Chakra translates to “wheel”. The 7 chakras in the body are distinct energy centers that start at the top of your head and end at the bottom of your spine. They regulate all parts of your bodily system, influencing everything from emotional processing to resistance to disease.
Typically, 7 chakras meditation techniques focus on making the chakras open and keeping them in alignment. If they become blocked or out of sync, this can negatively impact your physical and psychological health.
To get a better sense of how this works, picture a physical machine. If cogs get stuck, pipes become detached or parts of the machine leak, it no longer does its job properly. Plus, these basic faults inevitably lead to further failures. Then, the device deteriorates further. The network of chakras works in a broadly similar way.
Once you can tune into the location of your 7 chakras, you become adept at opening chakras and develop intuitions about blockages. Consequently, you can detect and solve problems as they arise and before they have serious consequences. In addition, you can locate old wounds and do the work needed to address them. In sum, through proper knowledge of chakras, healing can occur.
As you aim to answer the question “what are the 7 chakras?”, it’s important to look at the historical origins of the 7 chakras. The concept traces back to early Hinduism and Buddhism. Hinduism in particular documents up to seven chakras. Meanwhile, Buddhism mentions just five. The etymology of the word partly comes from ancient Hindu texts, where it is used to mean “wheel”. It is also said to relate to the Greek word “Kuklos”, and the Anglo-Saxon word “hveohl”. These all designate a wheel of some sort.
These common origins all emphasize the interconnected and constantly shifting nature of the chakras.
If you’re asking yourself “are chakras real?”, consider that chakra history clearly illustrates the longevity and effectiveness of chakra-based traditions. These bodily focal points have been the subject of meditations, breathing techniques and mantras, all of which aim to use the chakras to detect, and address, physical and psychological problems.
1. The Root Chakra is foundational. When all is well with this chakra, you’ll feel secure, calm and anchored in reality. You’ll be bold enough to tackle new challenges, and you’ll feel confident doing so. This makes a properly aligned Root Chakra vital whenever you’re trying something new or pursuing a major life goal.
You can develop a blocked Root Chakra if something threatens your basic survival needs (e.g. for food, shelter or money). Even if you simply fear that your basic survival will be undermined, your Root Chakra can come out of alignment in response.
- Physical Location: The bottom of your spine (where your tailbone is located).
- Color: Red.
- Element: Earth.
- Emotional Issues and Behaviors of Blocked Root Chakra: If your Root Chakra is blocked you may feel threatened, panicked or anxious. This anxiety can easily infiltrate your thoughts, making everything suddenly feel uncertain. You may also find that you can’t concentrate and that you’re constantly preoccupied with worries about your well-being. In some people, this can manifest as hypochondria or general paranoia. Physical issues potentially caused by a blocked Root Chakra include a sore lower back, low energy levels, and cold extremities.
2. The Sacral Chakra is key to your creative energy. It is related not only to pursuits of artistry and the imagination but also to your sexuality and your capacity for change in all areas of life. Your Sacral Chakra might become misaligned or blocked in some way if you’re stressed about some aspect of your sexuality. Or, if you are unsatisfied in your relationship or struggling to experience pleasure in life more generally. It can also be disturbed by negative feedback that makes you doubt your creative capacities.
- Physical Location: In the middle of the abdomen, roughly two inches below the belly button.
- Color: Orange.
- Element: Water.
- Emotional Issues and Behaviors of Blocked Sacral Chakra: When there’s a problem with the Sacral Chakra, you’re likely to feel bored, listless and uninspired. You may have a low sex drive, and you’ll possibly feel afraid of (or resistant to) change. Physical symptoms associated with a blocked Sacral Chakra can include urinary discomfort, increased allergies and an attraction to addictive behaviors. These need not be related to drug or alcohol use. Shopping addiction, gambling, and issues with eating can all be linked to issues with the Sacral Chakra.
3. The Solar Plexus Chakra is often thought of as vital for self-esteem, autonomy, and determination. Consequently, it is sometimes called the “personal power” chakra.
When all is as it should be with this chakra, you’ll have a clear path ahead of you. You should know what is necessary for success. You may also feel independent like you can accomplish almost anything if you set your mind to it. Meanwhile, this chakra can easily be negatively affected by perceived failures, unpleasant social experiences, or lingering feelings of low self-worth from childhood.
- Physical Location: Around the stomach area at the top of your abdomen.
- Color: Yellow.
- Element: Fire.
- Emotional Issues and Behaviors of Blocked Solar Plexus Chakra: If there’s a blockage around the Solar Plexus Chakra, your confidence may be very shaky. If there is only a small blockage, there may only be insecurity in one specific area. A larger blockage can cause generalized self-esteem problems. You might be haunted by thoughts that you are not good enough. Or, you may feel unable to draw useful lessons from life’s challenges. Physical difficulties associated with a blocked Solar Plexus Chakra may include digestive discomfort and troubles with memory.
4. The Heart Chakra
As you might expect, the Heart Chakra is intimately connected to your capacity for love and compassion in all their forms. It is sometimes described as a bridge between the mind, body, and spirit.
When your Heart Chakra is well balanced, you will be able to offer empathy to others, be emotionally open, and enjoy a deep sense of inner peace. You may feel your emotions fully, and yet also understand them on a cognitive level. Anything negatively related to love can trouble the Heart Chakra; a breakup, a grief process, a difficult friendship, or even just an instance of casual cruelty.
- Physical Location: Directly above the heart.
- Color: Green.
- Element: Air.
- Emotional Issues and Behaviors of Blocked Heart Chakra: When the Heart Chakra is blocked or misaligned, you’ll struggle to relate to other people. You may be less compassionate than usual and may be impatient. You’ll commonly find it harder than usual to trust, and you won’t feel at peace. Rather, you’ll feel restless and disgruntled. A blocked Heart Chakra can also manifest physically. Some Chakra experts think such a misalignment may be linked to issues like high blood pressure and low immune system function.
5. The Throat Chakra regulates your self-expression in all senses, influencing how authentically you convey your deepest self to the world. Your directness, emotional honesty and ownership of your needs connect to this area.
When your Throat Chakra is aligned properly, you will feel able to say what you mean, be well understood by others, and speak the truth in ways that are appropriate. In other words, you’ll be forthright without being blunt. Difficult experiences with communication can shift the Throat Chakra. For example, a tough job interview or a bad argument can shift your Throat Chakra.
- Physical Location: In the middle of the throat.
- Color: Blue.
- Element: Ether.
- Emotional Issues and Behaviors of Blocked Throat Chakra: A blocked Throat Chakra primarily manifests in an inability to say what you really want to say. You may feel like you’re stuck holding onto secrets. Similarly, you may believe that people don’t want to hear your thoughts, or that you can’t find the right words for your feelings. Once again, a small blockage may mean you only struggle with self-expression at work, or with a particular friend. Meanwhile, a significant misalignment may mean you constantly feel thwarted in communication. Physically, a blocked Throat Chakra may present with pain in the neck, sensitivity to hormone fluctuations, and discomfort in throat tissue.
6. The Third Eye Chakra is a powerful energy source when it is working well. It determines your intuition, your alignment with the Universe, and your ability to see the bigger picture in life.
When you have an open Third Eye chakra, you are adept at picking up signs. Trust in your gut feelings and plan according to your greatest goals. Law Of Attraction successes and manifestation experiences relate to this type of openness. However, the Third Eye can be misaligned if someone is making you doubt your wider purpose. Or, if you tend to prize rationality over intuition.
- Physical Location: In the center of your brow.
- Color: Indigo.
- Element: Extra-Sensory Perception.
- Emotional Issues and Behaviors of Blocked Third Eye Chakra: You may struggle to have faith in your broader purpose if your Third Eye Chakra becomes blocked. So, you may feel there’s no point to what you’re doing, or feel it is insignificant. You might also be struck by your inability to make decisions. Some people describe this as a feeling of psychological paralysis. If you have a blocked Third Eye Chakra, you might have trouble sleeping, feel clumsy, and struggle to learn new things.
7. Finally, the Crown Chakra, the highest chakra, is what determines your spiritual connectivity. This chakra is sometimes called “thousand petal lotus” chakra. Given its place as the highest chakra, it is vital in creating a life you love, and in attaining a feeling of peace. However, working with it is a notoriously subtle process.
When all is well, you will be in tune with beauty in the world around you. Plus, you can experience feelings of profound joy. Life may feel worthwhile, glorious and rich. Unfortunately, a traumatic life experience can move the Crown Chakra out of positive. This can then cause you to doubt yourself and purpose.
- Physical Location: The top of the head.
- Color: Violet.
- Element: Thought.
- Emotional Issues and Behaviors of Blocked Crown Chakra: If your Crown Chakra becomes disturbed, you might not see much beauty in the world at all. You may also feel spirituality adrift and experience symptoms of depression. If you’re only starting to develop this type of block, you might just notice a decline in overall excitement or motivation. Physically, a blocked Crown Chakra can also occur at the same time as problems with physical coordination or chronic headaches.