W h a t a r e t h e c h a k r a s ?
“This system maps onto the body through the human nervous system, maps onto the psyche through developmental stages of childhood, maps onto the spiritual quest through states of consciousness, and transforms the culture through planes of external reality.”
– Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self by Anodea Judith
Just as the body system translates to our physical health. The
chakra system translates to our emotional and spirtual health. Just as any system, we should aim for equilibrium – a balanced state where all parts are working together.
**This page breaks down all seven chakras, can be used as a resource to understand the inner workings of the body, examine the external influences that correspond to each chakra, and relate ancient philosophy to modern thinking.
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Each chakra correspond to a major nerve plexus, gland, and body system:
B a s i c s A c t s a n d R i g h t s o f E a c h C h a k r a ❋
Safety. Security. Connection. The root chakra accentuates our connection with the physical world. The root chakra is the first of
all the chakras and is critical to feel safe and grounded in all aspects of life. To be connected with the body is to respect the home that holds our spirit. The first chakra is associated with
self-preservation and good hygiene. Our basic right to be here and have. A balanced root chakra exhibits good health, sense of trust in the world, and stability. It reflects our ability to relax
and find comfort in stillness.
We may feel anxious and fearful at times which relates to our root chakras. If you feel disconnected from the world, from yourself, it may be time to tune in to your root chakra. It’s very important for us to feel safe, secure, and free of fear especially when exercising. If you are too afraid to get out there and be the best you can be there will be problems. Focus on what can make you feel safe. There are always solutions. If you are afraid of people watching you work out, exercise at home. If you don’t feel secure and comfortable in a certain gym, there are plenty of others out there. Do exercises that allow you to trust your own body and its abilities. Work out with a friend to keep you grounded if that’s what it takes. Regain balance with some postures to test your stability – tree pose, dancer’s pose, or warrior III pose.
Sexuality. Emotion. Creativity. Movement. The sacral chakra emcompasses our sansate intelligence – how we perceive our sense of internal and external reality. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and hearing are ways we find connection and create meaningful experiences. Our basic right to feel and have pleasure – whether that be intimately or in the most innocent way. A balanced sacral chakra embodies our ability to move with grace and with that movement, experience change gracefully and collectively – receptive to any sensations along the way.
In a world where emotions are seen as a weakness and in a culture that answers to numbing the pain, our emotions never see the light of day. The body is a reservior of emotions, typically stored in the hips. You may forget the event that made you angry, upset, frustrated, or sad, but the body doesn’t not. Hips definitely do not lie. Find movement by letting out some steam with some hip openers – pigeon pose, lizard pose, or warrior II pose.
Energy. Autonomy. Power. The solar plexus chakra is associated with confidence and ego. It is the source of personal power, self-belief, and self-worth. This chakra is activated when someone’s confident and stands up for oneself while it is blocked when someone is shy, disappointed, or frustrated. Our basic right to act and be an individual. The solar plexus is strengthened in times of confidence and if you remain true to yourself, you remain true to yourself and can control your emotions. Just like the position of the body it’s located, the solar plexus chakra keeps you centered and true.
Remaining confident even in times of distress will keep you centered and you will find out more about yourself, and even better you will love yourself even more. Transform the abdominals with some core strengtheners – downward facing dog, plank pose, or boat pose
Love. Balance. Integration. The heart chakra, located at the center of the seven chakras, embodies our integration between spirit and mind with body and soul. Finding equilibrium between our inner and outer reality allows healthy relationships to begin from within. Just as the saying goes, “We can’t love another we love ourselves.” Balance orients our capacity to receive and give love. Our right to love and be loved. A balanced heart chakra accentuates our ability to accept ourselves just as are and accept other just as they are emphasizing the importance of genuinely loving ourselves, so we can openly offer it to another. Self-love is the root for loving others.
Love is a mutual relationship. Understanding and acceptance gives us the capacity to love and receive love. Without it, our environment becomes cold and isolated. The human race are social creatures. We thrive off of social interactions. Develop flexibility within the heart with some chest openers – camel pose, cat pose, or wheel pose.
Communication. Resonance. Expression. The throat chakra reflects the ability to find one’s own voice. It mirrors the vibration of sound and expression that resonates within the individual. Expression governs the language of how we interpret symbolic thinking. Our basic right to speak and be heard. A balanced throat chakra is seen through good listening skills, good sense of rhythm, and good communication.
When most of us think of fitness we tend to focus on the physical aspect of ourselves being motivated enough to get to the gym. Take a step back and look inside you, how are you coaching yourself up to make a health change? What we tell ourselves and how we make ourselves feel is our first driving force to make any decision whether it’s long term or short. Start with how you speak to yourself, motivate yourself with positive thinking by encouraging yourself rather than finding ways to bring you down. Nothing great happens overnight and your own voice and how you speak to yourself is what will keep you going for the long ride to a healthy lifestyle. Soothe the neck with some throat stretches – plow pose or fish pose.
Intuition. Imagination. Insight. The third eye chakra establishes personal identity and perceived patterns beyond the physical senses. It reflects the gray areas of the larger picture. Self-reflection is an activity of the third eye. Our basic right to see – to see and interpret the abstract part of experience. A balanced third eye highlights perceptive capacity and the ability to think symbolically.
Do you find yourself looking for the next quick fix to your fitness goals? Supplements? Infomercial equipment? The way we compare ourselves to others makes getting healthy and fit hard. If we are constantly comparing ourselves to someone that has reached their goals, when we haven’t even started our journey could cause a lot of discouragement if results aren’t instant. Start by changing the way you perceive others and yourself. Everyone has a starting point in their journey to becoming healthy and fit, but what counts most is how you finish. Try to accept there is no quick fix or super pill to take, nothing beats hard work. Your reality will change when you change the perception you have for yourself and the map you draw out to reach where you would like to go. Experience deep understanding and strengthen the third eye with meditation – guided or visual.
Transcendence. Understanding. Divinity. The divine in us all is within the Crown Chakra. Located at the crown of the head it is known to hold infinite possibilities due to its link to the mind. Although not one asana is known to open up the crown chakra it can be dug deeper “into” to reach the place where emotional and physical aspects are kept. This chakra is represented by the purest of colors, white. A thousand petal lotus exhibits the Crown giving it the name Sahasrara, which means thousandfold. Our basic right to know and to learn. A balanced crown chakra puts the mind in a clear and empty place – free of chatter and noise. The sense of balance and thoughtfulness are known feelings while being in touch with the crown.
Being in touch with the Crown Chakra is the direct way to enlightenment. With out channeling the crown chakra one can be missing out on creative thoughts and the divine energy. There can also be a physical imbalance in the body causing poor sleep, memory disorders, or a low immune system. Emotional imbalance can fuel depression, confusion, stress, and other mental problems. The key to a stress free, balanced life is the sense of oneness within yourself. The seventh chakra is key to reaching your inner consciousness. Gain connection of the crown chakra with inversions, meditation postures, or breathing exercises – headstand, half locust, or alternate nostril breathing.