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A beginner’s guide to the chakras

May 31, 2020
A beginner's guide to the chakras

I think we’ve all heard phrases like, ‘realigning the chakras’. But what does that actually mean? What are our chakras and why might we want to realign them? Well, here’s a beginner’s guide to the chakras where we look at what they are – and how understanding them might be able to help us.

What are the chakras?

The concept of chakras originated in India many centuries ago. Chakra translates as wheel in Sanskrit and the best way to think of them is as wheels of energy. This is because the life force, or prana, that moves inside of you is spinning and rotating. This spinning energy has seven main centres in your body (there are others), starting at the base of your spine and moving all the way up to the top of your head.

Your chakras can be too closed or too open (overactive), as well as perfectly aligned or in transition. You can learn how your chakras are functioning once you become more in tune with the natural energy cycles in your body (easier than it sounds…) and use it to focus on any physical, emotional or spiritual imbalances. And when all your chakras are aligned, then energy can move freely throughout the body – enabling you, my friend, to live your best, most spiritual life.

A beginner’s guide to the main chakras

There are believed to be many chakras but there are seven which are the most important. Each one possesses its own colour and vibrational frequency. They can’t be felt by touch but your chakras can be sensed. Their location varies, however, they’re often shown in a straight line (with your root chakra at the bottom) running up the spine, all the way to the crown of your head. This is why you might sometimes see mobiles or charms representing the chakras in their different colours all hanging in a row.

Each chakra has its own characteristics relating to the part of the body it represents. This is why, when your chakra is blocked, then you might also feel physical discomfort or pain in that part of your body. However, our chakras are really based around our spiritual self. So whilst, you might get some related pain that manifests, it’s more likely you’ll have some blockages in your spiritual energy.

Each chakra also has a symbol. When trying to heal a particular chakra then it helps to keep the symbol for that chakra near you. There are also crystals, essential oils, particular meditations and yoga aligned with each chakra too giving you a multitude of options. A pick and mix for your spiritual wellbeing.

The lower three chakras (root, sacral and solar plexus) are considered our physical chakras. They connect to the heart through the upper three. The physical chakras are responsible for our self-image, our physical and emotional identity.

The three higher chakras are your spiritual chakras (throat, third eye and crown) and connect to your life purpose. When you begin to reach the higher spiritual chakras, then you’re able to get in touch with your higher self. 

Why should I care about the alignment of my chakras?

Well, all this is very interesting I hear (hope) you say…. But why should I care? Well, quite simply, when our chakras are blocked, we’re not living life to our or its fullest capacity. Now, you can be living a healthy, emotionally balanced and mentally creative, amazing successful life – and still have your chakras too open (overactive) or too closed. The purpose is to go beyond the ordinary domains of human life and seek our highest truth.

However, on a day-to-day basis most of us probably do have blockages. This is a beginner’s guide to the chakras after all.. I defy anyone who’s living through COVID-19 (when this blog post was written) to not have a closed root chakra. All our security has been taken away from us, which is what our root chakra is all about (it’s all in the name).

And that brings us nicely on to our seven main chakras.

What are the seven chakras – and how do I know if they’re blocked?

Base or root chakra (muladhara) – red

Our root or base chakra (as it’s also called) is our first chakra. Its location is at the base of the spine in our tail bone area. The root chakra’s role is all about our security. It looks after our emotional security, financial security, physical security and our basic needs (food, water, shelter). When our root chakra is open we feel safe and fearless.

How do you know if your root chakra is overactive?

An overactive root chakra causes anxiety and overthinking. This is because fear is fundamentally designed to keep us safe. This is why cavemen took it in turns to sleep (I haven’t fact checked that…) because they needed to keep everyone safe from attack. An overactive root chakra will send out messages of survival, even when there might not be any real threat…

Physically, you might have digestive problems, lower back issues, hip pain, and ovarian cysts in women or prostate issues in men.

How do you know if your root chakra is underactive?

Until now, most of us (and I appreciate this is speaking from a privileged perspective) have probably had most of our survival needs taken care of. We’ve had access to food, shelter and safety throughout our lives. So this chakra might not have ever needed to be very active. That’s why, you might daydream, have trouble concentrating or have your head in the clouds. And whilst a bit of escapism is a good thing (IMO), being balanced and connected to what’s going on around you is really important.

Sacral chakra (svadhishana) – orange

The sacral chakra is located right below the belly button and above the groin area. It represents our ability to accept others and new experiences. It’s also the home of your creative life force energy – and motivates you to enjoy the fruits of your labour including indulging in pleasurable activities like sex and intimacy.

How do you know if your sacral chakra is overactive?

The sacral chakra is often overactive when we’re overindulging (booze, food, shopping, social media etc…). You should always have time for pleasurable things. However, if you’re overindulging in things that aren’t healthy for you (as I have many many times), then it’s likely your sacral chakra is out of balance.

How do you know if your sacral chakra is underactive?

Basically, if you’re always spending your time focusing on very practical things, but never really taking the time to do anything fun or pleasurable, then your sacral chakra may be underactive. Symptoms include depression, impotence, decreased sex drive and a lack of passion and creativity.

Solar plexus (manipura) – yellow

This chakra is in the centre of the belly button and extends up to the breastbone or where your two sets of ribs connect in the centre of your chest. This is where your self-confidence, identity, and personal power are born. Now, how many times have you been in a situation that wasn’t right for you? Did you feel those cues in your body? I often think we know far quicker than we’re actually able to make ourselves do anything about it. And that’s ok… Judgement free over here, yo. However, I think when we leave a situation, it’s generally because we hoped it would get better (whilst knowing it’s not right) – and there’s nothing wrong with trying. It doesn’t make you a weak person; it makes you someone who does their best 🙂

How do you know if your solar plexus chakra is overactive?

The solar plexus chakra becomes overactive when we try and extend power over other people. If it’s too overactive, then you might get angry quickly, be controlling and a micromanager and/or lack compassion or empathy. You might suffer from digestive issues or even imbalances in your internal organs like the appendix, pancreas, liver, and kidneys.

How do you know if your solar plexus chakra is underactive?

There are situations where our personal power is taken away from us either by another person or through extenuating circumstances and this can leave us with a closed solar plexus chakra. If this happens, you may feel indecisive, insecure, timid and needy.

Heart (anahata) – green

The heart chakra is all about love – giving and receiving love from others and ourselves. It looks after our ability to love, forgive, show acceptance and compassion.

How do you know if your heart chakra is overactive?

When the heart chakra becomes overactive, we lose our personal boundaries and start to make unhealthy choices, all in the name of love. This is why we let people treat us badly at times because we want so badly to be in a relationship.

One lesson I’ve learnt / still trying to learn is that yes, it’s important to treat others with compassion and kindness – but you need to extend that to yourself to. It’s not ok to always put others first and yourself last. You matter too. Physical symptoms can include a fast heart rate, palpitations, heartburn, and relationship issues.

How do you know if your heart chakra is underactive?

Many people have an underactive heart chakra. Most of us have had to deal with heartbreak – whether through failed relationships or losing people close to us. Some of us deal with that by building up barriers and not allowing people to get close to us. We have an outer self and an inner self. This can manifest physically too by feeling disconnected from your body or having circulation problems.  

Throat (vishuddha) – blue

The throat chakra gives us communication. It enables us to express ourselves and speak our personal truth with clarity.

How do you know if your throat chakra is overactive?

Your throat chakra can become overactive when you feel you’ve had to try and make your voice heard. You’ve felt ignored or that people didn’t give what you said enough credence so you raised your voice to make sure people hear what you said. This might manifest itself as always interrupting people, not letting other people speak, raising your voice and talking over people.Physically, you may suffer from throat pain, frequent infections, cavities or mouth ulcers.

How do you know if your throat chakra is underactive?

Sometimes, we feel we’ve been ignored and invalidated so much that we just give up trying to make our voice heard. We keep quiet and never speak our truth. We might struggle to express our emotions or just generally speak up because we’re so used to not being heard. Physical symptoms often include digestive issues, because energy diverted away from the throat chakra often ends up being ‘swallowed’.

The third eye (ajna) – indigo

The third eye is located in between your eyebrows. It radiates down to your mouth and up to the top of your head. The third eye helps us to see the bigger picture and deepens our intuition. It also influences our psychic abilities.

How do you know if your third eye chakra is overactive?

To be honest, it’s very unlikely your third eye (6th chakra) is overactive. This is a beginner’s guide to the chakras – and not written for people immersed in the spiritual world. Most of us are very in tune with our physical reality but not so much with the psychic realm. However, there are some people who are very absorbed with their spiritual work and communities. So in these cases. it might be that this becomes very overwhelming and they lose touch with the day to day and what’s happening on earth.

How do you know if your third eye chakra is underactive?

We live in a world that often invalidates intuitive development. So because of this, we close off our third eye and are closed to any psychic experiences. This might lead to headaches or allergies.

Crown (sahaswara) – purple/white

The Crown chakra is at the top of our head. It’s known as the higher chakra and represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually. Achieving a balanced crown chakra is the goal of every spiritual warrior, however, really it’s the journey of trying to achieve this that brings us happiness, good health, and wisdom because we’re living life as we’re meant to.

How do you know if your crown chakra is overactive?

It’s actually impossible to have an overactive crown chakra. You can’t have too much spiritual connection.

How do you know if your crown chakra is underactive?

Well, the good news is having an underactive crown chakra makes you a human. Some may be closer to achieving their spiritual awakening,; others, further away. But just trying to reach it is a positive thing.

How do you unblock your chakras?

There are lots of ways to check your chakras and unblock them (if needs be). However, I’m conscious this is a beginner’s guide to the chakras so I’m going to keep it light. Start with your root chakra and work upwards. seeing if any of the descriptions above might fit with how you’re feeling.

Meditation

Meditation is perhaps the most powerful tool for opening the chakras. Chakra meditation is calming and can improve the overall quality of your life. There are lots of guided meditations on youtube.

Mantras

Mantras are sounds, word, or phrase that you can chant during meditation. Each chakra has its own mantras so don’t be afraid to experiment with them and see how you feel.

Chakra stones

Crystals are a powerful tool for opening chakras. You can place them on the part of the body the chakra relates to and let the crystals work their magic ✨

soul

How to find your purpose (and make your soul sing)

August 20, 2019
How to find your purpose (and make your soul sing)

Feeling lost and drifting 

Three years ago (not quite to the day) I went on maternity leave for a year. This was the longest time I’d ever been away from work and I felt it would be a good time to think about what I really wanted from life. I gave myself two objectives: one (and obviously the most critical) to nurture my son; and secondly to use the time to find my purpose.

I had been feeling like I was drifting for quite a while and wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with my life. I had low level dissatisfaction with work: it wasn’t amazing, but I wasn’t crying in the toilets either. I felt like I had changed and my job wasn’t quite the right fit for me anymore. I needed to understand what it was that would make me happy.

This is why I wanted to go on this voyage of self-discovery and really try to understand what makes my soul sing.

Now, spoiler alert, I didn’t find my purpose during maternity leave. A) I had a newborn to look after so didn’t have the time and B) l never had a lightbulb moment where suddenly everything fell into place.

I’m saying this to illustrate that finding your purpose is a journey and may not happen overnight. It’s a process of exploration.

Here’s what I learnt along the way.

The world isn’t your oyster

For a self-help/self-development/wellbeing blog, it might seem discouraging to say the world isn’t your oyster. Surely that’s going against the grain of everything I say?

Well yes and no. I believe if you really want to do something, then you should throw everything at it. Life’s too short for coulda, woulda, shoulda.

However, if you’re floundering around like a fish washed up on the shore waiting for the tide to sweep you back into the sea, then sometimes you need to be able to focus on what you need in that moment in time. Otherwise, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with too many choices, which leads to indecision.

So focus on your needs, then your wants. Be pragmatic. 

What I mean by that is in my situation, as much as I’d like to spend all my time with my son pottering around my local area, it’s never going to be a realistic option for me. I’m the breadwinner and financially, I have to work to support my family. Momma’s gotta make rent and all that. 

I also genuinely like work. I enjoy being around people from different backgrounds and learning from their experiences. I also have a reasonably creative job and it’s important to me that I can using my brain in that way.

So whatever I did had to support those needs (financial) and those wants (being creatively fulfilled). 

It’s important to recognise here that we quite often think finding our purpose means finding a job we really like (I realise my examples above reinforce that..). However, I personally feel it involves taking much more of a holistic look at our lives overall to understand what gives us meaning.

Sometimes, there are ways of getting what we want in other ways outside of employment. Plus, whilst work can give us external validation, it doesn’t always give us the inner fulfilment we need.

This is why it’s important to check in on yourself and reflect on what your needs are because they change throughout your life – and your purpose will do too. Our lives all develop and evolve.

What makes you tick? 5 probing questions to ask yourself

I often think I’d like to move to a small holding surrounded by goats and sheep; yet the reality is I’d find that life really hard. I don’t mind getting up early but truthfully a 4am start in winter isn’t my jam.

This is why it’s important to ask yourself what really makes you happy?

Take some quiet time to yourself and sit down with a pen and paper. Write down your feelings in response to the following 5 questions.

1. What comes easily to you?

2. What makes you feel energised when you’re doing it?

3. Where would you like to be in the future? Write down how you want to see your future self.

4. When did you feel the happiest in life? Write down all the occasions you felt true happiness.

5. What would you do if you stopped holding yourself back?

Now reflect on what you’ve written to see if there are any common threads or thoughts. Does anything spark your interest or make you want to explore it more?

Can you use what you’ve written to create a vision for your life? How about putting some goals to help you put this into action? Are there steps you can take first?

The best way is just to start 

Do you ever have an idea and then immediately think of several reasons why it wouldn’t work?

Well, stop that. Stop that right now. 

I only really started promoting this blog (by which I mean sharing links on Twitter) back in June. For ages, I felt stupid and embarrassed that someone I know might read it. 

I had other reasons for writing initially. I wanted to write about something I felt passionate about and use it as way to hold myself to account. But the more time I spent writing, the more ridiculous it seemed to not share it. Otherwise, I may as well just be writing a diary.

So I started to share links and take my blog a bit more seriously and funnily enough, the only thing that happened is more people now read what I write. No one has said: this is the worst thing I’ve ever read or judged me. And if they do, so what? It’s just their opinion.

It’s easy to let our fears of being judged stand in our way. We’ve already decided it’s a disaster and so don’t even start. Whilst this is our way of trying to protect ourselves, we also don’t let ourselves grow and look for new opportunities. 

Please remember it’s just an annoying voice in your head and not your reality so try not to let it hold you back.

It’s ok to change your mind

Sometimes I think we feel the idea is the destination and once we have that cracked, the rest will fall into place. This is why we end up feeling so indecisive at the beginning becuase we feel we have to get it exactly right.

However, our lives don’t stay still: they transform throughout our lives so we don’t need to have the answers right away. This is why I feel like it’s important to try different things to see what makes you happy and sets your soul on fire.

It’s funny how sometimes life has a way of gaining momentum once you start putting thoughts into action. It’s like a chain reaction takes place and opportunities start coming your way.

“Life’s what happens when you’re busy making other plans”

John Lennon

What if your real purpose is just to be you?

Imagine a world where you feel truly connected to what you need and that you can live your life based on your needs. Where you trust your instincts, follow your intuition and make decisions based on what feels right.

Your true purpose is to live your life without limiting beliefs and wondering about the what ifs. It’s about learning what’s right for you, not worrying about what other people are doing and putting thoughts into action (or recognising its ok to stay still). It’s about being happy with the decisions you make in this moment in time and recognising you can shift and change in the future. We’re ever evolving.

Your real purpose in life is just to be you.

soul

The energy alignment method: does it work?

May 14, 2018

What’s the energy alignment method?

The Energy Alignment Method (EAM) is a tool to help shift thoughts and patterns which no longer serve you and enable you to live a happier life. It uses a Kinesiology energy technique, the Sway, along with Law of Attraction practices and some Eastern spiritual philosophies. 

EAM was designed by Yvette Taylor, a personal development coach with 20 years of experience coaching people.   

I stumbled across a free course called ‘5 days to flow’ whilst scrolling through Facebook. It promised to help me become the person that I want to be. Admittedly, I’m still trying to work out who that person is…  

The course was marketed as a study, and in the name of transparency, I felt it was more of a content teaser for a 10-month paid-for programme, rather than a research project. This may have changed since. However, it was completely free of charge and the only thing I gave up was my time (and my email address for course materials and sales pitches which you can unsubscribe from).  

I’d never heard of EAM before, but I’m always interested in trying new things, particularly in the wellbeing/self-development space. You only have to make a short commitment each day, which tbh I would probably have been spending faffing around on social media. Plus the course was coinciding with a planned quiet period in my life and thoughts around needing some change. 

It seemed like there was some synchronicity at play so I decided to give it a whirl.

YOLO, as they say. 

How does the energy alignment method work? 

EAM teaches how to use the Sway to get answers from your body. It’s hard to describe but you stand on both feet, cross your arms and place on each shoulder. You close your eyes and then ask the Sway for guidance by asking yourself ‘yes, no’ questions. 

The Sway taps into our subconscious feelings and directs our energy either forward or backwards for yes or no. This gives us some clarity to understand how we really feel about certain things. 

Over the five days, you work through various parts of life including relationships, work and thought patterns. This helps you identify blockages which may be standing in your way from changing your life or making you feel stuck . 

These blockages might be limiting beliefs, negative thought patterns, fears around change and self-destructive behaviours built up from our life experiences over time. 

EAM then teaches you to use the Sway to help release these blockages and free yourself of negative patterns which have no value. 

It helps realign your energy and create space for it to flow so that you can start focusing on manifesting what you want from life. 

So does the Energy Alignment Method actually work? 

In all honesty, I found using the Sway difficult. I questioned how much it was my subconscious controlling it and how much was my own will? I struggled with it as a concept. 

However, the other part of me wondered how much that really matters? If I’m asking my body for guidance and directing my energy to a certain outcome, then it shows that I know the answer already. I quite often lack trust in my own judgement and perhaps the Sway is a way of giving me confidence in decision-making? 

I’m not convinced I’d use the Sway to navigate major life changes. However, I think any tools which help us to ask questions about our thoughts, feelings and emotions are always useful. It’s good to be able to identify our limiting beliefs and recognise what we tell ourselves isn’t always true. 

EAM also teaches you Law of Attraction methods of focusing on what you want from life and visualising your goals. It helps you think bigger and think about what you want to change in a way you feel you can do it. 

It also encourages you to give yourself positive affirmations and to believe in yourself. 

Re-energising ourselves matters

I did find EAM to be really energising. It’s upbeat, it doesn’t take too long and it’s a chance to really focus on what you want from life. 

Like most people, I’m so busy getting through the day-to-day that I don’t check in enough on how I’m feeling. EAM gave me the space to do that. 

Having a regular self-development practice to help you feel in control of your own life is always beneficial; whether that’s EAM or something else. We all need different things at different times. 

The main takeaway I had was the importance of lifting your vibrations and how good you feel when you’re radiating positive energy. A self-development practice will help energise you and empower you to feel excited about the future and change ahead. 

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