What are chakras and what can they tell us about our state of well-being?
In the tradition, chakras are vortexes of energy spinning in various areas of our body. Most often we refer to 7 primary chakras, although different traditions list anywhere from 12 to hundreds within our own being. The chakra system is a powerful model to describe the interconnection between the emotional, physical, and energetic realms of each of our existences. For instance, each of these 7 chakras we will discuss have been associated with the endocrine system, each correlating to a particular organ in this physical system. Simultaneously, we find that patterns of emotions and thought patterns associated with particular areas of the body. Where one area of the body or organ is under or over-functioning, a similar pattern of emotional disturbance can often exist.
For optimal health and overall well-being, we seek to find balance among each of these 7 chakras. Here’s a brief introduction into what that could look like for you:
Muladhara (Root). Associated with the gonads, this chakra represents our sense of security both in our basic human needs, security, our place in the world (tribe). When this is under-functioning we may experience emotions of fear, hate, the mentality of lacking, not feeling we have a place or worth in the community (or not having community). We may physically experience feeling ‘ungrounded’, reproductive organ problems, or lower back pain.
Svadisthana (Sacral). Associated with the gonads, this chakra is fully functioning when we feel connected within our own body and connected with others. We are able to enjoy life’s pleasures and satisfied in our sexuality. Our creative process is flowing. Times in which this chakra is not functioning properly may be difficulty with setting or maintaining boundaries (or the fear that our boundaries will not be respected or held), low libido, not feeling inspired, reproductive organ problems, or difficulty enjoying pleasures in life.
Manipura (Solar Plexus). Associated with the adrenals, this chakra holds our personal power and perception of self. Do find that in manifesting your desires in life that you have a balance between action and surrender–or do you find yourself leaning far to one side, impeding your process of owning that which you want? When this chakra is out of balance we may have self-doubt, difficulty in maintaining will power and determination, and low self-esteem. We might physically experience digestive issues or fluttering sensations related to nervousness.
Anahata (Heart). Associated with the thymus, this chakra stands for our ability to feel connected, loved, and loving towards others. Being at the center of our system here, Anahata acts as the foreman of this operation, speaking to the other chakras in order to keep them working together. When this chakra is out of whack, we may feel like unloved, anxious in our relationships, difficulty w/ maintaining relationships, vulnerable, and ‘needy’. Physically we may see signs of lowered immune system, chest pain, or cardio-respiratory problems.
Vishuddhi (Throat). Associated with the thyroid, this chakra represents our ability to create our world through the power of our words. When we are speaking our truth with exactly what we want to create in this world, as well as, finding comfort in both speech and silence, we find this chakra functioning optimally. When we find that we speak white or bold face lies; when we find ourselves curbing our language for the sake of a relationship or acceptance from another; when we do not speak up for what we need or our boundaries for protection, we end up creating a world that is not in alignment with ourselves. Physical ailments like sore throat, coughing, thyroid issues, and asthma are commonly related.
Ajna (Third Eye). Associated with the pituitary, this chakra guides our inner knowing, or intuition. When this chakra is in balance, we experience the feeling of self-trust in our decision making process and we can decipher between the voice of anxiety vs the voice of wisdom. Underfunctioning emotionally manifests as in-decisiveness or confusion, while physically manifesting as headaches and migraines.
Sahasrara (Crown). Associated with the pineal, this chakra connects us to the greater universe and consciousness. When in optimal functioning, we feel at ease with the unfolding of the world around us, knowing that it and our part in it is occurring just as it should be. We feel connected and a part of something larger than our single selves. When this chakra is not functioning properly, we feel separate from the world and might experience anxiety, fear, and depression.
Use this as a guide for inner contemplation as to where in your life you’d need to tend to to find a greater sense of balance overall. While there are many paths of using the chakra system for coming back into balance, working with meditations, mantras, physical movement, pranayama breath, reiki, nutrition, sound vibration, etc. can all be used as tools to bring you back to center.