Energy chakras are controlled by your mind and your emotions. They can be underactive, overactive or a little skewed, but at their most potent make you feel and behave better. But they need to be active and balanced.
Chakras are commonly associated as having “spiritual” connotations, primarily because of their connection to meditation. Whilst this is true, it is also true that we all have these energy centres and they do have a major influence in the way we act and feel.
In this article, I will explain each chakra and the aspect of your personality and emotions they influence. This will help you determine whether your chakra is balanced or out of sync. I also include practical exercises you can do to help you realign any chakras which are not in balance. The exercises are specifically targeted towards people who are not comfortable with meditation.
Mankind has known about energy chakras for thousands of years. They are mentioned in ancient Vida texts of India and feature in other belief systems that are prominent in the Far East. Although most westerners are probably aware of them, most people do not maintain them simply because spiritual upkeep is not ingrained into our culture.
The balancing of chakras is often associated with meditation and spirituality, but you do not have to meditate to align your energy centres. It helps of course, but physical exercise works too and is equally important.
If you ignore balancing your chakras because you associate them with “spirituality” and are not comfortable with that label, try these exercises. They will help without making you feel awkward. But first, you need to understand how your chakras work.
Understanding how your chakras work
Chakras are kundalini centres that allow energy to flow through our bodies, ideally at an equilibrium. This energy is known as prana, the vital life-force that allows us to reach higher levels of consciousness.
When your chakras are open and balanced, you feel the maximum benefits of physical and psychological health. You will wake up each morning feeling happy and raring to go. You will also experience a heightened sense of intuition.
When chakras are unbalanced, they affect your emotions and personality which ultimately impact on your relationships and daily experiences. Often, if one chakra is inactive, another chakra will be overactive in order to compensate for the weaker chakra, and in doing so brings out the worse sides of human nature.
Energy centres usually become blocked when memories are buried deep into your subconscious due to events that happened in your past – often as far back as childhood. There are many causes; a childhood trauma, a belief system you were indoctrinated with, emotional experiences you haven’t dealt with or a lack of love and attention.
Regardless of the cause, there are effective methods you can practice that will open closed chakras and bring the seven energy centres of your body into perfect balance so that you feel vitality, worth and happiness.
In all there are seven key body chakras. Each is assigned a colour together with the state of emotion and physical health that it governs. When totally balanced, chakras are positioned in a straight line through the centre of your body from the base of your spine to the tip of your head. Let’s take a look in greater detail.
First Chakra (red): Root Chakra = Self-preservation
Symptoms when unbalanced: Paranoia, insecurity, aggression, nervousness, fear, apathy, depression, lethargy, impassive.
The root chakra is found in the base of your spine and is connected to your sense of well- being and security in life; how stable you feel in your life roles, whether you are comfortable in the company of others and aware of what is happening around you.
If your root chakra is underactive you will tend to feel nervous and distrusting of others. In severe cases you will neglect your body by overeating, drinking heavily, chain-smoking and even through drug abuse. Emotional symptoms appear as depression, chronic fatigue and anorexia. It can also lead to delusions and other forms of mental illness.
When your root chakra is overactive, you feel insecure and vulnerable. Ultimately you become materialistic and crave new clothes and comfort foods. In the search for recognition from others you buy the latest gadgets and brag about the things you have.
Physical exercise to balance the root chakra
To balance the root chakra you need to become grounded by sending energy into the earth. To do this, stand up straight with your feet slightly apart and push outwards as if you are trying to separate the floorboards.
You should feel your thighs and the tops of your butt cheeks tense. Hold the position for around a minute, then relax and take deep breaths. Repeat the exercise for around 10-15 minutes. This exercise is so subtle you can perform it anywhere; standing in line, waiting for a bus or talking on a phone – although you may want to do most of the listening!
Chakra two (orange): Sacral Chakra = Self-Creation
Symptoms when unbalanced: Tension, frustration, depression, compulsive disorders, self-deprivation, addiction
The sacral chakra is the located in the mid-abdomen and is the centre of self-love. It essentially governs feelings and sexuality. A balanced sacral chakra will enable you to enjoy life and be at your most creative. You make choices that are in your best interests and that you can nurture to create a fulfilling future. In general you are outgoing, optimistic and emotionally balanced.
If your second chakra is underactive you can lack emotion and close yourself off to others. You will often feel melancholic and as though life has dealt you a bad hand. You are also not very open to change. If your sacral chakra is over-active you tend to be sensitive and over emotional and can be overly sexual because you are looking for approval or comfort in others through sex.
Physical exercise to balance the sacral chakra
When the sacral chakra is inactive you will feel pain in your lower back so the physical exercise to open your sacral chakra is to manipulate the pelvis area with thrusts and rotations. It’s best to do this at home, but can be performed in a standing position when performing household chores such as cooking, ironing or washing the pots. Play music to get you in the mood.
If you meditate you should work on your sacral chakra by repeating the following affirmation:
My sacral chakra is balanced. I am emotionally balanced and the person I love finds me sexy and attractive.
Third Chakra (yellow): Naval Chakra = Self-Empowerment
Symptoms when unbalanced: Bossy, narrow-minded, flaky, unable to concentrate, oblivious to other people’s feelings, naïve
The naval chakra dictates confidence, will power and self-direction. When balanced you feel confident in your own ability and when in the company of others. If you are in a group of people, either friends or strangers, you can still be decisive and comfortable with your actions.
Motivational speakers say the third chakra inspires others. When your naval chakra is open you produce a formidable energy that emits charismatic charm and engages other people to you. On a spiritual level, it is the first point of consciousness and will help you become more receptive to astral planes.
When the naval chakra is underactive you are often indecisive and often worry about what other people think of you. Furthermore, you become a burden to others by getting them to do things for you rather than taking responsibility for your own life. Stop running away.
If your naval chakra is overactive you can be arrogant and aggressive. You become tired of life, and ultimately others become tired of you. You can become dictatorial, but at the same time do not like confrontation and back down easily. You are a daydreamer, lack concentration and feel anxious about the future and the past.
Physical exercise to balance the naval chakra
To open your naval chakra you need to develop a sense of personal power. You can do this by performing a type of yogic exercise known as the prone position. In Bikram Yoga it is called the Cobra Pose.
Lay face down on the floor with the legs together. Put your arms by your side so that your finger tips are in line with your shoulders and your elbows touching your sides. In the starting position your elbows should be at 90 degree angles.
Using the strength of your back and torso, lift your head backwards and look at the ceiling. Use your arms to support your weight and lift your torso off the floor.
Hold the position for 20 seconds then lower yourself back down slowly. Do this for a couple of minutes each day until your chakra is balanced.
Fourth chakra (green): Heart Chakra = self-love
Symptoms when unbalanced: Loneliness, suspicion of other, greed, jealousy, impatient and cold with others, possessive
The heart chakra influences your love choices together with caring and endearment towards others. When open you feel a greater sense of peace, find humour in life and are more patient, generous and kind towards other people. An open heart chakra allows you to be prosperous and in good health.
However, if your heart chakra is over active you can smother loved ones with too much attention in a way that becomes suffocating and overbearing. This is most noticeable in mothers and lovers that do not feel their partners show them as much love as they give.
Like everything else in life, love requires a balance. You can achieve this by first and foremost accepting yourself for who you are and accepting others for how they are. You will know whether your heart chakra is balanced if you have a strong sense of well-being and are compassionate and empathetic towards others.
When your fourth chakra is under-stimulated you feel jealously towards others and can be resentful. You also feel uncomfortable receiving gifts and affection from others, but fear being resented.
Physical exercise for balancing the Heart Chakra
The best way to open your heart chakra is to relinquish the traumas and hurts of the past. Do this by acceptance and forgiveness. To help you get over this hurdle write a letter to everybody you feel has hindered or hurt you in your life and tell them you forgive them. You do not have to send the letter, the idea is to psychologically overcome the trauma in your own mind so you can move on.
Fifth Chakra (sky blue): Throat Chakra = Self-honesty
Symptoms when unbalanced: Easily distracted or preoccupied, negative, resentful, dishonest, confused, hostile
The throat chakra governs your ability of self-expression through communication and controls the ability to listen and understand what others tell you. When open and used to its full power you are able to express yourself comfortably and have a heightened sense of intuition, even telepathy. You also have the ability to effectively communicate with your spirit guides whether you are aware of their presence or not.
When the throat chakra is inactive or you tend to be shy and if it is blocked you have a habit of lying a lot. An underactive throat chakra is common in children. When overactive you are extremely vocal and annoy people – primarily because you are a bad listener. To anybody who is aware of how chakras work having an overactive fifth chakra is a sure sign one or more of your other chakras is closed.
Physical exercise for opening the Throat Chakra
Chakra five works with sound and vibration. You can do a powerful chakra meditation using vibrations from ancient Bija mantras. Ancient Veda scriptures which forms the basis of modern ay Hinduism, are based on sound rather than visualisation and is also used in many other Eastern philosophies that branched out from the Vedas.
In order to make the tomes vibrate, speak in a low, monotone voice and repeat the following sounds:
“OO” as in root (this is actually connected to the root chakra)
“OH” as in goat
“AH” like car
“EH” like the e in head
“EE” as in sheen
“ZZZ” as in buzz
MM as in hmm
It is important to continue chanting these tones one after the other and repeating them so you feel the vibration in your throat and upper chest.
Chakra 6 (Purple): Third Eye Chakra = Self-awareness
Symptoms when unbalanced: Daydream, paranoia, lack of imagination, self-absorbed, insensitive, narrow-minded
The sixth chakra influences you imagination, intuition and insight. It is located in the centre of your forehead in between the eyebrows and is often referred to as the third eye chakra or pineal gland. Very few people have a balanced third eye chakra.
When the sixth chakra is open you can visualise vividly and will have a higher sense of intuition, even clairvoyance. Your imagination is unlimited and you will concentrate for longer periods. When overactive however, you tend to live in a dream world and in extreme cases will suffer hallucinations.
When the third eye chakra is inactive you become ensconced in the material world with little or no imagination of the astral realms. You see the world literally and over analyse things which lead to confusion. You rely on other people’s opinions rather than thinking for yourself. Most of us are guilty of this. I am still working on it myself…
Physical exercise for opening the Third Eye Chakra
A simple exercise for the third eye chakra is capturing light in the mind’s eye. The idea is to stimulate your mind’s ability to visualise in order to subsequently develop your imagination. Whenever you see light reflecting off something in a beautiful way, perhaps a sunset, a candle or the way light creeps through the leaves on the trees, stop and take a moment to observe. Then close your eyes and try to recapture the image in your mind’s eye, your third eye chakra. Once you develop this ability try doing it with random objects.
If you do have problems capturing images in your mind’s eye, engage in exercises that stimulate your imagination, such as drawing or colouring. If you have a video on your smartphone use it to record anything you find appealing, a piece of jewellery, a painting or street art. Look at these images in a different way and try to imagine what the artist is trying to say. Is there any symbolism in the piece? It’s surprising how symbols communicate with your subconscious.
Seventh Chakra (violet/white): Crown Chakra = Selflessness
Symptoms when unbalanced: Frequent migraines, confused, indecisive, flighty, constantly frustrated, psychotic
Located at the top of your head, the seventh chakra is the most spiritual chakra and dictates the flow of energy up and down through your other energy centres. It is arguably the most important chakra as it encompasses your wisdom and connection with universal energy.
When in balance you do not judge people or have any prejudice. You are more aware of the world, spiritually enlightened and comfortable in your own skin. You also have greater control of your thoughts and the ability to stimulate endorphins, the natural opiate in the brain that gives you a feel-good factor.
When the crown chakra is underactive, you tend to be disconnected with the world and yourself. You can be extremely rigid in your thoughts even when you are confused and foggy. When it’s overactive you think intellectually and try to work out the spiritual meaning of why something happened.
The best way to balance the crown chakra is actually through meditation, but for those of you who are not comfortable or struggle with meditation, a simple breathing exercise and chant will also work.
The crown chakra is physically connected to the pituitary gland in the brain which vibrates when stimulated. This allows higher vibrations of energy to flow through your other energy centres and gives you a stronger connection with the universal energy that is all around us. It will also release endorphins and instantly make your feel better. The results may not be immediate, but with practice you should notice a difference.
Physical exercise for opening the Crown Chakra
Sit somewhere comfortable where you will not be disturbed. Take in a deep breath and hold it for five seconds. When you exhale, mutter the word May from the back of your throat so the sound reverberates in your head. Do this for the entire exhalation so that you say, Maaaaayyyyyyyy.
The chant of May should be mid-range, not too high, not too low. It is important that the sound vibrates as this has a positive effect on your psychology and ability to reach a higher state of consciousness.
Ancient cultures often used sound for this very purpose and recent scientific experiments have proven there is a link between vibrations and receptors in the human brain. In essence, we are connected to energy which sound plays a major role – and your energy centres respond to all kinds of energy use.