A Guide to the Chakras: Discernment in the Body
The chakras are a system of understanding and discerning the energy centers of the human body. Chakras date back to ancient Indian Vedic texts that were written between 1,500 to 500 B.C. and passed down orally for centuries beforehand. In Sanskrit, chakra means wheel or disk of energy or light. It is becoming clear that modern science is slowly catching up to these ancient teachings, especially as we learn more about quantum physics and how our universe is energetic, not material. The chakras run along the physical torso of the human body, from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Each chakra is located in a specific place along this energy meridian that runs through the body, and each is associated with a specific color and set of physical, emotional and spiritual elements.
In my personal experience, I find that the more I learn about the chakra system, and get in touch with my own chakras, the more aligned I feel in my body. For me, I don’t wake up thinking “wow my solar plexus is really out of whack today,” though some people might have that experience. But whenever I feel physical symptoms like a sore throat or a headache, or an emotional issue, I pause to consider its relationship to my chakras. I ask myself questions like, when I’m feeling insecure, can I feel it in my solar plexus? Or, if my throat is hurting, is there something I am not communicating that needs to be? More often than not, I am observing that in my own body there is truth to this ancient energetic system of understanding ourselves.
Here is a basic understanding of each chakra, and then a meditation that I use for getting in touch with my chakras and balancing them.
First Chakra – The Root
Location: Base of the spine, around the coccyx/tailbone
Associations: Birth, mother earth, tribe, judgment, fight or flight, stability and safety, the material world
Positive Aspects: Connection to family, connection to the earth, feeling very safe and secure in the body and on the earth
Negative Aspects: Issues with the mother, traumatic births, feeling unsafe, not belonging and exclusion, survival issues (i.e. poverty, death), judgment of others (and self)
Physical Issues: Lower back pain, immune disorders, sciatica
Second Chakra – The Sacral
Color: Orange Location: Lower abdomen below belly button, sex organs, pelvis
Associations: Courage, creativity, physical energy, sensuality, movement
Positive Aspects: Abundance, vibrancy, optimism, sexual pleasure
Negative Aspects: Abuse and trauma, shame, co-dependency
Physical issues: Problems with the kidneys, bladder, spleen, reproductive organs
Third Chakra – The Solar Plexus
Location: Upper gut area, above belly button, between ribs, near diaphragm
Associations: Self-esteem, personal power, the ego
Positive Aspects: High self-esteem and owning your own authentic power, joy
Negative Aspects: Not knowing or believing in yourself, feeling powerless, fear and anxiety, attachment to ego / negative thought patterns
Physical issues: All digestive issues (ulcers, stomach, colon, intestinal), pancreatitis and diabetes, liver issues, adrenal dysfunction, anorexia
Fourth Chakra – The Heart
Location: Heart area in the center of the chest
Associations: Love, boundaries, nature
Positive Aspects: Unconditional love, thoughtfulness, caring, respect, compassion
Negative Aspects: Issues with creating boundaries, hiding behind a mask, overwhelm
Physical Issues: Heart and lung issues, breast cancer, asthma, upper back problems
Fifth Chakra – The Throat
Associations: Communication, quality of word, discernment
Positive Aspects: Speaking truth, equality and fairness, peacefulness, tranquility
Negative Aspects: Not able to communicate well, not being impeccable/discerning with words, closing down emotionally, over-protection of the self
Physical Issues: Chronic sore throats or laryngitis, mouth and gum problems, thyroid issues, TMJ, scoliosis
Sixth Chakra – The Third Eye
Location: Center of the forehead, between the eyes
Associations: Intuition, rebel spirit, the mind
Positive Aspects: Clairvoyance / clairsentient, psychic, spiritual self, connection to inner wisdom
Negative Aspects: Manipulation, over-stimulation / overwhelm of the senses, addiction
Physical Issues: Sinuses, migraines and headaches, brain tumors and neurological issues, learning disabilities, seizures
Seventh Chakra – The Crown
Location: Top of the head
Associations: Spirituality and connection to God, higher Self, wisdom, higher consciousness
Positive Aspects: Spiritual practice, feeling of connection to the divine and a higher power, understanding life and existence from a higher consciousness
Negative Aspects: Disconnection from the body / material world, small-mindedness, apathy
Physical Issues: Energetic problems, chronic exhaustion, extreme sensitivities to the environment
Discernment might seem like it’s purely a mental skill, but it’s not. Learning to notice and process our body signals leads to a sharper understanding of our emotions, energy levels, and performance. Our body can act as a powerful map if we choose to use it as such.
Meditation for Connecting to the Chakras
This meditation will connect you with your body, the earth, and help you get in touch with your chakras.
Take a comfortable seated position, either cross-legged on the floor or a pillow, or in a chair with your feet planted on the ground. You may want to play some relaxing music or sit in a quiet space. Take five deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. During these breaths, take your focus off your thoughts and onto your breath. Feel yourself relax into you body, with the gentle pull of gravity rooting you to the earth.
Continue to breath gently, and take your attention to the crown of your head. Imagine the crown of your head opening up, and a gentle, loving white light streaming down into the crown of your head, through your body, into the earth. Imagine this white light filling your entire physical body and radiating outwards. Then imagine it going through your feet, deep down into the soil, then the rocky crust of the earth, through the magnum and into the center core of the planet. Then feel the light come back up through the layers of the earth, into your feet, and into the base of your spine.
Focus on the area at the base of your spine, near your coccyx (tail) bone. Take five deep breaths, breathing into this area and imaging that white light streaming through your body being red in this area – this is your root chakra. Notice how it feels. You may even want to place your hands here to help you connect with any sensations. It could be a physical sensation or an emotion. Take note of it and breath through it, with no judgment. Next, move up the body slightly to the area of your pelvis and sex organs, right below your belly button. This is the sacral chakra. Imagine an orange light here, and take three deep breaths into this area. Again, notice how it feels. Move up again, into your upper abdomen, above your belly button but below your chest, in between your ribcage. Imagine a yellow light here and take five deep breaths into this chakra – your solar plexus – and notice how it feels.
Next, feel the energy move into your heart chakra in the center of your chest. Feel a warm green light emanating out from this area, and take five deep breaths noticing how it feels. Remember to not judge what comes up. Continue up the body to your throat chakra. Breathe five deep breaths into the throat and imagine a blue light here. See how it feels. Next, feel energy move up into your forehead, right between your eyes, where the third eye chakra sits. Imagine indigo light here, and take five deep breaths. Finally, feel energy move up into your crown chakra at the top of your head, imagining purple or violet light here. Take five deep breaths and notice how your crown feels.
Before the end of this meditation, sit for a few moments, gently breathing and feeling the connection of all the chakras in your body. Notice the light running through you and feel your connection to your body, and its connection to the earth. You can stay here for as long as you like. When you’re ready, wiggle your toes and fingers and open your eyes. Grab a notepad or journal and jot down any sensations or feelings you noticed, especially in relation to the different chakras.
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