The first time I heard the term ‘chakras’ I was mostly concerned with how to pronounce it
I was new to yoga and taking a class where the teacher was discussing the chakras meaning. She zeroed in on the root chakra, Muladhara, and explained this was where everyone needed to begin. Without stabilizing and balancing this first chakra, she clarified, a secure and sound foundation could not be laid. This terrified me. I was certain my root chakra was a mess and I was doomed to have a low-functioning chakra system. I’d never become enlightened or experience less suffering.
So I started to do some research. A lot of research, actually.
Question everything and know that everyone has a slightly different interpretation of the chakras meaning and how the system works. And our various chakras shift in balance constantly because our lives do.
We are always evolving and growing. We change our minds, hearts, and beliefs. The main thing is to consistently be in the role of learner and remain endlessly curious. Sure, balance is a damn fine endeavor. But when life creates a tsunami, your system just may experience a bit of turbulence. Studying the chakras gives us an emotional framework to connect to our bodies and the indicators something is off so we can address it. That’s all. The goal is not perfection and maintenance is required.
So where to begin? That’s what I wanted to know too
Let’s begin with the basics. Just a few clutch pieces of information offering you a 7 chakras guide to tiptoe into the meanings, functions, and practices to find more balance. For now, wrapping your minds around the vital components will allow you the time to process and scratch just a little below the surface.
7 Chakras Guide: quick and easy
Root (Muladhara) Chakra
The root (first) chakra is located at the base of the spine (the pelvic floor). To be clear, the indication of where each chakra lives is about our subtle body, not our actual physical form. Our root chakra’s main job is to provide a strong foundation and offer us a connection to our most basic needs and a sense of security that these needs are being filled. Our survival is our most basic need and the instinctive urges we feel, hunger, thirst, sexual satisfaction, sleep, and safety are all indicators of this chakra being in balance and offering us a strong infrastructure on which to build the fortitude of the ascending chakras.
Root chakra basics:
- Element: Earth
- Sense: Smell
- Color: Red
If you’re looking to strengthen your root chakra, try this guided meditation for healing. To stay grounded, practice yoga postures that help you stand in your truth and strengthen, such as Tadasana, mountain pose.
Sacral (Svadishthana) Chakra
The second chakra is positioned in the lower belly and associated with the sacrum. The sacral chakra is about our emotional and sexual connection to ourselves and others. This chakra is where our creativity lives and thrives. When this chakra is in harmony, we feel joy, expressive, and energized.
Sacral chakra basics:
- Element: Water
- Sense: Taste
- Color: Orange
To really connect with our sacral chakra, we have to remain open and flexible to change and acknowledge where fear arises and possibly holds us back because we don’t want to fail. Connecting to ourselves with passion and enjoying pleasure without guilt or too much need is an incredible way to find balance in the second chakra. Try nurturing the second chakra when eating, truly tasting and savoring your food, enjoying every morsel without hesitation. Spend time with loved ones and give into being fully present, putting down the phone, turning off the TV, and avoid multi-tasking. Just be with that person and enjoy the time you have with them.
Solar Plexus (Manipura) Chakra
The solar plexus chakra is the third primary chakra. It’s located between the belly button and sternum. The solar plexus chakra is all about our self-worth and personal power. In a balanced third chakra, we have a sense of willpower and self-control. We aren’t afraid to speak our truth and we own our success with confidence and an understanding that we’ve earned it.
Solar plexus chakra basics:
- Element: Fire
- Sense: Intuition
- Color: Yellow
To balance our solar plexus chakra, we need practices that help us to accept ourselves and love ourselves unconditionally. Practice yoga poses that make you feel peaceful and glorious, happy to live inside your own body. Use mantras to stoke the internal fires that bring you alive and continue to feed your inner conviction.
Heart (Anahata) Chakra
The heart chakra is the fourth in our system and its location, you guessed it, is by our heart and lungs. Compassion, connectedness, joy, and transformation govern our center chakra. Our heart chakra is a bridge between earth and spirituality. It’s where we foster happiness and connect our sense of self with absolute love and beauty.
Heart chakra basics:
- Element: Air
- Sense: Sixth Sense (Higher Self)
- Color: Green
To find a greater sense of stability in the fourth chakra, connect fully to a pranayama practice and devote more time to meditation to center yourself. Practice loving acts and thoughts and commit to self-care rituals and random gestures of kindness.
Throat (Vishuddhi) Chakra
The 5th chakra is located at the throat. This is our communication center and affects our voice box, speech, hearing, thyroid and parathyroid glands, which regulate our metabolisms. We develop our ability to both speak our truth and communicate effectively as well as hear others utilizing the throat chakra.
Throat chakra basics:
- Element: Space
- Sense: Sound
- Color: Blue
There are many ways to create symmetry within the throat. If you have trouble talking, practicing chants and speaking up for yourself are the practices for you. If the opposite is true, a silent meditation retreat could do wonders for you. Get outside and enjoy nature, noticing the details and astounding beauty all around you. Being with yourself and quietly contemplating your good fortune is another way you can find an energetic shift here.
Third Eye (Anja) Chakra
Our sixth chakra is located near our eyebrow line. This is our command center, where our senses and intellect meet. Growth, stillness, intuition, clarity, and openness are the qualities that exist in a balanced third eye chakra. Self-knowledge and consciousness are fully realized.
Third eye chakra basics:
- Element: Light
- Sense: Sight
- Color: Indigo
Alternate nostril breathing (nadi shodhanam) is a helpful practice here for finding mental clarity and insight by balancing our subtle energies and opening us up to a more profound level of consciousness. When we can find stillness in both our bodies and minds, we are free of distractions that keep us from the continued pursuit of truth and knowledge. Meditation and calming restorative practices that allow the subtle shifts to happen are best utilized to encourage balance in the third eye.
Crown (Sahasrara) Chakra
Finally, the seventh chakra. Our crown chakra is positioned beyond the realm of our bodies and mental functioning. It’s beyond our physical selves yet it’s also the height of where we can reach with our consciousness. Some refer to the crown chakra as the state of enlightenment. When we as human beings can reach beyond ourselves and our individual experience to live on a higher plane far past what we could previously imagine, our seventh chakra is balanced.
Crown chakra basics:
- Element: Oneness or Transcendence
- Sense: Beyond Consciousness
- Colore: Violet
The practices here encompass all of the other 7 chakras. To celebrate and encourage ourselves to go beyond and become inspired. Gratitude for everything and affirmations steeped in our spiritual connection are how we encourage this chakra to open and flourish.
There is a vast world to explore when delving into the realm of the chakra system. Keep learning and seek out information and practices to assist you with alignment and sense of your place in the universe. For a more in-depth look at a 7 chakras guide, visit The Chopra Center to continue your studies.
For more information about each of the chakras, see the complete guides:
- Part 1: The Root Chakra
- Part 2: The Sacral Chakra
- Part 3: The Solar Plexus Chakra
- Part 4: The Heart Chakra
- Part 5: The Throat Chakra
- Part 6: The Third Eye Chakra
- Part 7: The Crown Chakra