Every human being has seven chakras which act as interfaces that relay information between the body of flesh and bone and the subtle, energy body that operates our sensory and emotional response systems.
Thinking of the human being’s nervous system as a powerful radio station provides a helpful analogy for visualizing how it works.
First, imagine the spine as a radio tower. Sensory information is transmitted to the spinal column via the five senses, which act as satellite receivers. Then, this information is sent up the vertebrae to the central control room, the brain, where it is displayed on the screen of the mind.
The chakras are energetic filters that direct the in-out flow of feeling and perception, based on your personal genetic program. When your chakras operate at peak performance, you feel amazing. However, when they are overworked, obstructed, or repressed, you experience various physical and mental ailments.
By adopting healthy habits and cutting out harmful lifestyle choices, you can bring your chakras into balance and experience a huge boost in happiness and well-being.
The Root Chakra
The first chakra is known as the root chakra, or in Sanskrit as the muladhara. Located at the base of the spine around the tailbone, its energy can be felt through the coccygeal plexus. Its developmental stage occurs from conception to the first year of life, a period when initial relationships with the environment are established, serving as the basis for emotional growth.
The root chakra governs feelings of security, trust, and personal boundaries, affecting our perception of the body and physical environment. Associated with the element earth and the color red, this chakra is the foundation of the nervous system, regulating physicality and a sense of grounding.
The Sacral Chakra
The second chakra is known as the sacral chakra, or in Sanskrit as the svadhisthana. Situated in the lower abdomen, hips, and pelvis, its energy can be perceived by concentrating on the sacral plexus located low in the belly. The developmental stage of this chakra occurs from six months to two years, during which a child learns about personal preferences and self-identity through exploration and interaction with their environment.
The sacral chakra governs domains such as movement, pleasure, feelings, and desires, playing a key role in emotional relationships and sexual regulation. The primary emotional challenge associated with the sacral chakra is guilt, which can result from the frustration of a child’s pleasure-seeking or excessive punishment leading to low self-worth, often manifesting as repression, addiction, anger, or rebellion. Associated with the element of water, the sacral chakra influences the emotions and sensations that course through the nervous system, and determines our ability to adapt to the fluidity of life’s circumstances.
The Navel Chakra
The third chakra is known as the navel or the solar plexus chakra, or in Sanskrit as the manipura. Located in the abdomen, its energy can be sensed by focusing on the solar plexus, the bundle of nerves above the navel. This chakra’s developmental stage is between 18 months to four years, a period when a child learns basic motor skills, explores their environment, and begins to assert individuality.
The navel chakra governs individuation, activity, and will power, shaping our self-image and interaction with the world. Its primary emotional challenge is shame, leading to feelings of inadequacy and struggles with life’s demands, often causing disengagement due to despair or overcompensation through external achievement. The navel chakra, associated with the element of fire, serves as the body’s engine, providing the raw power that drives us towards our desires in life.
The Heart Chakra
The fourth chakra is known as the heart chakra, or in Sanskrit as the anahata. Located in the chest, its energy can be felt by bringing awareness to the cardiac plexus, the bundle of nerves near the heart. The developmental stage of this chakra is between four to seven years, during which a child gains a sense of belonging within a broader community and their relationships extend beyond the family to include teachers and peers.
The heart chakra governs domains such as self-love, compassion, and relationships, shaping our approach to interpersonal relationships and determining our capacity for love. The key emotional challenge it faces is grief, with excessive lamentation potentially blinding us to life’s joys and stifling our ability to give. Associated with the element of air, the heart chakra, considered the functional center of the body, governs the life-air, or prana, the vital force on which all bodily activity depends.
The Throat Chakra
The fifth chakra is known as the throat chakra, or in Sanskrit as the visuddha. Located in the neck, its energy can be felt by focusing on the pharyngeal plexus, the bundle of nerves near the throat. The developmental stage of this chakra is from seven to twelve years, which in many cultures is considered the dawn of the age of reason, marked by the beginning of religious education and moral understanding.
The throat chakra governs truth, communication, and self-expression, shaping the way we use our voice and our abilities to listen and learn. The primary emotional challenge it faces is mistrust, often resulting from disappointment with authority figures due to hypocrisy, broken promises, or verbal abuse. The throat chakra is associated with the element of ether, the material substrate for sound-waves and all other forms of information, thereby regulating our relationship with sound, language, communication, and how we process facts and data.
The Third-eye Chakra
The sixth chakra is known as the third-eye chakra, or in Sanskrit as the ajna. Located in the forehead, its energy can be felt by focusing on the carotid plexus, the bundle of nerves slightly above and behind the eyes. The developmental stage of this chakra occurs during adolescence, from twelve to eighteen years, a period marked by the solidification of self-image and basic understanding of the world.
The third eye chakra governs intuition, foresight, and abstract thinking, shaping our perception of reality and potential. The main emotional challenge of this chakra is confusion, leading to a distorted worldview; however, healing the sixth chakra aligns us with reality. The third eye chakra is associated with the element of the mind, considered as a medium in Vedic philosophy, and it significantly influences our mental well-being, with each individual’s mind connected within a shared space, similar to the air we breathe.
The Crown Chakra
The seventh chakra is known as the crown chakra, or in Sanskrit as the sahasra. Located at the top of the head, its energy can be felt by focusing on the cerebral cortex, the upper part of the brain. The developmental stage of this chakra occurs between eighteen to twenty-five years, marking the transition from adolescence to adulthood, during which beliefs and attitudes likely to persist throughout life are adopted.
The crown chakra governs domains such as faith, intellect, and spiritual perception, shaping our fundamental view of reality and our ability to differentiate between spirit and matter. The main emotional challenge it faces is attachment, which can significantly shape our perception and experience, acting as a major obstacle to spiritual growth. The crown chakra is associated with the element of intelligence, seen in Vedic philosophy as a subtle substance that influences the mind during decision-making, affecting the quality of our life choices and our ability to perceive reality as it truly is.
Supporting the Chakras
There are numerous practices you can utilize to support your chakras and ensure the healthy functioning of your physical, mental, and energetic bodies. Here are some specific yoga poses and meditation mudras you can practice:
- 5 Yoga Poses to Strengthen Your Root Chakra
- 5 Yoga Poses to Strengthen Your Sacral Chakra
- 5 Yoga Poses to Strengthen Your Navel Chakra
- 5 Yoga Poses to Strengthen Your Heart Chakra
- 5 Yoga Poses to Strengthen Your Throat Chakra
- 5 Yoga Poses to Strengthen Your Third Eye Chakra
- 5 Yoga Poses to Strengthen Your Crown Chakra