What are the 7 Chakras? A Comprehensive Guide of the Energy Centers and their Effects
What are Chakras?
Chakras are the energy centers of the body. They are located in the astral body along the spine, starting at the base of the spine and running upwards to the crown of the head. The Chakras coincide with a gland in the physical body and each radiate a specific color and energy. Since each chakra relates to specific spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical aspects of our being, it is said that the blockage or malfunction of the chakras can lead to physical, psychological and emotional disorders. The conscious awareness and the balancing of these energy centers on the other hand is believed to lead to well-being and good health. That is one of the purposes of asana practice: to stimulate and balance the chakras or energies in the body.
You can read more about what the main chakras are and how to stimulate and balance them in this guide. And at the bottom of this blog you can watch a detailed illustrated movie about the seven chakras. Learning about their specific mantra (sound) and yantra (sign).
The 7 Chakras – A Guide about their Attributes, Strengths and weaknesses, related yoga postures
1. Muladhara Chakra – Root Chakra
Muladhara Chakra is located at the base of the spine between the anus and the genitals. It radiates the color red and represents the element earth.
It is characterized by the emotions of survival, stability, ambition and self sufficiency. When this chakra is out of balance, a person might feel unstable, ungrounded, lack of ambition, lack of purpose, fearful, insecure and frustrated. However when Muladhara Chakra is balanced a person might feel stable, confident, balanced, energetic, independent and strong.
The seed mantra (beej mantra) of Muladhara Chakra is ‘Lam’.
Read a detailed article about the Root Chakra.
2. Svadhishthana Chakra – Sacral Chakra
The second chakra, Svadishthana Chakra, is located at the lower abdomen, about four fingers below the navel. It radiates the color orange and represents the element water.
The attributes of Sacral Chakra are the basic needs for sexuality, desires, creativity and self-worth. When imbalanced, a person might feel emotionally explosive and irritable, lacking of energy and creativity, manipulative or obsessed with sexual thoughts. When Svadhishthana Chakra is balanced, a person might feel positive, vital, satisfied, compassionate, and intuitive.
The seed mantra (beej mantra) of Svadhishthana Chakra is ‘Vam’.
Read a detailed article about the Sacral Chakra.
3. Manipura Chakra – Solar Plexus Chakra
Manipura Chakra or Solar Plexus Chakra is located above the navel at the solar plexus (between the navel and the bottom of the rib cage). It represents the element fire and thus radiates yellow color.
This chakra is characterized by energy and emotions like ego, anger and aggression. An imbalance of Manipura Chakra can manifest itself physically by digestive problems, liver problems or diabetes. On an emotional level one might struggle with depression, lack of self-esteem, anger and perfectionism. By bringing the chakra into balance one might feel energetic, confident, productive and focussed.
The seed mantra (beej mantra) of Manipura Chakra is ‘Ram’.
Read a detailed article about the Solar Plexus Chakra.
4. Anahata Chakra – Heart Chakra
Anahata Chakra, Heart Chakra, as the name implies, is located in the heart region. Its color is green and the element is air.
This fourth Chakra is the seat of balance within the body, characterized by emotions of love, attachment, compassion, trust, and passion. When Anahata Chakra is out of balance a person might deal with emotional issues like anger, lack of trust, anxiety, jealousy, fear, and moodiness. By harmonizing this chakra, you might feel compassionate, optimistic, friendly, motivated, understanding, and caring.
The seed mantra (beej mantra) of Anahata Chakra is ‘Yam’.
Read a detailed article about the Heart Chakra.
5. Vishuddha Chakra – Throat Chakra
The fifth Chakra, Throat Chakra, is located at the base of the throat, coinciding with the thyroid gland. Its color is bright blue and the element is space.
Vishuddha Chakra represents inspiration, expression, faith, and the ability to communicate. Imbalance of the Throat Chakra may lead to timidity, quietness, a feeling of weakness, or the inability to express your thoughts. Balance of the Throat Chakra can manifest itself by creativity, positive self-expression, constructive communication, and satisfaction.
The seed mantra (beej mantra) of Vishuddha Chakra is ‘Ham’.
Read a detailed article about the Throat Chakra.
6. Ajna Chakra – Third Eye Chakra
Ajna Chakra (pronounced as ‘Agya Chakra’) is located in between the eyebrows. It is free of element but does have a color: indigo blue.
Third Eye Chakra is often used as a focal point during asana practice to bring more concentration and awareness. It is said that meditation on Ajna Chakra destroys the karma of past lives and gives liberation and intuitional knowledge. Its attributes are intelligence, intuition, understanding, insight, and self-knowledge. When this chakra is out of balance, one might feel non-assertive, afraid of success, or on the contrary, be egoistical. The imbalance of Ajna Chakra can manifest itself on a physical level by headaches, blurry vision, and eye strain. When Ajna Chakra is balanced, one is his own master without fear of death and free of attachment to material things.
The seed mantra (beej mantra) of Ajna Chakra is ‘Om’.
Ajna Chakra is stimulated when practicing Headstand (Shirshasana).
Read a detailed article about the Third-Eye Chakra.
7. Sahastrara Chakra – Crown Chakra
The seventh Chakra, Sahastrara Chakra, is located at the crown of the head. Also, this chakra doesn’t represent an element. It is violet and/or white in color.
Sahastrara Chakra is the center of spirituality, enlightenment, dynamic thought, and energy. It allows for the inward flow of wisdom and brings the gift of cosmic consciousness. When out of balance, one might suffer from a constant sense of frustration, no spark of joy, and destructive feelings.
The seed mantra (beej mantra) of Sahastrara Chakra is ‘Aum’.
Balancing Sahasrara Chakra can be done by practicing Headstand (Shirshasana).
Read a detailed article about the Crown Chakra.
Chakras Video Tutorial
How many Chakras are there?
Mostly we hear about the ‘seven chakras’, but there is an infinite number of chakras in the body. Seven are the primary chakras. Each primary chakra has its sub-chakras.
Function & Importance of the Chakras
The chakras are the distribution centers. They distribute the five pranas to their local regions. Each chakra is located in a specific region and it caters to that region. For example, the root chakra will distribute the Apana prana and distribute it to the pelvic region providing energy for the organs in the pelvic region. When a chakra is not functioning properly, this distribution gets disturbed and physical or energetical issues arise.
What is the shape of a Chakra?
There are many myths about the shape of the chakras. Some say that chakras are like whirling discs, some believe chakras are like flowers hanging from the spine, some think that chakras are like ice cream cones. The confusion is there because the chakras can not be seen by the eyes or by any device. So, we believe what we have heard. Now the ancient scripture say that a chakra is a sphere, like a ball. Earth is a major chakra of our solar system and a minor chakra for the galaxy milky way. It rotates to distribute some energy which is beyond human imagination.
Where are Chakras located?
The chakras are located in the spinal cord in the astral body. The astral body is the energy body residing inside the physical body. Every physical body part has a corresponding astral body part. The astral body can not be seen or touched. This is also a reason why we cannot see the chakras.
What is the size of a Chakra?
Some people say that chakras are one foot in radius, some say that they change their size according to the energy flow. But scriptures tell us that the chakras are very small, as they are located in the astral spinal cord which is located inside the physical spinal cord.
How to balance or awaken your seven Chakras
Every chakra rotates at a specific frequency and speed. This frequency and speed can change due to various factors like diet, lifestyle, thought patterns, etc. This results in issues with the distribution of the pranas. Imagine if your 50 watt light bulb getting a 500 watt or 10-watt electricity supply. When we say balance or awaken the chakras, we mean to bring to chakra back to its regular speed.
Some of the tools to balance the chakras are:
- Diet: One of the main reasons for imbalance in chakras is an imbalance of the five elements in the body. A balanced diet helps to bring balance in the elements of the body.
- Asanas: asanas help to stimulate chakras to improve their functioning and heal themselves.
- Breathing: breathing helps to increase the flow of prana in the body and remove stale prana.
- Meditation: Meditation helps to clear the mind and remove negativity and manipulation.
About the Author
Ram Jain (E-RYT 500) is a renowned yoga teacher from India and the Director of Arhanta Yoga Ashrams in India and The Netherlands. He has been teaching since 1998 and he is teaching yoga teacher training courses since 2009. In the past 10 years, he has trained over 3500 yoga teachers. Ram is also the creator of several online education courses, such as the 50 hours Online Yin Yoga course and the online Ayurveda course. Born and raised in India, his yoga education started from the age of 8 years as part of his school education. Over the period he has studied yoga and yogic philosophy in-depth from various reputed teachers.
Ram Jain is also the author of the internationally acclaimed book: Hatha Yoga For Teachers & Practitioners: A Comprehensive Guide to Holistic Sequencing