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 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.
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 ✨