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Chakras Explained: How to Keep Them Aligned

by BetterSleep
Mar 21 2022 • 12 min read
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A chakra is a focal energy point found in your body. The term chakra comes from the Sanskrit word, meaning wheel. They’re named this because they’re believed to be spinning wheels of energy that need to stay opened and aligned in your body.

But how can chakras influence your well-being? When balanced, aligned, and unblocked, energy flows freely through the chakras, harmonizing your body, mind, and spirit.

These energy centers can do the opposite when blocked or out of balance. The interrupted energy flow sows discord and can cause specific mental, physical, and spiritual problems.

Thankfully, aligning and balancing your chakras isn’t tricky. It takes a basic understanding of what they are, how the energy flows, and how to identify and correct blockages as well as imbalances.

The History of Chakras

The earliest mention of chakras comes from Yoga Upanishads around 600 B.C. The Yoga Upanishads are ancient Sanskrit texts that describe the many philosophies and practices of Hinduism. Chakra is Sanskrit for wheel, referring to a spinning energy center in the body.

Early Buddhist belief systems also included chakras, but with some differences, including just five centers in the body.

The early Sanskrit texts that mention chakras refer to them as actual locations in the body and as subjective visualizations for meditation.

Many traditional yoga practices focus on changing the flow of energy through chakras. These include asanas, poses, breathing exercises, visualizations, and mantras.

Chakra traditions are ancient in India but only recently gained prominence in the West. As the popularity of yoga grew here, people learned about and embraced chakras. A text published in 1919 by Sir John George Woodroffe translated several ancient texts for a western audience, and the interest in chakras grew.

What Are Your 7 Chakras?

The prominent Hindu and yoga chakra system is made up of seven focal points, starting at the base of your spine to the crown of your head:

Root Chakra (Muladhara)

The root chakra is found at the base of your spine and is your foundation, the first chakra. It is said to develop early in your life, in childhood. The chakra color is red, associated with the element of earth, and the stones are hematite, onyx, and red jasper.

Like the foundation of a building, when the root chakra helps you feel grounded and makes you feel stable and safe. It provides security and safety and is associated with basic needs like food, water, and shelter.

A balanced root chakra should also help you feel connected to nature and the natural flow of life. It sustains your mental well-being by allowing you to feel safe and secure.

Sacral Chakra (Svadisthana)

The sacral chakra is located near your belly button in the lower abdomen and gives you both creative and sexual energy. It houses passions, emotions, and pleasure, whatever gives you physical and emotional joy. The sacral chakra color is orange, the element of water, carnelian, and tiger’s eye.

When in balance, the Svadishthana chakra helps you feel good and confident. It stimulates creativity, joy, abundance, and overall wellness. You should feel satisfied with life, comfortable with change, and rejuvenated when the sacral chakra is flowing freely.

Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipurna)

The third chakra is between your belly button and rib cage in the upper abdomen. It gives you self-esteem, confidence, and a sense of control over your life. The solar plexus chakra color is yellow, the element of fire, and amber, pyrite, and citrine.

This chakra is the seat of power, transformation, action, will, and self-esteem. It provides a sense of purpose and, when balanced, can make you feel inner peace and help you overcome challenges.

Manipura is important for providing you with a sense of purpose and the confidence and will to be in control of your life and actions.

Heart Chakra (Anahata)

At the center of your chest — where you feel your heart — is your heart chakra, the fourth chakra. Your ability to love and empathize with others comes from this source. The color of Anahata is green and sometimes pink. It is associated with air and the minerals jade, malachite, and rose quartz.

Like the color green, the heart chakra is associated with abundance. It controls love, happiness, balance, healing, and relationships. Anahata is the spiritual seat of the body and the flow of energy through the chakras. It bridges the lower and upper chakras and is particularly important for good physical health.

Balance in the heart chakra increases your compassion for others and allows you to love fully. It brings you a sense of inner harmony and improves mental health through love and healthy relationships.

Throat Chakra (Visuddha)

As its name suggests, the fifth chakra is in your throat. It helps you communicate with others and express yourself. The throat chakra color is blue. Its element is ether and minerals lapis lazuli, aquamarine, blue lace agate, and kyanite.

You can express yourself fully when you have a good balance in the throat chakra. You can quickly speak your inner truth to yourself and others. It also helps you be a good listener. It is the seat of honesty among the chakras.

As the center for communication, balance in the throat chakra promotes more than just talking and listening. It allows you to process information and symbols and understand art and creativity. In some people, this chakra even engages higher forms of communication, like telepathy.

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Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)

The third eye is right between your eyes. It provides you with your intuition and imagination. The third eye chakra color is indigo. It is associated with light, amethyst, labradorite, and purple fluorite.

With balance in the third eye chakra, you should be able to trust your intuition and tap into it for guidance. The third eye is also a bridge between yourself and the outside world. It helps you see the world as it is. When this chakra is balanced, you can’t be fooled by dramatics or illusions.

The Ajna chakra is the seat of wisdom, dreams, visions, and spiritual direction. You can use this chakra to enhance and change consciousness during meditations.

Crown Chakra (Sahasarara)

Right at the top of your head sits the seventh chakra, your crown chakra. It’s responsible for your spiritual connection to yourself and others. The crown chakra colors are white and purple. It is associated with no physical element, only spiritual and divine consciousness. The best minerals for the crown chakra are clear, including quartz and selenite.

This is the highest chakra; the crown is at the top of your body and your highest consciousness. It represents the potential to be entirely spiritually connected to the self, others, the universe, and the divine.

The crown chakra also represents the complete balance between feminine and masculine. It is connected to your true purpose, superconsciousness, and enlightenment.

Research has shown that these seven chakras are deeply linked to human psychology. They’re connected to your body’s nerve centers, glands, and even major organs.

How Do You Know If Your Chakras Are Imbalanced?

If one of your chakras is out of alignment, it can either be overactive and flowing too freely or underactive, with blocked or impeded energy flow. This loss of balance can affect the area of life it’s responsible for, causing mental health issues and physical symptoms.

For example, an underactive heart chakra could lead to feeling shy or lonely. But an overactive heart chakra can make you judge others harshly or have high expectations of other people. Those are just some of theeffects it can have.

An unbalanced chakra can affect parts of your body close to it — not just your emotions. Although there’s no research to prove this, many people believe that prolonged imbalance of your chakras can lead to illness and loss of mental wellness.

Root Chakra

Signs of a Blocked Root Chakra

Because this chakra is associated with basic security, a blockage can make you feel unsafe, ungrounded, scared, anxious, and worried. It can lead to physical and mental health issues, such as digestive upset, fatigue, depression, anemia, lower back pain, or sciatica.

Signs of an Overactive Root Chakra

If you have too much energy running through the root chakra, you pay too much attention to material, physical things. You might form unhealthy attachments to money, sex, eating, drugs, and alcohol.

Sacral Chakra

Signs of a Blocked Sacral Chakra

A blocked sacral chakra makes it challenging to get pleasure or enjoy life. It can cause depression and anxiety, sexual dysfunction, and urinary problems. You are likely to feel uninspired and creatively blocked.

Signs of an Overactive Sacral Chakra

Too much energy through the sacral chakra makes you more susceptible to addictive behaviors and emotional mood swings.

Solar Plexus Chakra

Signs of a Blocked Solar Plexus Chakra

A blockage here leads to poor self-esteem, indecision, and low confidence. You will generally feel bad about yourself and have difficulty seeing your worth. Blocked solar plexus energy leads to inaction, procrastination, and apathy. Physical signs are digestive ailments.

Signs of an Overactive Solar Plexus Chakra

An overactive solar plexus chakra is the opposite. You have too much belief in your abilities and are arrogant, egotistical, hyperactive, and power-hungry.

Heart Chakra

Signs of a Blocked Heart Chakra

As the seat of love and compassion, the heart chakra can make you feel sad, betrayed, angry, or jealous when blocked. You might put up a wall and be unable to connect with others emotionally. Relationships suffer. Physical ailments include heart disease, respiratory conditions, breast cancer, and high blood pressure.

Signs of an Overactive Heart Chakra

An overabundance of energy in the heart chakra can make you too loving. This can lead to unhealthy co-dependent relationships and harmful attachments.

Throat Chakra

Signs of a Blocked Throat Chakra

You might find it difficult to express yourself with a blocked throat chakra. You can’t speak your truth and fear judgment from others. Your body expresses the blockage as a sore throat, neck stiffness, a thyroid condition, or tension headaches.

Signs of an Overactive Throat Chakra

Too much energy here will make you talk too much, dominate conversations, and not listen to others. You can also become overly critical and judgemental.

Third Eye Chakra

Signs of a Blocked Third Eye Chakra

A blocked third eye reduces your intuition. You might not feel like you can hear or trust your inner voice. Rather than relying on intuition, you overanalyze situations. You might struggle with depression, anxiety, headaches, memory, concentration, and sleep.

Signs of an Overactive Third Eye Chakra

If your third eye is too open, your imagination can run away from you. You might even hallucinate or experience delusions and paranoia.

Crown Chakra

Signs of a Blocked Crown Chakra

A blocked crown chakra can leave you disconnected, numb, or without purpose. Although many people simply feel normal but lack spiritual enlightenment. Getting energy to flow through the highest chakra isn’t easy. It requires specific exercises and meditation to get to that state.

Signs of an Overactive Crown Chakra

You can feel unsatisfied, greedy, and arrogant if you go too far in opening up this chakra. This can leave you disconnected from others and the divine.

Balancing Chakras

The ideal state of the chakras is balance. Picture the chakras as wheels along your spine. They should all be spinning together. If one wheel is spinning too slowly, too fast, or not at all, energy cannot flow up from one to the next.

Keeping this flow in balance reduces the likelihood of both physical and mental illness. Imbalance is associated with feeling unwell, physical health issues, and with negative emotions like fear.

Similarly, being physically unwell or struggling with a mental illness can trigger imbalances in the chakras.

To keep chakras balanced, it’s important to create alignment in both your physical and mental state. Breathing exercises and relaxation meditation can help you reach this alignment. A yoga pose for a corresponding chakra can also open and balance it.

While specific postures and breathing can keep your body balanced, guided meditations can align your mind. For example, you can meditate with heart chakra affirmations to open yourself up to receiving love. Or, you can try a Kundalini meditation to channel your energy and release stress.

How to Improve Overall Balance in the Chakras

Certain habits and practices will bring more overall balance to your life and help keep the chakras spinning together in harmony. Make these regular activities to achieve balance and then, as needed, focus on the individual chakras that are blocked or overactive.

  1. Spend More Time Outside

Time spent in nature is relaxing, refreshing, and invigorating. We are too often disconnected from nature, making you feel unrooted or ungrounded. It can trigger a blockage in the root chakra at the base of your being.

Take a walk outside every day. Visit a nearby park or forest. Take your shoes off and feel the earth through your feet if possible.

  1. Meditate Daily

Meditation is one of the best ways to align the chakras. Any meditation will help you feel more secure, aware, and at peace and benefit the chakras.

To go deeper, focus on each chakra, from the root to the crown, as you meditate. You can do this by placing a hand on each location as you go up or by picturing the color of each chakra. Visualize energy flowing freely from one to the next.

As you continue practicing meditation on all the chakras, you’ll get better at noticing imbalances in individual chakras. You can then focus your meditation on bringing that particular energy center into balance.

  1. Practice Yoga

The body’s energy centers are connected to mental, spiritual, and physical health. Yoga moves the body in ways that bring about physical wellness and impact the mental and spiritual. As with meditation, regular yoga will improve overall alignment. You can also learn to use specific poses to balance individual chakras.

  1. Work with a Professional

Another good way to align your chakras is to work with a professional healer who can provide specific exercises and experiences. For instance, a sound healer provides sound baths for energy healing. Specific vibrations clear blockages and improve energy flow in the body. Acupuncture uses the energy lines in the body to redirect that flow.

Bringing Balance to Individual Chakras

Regular habits that improve flow throughout the chakra chain are important. Practice these frequently to maintain overall health and wellness. As you learn more about your chakras and how they affect your behaviors, feelings, and physical symptoms, you will be able to pinpoint specific chakras that need attention.

With this knowledge, you can tailor your practices to restore flow or slow overactive energy in one or more chakras.

Balancing the Root Chakra

A straightforward way to balance and unblock the root chakra is to ground yourself with mountain pose. This basic yoga pose roots you to the earth and helps you feel connected to it. Get outside and feel the dirt under your feet to tap into the root chakra. Do your gardening chores with gloves off to connect with the soil. Try meditations focused on the color red and the feeling of being grounded and at one with the earth.

Balancing the Sacral Chakra

The sacral chakra is associated with orange and water. Meditate on oranges and eat nourishing orange foods. Spend time outside in or around a body of water. Go for a swim to get your exercise.

Located in the pelvic area, the sacral chakra benefits from hip-opening yoga poses like pigeon pose and crescent pose. This chakra is also associated with emotions, so try a mindfulness meditation. Observe your feelings quietly and without judgment, then let them pass through you.

Balancing the Solar Plexus Chakra

Located right in your belly, the solar plexus chakra benefits from exercises that strengthen the core. A challenging core workout can bring balance here. Use the plank pose, boat pose, and bow pose to focus on your midsection.

For a visualization meditation, picture a fire in your belly that feeds self-confidence and action. Throw negative emotions and self-doubt into that fire. Associated with the sun, the solar plexus chakra benefits from time outside on a sunny day.

Balancing the Heart Chakra

To bring balance to the heart chakra, focus on both self-love and love for others. Try gratitude journaling and meditation to bring attention to what you love and appreciate in the world. Practice love-based affirmations, like “I am worthy of love” and “I give and receive love freely.”

The heart chakra is associated with air, so try deep breathing exercises. Nourish yourself with green foods. Use yoga poses that open up the chest: wheel pose, camel pose, upward-facing dog.

Balancing the Throat Chakra

Anything you can do to use your voice will benefit from the chakra. Sing along with the radio or in the shower, read a story to your children, or talk with friends. If there is a difficult conversation you have been avoiding, now is the time to have it. Open the throat area with a fish, bridge, or plow pose and do neck stretches.

Find ways to express yourself that go beyond using your literal voice. Journal to get your feelings out or create a work of art.

Balancing the Third Eye Chakra

By the time you reach the third eye, your energy centers have become more spiritual and less physical. Focus on the mind to balance this chakra. Try yoga Nidra to relax the mind or the legs up the wall pose to bring blood flow to the brain.

Gazing meditations that help you focus on seeing clearly will open up your third eye. Try to listen to your inner voice and take it seriously. Use your imagination with visualizations, such as manifesting what you want for your future.

Pay attention to your dreams. The third eye chakra is active while you dream. Keep a journal to record what you dream about each night.

Balancing the Crown Chakra

This is the most spiritual of all chakras; opening it isn’t easy. If you have mastered and balanced your other chakras, try elevating your spiritual wellness by concentrating on the crown chakra.

Do meditations in which you visualize a white light coming from the universe and entering the top of your head. Use yoga poses that involve the top of the head, such as headstands or rabbit pose.

Connect with the universal by stargazing at night. Meditate on the feeling of being a small part of a bigger whole. A practical way to make this connection is to be of service. Try volunteering once a week to give your time and energy to the community.

For overall wellness and balance in your chakras, make it a habit to practice meditation or breathing exercises every day. Doing this just before bedtime or right after waking up is a perfect time. You don’t have to start with long meditations — just a minute-long meditation can have many benefits for your body and mind! Try BetterSleep for free to access the perfect guided meditation, no matter which chakra you want to focus on.

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