I know for some people the Chakra system can be baffling. The idea that something is there which we cannot see isn’t something easy to grasp. This amazing subtle system in the body has been an insight into the body’s ailments for thousands of years. By just learning the basics of how the Chakras work and how you yourself can check in with them can be a great way to learn how your body is working on a deeper level. For those of you that need more convincing-bear with me, please. Not everything needs to be seen to be believed, once you experience your body on a deeper level, you won’t need any further convincing.
First of all let me start by briefly explaining the chakras, where they are in the body and what each chakra represents. There are 7 major chakras in the body (there are more outside the body and off the main 7, but we’re not going to talk about these today-let’s keep things relatively simple). So with that said let’s get started. I’ll label the chakra, the colour which represents it and its name in sanskrit.
Root Chakra-RED (muladhara) - located at the very base of the spine. This chakra is responsible for survival/ our place in the world/ letting go/ stability/ groundedness/ ability to trust.
Sacral Chakra-ORANGE (svadisthana) - located in the lower abdomen. This chakra is responsible for our reproductive system/ sexuality/ passion/ emotions.
Solar Plexus Chakra-YELLOW (manipura) -located at the navel. This chakra is responsible for our will power/ how we are around other people/ purpose/ self-esteem.
Heart Chakra-GREEN (anahata) -located at the heart. This chakra is responsible for compassion/ love/ relationships.
Throat Chakra-BLUE (vishudha) -located in the throat. This chakra is responsible for our creativity/ saying what we really feel (our truth)/ self-expression.
Third Eye Chakra-INDIGO (ajna) -located between the eyebrows. This chakra is responsible for our intuition/ imagination.
Crown Chakra-VIOLET (sahasrara) -located at the crown of the head. This chakra is responsible for our spiritual knowledge/ our connectedness to the universe/ enlightenment.
So how can we get to know our chakras and involve them in our yoga practice? A good way to begin is on a very base level. Do you have pain anywhere in your body? If you do, is it something reoccurring? Do you know why? Let’s take an example. Something I see time and time again is people with throat issues-sore throats, coughs, tonsillitis-you name it most of us have experienced this at some stage. Some people have repeated issues in the throat. So instead of looking at this ailment at face value, lets go deeper. The throat chakra is linked to self expression, creativity and speaking honestly. If someone is having throat issues it’s always due to an imbalance in the throat chakra which is linked to these attributes. Generally its pretty obvious that the person in question is either not expressing themselves to their full creative potential, or they're being dishonest with themselves or people around them. The latter I find is more common-people not living their truth and instead living someone else’s. So that’s a very basic example of trying to ascertain if a chakra is closed or unbalanced.
Anytime I have pain in the body, I know there is a message happening. I always diagnose from the affiliated chakra and fix the problem that way (for me, this works every single time), I have not yet had an incident where I’ve had to seek further medical attention for an ailment. I rectify the problem from the chakra and the ailment disappears. This also goes for injuries. Believe it or not, if you pull a muscle in your glute- that is most likely your root chakra trying to tell you something. Are you grounded? Do you feel unsafe? Simple meditations can help to balance and open the chakras.
I totally understand that not everyone will buy this. It’s a lot to take on in a world where hard wired evidence is for some reason linked to fact and truth. If you’re finding it hard to get your head around, just try to remain open to it and see if it can work for you. It will give you a deeper understanding of your body and will develop you accessing your spiritual needs. We are not just bones and flesh, we are consciousness-something which cannot be defined by hard wired evidence and something which science can (still) not explain. Therefore the nature of consciousness is an abundance of the unknown. Some of that unknown cannot be seen and instead needs to be experienced. Try to not limit your beliefs and your experiences by shutting something down before having explored it.
So try take some time to tune into the subtle body. We spend so much time on the physical body and no time on the spiritual body-what a disconnect! Start to tune into your chakras during your practice. Start to notice repeat patterns that come up in the body and pinpoint where they are and which chakra they are related to. By getting to the issue via the chakra imbalance first, you may just learn a really quick and easy way to begin healing yourself.
Each yoga asana (pose) is related to a different chakra and their functions are to help balance the chakras out. So when we do a full practice, we are subconsciously spending time healing and purifying the body. Next time you step onto the mat, check in with your chakras-listen to them during your practice and consistently throughout the day. I’d love to hear your stories of healing and help in any way I can with an imbalanced chakra, so please do share your story!