“Chakra” – you might have heard the word before. Chakra teaching is a philosophy and meditation originating in India. It deals with invisible energy centers. The teaching describes one of many ways in which you can reach your goals. Since it is easy to integrate into your everyday life, it is also becoming more known in the Western world – and a beautiful enrichment of our way of thinking.
What are Chakras?
Chakras are subtle energy vortices inside and outside the body, thus not organically. In yoga, meditation, Reiki, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Ayurveda, chakras have existed for thousands of years. The knowledge about them has its origin, like most other basic energetic concepts, in the Vedic scriptures and Hinduism’s philosophical writings called Upanishads. It has been preserved and passed on in different cultures in various ways. The Tibetans are said to have the most profound knowledge about the chakras. In Europe, the chakra knowledge was lost with Christianization.
The term Chakra originates from Sanskrit and means in the literal translation wheel, discus, circle. It refers to the connection points between the body and the astral body (energy body, invisible shell). Ancient Indian and Tibetan texts mention 72,000 to 350,000 such energy centers. Seven of the chakras are considered the human primary energy centers and are located along the spine or the body’s vertical axis. The connecting points are imagined to be funnel-shaped, protruding several centimeters above the surface of the body. Since chakras are not visible, their recognition has taken a while.
The tasks of the chakras
Chakras function like pumps to receive energy from outside and supply it to the human energy system. Along the spine, the chakras are interconnected, each assigned to a specific area of the body. However, depending on the individual’s state of development and consciousness, the chakras are formed differently. How much energy enters the body depends on its nature. In the best case, the energy vortices rotate quickly, glow intensely, and are clear in the colors assigned to them. In Hinduism/Buddhism, one speaks of an “enlightened person” when all seven chakras are fully open, and the life energy (prana) flows without blockages or disturbances.
Each of the seven chakras also stands for a specific area of life. We learn new methods of living harmoniously with what we currently perceive as our environment at every age. If we go through the learning steps successfully, our chakras are stimulated and can absorb the surrounding energy. Childhood up to the seventh year of life is considered the formative phase. Lack of love, the parents’ indifference, or suppression of the natural needs can lead to the fact that individual or several chakras develop only insufficiently or not at all. Especially the first year of life is essential for the root chakra, responsible for the basic trust. But also later events or an unfavorable way of life can lead to blockages in actually well-developed chakras. Feelings such as fear, envy, jealousy, or hatred can lead to under- or over-functioning Chakras.
Chakra work can release these blockages: The goal is to reach consciousness levels by becoming aware. This means that learning steps are repeated until the respective learning goal is reached. Blockages slow down. If they are recognized, the dissolution is no longer challenging. Yoga philosophy says that we are not powerless to such disturbances. Thus, one of yoga’s goals is to heal the body, mind, and spirit energetically and lead them to wholeness. Through the postures, breath control, and meditation, one influences the addressed chakra’s energy state. This can have a long-term general effect.
Each of the seven major chakras vibrates in a primary color and is associated with specific body organs and areas. The seven chakras also correspond to the endocrine system’s seven major glands (our hormonal system) and control particular aspects of human behavior and development. The lower chakras, whose energies vibrate more slowly, are associated with basic human needs and emotions. The more refined energies of the upper chakras correspond to man’s higher mental and spiritual abilities.
Overview of the 7 Chakras:
1. Muladhara Chakra: the Root Chakra
Location: at the lower end of the spine, the coccyx.
- Color: Fire red
- Element: Earth
- Glands: Adrenal glands
Characteristics: The root chakra represents vitality, connectedness to the earth (steadfastness), and oneself (self-confidence). Our relationship to material things is located here.
Physical reference: The solid components of the body such as bones, spine, teeth, and nails – and blood, pelvic floor, and intestines.
Disturbances: existential fears, mistrust, listlessness, and materialism. Physically, intestinal and bone disorders, weight problems, varicose veins, and blood pressure fluctuations occur.
When activated: Strong life energy, self-confidence, earthiness (with both feet on the ground), assertiveness, and good digestion.
How you strengthen the Root Chakra:
In everyday life: lots of exercise in the fresh air, walking barefoot, rhythmic music with drums, red clothes and flowers.
With yoga: anything that works the feet, knees, legs, pelvis, and sacrococcygeal area. Standing postures and forward bends. Example: Paschimottanasana.
With fragrances: Clove, rosemary, ginger, vetiver, cypress, cedar.
2. Svadisthana Chakra: the Sacral Chakra
- Location: about a handbreadth below the navel
- Color: Orange
- Element: Water
- Glands: ovaries, testicles
Characteristics: The sacral chakra is about creativity, relationships, procreation, deep joy, pleasure, and enjoyment – just letting go and flowing with life.
Physical reference: all bodily fluids are influenced from here: blood, lymph, sweat, digestive juices, semen and urine, and tears. Hormonal control of ovaries, gonads, and testes.
Disorders: Frigidity and impotence, and sex addictions can be signs of an impaired sacral chakra. Physically, the disorder manifests as obesity (wanting to keep everything) or anorexia (not wanting to take anything). On an emotional level, loneliness, envy, jealousy, and sadness are symptoms.
When activated: People with an active second chakra can relate to other people and opinions, have a vital sex life, are enthusiastic, creative, and life-affirming.
How you strengthen the Sacral Chakra:
In everyday life: seek contact with water: bathe, swim, drink plenty of water, and walks by the sea. Creative activities such as painting have a supporting effect.
With yoga: all asanas that act on the pelvic area and the lower spine. Example: the pigeon.
With fragrances: Ylang-ylang, sandalwood, myrrh, pepper, vanilla, bitter orange, and orange.
3. Manipura Chakra: the Navel Chakra
- Location: navel to solar plexus (solar plexus), approximately at the level of the stomach
- Color: Yellow
- Element: Fire
- Glands: pancreas, adrenal glands
Characteristics: The solar plexus chakra is the seat of our personality. From here, the conscious goals and changes are caused by feelings and needs. The third chakra is considered the body’s energy reserve and is nourished by the solar plexus fire.
Physical reference: it nourishes the abdomen (organs), liver, stomach, gallbladder, and autonomic nervous system.
Disorders: A blockage manifests itself on the one hand in feelings of inferiority and lack of strength, and on the other hand in aggressiveness, outbursts of anger, and obsession with power. Physically, it can manifest itself in the form of obesity and diabetes mellitus.
When activated: willpower, strong nerves, decisions from the gut, an inner feeling of happiness arises as well as the desire for one’s power (in a positive sense).
This is how you strengthen the navel chakra:
In everyday life: besides yellow flowers, deep abdominal breathing, soulful music, candlelight, fireplaces, and short sunbaths help.
With yoga: twisting exercises and postures that affect the abdominal organs. Example: the twisting seat – Ardha Matsyendrasana.
With fragrances: lavender, chamomile, lemon, anise, grapefruit.
4. Anahata Chakra: the Heart Chakra
- Location: Heart
- Colors: Green and pink
- Element: Air
- Glands: Thymus gland
Characteristics: This is where the center of love sits. Devotion, selflessness, compassion, tolerance, and healing are just some of the assigned qualities. The heart chakra also perceives beauty in nature and art.
Physical reference: Supplies the heart, lungs, and circulation. The immune system is strengthened via the thymus gland.
Disorders: A blockage leads to a lack of love and feeling – even coolness. This inner emptiness often leads to addictive behavior, whether alcohol, money, or drugs. Physically, disturbances manifest themselves in heart disease, asthma, and allergies.
When activated: With a developed fourth chakra, you take people as they are – you simply love and take responsibility for others with much warmth of heart.
This is how you strengthen the heart chakra:
In everyday life: wear green and pink clothes, spend a lot of time in green nature, do self-pampering programs, but also take care of other living beings.
With yoga: backbends and exercises for the cardiovascular system. Example: sun salutation or cobra – Bhujangasana.
With fragrances: rose, jasmine, tarragon, cardamom.
5. Vishuddha chakra: the Throat or Larynx Chakra
- Location: Throat
- Color: Light blue / turquoise
- Element: Sound
- Glands: Thyroid gland, Parathyroid glands
Characteristics: The Vishuddha Chakra is called the center of communication and is considered the seat of truth. To this end, it expresses our thoughts and feelings, helps in the perception of the inner voice, and is the gateway to higher consciousness levels.
Physical connection: it connects to the spinal cord, thyroid gland, upper lungs, bronchi, and esophagus. The chakra also energetically charges the vocal cords.
Disorders: Difficulty in expressing ideas, opinions, and ideas in words. Speechlessness, shyness, and fear of coming out of one’s shell. Tonsillitis, hoarseness, and problems with the thyroid gland are possible consequences.
When activated: Strong communication skills – not in the form of superficial chatter, but as the ability to make oneself understood to others and consciously choose words (truthfulness). Also, a beautiful voice and musicality.
This is how you strengthen the throat chakra:
In everyday life: singing and writing regularly, listening to music. Integrate the color light blue into your life.
With yoga: backbends and reverse postures. Example: Shoulder stand – Sarvangasana.
With fragrances: eucalyptus, camphor, peppermint, Roman mint, manuka.
6. Ajna chakra: the Forehead Chakra – the third eye
- Location: center of the head, between the eyebrows
- Color: Indigo blue
- Element: Light
- Glands: Pituitary gland
Characteristics: The third eye is considered the place of intuition and is the spirit and mind’s seat. Visualization power is attributed to the chakra, as well as and extrasensory perception, intuition, insight, development of the inner senses, mind power.
Physical reference: the face with eyes, nose, and ears plus cerebellum.
Disturbances: If the third eye is blocked, worries, fears, nightmares, and stress often spread – one is not able to plan for the future. Consequence: Headaches, ringing in the ears, and low moods.
When activated: good memory, lots of imagination, mental clarity, and intuitive knowledge. Development of the so-called sixth sense.
How to strengthen the brow chakra:
In everyday life: write down dreams, read fairy tales and fables for a change. Instead of black, go out of the house in blue clothes.
With yoga: eye exercises and meditation on the third eye.
With fragrances: jasmine, mint, lemongrass, violet, incense, basil.
7. Sahasrara Chakra: the Crown Chakra
- Location: highest point of the head
- Color: violet to white
- Element: Thought
- Glands: epiphysis (gland of the brain)
Properties: The crown chakra is the gateway to the universe and the chakra of supreme knowledge: trust in God, spirituality, freedom, accomplishment, and humility before the universal greater.
Physical reference: Except for the pineal gland, it is not associated with any single organ but has a protective effect on the whole body. The chakra has a significant influence on the sleep-wake rhythm.
Disorders: Inner emptiness, dissatisfaction, and mental exhaustion as harbingers of a life crisis, feelings of deficiency. Physically, a blockage manifests itself in an immune deficiency as well as in problems falling asleep and sleeping through the night.
When activated: self-realization, spiritual understanding. Deep inner peace – in harmony with oneself and the world. Healing up to enlightenment.
How to strengthen the crown chakra:
In everyday life: seek vast vistas, such as climbing a mountain and bowing down: to self and other living beings.
With yoga: chanting the mantra “Om,” the cosmic sound.
With fragrances: Incense, Rosewood, Neroli.