From meditation and yoga to crystals and tarot cards, spiritual healing practices have gained popularity, especially after a long year of quarantine. Chakras, aka the seven main energy centers of the body, originate from ancient Hinduism, which equates each energy center with a specific location, color and function. The belief is that energy flows between each chakra, and when all seven are balanced and free, harmony between the mind, body and spirit can be achieved.
However when one or more chakra is blocked, the physical and spiritual body become imbalanced. Here’s how VALLEY breaks down the seven chakras for beginners on a journey to spiritual healing.
1. Root Chakra (Muladhara)
The root chakra is represented by the color red and can be found at the base of the spine. It supplies energy to the other chakras and will leave you feeling calm, confident and centered when balanced. However, a blocked root chakra may leave you feeling quick to anger, unmotivated and self-conscious.
Try envisioning the color red glowing from the base of your spine while doing simple meditation or yoga, making sure to target the hips and lower back. Going on a walk or pampering yourself with a shower are also great ways to rebalance the root chakra. It’s all about mindful physical movement.
2. Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana)
Located in the lower abdomen, the sacral chakra relates to your creative and emotional energies. It’s represented by the color orange and radiates warmth, confidence and generosity. You might feel fearful, overwhelmed, uncreative or down when your sacral chakra is imbalanced.
One of the easiest ways to restore this chakra, however, is by eating orange foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, melons, mangoes and pumpkins. Journaling and mindful meditation focused on becoming comfortable with stillness and emotional intimacy are also helpful practices.
3. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
This yellow chakra, called the solar plexus, is found in the upper abdomen near the stomach. It’s connected to digestion and intuition — your gut instincts. When energy flows freely, the solar plexus chakra opens your mind to new perspectives, as well as empowers and encourages you to explore the physical and spiritual unknown. Imbalance may feel like insecurity, unworthiness or digestive dysfunction.
Being honest about all parts of yourself with a goal of self acceptance through mindful breathing practices and core exercises can be a good place to start to find balance. Reciting positive affirmations related to worthiness, capability and power can also be helpful.
4. Heart Chakra (Anahata)
The heart chakra, much like its name indicates, is located in the center of the chest, just above the heart. It’s represented by the color green and is the center for love, compassion, empathy and forgiveness. It also acts as a bridge between the upper and lower chakras. If energy is blocked, you might experience physical abnormalities with your heart, lungs or circulation, as well as feelings of loneliness, fear of intimacy, jealousy or distrust.
Focusing on posture and drinking rose tea or cacao to physically open your heart and chest can be a helpful first step to finding your balance. Practicing gratitude, writing in a journal, and mindful meditation using affirmations about safety, love and joy are all great ways to reconnect with your heart chakra.
5. Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)
The throat chakra is exactly what it sounds like. It’s light blue and located in the throat, with its primary functions being self-expression and communicating your truth for the purpose of connection. An energy blockage may feel like neck pain, acid reflux or a cough. It could also be feelings of being misunderstood or a fear of speaking up.
The throat chakra shuts down when it encounters inauthenticity, so one of the most effective ways to restore balance is to practice “Sat Nam” — a mantra that means truth as one’s identity. Focusing your energy on living your truth while incorporating neck stretches or wearing blue throat chakra stones can be great starting points.
6. Third-Eye Chakra (Ajna)
Located in the forehead between the eyes, the third-eye chakra controls intuition and psychic ability. When balanced, this purple energy center allows you to see the big picture more clearly and understand perspectives that you may otherwise be blind to. When it’s imbalanced, you may experience headaches, hormonal imbalances, nightmares, indecision, burnout or a lack of purpose.
A helpful practice for restoring energy flow to the third-eye chakra is identity journaling. Try writing down as many statements about your identity that you can think of, and when you’ve created a list of things that you are, try the same thing again but imagine yourself at a different point in time. Reflecting on the changes between each list can help you to see beyond shortsightedness.
7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
The crown chakra, represented by violet or white, is located at the very top of the head, as it contains spiritual insight and awareness that connect you to the greater universe. When energy flows freely here, you will feel a connection to things bigger than yourself and will trade self-interest for service to the greater good. An imbalance, however, may feel like insomnia, loneliness and a disconnection from your purpose.
To help stabilize the crown chakra, you can try yoga poses like tree pose, as well as mindful breathing and meditation practices, which also help to connect you with your divine self. When the crown chakra is balanced, you allow yourself to be moved by the beauty of nature and are focused on service.
It may feel intimidating to get started, but taking just a small step or two towards balancing your chakras could be what leads to a more balanced physical and spiritual life.
Have you found your balance? Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, and tell us about your journey to spiritual healing!