One of my favorite areas of research is healing. What techniques and ways of looking at things exist and how can they help us on our lifetime challenge of feeling complete and whole regardless of our individual circumstances? I was drawn to learning about the chakras and how understanding and working with these energy portals can help provide more balance in our lives.
Although there is a lot of in-depth information on chakras and chakra healing, I will only provide a brief introduction. As with all forms of healing, if this particular way of looking at things resonates with you personally, I encourage you to explore it further.
Chakras are energy centers within the body that support the functioning of our physical and spiritual bodies. They not only influence our cells, organs and hormone system, they also affect our thoughts and feelings. Although there are many chakras in the body, the 7 principal ones that are studied in yoga and other healing methods are located along the spine from the base to the crown. Each has a different vibrational frequency and as a whole can be thought of as a pathway to spiritual enlightenment as you harmonize and clear away energy blockages throughout your life within each center of awareness.
As you read through the descriptions of the different chakras, it will be quite easy to see where energy is not flowing within yourself. Blockages can lead to sickness both physically and mentally (anxiety, stress, depression). The idea is that when you activate the chakra that is stuck, you promote harmony in that center of awareness, which can improve your health and wellbeing substantially. Many yoga poses are designed to activate and open the chakras, which contributes to the many benefits of a consistent yoga practice. Gemstones, when held or placed on the chakra, and aromatic oils (aromatherapy), which activate the chakra through smell, can also have healing results.
The root chakra, located at the base of the spinal column, is where our deepest connection to the earth stems from. It is said that Kundalini energy resides here (known to be a serpent goddess) and when it’s awakened, it moves up the body piercing and opening the other chakras with healing force. The primary objective of Kundalini yoga is to awaken the full potential of human awareness. Issues that reside in the first chakra relate to fulfilling our most basic needs and saying yes to life. Feeling secure and safe is a central theme and imbalances can lead to insecurity and a lack of trust in life. Gemstones: Ruby, garnet. Essential Oils: Cedarwood, angelica root. Yoga asana: Crow pose.
The sacral chakra, located in the pelvis area, relates to our search for pleasure and enjoyment beyond survival. Sexuality and creative energy lie here and the sexual organs, reproductive system, kidneys and bladder are all impacted by this energy center. Addictions, jealousy, attachment, guilt, lack of interest or loss of self in sex, and infertility can all signal imbalances. Gemstones: Carnelian, moonstone. Essential oils: Sandalwood, cardamom. Yoga asana: Frog pose.
The navel chakra is where our personal sense of control resides. This is where willpower, self-confidence, power, manifestation and personality development occur. As the name suggests, this chakra lies above the navel on the stomach and impacts the stomach, intestines, digestive system and liver/gallbladder. One of the central themes of this chakra is to know and stand up for your truth regardless of circumstances. The desire to make a difference in the world resides here. Imbalances can lead to guilt in saying no, undefined boundaries, a need to control, insecurity, apathy, etc. Gemstones: Amber, citrine, topaz. Essential oils: Lemongrass, cloves, juniper. Yoga asana: Stretch pose.
The heart chakra is at the center of the three chakras below and above it. It is the source where the yin and the yang merge and the focus moves from being ego and need based to a unified view of the interconnectedness of all of life. While the themes of the lower chakras center around individual, separate desires such as security, pleasure and power, the heart chakra on areas such as compassion, love, vulnerability, forgiveness and freedom from attachment and possessiveness in relationships with others. Located at the center of the chest, where it impacts the heart and lungs, someone with a balanced heart chakra is selfless, accepting and in harmony with those around him. Imbalances lead to neediness, bitter feelings, lack of connection and self-love, loneliness and a feeling of separation from the Divine. Gemstones: Rose quartz, calcite. Essential oils: Rose, jasmine. Yoga asana: Camel pose.
The throat chakra, located near the larynx, influences the functioning of the organs related to the breath and voice. Whereas the third chakra is related to knowing your truth and personal power, the fifth chakra is centered on communication and ability to know and speak your truth. This is an area of creative expression and inspiration where the individual intelligence combines with the collective. Imbalances lie in the difficulty of expressing oneself, non-conformism just to be in opposition, needing to be right or manipulation, insecurity in your creative identity or worrying about what others think. All of the other chakras must be balanced for a healthy expression to exist within the fifth chakra. Gemstones: Lapis lazuli, aquamarine. Essential oils: Chamomile, peppermint. Yoga asana: Cobra pose.
The forehead or “third eye” chakra is located between the eyebrows. This chakra can be defined as the portal where the desire for transcendence occurs, often associated with the pineal gland. Intuition, awareness, wisdom, consciousness and the ability to see the Divine in everything are key themes of this chakra. Making life path decisions based on what is energetically right for you and having the spiritual willpower to bring yourself into balance and view your life from a witness vantage point are signs of a healthy sixth chakra. Imbalances may be expresses as weakened concentration, spiritual confusion, hallucinations, and fear. In order to remain visionary and inspired by the voice within that transcends duality, many agree that it’s important to have a spiritual practice to prevent blockages. Gemstones: Indigo tourmaline, amethyst. Essential oils: Cypress, rosemary. Yoga asana: Guru pranam.
The crown chakra is believed to lie above the head rather then within the body itself. The central themes of this chakra are not surprisingly spirituality, enlightenment, self-actualization and a surrendering to the Divine. The mantra that we practice in yoga classes, Om, activates this higher self chakra where clarity, peace and Divine acceptance lie. However, to really experience the depth of this chakra, all of the other energy centers need to be awakened first (which is the idea of the rising kundalini as mentioned earlier). Imbalance can occur if you’re trying to direct your life with “want” lists, which is more ego based, rather then surrender to the flow of life. Gemstones: Clear quartz, apophyllite. Essential oils: Rosewood, lavender. Yoga asana: Sat kriya.
 Govinda, K. (2004). A handbook of chakra healing: spiritual practice for health, harmony and inner peace. Old Saybrook: Konecky & Konecky.
 Kaur, Ramdesh. (2010, May 13). Seven kundalini yoga postures to clear the chakras. Retrieved from http://www.spiritvoyage.com/blog/index.php/7-kundalini-yoga-postures-to-clear-the-chakras/
 Pond, D. (2005). Chakras for beginners: a guide to balancing your chakra energies. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications.
Published On: October 15, 2012