color correspondences are green and pink. The Heart Chakra resonates with love and compassion. This is the chakra to focus on if you are feeling closed off, cold, and lacking kindness towards yourself and/or others. And if you tend to smother people with your affection, your Heart Chakra may be overactive. This chakra governs the thymus, heart, and lungs.
- The Throat Chakra
This is considered the fifth chakra, located at the throat. Its color correspondence is blue. The Throat Chakra resonates with self-expression and honest communication. This is the chakra to focus on if you are feeling withdrawn, and aren’t able to speak from a place of truth. And if you tend to speak too freely and openly, bordering on dictatorial or offensive, or if you tend to be a bad listener, your Throat Chakra may be overactive. This chakra governs the thyroid, respiratory system, and organs of the mouth and throat.
- The Third Eye Chakra
This is considered the sixth chakra, located on the forehead, between the eyes. Its color correspondence is indigo. The Third Eye Chakra resonates with intuition, insight, and psychic vision. This is the chakra to focus on if you are feeling lost out of touch with your instincts. And if you tend to carry a sense of paranoia about what your gut tells you, or overanalyze ordinary experiences, your Third Eye Chakra may be overactive. This chakra governs the pituitary and pineal glands, hormones, eyes, and brain.
- The Crown Chakra
This is considered the seventh chakra, located at the top of the head. Its color correspondence is purple. The Crown Chakra resonates with wisdom, connection to the spiritual realm, and attunement with the Universe. This is the chakra to focus on if you are feeling spiritually disconnected or making foolish decisions. And if you tend to be “in the clouds” all the time, your Crown Chakra may be overactive and you may need grounding in your lower chakras. This chakra governs the pineal gland, brain stem, spinal cord, and biological cycles – including sleep.
How to Work with the Chakras to Achieve Energetic Balance
To achieve energetic balance and alignment of the mind, body, and soul, a good place to start is in a yoga class. For example, a hip opening yoga pose would activate the Root Chakra. Another way to work with these vibrational discs is to simply close your eyes, drop into a quiet meditation, and visualize each one spinning in the light of its associated color. Start from the Root and make your way to the Crown in this visualization. Or you can simply focus your visualization on the one that feels blocked. Your chakras will show you what they need – if you find the place of stillness to listen. Let intuition be your guide.
If you have no clue which one of your sacred energy centers needs work, here is a chakra quiz to enlighten you!