A Beginner's Guide to the Seven Chakras
But with all of the available information on chakras, it's easy to get overwhelmed when learning about them and how they can affect your life. If that sounds like you, have no fear, because this beginner's guide to the chakras will get you caught up in no time.
What Are Chakras?
There are seven chakras in the body, and each one is believed to be a center of spiritual power or energy. The chakras contain something called "prana," or healing energies that bring peace to our minds, bodies and souls. Each chakra corresponds with different parts of your body and controls different elements of your life.
When your chakras are aligned, or balanced, then prana can run through your body and do its job to help you lead a contented life. When they aren't, your energy can be stunted, making you feel unhappy and unwell. The idea is that you can identify any problems you're having and identify the unbalanced chakra so that you can work on realigning it, restoring harmony to your overall being.
Mūlādhāra – Root Chakra
The root chakra is the first chakra, and is said to be centered at the base of the spine. It represents our basic instinct to survive and is the foundation for all of the chakras which follow it. A healthy root chakra means you feel secure and that all of your needs regarding food, water and shelter are being met, while an imbalance may result in anxiousness or fear.
It is believed that the best way to unblock this chakra is to believe in the protection of a higher power or the natural forces of the earth. The root chakra is also tied to smell, to focus on your breathing to find balance.
Svādhiṣṭhāna – Sacral Chakra
The sacral chakra lies just below the belly button and is tied to emotion, creativity and romance. When in balance, this chakra is all about pleasure and enjoying life to its very fullest. Openness will make you more likely to feel all of the goodness that comes to you in life, as well as make you better able to roll with the punches, no matter what comes at you. It's also the chakra that guides the health of your relationships. However, when this chakra is out of alignment, you might be too dependent on others or let emotions control you too much. On the other hand, it can also be characterized by a lack of emotion.
One of the easiest ways to balance the sacral chakra is to expose yourself to flowing water. Spending time near any body of water can be helpful, but letting the water rush over your feet can align this energy further. If you're not near a lake, river or ocean, a shower or bath will also do.
Maṇipūra – Solar Plexus Chakra
As the name suggests, the solar plexus chakra is located in the solar plexus, or just below the lungs. It's tied with confidence and assertiveness, as well as your willpower and the strength of your identity. Physically, it's also associated with digestion, or less literally, the ability to take what goes into your body and convert it into good energy to power your mind and soul. When it's in balance, you should feel like you're in control of your life and emotions, and be able to take ownership of your actions. When it isn't, you might feel lazy, hesitant and overly indulgent.
One method for aligning the solar plexus chakra involves quality time outdoors. This chakra is associated with the sun, so sunshine can restore balance to it.
Anāhata – Heart Chakra
The heart chakra lives in the middle of the chest and governs love and beauty in our lives. Whatever hopes and desires you have are said to be guided by the heart chakra area. When this chakra is open, you should experience a powerful connection to the world around you and feel like your life is in harmony. When it's misaligned, you might struggle to find connection with nature, as well as with the people around you.
If your heart chakra needs opening, you should try to practice more gratitude. Start by thinking about the positives in your life and being thankful for each and every one of them. The more you can stop to appreciate what you have, the more easily you can shift your attitude and start seeing the joy in everything else.
Viśuddha – Throat Chakra
You've probably already guessed that the throat chakra rests at the center of the neck near the throat. It's associated with our ability to express ourselves openly and honestly, as well as to communicate effectively with one another. When this chakra is open, it's believed to help a person turn their dreams into reality and express their true selves. When blocked, it can mean that you don't adequately convey your ideas, and that you may either gossip too much or feel afraid to express yourself at all.
To align the throat chakra, one must learn that it's as important to listen as it is to speak. Try to be more open to new ideas and be attentive when you're having a conversation with someone else. Then, when it's your turn to talk, try to speak with love and kindness. Warm thoughts and kind words can be very effective in healing this chakra.
Ājñā – Third Eye Chakra
The third eye chakra is located in the center of the forehead and represents a powerful intuition and perception that transcends logic or reason. It helps you understand people and get a sense of a situation even before you know anything about it. An open third eye can endow you with the ability to read people and see into their soul at first sight, while a closed one might mean that you have a tough time envisioning your future and that you feel stuck in your present.
Because of its ties to transcendence, the best approach to aligning the third eye chakra is chakra meditation. At first, meditation can be intimidating to people—particularly when they believe their minds are "too busy" to meditate. However, meditation isn't about immediately clearing your mind of ideas. Take note of every moment your mind wanders and then let it drift away before returning to your meditation, and you may get better results than you expect.
Sahasrāra- Crown Chakra
The seventh and final chakra is the crown chakra, which sits at the very top of the head. It's associated with your consciousness, as well as a connection to a higher consciousness. It allows you to see beyond the physical world and get past any limits you might have imposed on yourself. When this chakra is open, you may feel wise and spiritually enlightened, but when it's misaligned, you might be pessimistic, closed-minded and not feel like you're present in your body.
Like the third eye chakra, the crown chakra is best healed through meditation. The most effective practice involves imagining a powerful white light entering your body through the crown chakra and funneling down into the other chakras and throughout the rest of your body. This should help you feel more connected with the world, as well as whatever lies beyond it.
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