I believe in living life as holistically as possible. The different parts of our experiences meld into one amazing whole.
Understanding Your Chakras
The ancient concept of chakras has been steadily becoming more popular in the Western world. Over the course of our lives, these important energy systems become blocked. We can each clear our own chakras in practical, inexpensive ways, but we first need to understand what they are and how they work.
What Are Chakras?
Some people have described them as the internal organs of the energetic body, but this tends to be a bit misleading. They’re more like spinning vortexes of energy set along the spine. Each one aligns with certain aspects of our lives and the organs of our body.
When hurtful events take place in our lives, these centers become blocked and cause symptoms that manifest into illness. Usually, these signs are psychological, but if they’re bad enough, they can evolve into physical symptoms like lung, throat, and stomach problems.
A good visual representation was demonstrated in Avatar: The Next Air Bender. In one episode, the main character met up with a guru, who trained him on how to open up his chakras as a part of his journey.
In the cartoon, the animators used streams of water to demonstrate how streams of energy work in our lives. The chakras were represented as individual pools of water which were blocked by algae and various other debris. Those physical blockages represented the emotional blocks that needed to be cleared in order to activate each chakra.
In the real-life application of this theory, the same thing happens to each and every one of us. Babies are usually born with completely clear chakras, but as they live their lives, they naturally pick up emotional baggage, which is retained in the corresponding chakras.
Although there are professionals available to help us with these problems, we can each deal with them in our own, unique ways.
There are seven main chakras that run along the length of our spine. Because I’m a ground-up kind of girl, I will start with the first one at the base of the spine and work up to the crown of the head.
Root Chakra: 1st Chakra
The first one is the root chakra, located at the base of our spine. That one deals with survival and is represented by the color red. It’s also the chakra that opens when we are feeling particularly grounded.
When the chakra is blocked, we tend to feel very anxious, foggy brained and suffer from eating disorders, like anorexia. Physical problems can involve large intestinal issues, low immunity, as well as foot and leg problems.
Doing something manual or physical is usually the best way to open this chakra. The martial arts are good options because they’re physical, they offer a way to defend yourself, and teach you awareness of your surroundings. Aikido is an excellent example because you connect to the earth repeatedly. The first thing you learn is how to fall without hurting yourself because the throw is a fundamental aspect of the art. More important is the ability to flow with other people on a physical level, which is part of what grounding is all about.
However, you don’t need to do martial arts to be more grounded. Things as simple as walking around barefoot, doing chores, and any form of physical exercise help clear this chakra.
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Sacral Chakra: 2nd Chakra
The sacral chakra is located under the belly button by about three inches—its color is orange. It rules over joy, pleasure, reproduction, desire, and positivity.
Some of the symptoms of this chakra being blocked are guilt, avoidance of feelings, insecurity, jealousy, and fear of sex or childbirth. Physically, you may suffer from fertility problems, urinary issues, kidney disorders, and sexual dysfunction.
To open this chakra, find ways to enjoy healthy joy in life. Spend time outside, around water, and allow yourself to treasure life as best you can. Because this chakra is feminine, as it’s settled directly over the womb in women and over the same area in men, accepting the feminine aspects of your personality will also help with the opening.
Nurture yourself through caring for yourself with foods you like, giving yourself spa days, or otherwise spoiling yourself in a way that enhances your health. Dancing is also a great way of clearing it because when you let yourself feel the music and allow it to move you, you’re allowing the energy to flow.
Finally, it’s essential that you let go of negative emotions like prolonged guilt, fear, and anger, all of which further block this chakra.
Solar Plexus Chakra: 3rd Chakra
As the name indicates, it’s located in the solar plexus region. The governing color for this chakra is yellow, and it dictates your sense of self.
When this chakra is blocked, you experience the fear of rejection, blocked emotions, trust issues, poor self-image, and a sense of exhaustion. Physically, you may experience ulcers, allergies, and other stomach-related problems. Because the stomach is so strongly connected with emotions, and our overall well-being, it’s often an indicator of ongoing emotional problems.
In order to open the chakra, you need to find ways to connect with yourself and love the person that you are.
Some ways to do this are to clear out physical clutter in your home, work actively towards your personal goals, and write down past successes to reflect upon later. Doing a gentle dietary cleanse might help as well. By eating foods that are purer in nature, you will be helping your physical stomach function better and clearing that chakra as well.
Heart Chakra: 4th Chakra
The heart chakra is located in the center of the chest and its color is green. This chakra commands unconditional love, compassion, and empathy.
When the chakra is blocked, you experience grief, jealousy, an inability to heal, and hatred. Physically, you may experience heart problems, a repressed immune system, and breathing difficulties.
To open this chakra you first and foremost need to give yourself permission to receive love as well as give it. You also need to analyze what emotional issues you need to resolve. After you’ve taken these first two steps, spending time outdoors often helps, as does taking time out of each day to be grateful for what you have. You also need to forgive yourself and others for past misdeeds.
We’re all human, and therefore imperfect. However, there’s no shame in being flawed. All that means is that you have more to work to do in your life. When you let go of anger by forgiving yourself and others you allow more room for love, compassion, and empathy.
Throat Chakra: 5th Chakra
I once heard that the throat chakra is the gateway from the heart and third-eye chakras to the rest of the world. That makes sense because the throat chakra commands communication. As the name would indicate, this chakra is located at the base of the throat and its color is blue.
When it’s blocked, an individual has problems with self-expression, shyness, and uncertainty of themselves. Blocks manifest physically in the chakra by throat, mouth, and ear problems.
Both singing and chanting can help clear this chakra, as can soothing teas, and blends made to enhance creativity or communication. Other ways to clear it include journaling, arts without boundaries, and anything to help you communicate with the outside world.
Public speaking classes, like Toastmasters, joining a choir, or taking part in a theater group may help open the chakra. All of these activities involve speaking or singing of some kind, enhancing your self-confidence, and are geared towards bettering communication skills.
Third Eye Chakra: 6th Chakra
The third eye chakra is located between your eyebrows and its color is indigo. This chakra rules intuition, psychic visualization, and how you see the world.
When this chakra is blocked, you are more prone to being overly egotistical, feeling a sense of disconnection from others, and having a more negative, distorted worldview. Physically, headaches are common, as are sinus, and eye problems.
Before working with this chakra, you should work on unbalancing the previous five first. When the chakra is cleared, change is likely to happen very quickly because our worldview will be cleared, and our interpretation of what has and is happening to us will change. Also, know that this may be one of the most difficult chakras to open because of this change in perception. That said, go at your own pace and do not expect to come across any shortcuts.
A great practical way of opening the chakra is to enroll in classes about intuition. We were originally born with this type of perception, but it is changed through the years by filters through which we're taught to see. There are many books available for this purpose.
A Chakra-Clearing Exercise
I was introduced to the following exercise by a friend a few years ago.
- Two to three like-minded friends
- Enough writing utensils for everyone
- A comfortable place to sit, preferably outdoors
As you all sit in a circle, draw a picture of an object on your scrap of paper. Once everyone is done, fold it twice, so no one can see what the picture was, and either put it in a pile in the center or in a hat. Mix the papers, well, then have each person draw one and look at it. Don’t show it to anyone else.
Now, take turns concentrating on what the person to your right has on their picture and say the first image that comes to mind. It has to be the very first thing that comes to mind. You might be surprised at how accurate you get after a while of repeating this activity.
This helps to clear and open the third eye chakra because it’s forcing you to rely on this basic mode of perception in a playful way.
Crown Chakra: 7th Chakra
The crown chakra is our link to universal energy. This chakra is located at the top of the head, and its ruling color is violet. It’s the most spiritual of the chakras, and it rules joy, spirituality, and ethics, and connects the rest of the chakras.
When it’s blocked, we experience a huge sense of disconnection, malcontent, bitterness, and helplessness. Physical symptoms can include oversensitivity to light, neurological problems, tumors, fatigue, and dizziness.
This chakra is another extremely spiritual one and can cause great change in your life. It’s best to open all the rest before attempting to open this one and to study your personal spiritual nature.
To open the chakra, take part in doing something to help others, like volunteering for a charity you support. Religious practices that help you feel fulfilled can help as well, as can classes about spirituality and the nature of the soul. Learning about other cultures can help as well. Because this chakra is one of intense connection, the more you learn about how different people think and do things the more connected you are to the rest of the world.
Popular Methods to Balance Your Chakras
The following methods are very popular in clearing chakras. I tried to keep my suggestions above clearly economical and down to earth, but the following methods have worked well for many people as well.
- Harmonic music geared to specific chakras
- Reiki and other forms of energy healing
Because we're each our own person, no single method will work for everybody. That’s why I encourage experimentation to find what works best for you.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on April 12, 2015:
I did. It was real interesting, too. You're welcome.
Emilie S Peck (author) from Minneapolis, MN on April 12, 2015:
Thank you, Kristen! I'm so glad you found it useful.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on April 12, 2015:
Wow. This was a real interesting hub about how to open your chakras through various methods. Voted up!
Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on November 04, 2014:
Thanks to Debora Sexton who explained the intersection between the chakras and medicine.
Emilie S Peck (author) from Minneapolis, MN on January 29, 2014:
Thank you for reading and the kind words!
I loved Deborah's comment, too. So interesting!
YogaKat from Oahu Hawaii on January 26, 2014:
Great research on all seven chakras . . . and I love Deborah Sexton's comment. I did not know about the ganglia. Thanks for this thorough, well written hub.
Emilie S Peck (author) from Minneapolis, MN on December 22, 2013:
I've come across a fair amount of derision when it comes to chakras and related theories, too. After doing work with them and studying various massage techniques like Shiatsu, I have confidence that they do exist at the very least, and they do have some sort of influence on our lives.
That's why those medical information is so amazing. So cool.
Deborah Sexton on December 20, 2013:
I was glad to bring this information to the others.
I have witnessed a lot of people making fun of Chakras and said they didn't exist.
It's amazing to be able to back this up by medicalization
Emilie S Peck (author) from Minneapolis, MN on December 16, 2013:
Sorry for the delayed response! Things got away from me for a while there.
You're right about the knowledge of ganglia masses isn't well known. It's been a long, long time since I've taken any sort of classes about the workings of the human body, so I'd completely forgotten anything I may have learned about ganglia. What a fascinating correlation.
Thanks so much for pointing it out (and reading, of course)!
Deborah Sexton on November 29, 2013:
Great hub and the Chakra areas are real.
I am a nurse and I'd like to share how the Chakras relate to the body.
There are ten nerves that extend from one side of the brain and intertwine down the spinal cord. These are cranial nerves. There are areas where they form ganglia masses which consists of a network of sympathetic and para-sympathetic nerves that control the voluntary and involuntary systems.
The nerves form a ganglion (a thick network of circular nerves) behind the eye area, the throat, high part of the chest, around the lower ribs, then the nerves form a ganglion in the abdomen (Vagus Nerve aka the tenth cranial nerve) and pelvis, then they loop around and travel back up and they enter the other side of the brain. Hence, the connection of the voluntary and involuntary systems. I think of them as the soul and body connection.
This is the soul and body unit because even though they work separately, they also work together.
The knowledge of the Chakras have been around a long time and I am pretty sure the people didn't know about the ganglia masses (of nerves)
Emilie S Peck (author) from Minneapolis, MN on January 25, 2013:
I hope they help, Valene!
Valene from Missouri on January 25, 2013:
This makes more sense now about my physical ailments. I will try some of the these suggestions on how to open my chakras.
Emilie S Peck (author) from Minneapolis, MN on December 28, 2012:
Thank you. :)
sowmya on December 28, 2012:
good i will try it out
Emilie S Peck (author) from Minneapolis, MN on December 19, 2012:
Ah! Ok, I get it now. Thank you! Very good points.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 18, 2012:
Energy does not cease. Even a light bulb sends out light that never ends. You can turn it off but the light is already in being separate from the bulb.
Great teachers were not lame when they spoke of being a light. Do with my body what you will but my energy will not dissipate. So an injury or re-routing of our physical structure is nearly irrelevant to our energy. My spirit does not need my body, but without my spirit my body will die.
Emilie S Peck (author) from Minneapolis, MN on December 18, 2012:
Alastar: Hm...good questions. I really wouldn't be surprised if physical injury would have a blocking effect on the corresponding chakra.
The energy getting held up in the solar plexus chakra could certainly have an effect on the difficulties with empathy and compassion relating to an under active heart chakra, and the corresponding social problems that have resulted.
It could also be argued that we're not quite as in touch with the solar plexus chakra because there's so much pressure for us to conform to the status quo's version of "perfect" rather than discovering our true selves and then helping others through that discovery.
Eric: Interesting idea! Can you elaborate a little more? Does it have to do with that theory about having physical, emotional and energetic/etherial bodies?
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 18, 2012:
Funny thing about your question Alastar, to my way of thinking not even death can separate at us from active Chakras. But that is just me.
Alastar Packer from North Carolina on December 18, 2012:
Enlightened much ES, thanks. Very well done. If a person were to have a spinal fusion or disc in the lumbar could that interfere with the Sacral? What about energy being concentrated in most of us in the Solar Plexus instead of where it belongs flowing to the Heart Chakra?
Emilie S Peck (author) from Minneapolis, MN on December 16, 2012:
Thank you! Glad I could offer new info. ;)
Claudia Porter on December 16, 2012:
This is so cool! I never knew about Chakras. I love it when I learn new things on hubpages. Pinned!
Emilie S Peck (author) from Minneapolis, MN on December 14, 2012:
eHealer - Thank you very much! I'm so happy you find my hubs informative. :) Chakras are very interesting to look into, and I always feel so much better when I work on mine.
Sommer - Thanks so much! Happy to introduce you to another concept.
Eric - Thank you! There is a lot about eastern philosophy that doesn't really jive with me all the time, either. It's still very interesting to learn about, and adopt whatever makes the most sense into every day life.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 13, 2012:
I do not know. I look to this eastern notion not to find more rules and physical confinement, but to just be. I get chakras. But defining and limiting them to a generalization seems, counter-intuitive to me.
I of course voted up interesting and useful. Keep it up, we all need to learn more.
Sommer Dalton on December 13, 2012:
Voted up plus 3! So informative and neat! Have never heard about Chakra's and am loving this. It makes a lot of sense.
Deborah from Las Vegas on December 13, 2012:
Fascinating ESP! I learn so much from you in your hubs. I am sharing, pinning, and facebooking this hub/I have friends that will love it, and I am going to re-read this and learn what Chakras are. I've heard about them, but now I know what they actually are. Thanks!!