Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning spinning wheel. These are a system of seven energy centres located along the spine. Each chakra corresponds to an area of the body, a set of behavioural characteristics and stages of spiritual growth. Practicing yoga and focusing your energies during different postures can help you to align your chakras and get all the wheels spinning in the same direction and speed. Understanding how to fine tune and control your chakras through yoga and meditation can help bring balance and peace to your mind, body and spirit.
There are seven chakras, each associated with a different part of the body along the spine from the perineum to the crown of your head. Each chakra is associated with a particular body location, a colour, a central emotional/behavioural issue, as well as many other personal aspects including identity, goals, rights, etc
The seven chakras are:
1. Root Chakra (Muladhara)
When the root chakra is open, we feel confident in our ability to withstand challenges and stand on our own two feet. When it's blocked, we feel threatened, as if we're standing on unstable ground.
Location: Base of spine, in tailbone area
What it controls: Survival issues such as financial independence, money, and food
Mantra: "I can't grow from an unsteady foundation."
Yoga pose: Warrior I
When it develops: 1-7 years old
2. Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana)
The Swadhisthana, or sacral chakra, helps inform how we relate to our emotions and the emotions of others. It also governs creativity and sexual energy. Those with a blocked sacral chakra could feel a lack of control in their lives.
Location: Lower abdomen, about 2 inches below the navel
What it controls: Your sense of abundance, well-being, pleasure, and sexuality
Mantra: "I always honour others but not before myself."
Stone: Tiger's Eye
Yoga pose: Bound Angle Pose
When it develops: 8-14 years old
3. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
The third chakra, the solar plexus chakra, speaks to your ability to be confident and in control of your life. Think back to the last time you had butterflies or felt a pit in the stomach: That's the Manipura chakra at work.
If your solar plexus chakra is blocked, you might feel overwhelming amounts of shame and self-doubt. Those with open sacral chakras are free to express their true selves.
Location: Upper abdomen in the stomach area
What it controls: Self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem
Mantra: "Self-love starts when I accept all parts of myself."
Yoga pose: Boat Pose
When it develops: 15-21 years old
4. Heart Chakra (Anahata)
The Anahata, or heart chakra, is the bridge between the lower chakras (associated with materiality) and the upper chakras (associated with spirituality). As the name suggests, this chakra can influence our ability to give and receive love—from others and ourselves.
Someone with a blocked heart chakra will have difficulty fully opening up to the people in their life. If someone's heart is open, they can experience deep compassion and empathy.
Location: Center of chest, just above the heart
What it controls: Love, joy, and inner peace
Mantra: "When I love myself, loving others comes easily."
Stone: Rose Quartz
Yoga pose: Camel Pose
When it develops: 21-28 years old
5. Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)
The Vishuddha, or throat chakra, gives voice to the heart chakra and controls our ability to communicate our personal power.
When it's functioning at full capacity, it allows us to express ourselves truly and clearly. Someone with a blocked throat chakra will feel like they have trouble finding the words to say how they truly feel.
What it controls: Communication, self-expression, and truth
Mantra: "I speak my truth, always."
Colour: Light Blue/Turquoise
Yoga pose: Fish Pose
When it develops: 29-35 years old
6. Third-Eye Chakra (Ajna)
As we move up the body, we're getting closer to communion with the divine. The Anja, or third-eye chakra, controls our ability to see the big picture and connect to intuition. Think of it as the eye of the soul: It registers information beyond the surface level.
Visions and intuitive hits are not uncommon for someone with an open third-eye chakra.
Location: Forehead between the eyes (also called the Brow Chakra)
What it controls: Intuition, imagination, and wisdom
Mantra: "I am open to exploring what cannot be seen."
Colour: Dark Blue/Purple
Yoga pose: Child's Pose
When it develops: 36-42 years old
7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
Location: The very top of the head
What it controls: Inner and outer beauty, spiritual connection
Lesson: "I am a vessel for love and light."
Element: Divine Consciousness
Stone: Clear quartz
Yoga pose: Headstand
When it develops: 43-49 years old
Through the movements and postures of yoga, you can learn to focus your concentration and energy to and from the various chakras in your body. This can allow you to compensate for areas that may be out of sync with the rest of your body or not active at all. By balancing the energy among all seven of the chakras, balance can be achieved.
This spiritual energy is known as Kundalini energy. In its dormant state, it can be visualized as a coiled up snake resting at the base of your spine, the Muladhara chakra. Since the chakras act as valves or pumps regulating the flow of energy through your system, controlled and purposeful movements such as yoga can be extremely beneficial in realigning your chakras in a way that can cause great benefits to you in your physical and emotional wellbeing.