What the heck are Chakras? (A beginner's guide to the Energy Body)

Jennifer Bradshaw

Last week, I promised more information on energetic bodies, and I figured that explaining the major chakras would be a great place to begin.
In Sanskrit, chakra means "wheel". Think of these energy centers as spinning, colored discs. When they are healthy and balanced, they manifest as vibrant health in the physical, energetic and emotional bodies. While I've listed physical and mental signals of imbalance below, I caution against using this guide as a tool for diagnosis or treatment of any illness, disease or disorder. Energy work and Reiki are meant to work hand-in-hand with traditional modalities, to clear energy blocks so that your work with your regular care providers can be more effective. The information contained in this article is just that: information. Please use your wisdom and seek professional treatment for any medical or mental health symptoms.
Beginners Guide to Chakras graphic
  1. Root Chakra - This is your base chakra, located at the base of the spine, and extending down into the legs. Associated with the color red, this energy center is related to your basic needs such as safety, security, and survival. Imbalances here can manifest as overeating, bowel problems or insecurity.
  2. Sacral Chakra - Located in the genitals or womb-space, this center is considered to be located a few finger-widths below your navel, in the lower abdomen. The Sacral chakra is associated with the color orange, and with the properties of creativity, relationships and reproduction. A strong sacral chakra will ease your way with manifesting your desires while imbalances here will show up as problems in relationships, lack of libido (or an overactive libido) and creative blocks.
  3. Solar Plexus Chakra - The center of your personal power is located between the bottom ribs and your navel, and is associated with the color yellow. The solar plexus is responsible for emotions, self-confidence and healthy boundaries with others. Imbalances here can manifest as stomach aches, metabolism issues, liver problems and diabetes.
  4. Heart Chakra - While the heart chakra is associated with love, it is not an emotional center, something I've always found interesting. Love and compassion are rooted here, in the center that connects the lower chakras to the upper chakras, but the emotions are located just beneath it, in the solar plexus. Associated with the color green, imbalances in this energy center can manifest as blood pressure or heart rhythm issues, loneliness, inability to connect to others, sadness or isolation. A healthy fourth chakra manifests as abundant love for self and others, compassion, even for those that are difficult to love, and deep connections with others.
  5. Throat Chakra - The location of this particular energy center is clear, just from its name. Associated with a light blue to turquoise color, the throat is the center of expression, voice and speaking one's own truth. When this chakra is out of balance, it can manifest as a sore throat, difficulty speaking your mind, difficulty breathing (again, check with your doctor to treat any physical problems). In balance, this chakra will help you say no when you mean no, speak your own truth and expressing yourself.
  6. Third Eye Chakra - My favorite of all chakras, the third eye is your center of intuition. Located between and slightly above the physical eyebrows, this energy center is associated with the colors indigo blue or lavender (purple is sometimes associated with the crown instead). A healthy, balanced third eye will manifest a clear knowing of those things that have no "logical" way of being known, through the subtle, non-physical senses, known as "clairs". An imbalanced third eye can manifest as brain fog, uncertainty, even bad dreams.
  7. Crown Chakra - Just above the very top of the skull, the final chakra sits like a crown. Bathed in white or purple light, this energy center is the seat of knowledge and wisdom. Imbalances here may manifest as a lack of clarity in what you seek or difficulty making decisions. Some headaches and a lack of mental focus can be symptoms of an imbalanced crown chakra. However, a healthy, balanced crown chakra can manifest as a knowing of the right choice, wisdom and clarity of focus.

Hopefully, you've learned a bit in this brief overview of the chakra system. There are, of course, a number of other, "minor" chakras in the energetic body, but these 7 are a good place to begin your journey to understanding. 

Next week, we'll dive into the koshas or energetic body layers, which hold some correspondences to the chakras. Until then...


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