Intro to the Seven Chakras

The concept of chakras and the related science are making a major comeback as our Western society becomes more curious and accepting of traditional methods of healing.  Things like ayurveda, yoga, and reiki are gaining popularity in our society, and the chakra system plays a major role in these practices.  Balanced chakras can result in improvement in the four archetypes of our existence: Physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health.

In this post, we’ll learn about the chakra system, and a brief overview of each of the seven main chakras.  We’ll discuss how yoga specifically is an excellent and effective way to restore the free flow of energy, or prana, in our chakras.  The following posts will then break down the attributes of each chakra, focusing on what negative consequences result from imbalance or disruption of each chakra and ways to restore balance. 

Chakra Reading Material

Some of the information in this series comes from two excellent, and very different books on the topic: 

Eye of the Lotus – Psychology of the Chakras by Richard Jelusich goes over the seven main chakras just as you’d expect, but it also touches on aspects of the soul, and higher consciousness.  It provides information to help us find our dominant chakra, as this can answer questions we have about why we think, say, or do certain things. 

Western Body, Eastern Mind by Anodea Judith discusses how imbalances in each chakra results in specific personality traits, as well as ailments, and offers suggestions to restore the free flow of energy. 

Chakra in Sanskrit means ‘disc’ or ‘wheel’, and the word refers to the seven energy centers in our body, located along the length of our spine.

The Chakra System

Chakra in Sanskrit means ‘disc’ or ‘wheel’, and the word refers to the seven energy centers in our body, located along the length of our spine.  The chakra system starts at the base of our spine and moves up through the top of our head.  We can think of each chakra as a spinning wheel of energy, each corresponding with the functions of its location in the body. 

When energy is flowing freely in our chakras, we experience optimal physical and mental health in that particular area of our body.  When energy is disrupted or blocked, we experience disease. 

Chakra balancing then, is extremely important in not only maintaining health and wellness, but also the reversal of many ailments we experience.  For example, someone with chronic headaches could benefit from balancing their third eye chakra, and someone with digestive issues ought to pay attention to their solar plexus chakra.  A proper flow of energy in our chakras is essential for optimal physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health. 

Chakras and the Subtle Body

The chakra system exists in the subtle body.  There are two different things needed to make a human being: our body and all that it contains, and life force energy to make it alive.  The physical body is just that, the physical parts of our being.  The subtle body is the energy that keeps us alive.  Yogic philosophy calls this prana, and the chakras operate within this energy flow. 

Anodea Judith describes the yogic take on how and why are chakras are formed:

“Yoga philosophy teaches us that the serpent goddess, Kundalini, represents the evolutionary life force within each person.  She awakens from her slumber in the earth to dance her way through each chakra, reestablishing the rainbow as a metaphysical bridge between matter and consciousness.  Through this dance of transformation, the rainbow becomes the axis mundi – the central axis of the world that runs through the vertical core of each of us.  On our journey through life, the chakras are the wheels along this axis that take the vehicle of the Self along our evolutionary quest, across the Rainbow Bridge, to reclaim our divine nature once again.”

Judith describes learning about and working with the chakra system as a journey; essentially, the journey of our lives:

“The journey is a colorful one, as life itself is colorful.  It offers an alternative to the drab, gray mentality of the modern era, where color is limited to the realm of children.  By contrast, too many ‘grown-ups’ live in dark, tailored suits, riding gray subways and highways through black-and-white realities of grim choices and limited options.  Reclaiming the multi-dimensional diversity of the human experience is the task of this journey – no less than a quest for our wholeness and the renewal of our collective spirit.”

The Seven Chakras

The seven chakras are usually depicted as rays of light, starting at the base of our spine and moving up through the crown of the head. Here is a list of the seven chakras in order, but make sure to catch our posts in the upcoming weeks to learn about each one individually!

Chakra One – Root chakra (muladhara)

Location: base of the spine

Color: red

Represents: survival, grounding, physical being

Chakra Two – Sacral chakra (svadhishthana)

Location: just below the navel

Color: orange

Represents: sensuality, creativity, passion

Chakra Three – Solar plexus chakra (manipura)

Location: navel

Color: yellow

Represents: seat of self, intuition

Chakra Four – Heart chakra (anahata)

Location: heart

Color: green

Represents: unconditional love

The seven chakras are usually depicted as rays of light, starting at the base of our spine and moving up through the crown of the head. 

Chakra Five – Throat chakra (vishuddha)

Location: throat

Color: blue

Represents: self-expression

Chakra Six – Third eye chakra (ajna)

Location: between the eyebrows

Color: dark blue

Represents: spirituality, wisdom

Chakra Seven – Crown chakra (sahasrara)

Location: top of head

Color: indigo/purple

Represents: thought, connection to spirit

The chakra system can seem like a complex and abstract concept, but awareness of the chakras and the way they affect our physical and mental well-being can help us live our best lives. 
ChakraNameCharacteristicEffect
1RootSurvivabilityGateway to mere existence in physical form
2SacralCreationistCreativity, burdens, responsibility, sexuality
3Solar PlexusCharismatic LeaderPower of the Self, individuation, truth
4HeartEmpathTo give, receive, and be love
5ThroatCommunicatorElucidation and illumination
6Brow or Third EyeProphetHigher communication
7CrownZero-PointGateway to higher dimensions
Source: Eye of the Lotus – Psychology of the Chakras, Richard Jelusich, Ph.D

The chakra system can seem like a complex and abstract concept, but awareness of the chakras and the way they affect our physical and mental well-being can help us live our best lives.  Over the next seven weeks, we’ll learn about each chakra’s specific attributes.  We’ll look at what suffering we might be experiencing as a result of imbalance in one or more of our chakras, and ways to reestablish balance. 

At Inspiring Actions, we incorporate chakra balancing in many of our classes, and offer a variety of special events to promote the release of energy blockages and holistic health.  Check out a full list of our classes here!  We invite you to our studios in Hudson and River Falls, Wisconsin, as well as online; come and live your best life with us! 

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