You can find many explanations of Chakras in print and online, but most are based on Eastern philosophies. As a result, they may seem overwhelming or far-fetched to Western cultures. Here is a basic foundation in plain English to describe Chakras.
Chakras (pronounced Shock-ruhs) are energy centers in the body. Chakra means wheel, and these non-physical wheels turn to access different characteristics, energies, organs and systems.
Just as you turn on a faucet for water pressure or plug things into an outlet for electrical current, you can access different energies from each Chakra. These are all aspects of universal energy – the energy that makes up everything and everyone. Some people are carpenters, some musicians, some nurses, some ministers, and so on. But we’re still people. Similarly, each Chakra, while providing an aspect of this one universal energy, specializes in something.
There are 7 main Chakras. A brief explanation of each follows.
1. Root. Located at the base of the spine, this Chakra focuses on survival, monetary, and physical needs. An imbalance may show up as lack of money, feeling ungrounded, or physical pain. This is related to the Earth element.
2. Sacral. This Chakra is just below the navel and governs emotional, social, and sexual balance. Struggles here can include frigidity, lack of creativity, unbalanced feminine energy, emotional problems, trouble making friends, and others. The water element and feminine energy reside here.
3. Solar plexus. This governs the upper abdomen, rib cage, and breathing to some extent. This Chakra is the center of will power, self-confidence, and action. Imbalance can create trouble finishing things, low self-esteem, fear, depression, or a need to control others. Digestive or liver problems also indicate imbalance. This Chakra is often associated with the fire element, or sun/masculine energy.
4. Heart. This Chakra is near the center of the chest, and as its name suggests, is the home of love, compassion, and acceptance. This is not superficial love, but unconditional, universal love. It comes from a more spiritual place than puppy love, love of pizza, or even marital or parent-child love. However, relationship problems may be heart Chakra-related. Disharmony can also appear as circulatory or respiratory issues. Imbalance here is not uncommon, but can be brought back into harmony with gentleness and caring. It symbolizes the air element – an element we all need but can’t see, something we can only experience.
5. Throat. This Chakra is at the base of the throat. Creativity stems from here, including music, singing, speaking, and writing. This Chakra helps you discover and communicate the truth. Again, not superficial truth, although it helps with daily life, but inner truth. “ah ha!” moments mean the throat Chakra is open at that time. Appropriately enough, this Chakra represents sound.
6. Brow. Also called the Third Eye, this Chakra is on the forehead, just above the center of the eyebrows. It brings intuitive information and keeps the ears, eyes, and nose unblocked and working well. This is considered to be the element of light.
7. Crown. The seventh Chakra is at the top of your head. People who work with subtle energy often feel an opening sensation here, because it is our connection to Creator (Spirit, God, divine, Universe, etc). It is also in charge of the pineal gland and higher brain functioning. This represents the element of thought, or Spirit.
There are many Chakra correspondences – tools you can use to balance them. Some include gem stones or crystals, sound, color, Yoga poses, and even certain tastes, smells, and affirmations. There are as many ways to bring the Chakras into harmony as there are people who have discovered them. One thing they all have in common is that they are tools to integrate these “separate” energies, or Chakra specializations, into the whole person.
When you need a bath, you find a water source and wash. When your Chakras aren’t in harmony, you find a way to harmonize them. Not everyone uses the same method, and that’s fine. The important thing is to balance them by some means, so you can live your life fully, peacefully, and joyfully.