According to ancient Indian philosophy, there are seven chakras or centers of energy within the body, from our “root” at the base of our spine to our crown at the top of our skull. Each chakra has a unique function for our energetic existence.
In her wonderful book, Eastern Body, Western Mind, Anodea Judith writes, “The chakra system is a seven-leveled philosophical model of the universe. Chakras have come to the West through the tradition of yoga…a discipline designed to yoke together the individual with the divine….”
In order to pass through the steps of expanding our consciousness, we must work through the steps represented by the seven chakra points.
Sanskrit name Muladhara (“root”) – Located at the base of the spine, the first chakra governs feelings of self-preservation. Without it, we cannot feel safe or secure.
It strives for us to be grounded, to trust, and to feel physically and emotionally stable.
It is associated with the color red, the color that has the slowest vibration in the spectrum. It is also associated with the element of earth.
Sanskrit name Svadhisthana (“sweetness”) – Located in the abdomen, genitals, or hips, the second chakra governs our sexuality and emotional experiences.
The Svadhisthana chakra wants us to feel pleasure, to have an adventurous and joyous connection to sexual experience, to remain open to new things.
When out of balance, Chakra Two can bring on feelings of obsession, or perhaps having boundaries that are too permeable.
It’s associated with the color orange and the element of water.
Sanskrit name Manipura (“lustrous gem”) – Located in the solar plexus, the third chakra governs feelings of willpower, self-possession, and ego.
A Manipura chakra that is in harmony brings feelings of high self-esteem. Out of balance, the Third Chakra may have us expressing controlling behaviors.
It is associated with the color yellow and the element of fire.
Sanskrit name Anahata (“unstruck”) – Located in the heart area, the fourth chakra governs feelings of love, compassion, and self-acceptance.
Healthy relationships are facilitated by a harmonious Anahata chakra, as well as a deep love of self. When this chakra is not nurtured properly, or perhaps wounded, we can become codependent, jealous, or paranoid.
It is associated with the color green and the element of air.
Sanskrit name Vissudha (“purification”) – Located in the throat, the fifth chakra governs self-expression, communication, and verbal creativity. Without this chakra, we cannot use our voices to speak up for ourselves.
Creativity flows from within when the Vissuhda chakra is in alignment. Out of harmony, this chakra can promote bad listening skills and over-talking.
It is associated with the color blue and the element of sound.
Sanskrit name Ajna (“to perceive”) – Located in the brow, the sixth chakra represents our intuition, imagination, and ability to find reflection. We can also associate psychic perception with this chakra.
The goal is to see, in all senses of the word. An Ajna chakra that is neglected can lead to everything from headaches to bad dreams.
It is associated with the color indigo and the element of light.
Sanskrit name Sahasrara (“thousandfold”) – Located at the top of the head, the crown, the seventh and final chakra represents self-knowledge, awareness, and wisdom.
The seventh chakra desires spiritual and universal connection. When neglected, this chakra can lead to dissociation, or an overt focus on spiritual awareness without clear boundaries. An over-intellectualized approach to the numinous.
It’s associated with the color violet and the element of thought.