A Beginner’s Guide to the Chakras


Imagine a swirling wheel of energy that flows throughout your body. In Eastern spiritual traditions, this is known as Prana, a powerful life force that imbues us with health and vitality. This spinning energy originates from seven centers within us, known as the Chakra, a Sanskrit word meaning “wheel”. These seven Chakras govern how we feel, how we act, how we love, and how we experience.

When our wheels of energy are spinning steadily and in harmony, that energy empowers each of our seven Chakras. We feel balanced in our minds, bodies, and spirits. But if the wheels start to spin too fast or too slow, we may start to feel emotionally and physically unwell. 

Since these Chakras hold so much power, it’s helpful to know what each one does and how you can fix it if it’s not serving you like it should be. Here’s what you should know about your Chakras:

1st Chakra | Root Chakra | Muladhara

The Root Chakra is located at the base of the spine, where it grounds our energy to the Earth. Mulahara is connected with our basic needs, especially our desire for safety, survival and peace. A balanced Root Chakra will help us feel emotionally and financially secure, independent and confident.

If the first Chakra is overactive, we may feel paranoid, anxious and fearful. It can trigger our fight or flight response, even when there’s no threat. An overactive Root Chakra can cause problems in the digestive system and pain in the lower back, hips, legs or feet. An underactive Root Chakra can manifest as difficulties staying focused and concentrating.

To balance overactivity, mediate and connect to your spiritual side, or channel your energy outward and practice acts of kindness toward others. To energize the Root Chakra, reconnect with the Earth. Garden, hike, or find another outdoor activity that brings you close to Mother Nature.

2nd Chakra | Sacral Chakra | Svadhishana

In Sanskrit, Svadhishana means “the place of the self”, fitting as the Sacral Chakra is all about our identity and what motivates, inspires and arouses us. The second Chakra is located about two inches below the navel. When it’s balanced, we are able to fully enjoy pleasures like food, sex and creative expression without feeling guilty or undeserving.

When it’s out of balance, we may find ourselves overwhelmed by guilt, addiction and obsessive behaviors. It may also lead to obesity and emotional problems. If Svadhishana is underactive, it may be because we’ve been all about work and very little play.

Reboot your Sacral Chakra by having fun and enjoying life. Treat yourself to a great meal. Do something creative. Have sex. Assess what behaviors and activities you’re indulging in and examine whether they truly are beneficial for you or not.

3rd Chakra | Solar Plexus | Manipura

You’ll find your Solar Plexus just a few inches above your navel, where your two sets of ribs connect. It’s also where you’ll find your self-esteem, confidence, wisdom and personal power. It controls that “gut reaction” we all feel occasionally. A healthy third Chakra makes we feel good about ourselves and helps us believe we can achieve anything we set our mind to.

However, our personal power can go haywire with an overactive Manipura, making us controlling, angry, and greedy. It can cause digestive issues and even affect our internal organs. An underactive Solar Plexus Chakra can leave us scared, frustrated, and uncertain.

Balance the Solar Plexus Chakra by meditating on love and kindness toward others and toward yourself. Open your heart up and offer compassion to those around you. Then practice that same compassion when you think about your own mistakes, doubts and fears.

4th Chakra | Heart | Anahata

The Heart Chakra is about our ability to love. Located within your heart, it’s where we feel unconditional love, compassion, forgiveness, and peace. It is through our Heart Chakra that we fall in love and develop love for ourselves.

When the Heart Chakra is overactive, it can cause us to lack compassion, become possessive, and can damage our closest relationships. It can also lead us to make poor decisions and prioritize other people above ourselves too often. An underactive Anahata may occur after heartbreak, leaving us feel lonely and guarded. Physically, if the fourth Chakra is in a bad state, it may bring heartburn, heart palpitations, lung problems, or issues with the immune system or circulation.

To unblock and restore this Chakra, take some time to focus on yourself and practice some self-love. Pamper yourself at the spa, take yourself out for dinner, or just mediate on developing more compassion for yourself.

5th Chakra | Throat | Vishudda

Located in our throat, the fifth Chakra empowers us to speak our personal truth. It is the Chakra of communication and self-expression. When our Throat Chakra is in balance, we are able to speak so that others understand us.

Vishudda can become overactive if we’re struggling to be heard. It can lead us to talk too much, to the point where we speak too loudly and interrupt others. People with underactive fifth Chakras are often shy and introverted because they have trouble expressing themselves and their emotions. An unbalanced Throat Chakra can manifest physically as pain in the neck, shoulders or throat, cavities in the teeth, frequent infections, and digestive problems.

Clearing Vishudda can be as simple as clearing your throat and speaking up! Express your thoughts and feelings, even if you’re the only one around them to hear them. Simply saying aloud what’s on your mind can help to fix the problem.

6th Chakra | The Third Eye | Ajna

The spiritual side of ourselves originates in the Chakra located on your forehead, just above eye level. It is here that you find any psychic or intuitive abilities we may carry within. When the sixth Chakra is in balance, we feel insightful, wise, in tune with a higher plane, and may even receive psychic information.

When the Third Eye Chakra is overactive, we seek out psychic and spiritual guidance more than usual. We may consult with card readers and clairvoyants to a point where the advice they offer overwhelms us and we lose sight of ourselves. It is common to have an underactive Third Eye Chakra because most of us don’t nurture our intuition and disregard supernatural experiences. If this Chakra doesn’t function properly, we may experience forgetfulness, depression, headaches, and issues with sinuses and allergies.

To calm your Third Eye Chakra, find a way to ground yourself to the Earth. Spend time in nature and reflect on your own personal freedom and free will. To energize the Chakra, meditate on your inner spirit. Listen to the voice within and let yourself explore your spiritual energy.

7th Chakra | Crown | Sahaswara

At the very top of your head, you’ll find your Crown Chakra. It is the Chakra of spiritual connection, consciousness, beauty, universal energy and the spiritual realm.  A balanced seventh Chakra is something only very few people ever experience. To balance the Sahaswara is to achieve ultimate spiritual growth. However, our attempts to reach a balanced Crown Chakra brings wisdom and happiness into our lives and helps balance all the other Chakras, and our efforts to balance those Chakras can bring harmony to Sahaswara.

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