This section may serve as a week of readings or simply as a reference. The intention is to present the basics of the chakras—the connection between our physical bodies and our emotional and spiritual selves.
My hope is that you come away with an understanding of the importance of remaining open to allow for a steady flow in each area of the body for overall optimum health and wellness. I am going to refer only to the seven main chakras in the body. To keep it simple, the basic chakra colours are the same as the seven colours of the rainbow.
It is common to feel strange emotions after an opening or a release in a chakra. It may be a sense of overwhelming peace, joy, or even sadness or anger. It means you may have experienced a release in your physical body and is an indicator of where to look for further balance or healing. So, please give yourself grace as you journey towards true healing. Also note that chakras flow up and down from one to the other. Therefore, if you do have a release in a chakra that has been blocked, the chakras connected to it are going to feel the flood like a dam that has burst, and they too will then call for you to steady the flow.
Chakra Seven: Crown Chakra
Crown of the head, brain, pituitary and hypothalamus glands, connection to God Element: Thought
Let’s begin with chakra seven, which is located at the top of the head. This area is our connection to our spirituality and to God. Here lies our desire to live and walk with our Creator, to know true wisdom, and to feel a connection beyond this earthly plane. It is found through stillness, silence, meditation, and prayer. We can learn about God and read about spirituality, but to fully connect, we are then asked to listen without attachment.
When this chakra is out of balance or blocked, it may indicate that we are too spiritually attached, to the point of addiction, and unable to be present with what is going on in “the real world.” Conversely, our mind and heart may be closed to spirituality altogether. What we strive to achieve is a balance, and this balance comes from mastery: combining wisdom and intelligence while keeping an open mind.
I have witnessed both ends of the spectrum, and the result is turmoil in a person’s body and life. I’ve met people so closed off that they refused to listen at all to the subtle voice within.
They ended up simply spinning their wheels, physically and emotionally, and creating more of a disaster to clean up when finally forced to calm their mind and body after hitting rock bottom, with no other choice.
I have also met those too spiritually attached, often when seeking relief from emotional pain, making them unable to function in their lives. Clients have told me about their feelings of abandonment because of parents who devoted themselves so intensely to God or a church or religion. The result was that the parents lost sight of reality at home and stopped properly caring for their children, making unwise decisions when it came to them. It may be hard to believe that being spiritual could be selfish, but it can happen when one needs to live in a distracted euphoria of spirituality instead of in a peaceful, present, and connected source of spiritual wisdom. A balanced seventh chakra is being able to feel connected and open to spirit, yet not losing ourselves in it to the point that we jeopardize someone else’s well-being or our own. Spiritual wisdom occurs when we are fully aware of the presence of God in us and with us while remaining centred and grounded, and therefore, able to act with grace and wisdom.
My favourite yoga pose is the Humble Warrior. Strive to be God’s humble warrior as you read, pray, share, and walk in humble mercy with love. A humble warrior knows her power and uses it with humility and grace. Perhaps you too will seek to find a yoga pose that resonates with who you are and represents what you need in your life now to help balance this chakra.
The seventh chakra also holds the pituitary and the hypothalamus glands which help regulate most of our hormones and many bodily functions. If you are experiencing hormonal fluctuations,take time to centre yourself. Honour your spiritual self; become conscious and listen to yourbody. Too many hormones might mean you are trying to do too much on your own without God.Head injuries; headaches; and other issues with the brain, which involve a lack of oxygen; or personality disorders are some of the physical manifestations of this chakra being out of balance. They may be a call for you to seek or solidify your spirituality. If you are feeling over- or under-attached, or feeling lost and confused and beginning to question your faith in God or yourself, it’s time to slow down and create space in your day for prayer or meditation. Simply ask God what your physical body needs to help solidify and balance your connection to Him. Then listen in silence and throughout your day, and feel the safety that surrounds you because you are peacefully connected.
The colour of this chakra is either violet, the last colour of the rainbow, or it can be white. This chakra is your ability to learn to surrender and realize your place or part in the universe, and it develops throughout your life.
A completely balanced seventh chakra requires your entire physical body to be well and functioning properly. Today let’s take time to pray and then really listen as we seek direction and remain open in our seventh chakra, so tomorrow we can begin to work on the rest of the chakras.
Chakra Six: Third Eye Chakra
Brow area, eyes, ears, pineal gland, intuition, what you see and imagine Element: Light
Chakra six is located in the forehead and brow area. It is our pineal gland which is situated between our eyes and said to be our third eye or our intuition. This chakra is affected by light. Our pineal gland needs light to produce melatonin for body cycles, which includes sleep. This area involves our ability to sense, to see and hear with our eyes and ears, as well as with clear intuition. When we are unbalanced in this chakra, we are more likely to become either disillusioned, act obsessively, or become stuck in denial of past or present experiences. A balanced sixth chakra enables us to trust our intuition with our eyes wide open, looking up, around, and within, and then listening to what we hear to guide us to contentment and more positive experiences without disillusionment.
If you are having nightmares or constant negative emotions, it’s advisable to do some work in this chakra. A good night’s sleep begins with making peace with our past—including our day— so that we can release any fears for the future, including tomorrow. Our dreams are our subconscious mind’s way of deciphering our experiences and processing memories of past occurrences that are being recalled as part of our survival mechanism. If we feel we are stuck in a rut and experiencing anger at people from our past or present, we need to address this.
As you open and heal this chakra, start doing things that bring more love and peace into your present life. First you must work on changing your perception and how you feel today, reminding yourself that today you are safe. If you don’t, you will continue to recreate this feeling of being unsafe, and it will become your future. As you become happier, you will beginto recall more pleasant memories from the past which will bring about more enjoyable presentsituations, places, and people and produce a more positive outlook for your future. Your sixth chakra is your memory and how you “see” your life. What you see is what you create.
Depending on where we live, we receive less sunlight during fall and winter, and many of us partially or fully develop Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the winter blues. I believe this is a physical and emotional disorder that needs to be addressed for our overall well-being, which includes maintaining our chakra balance. We may have to try harder to get the light we need. Taking a walk on a sunny day can be very therapeutic when this chakra is out of balance. Getting fresh air and sunlight will stimulate our pineal gland to produce melatonin for body growth and healing as well as ensuring a good night’s sleep during which we heal, grow, and process. Although our days are shorter, we are blessed here in Canada with snow. I believe the sun’s reflection on the white snow, which can be almost blinding as we first walk outside, is God’s way of compensating us for the shorter days and filling us with the light we need. Do not be afraid of the sun in moderation; it is an essential source of nutrients for our body, mind, and soul.
The colour of this chakra is the sixth colour of the rainbow: indigo. If you need to unblock this chakra or are living in disillusionment, surround yourself with the colour indigo in your home and environment. It is a perfect colour for a bedroom accent. Pay attention to your senses, which include your intuition, as they are your means of survival as you constantly work on creating and seeing positive memories and thoughts. This Chakra is developed during adolescence.
Chakra Five: Throat Chakra
Throat, neck, thyroid gland, voice, expression, communication, creativity, flexibility Element: Sound
The fifth chakra is located in our throat and neck area. The throat represents our means of communication and expressing our truth; the neck represents flexibility. It is also the connection between the lower parts of our body, which encompass our physical identity, and the upper parts, which encompass our spiritual entity. Even though this “vibrational” passage is narrow, it holds immense power, as do our words produced by our voice. This area is the corridor that connects and shares our thoughts and beliefs with our actions and feelings and asks that we live without lies.
I love to hear my daughter singing in the shower in the morning. I know she’s clearing this chakra after her dreams as she prepares for the day. Do you wake with stiffness in your jaw or a sore throat? Before you go to sleep at night and after you wake in the morning, I encourage you to talk or sing to yourself as you free your voice to really know your truth. If you need forgiveness or you need to forgive, bring these people and situations into your thoughts and work on letting go, one way or another, with honesty and openness. This will release constriction and tension in your throat, jaw, esophagus, and neck.
This area also contains our thyroid gland, which has many functions. It affects our DNA, energy levels, body temperature, and metabolism, all of which influence the mind and body. Our neck, which supports our head, needs flexibility to allow us to look forward, sideways, and backwards, so that we are able to move in the right direction with clarity in our voice and honesty in our words.
When we are out of balance in this chakra, we may either talk too loudly or too much, or use excessively harsh words. On the other hand, we may actually have a fear of speaking and be overly shy.
When we feel we have no voice or have lost our voice and are unable to express our authenticity, we need to find an appropriate way to articulate our own truth, for we all havea right to be heard. Sing, write, create: find an outlet of expression, without yelling or sayingwords to yourself or others that you will regret. Learn communication skills to fully honour this chakra and yourself. Do not lie to others, but more importantly do not lie to yourself. Your words are important, so strive to make them flawless.
If you don’t feel safe enough to talk to a friend with complete openness and honesty, seek professional help to say what needs to be said, or begin with singing or just letting sounds come out. Of course, I encourage everyone to write as a means of expression and communication with oneself. If you find this threatening for fear that someone else might read your most intimate thoughts and feelings, do as I encourage my children to do: write one brutally honest draft, with swear words and all, that only you will read, and then shred it and rewrite your feelings in a more considered and respectful manner with integrity. You can also write poetry or stories where you remove yourself as first person but are still able to express yourself.
The colour of the fifth chakra is blue. Keep your means of expression as clear as the deep blue sea or the blue sky above. Always speak your truth and let each word flawlessly match your actions. Give yourself a voice, you deserve it, and it is your right to speak and to be heard. This chakra develops throughout ages seven to twelve.
Chakra Four: Heart Chakra
Heart, chest, lungs, thymus gland, immune system, holds grief and love (the stronger the one, the stronger the other)
The fourth chakra is located in our heart, chest, lungs, and the upper back and shoulder area. Everything we do is to protect and bring continuance and vitality to this area, physically and emotionally. Without the flow of breath and a beating heart, there is no life. This chakra needs air, space, freedom to love, to breathe, to carry, to flow, to have and to hold. It is the middle chakra, our centre, and not surprising we often speak of getting “to the heart of the matter.” Our ultimate purpose and goal, our longing, and the right to love and to be loved, as well as our ability to breathe on our own, begins at birth and continues for our entire life. What we hold in this chakra affects the ins and outs of all of the other chakras and aspects of wellness, for our greatest source of intelligence comes from the heart, from love. Love for and from God and others, love for and from our bodies, and love for and from our passions. This love flows through us as air flows in and out with our breath and blood flows through our heart and veins.
When we begin a meditation, we always begin with the breath, and many meditations consist of simply using our breath. As we breathe, our heartbeat slows, and there is an open and easy flow of oxygen. There are many subtle emotional and physical effects that breathing (deep, hard, soft or shallow) can have on the body. If we go for a run and are breathing heavily,exerting our heart and lungs because we haven’t exercised in a long time, expect some emotionsto arise. When we do yoga and breathe deeply into an area of our body, expect some emotionsto arise. Meditation instructors teach that we must be careful not to take too long a breathingmeditation, but rather work our way into progressively longer sessions as we can expect some emotions to arise. The breath needs to be taken care of and respected for its power. One single breath is what separates life from death.
In order to feel or find acceptance or love, bad habits can be formed in this chakra when we find ourselves acting in ways that do not follow our integrity. This is when it’s important for our overall well-being to constantly honour God, ourselves, and others. If you were a child who had to strive to be noticed and loved, chances are you have done or have some work to do in this chakra. Keep in mind that you are seeking balance, not tipping the scales. It can feel like a strong swinging pendulum in this area when there is a lack of boundaries. If you are a pleaser and a martyr, focusing too much on the needs of others, you may find you need to withdraw and isolate yourself to try to balance things out, even to the point of pushing people away. What we strive for is a steady, rhythmic flow, not a swing as this is hard on our hearts emotionally and physically.
To be stable in this chakra means that our hearts are open to joy and contentment whileremaining compassionate and accepting of others as well as ourselves. It is living with authen- ticity as we allow equal amounts of love to flow in and out, give and receive.
If you know you have blockages in this chakra, bring attention and awareness to your actions. Ask yourself whether what you are doing is based on fulfilling your purpose with integrity, which will attract the right kind of love. Or could you be acting in desperation, stemming from the desire to be loved without first knowing how to love yourself, and therefore looking for love in all the wrong places? This could be a habit that you formed many years ago. When you find healing in this chakra, you will learn the meaning of true forgiveness for yourself and others and will be able to love fully, yourself and others, without grief.
The forth chakra is affected by feelings of rejection and betrayal and holds grief from loss. Often during pain, we suck in and hold our breath. Holding and blocking our breath is symbolic of blocking love. Love for the emotions of the heart is the same as oxygen for the physical heart, and both are always available. Let go of pain and grief by unblocking the flow of love and breathe. Make a point of breathing in and out slowly and deeply throughout your day to keep this flow going. I learned that we cannot fully feel, laugh, or cry out loud, until we take a deep breath in and then out. Try to laugh out loud without breathing deep; try crying hard without a deep breath, or sob. You can’t. Picture a baby developing his lungs, heart, and emotions with belly laughter and crying. Breathe like a baby.
The heart chakra is the area of our thymus gland which affects our immune system. When we are unbalanced, grieving the loss of a loved one, a job or unhappy with life in general, it’s common to become more susceptible to illness as our immune system becomes compromised. I believe the main reason for this is that our breathing changes when we are stressed. The fourth chakra is where we process and feel our emotions that come from the lower chakras— our ego, passion, and foundation—to the upper chakras of truth, intuition, and wisdom.
The colour of this chakra is green, which is significant because we get our oxygen from the trees and plants, and we provide them with carbon dioxide. If your heart chakra needs some attention, step outside into the open air and take some deep, cleansing breaths. Make a point of noticing the lush green that is in your environment, knowing that you are helping to sustain them as they are sustaining you; be grateful for this. Picture this same exchange in all that you do. Feel alive, be alive, with a loving and peaceful heart, beginning with true self-love, as you also take care of your heart. This Chakra develops during the ages of four to seven.
Chakra Three: Solar Plexus Chakra
Stomach, core, adrenal glands and pancreas, ego identity, courage, how we digest ideas, self-esteem
The third chakra is our ego, our will, and our self-esteem. It is the area of our core muscles and our adrenal glands which provide our strength to act and react or respond with courage. It also includes our stomach, liver, gall bladder, and pancreas which are all related to digestion. Just a note: the liver is also known to be part of the third chakra, although I believe because of its many functions and uniqueness, it has a strong connection to all the chakras.
The third chakra asks us to make the choice each day—no matter what is going on in our life— to be kind, to be positive, and to take responsibility – without shame. If we are feeling shame, our confidence level will be low and making choices will be based on this shame. We either attack others and lose empathy, or we become weak and lose our inner spark for life. Honour your self-worth by being brave, yet never at the expense of others. In fact being brave means protecting others.
Evaluate how you sit. Is it in an arrogant position with your hands behind your head, when you should be in an open dialogue? Or are you slouched and need to straighten your spine? Much of our posture has to do with our core stomach muscles which express our physical integrity, resembling the core of our self-esteem and inner/emotional integrity. Both should be naturallystrong without having to flex. We should feel confident without feeling challenged. I rememberI fell once on my lower spine and was in much pain for weeks; I could barely walk. What got me through was my core. To protect and allow my tailbone to heal, I had to lean instead of using my lower spine to do certain things. The strength and power of my stomach musclesallowed me to continue on and trust myself again, even though I had fallen. It was also symbolic of what was going on in my life at the time and a good reminder of the importance of maintaining a solid core on the inside.
Fire is the element of this chakra. How is your fire burning? What is fueling it? How can you keep it functional and warm yet contained?
The colour of the third chakra is yellow. Like the core of a fire or the sun of your being. Strong integrity and a healthy ego do not rage out of control with a gust of wind, nor will they die out in a little breeze. They remain fueled by inner strength and are properly fed to remain resilient from all of the elements providing warmth and nourishment. The developmental stage of this chakra is from eighteen months to around three years.
Chakra Two: Sacral Chakra
Bladder, kidney, hips, reproductive glands and area, passion, creativity, connection to others, emotions
The second chakra’s element is water. It is the area of our bladder, kidneys, and repro- ductive system, all of which need to remain clear and flowing. It is our sexuality, our creativity, our ability to move and sway in our actions and attitudes. It also includes our hips, which need to remain open and ready for change and movement for fun and function. Make a point, therefore, of moving and swaying your hips with joy since your creative and spiritual energy flows through the hips, in through the feminine side, which is your left, and out through the masculine, which is your right.
This chakra encompasses our emotions, passion, and purpose. With a balanced chakra, we experience passion, pleasure, joy, and even anger, without guilt. If this chakra’s flow is blocked and out-of-balance it can result in unbalanced emotions, with strong mood swings and feelings of instability. Also included are tendencies toward sexual addictions at one end of the spectrum, and numbness, poor social skills, and excessive rigidity at the other. A balanced second chakra calls for and offers emotional intelligence, healthy boundaries in our creative passions, movement with grace, and the ability to enjoy and feel pleasure.
If you are suffering from urinary tract infections, abdominal or low back pain or menstrual problems, you may have some blockages in the flow in this chakra. Spend time, if possible, near running water, such as creeks, rivers, or waterfalls, which produce healthy negative ions. A water feature in your home could help and create awareness of these areas of your body and the flow of your emotions. Not only drink more water to purify your fluids, but do it with gratitude and with the intention of cleansing your emotions.
This chakra calls us to honour one another. It is our ability to form relationships and connect with others, while still feeling that we are in control of our lives, with freedom of choice. Because it is our passionate chakra, it involves our need to create and procreate with delight. Many of our basic human survival instincts come from this area, so guard against being seduced into making choices out of fear. Learn to cherish your feminine side—the captivating, lovely, warm, sensual self—as you open your mind and body to pleasure, but without forgetting boundaries, yours or others’. As well, embrace your masculine self—the confident, strong, wild self, but always with self-discipline.
The colour of this chakra is orange, the colour of the embers of a fire. It is how much you feed a fire that makes the flames grow strong. Feed the embers of your passions and creativity by creating new life in the form of children or through artistic endeavours. Allow these gifts to flow out into the world, knowing you have put all you have into them. Life is a dance; move and sway to the music of your inner longings to bring joy into your life and your world. This chakra develops from six to twenty-four months.
Chakra One: Root Chakra
Spine, feet, legs, support, community, home and family, adrenal glands, fight or flight, survival, moving forward, grounding, foundation
The first chakra is our physical support, which includes our feet and the base of the spine. It is our connection to the earth and the support that we stand on to feel safe as we move forward in the world. This chakra is our bond with community and our tribe, in and out of the home.
A healthy first chakra requires a solid sense of belonging and security. The beginning of our ability to trust comes first and foremost from trusting our parents and family for safety, so this chakra is affected very early on. As we become mobile, it becomes important to be able to trust the ground we walk on and eventually the world we live in. It is why we humans choose to live in communities and need our families. This chakra is the reason we childproof our homes, stand by and up for our children, join groups, and get involved in politics. When we feel threatened by our environment or lack security within our family, we may find ourselves constantly running on adrenalin as a means of self-preservation. Healing and balance come by feeling safe and finding stability in a trusting place we call home.
A healthy environment leads to a healthy body which in turn leads to balance in this Chakra. If you have a fear of social structure, feel anxiety, or you are physically undernourishing yourself, you may be deficient in this chakra. If you feel the need to hoard, feel sluggish, or are overeating, you may have an excess in this chakra.
If you feel you are lacking support and trust in your world or your community, take a moment to lie down and feel the solid, secure presence of the ground beneath you. If you feel threatened in any way or abandoned by your family, it can be a fearful way of living. To heal and strengthen this, learn to trust your physical body and be aware of how you are walking and where you are planting your feet. Be sure it is on solid ground. Focus on developing strong roots where you are today that can continue to grow downward within your tribe, your job, home, and community. Become safely grounded as you grow, feeling safe and supported in a place you know you belong.
Loyalty and honour are what this chakra requires. This comes from understanding that we have the right to be here, the right to belong. We have the right to have, as others have, within our tribe or community. It comes from learning to give and take proportionately, not to the point where we are depleted, nor to the point where we take more than our share and become greedy. Our position in our family and how we learned to acquire support, as well as give it, may have to be re-evaluated and worked on in order for us to find true stability. Patterns we may have developed in order to be or have enough in our primal need to belong and survive may have to be re-rooted.
Do some digging if you feel out of balance in this chakra and allow space for your roots to grow in nutrient rich soil. When you experience a difficult situation that challenges your means of support, such as a death in your family, a divorce, the loss of a job, or relocation, surround yourself with friends, family, and community that can continue to provide you with a sense of strength. Find solid and stable ground through a solid and stable community.
You cannot change others, but you can ask God to bring those into your life that you can trust and be trusted by. Sometimes you just need to begin by recognizing and feeling gratitude for those who are already in your life that you do trust. Build on these relationships as your foundation to create an even stronger tribe.
This chakra colour is red. If you have to, buy yourself a fancy pair of red socks or shoes or paint your toenails red to remind you of the importance of this chakra and our deep need to belong and feel supported. The sense associated with this chakra is smell, our most primal sense which helped form our survival instincts to guide us to safety. Take time to smell the red roses as you walk on solid ground in a world where you belong. The developmental time for this chakra is from the womb up to twelve months old—a perfect representation of our entry into the world and coming into our own, knowing we truly have a right to be here without fear.
This interpretation is the result of what I have learned in my reflexology practice, in my practice with healing grief, from yoga, and from my own physical and emotional releases. If this subject interests you and you want to learn more, I highly recommend that you look up some of the chakra gurus, such as Carolyn Myss and Anodea Judith, two of my favourites. Over the years I have learned so much from their books, music, and workbooks, especially Judith’s Chakra Balancing Workbook and Myss’ Anatomy of the Spirit.
This article about understanding the seven main chakras has been taken with permission directly from The Seven Seeds – Planting Seeds for Fulfillment One Day at a Time by Janaia Hutzal.