What The Heck is a Chakra?

ChakrasSeveral years ago, I was at an event where someone was selling beautiful beaded bracelets. Each one was a single color, but together they looked like a rainbow. “These colors represent the chakras,” I was told. Thinking that chakra was some kind of Indian board game, I thought the bracelets were an unusual way to play. But they were pretty, so I bought a blue one and green one!

Since then, chakra has become a mainstream word, and I hear about the chakras in many different contexts. Chakra comes from the ancient Sanskrit language and means wheel or vortex, and have been used for centuries in Eastern cultures. Now, even Dr. Oz joined in, bringing California neurologist Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary on the show to talk about these seven energy centers along the body’s central meridian that are believed to hold the key to a long, healthy life

The seven chakras are thought to link interactions of a physical, emotional and mental nature to keep health of the person in balance. The neurological and endocrine systems are the basis for these interactions. Chakras are thought to work best when “open” so the energy can flow up and down the column. Many healing systems use chakras to read a person and locate areas of “dis-ease” and to assess potential areas of emotional distress.

•    The First Chakra, located at our tailbone, is considered the root chakra, and is associated with the connection to Earth, security, foundation, survival and groundedness. It is also sometimes considered a place of potentiality and beginnings. Physically, it represents sexuality. It is symbolized by the color red.

•    The Second Chakra, also known as the sacral chakra, is located at the pelvis, and is also associated with sexuality, as well as connection (both non-romantic and romantic), abundance and creativity. Physically, it has to do with reproduction. Its color is orange.

•    The Third Chakra is located at the solar plexus in the middle abdomen, and is essentially the center of our will and self-esteem. This is how we use our will to be confident in the world in order to manifest what we want to create in our lives. Physically, it has to do with metabolism and digestion. Its color is yellow.

•    The Fourth Chakra is located at the heart and thymus. It is related to love, joy and inner peace. In some systems, the heart is considered to have two sides, the masculine and the feminine. The masculine side (right) is about unconditional love of others, and the feminine side (left) is about unconditional love of self. Physically, it has to do with circulation and immunity. It is symbolized by the color green.

•    The Fifth Chakra is located at the throat, and is about communication, self-expression and the voice. This is the place of not only communication of ideas, and concepts, but also of speaking your personal truth. Physically, it has to do with the voice and thyroid gland. Its color is light blue.

•    The Sixth Chakra is located in the middle of the forehead, at the position of the third eye, and is related to the ability to see the big picture and focus with clarity. Intuition, imagination, wisdom all relate to this region.  Physically, it’s related to the pineal gland, sleep and awakening. Its color is deep, indigo blue.

•    The Seventh Chakra is the crown chakra, located at the top of the head, and is associated with full connection to spirituality and consciousness. It is represented by the color violet.

Some believe that unblocking and restoring your chakras can improve your physical, mental and spiritual health. This can be done by eating foods that correspond with the colors associated with the chakras, through special mantras that correspond with certain sounds and via hand positions used during mantra meditation called muhdras. Unblocking also occurs when you address the social and emotional issues that might be causing problems.

According to RN yoga instructor Marla Hoover, your body can be a mirror of your life. What happens to the body is reflected in one way or another in your life. Thus, symptoms become clues for assessing what’s working in your life, and understanding the chakra system might be helpful for understanding these clues.

If we tune in to our intuitive body wisdom, we know whether we are making the right decision based on how we feel. If we are not listening or not tuned in, we might make choices that put our bodies under stress, and over time causes symptoms. For example, if your throat is often sore, and you’ve ruled out infection, cancer, allergies and reflux, could it be that you are having trouble communicating something important?

Some might think all this chakra info is a little crazy, but I think it’s a great opportunity for learning more about ourselves. We can use the best that modern medicine offers us to live healthy, but also use ancient wisdom to help us reflect on our lives and our bodies. Perhaps this insight will help us make changes for even more optimal health.

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