A lot of what we do in yoga is designed to alleviate stress and tension, while encouraging freedom in our physical, emotional and energetic souls.
There are seven chakras, centres where energy flows through the body. The actual word “chakra” is Sanskrit for “wheel.” Our prana, or life force, spins through these seven centres, starting at the base of the spine and moving up through the crown of our head. If one or more of them is blocked — or contrarily, too open — it can lead to illness or emotional tension.
Here’s a beginner’s guide to the seven chakras:
1. Root chakra (muladhara)
This chakra represents foundation, grounding and earth. It is located at the base of our spine. When blocked, this area ignites issues of survival, including anxiety over food, financial stability and emotional independence. It is linked to the colour red, so healing foods include warm colours like apples, beets, spices like cayenne and Tabasco, as well as root vegetables like potatoes. Similarly, anything that reconnects you with nature can bring balance.
2. Sacral chakra (svadhishana)
The sacral chakra is linked to how we see ourselves, as well as our ability to welcome new people and experiences into our lives. It is found in the lower abdomen, just below the navel. When imbalanced, we can question our ability to amass abundance, wellbeing, happiness and pleasure — including sexually. It is connected to the colour orange, so foods like oranges and nuts, as well as doing things that make you happy, can bring balance.
3. Solar plexus chakra (manipura)
This chakra is all about confidence and control. It is located in our upper abdomen, near the stomach. If we don’t take care of this area, it can lead to bad digestion, lower self-esteem, as well as a lack of self-worth and confidence. It is represented by the colour yellow, which includes foods like corn, grains, as well as peppermint and chamomile tea — a little dancing never hurt anyone either.
4. Heart chakra (anahata)
This area represents our ability to love. It is rightly found in the centre of our chest, just above the heart. A balanced heart chakra leads to ease in love, happiness, compassion and inner peace. It is linked to the colour green, so foods that bring balance include leafy greens and green tea — as well as allowing yourself to open your heart to yourself and others.
5. Throat chakra (vishuddha)
Our throat chakra affects our ability to communicate. Taking care of this centre of energy is linked to self-expression, better communication and speaking your truth. It is linked to the colour blue so any juices, teas or fruits (and a little singing) can help unblock this chakra. It can also help to be mindful and think before you speak.
6. Third eye chakra (ajna)
This chakra, also known as the brow chakra as it is found on the forehead between the eyes, helps us focus and see the bigger picture in life. When this area is blocked, we can lose sense of our intuition, imagination and ability to make decisions. It is connected to the colour indigo, so foods like grapes, blueberries and chocolate can ease tension in this area. Another thing that can help are poses like child’s pose or forward folds, where the third eye is relaxed and in a downward direction.
7. Crown chakra (sahaswara)
This is the highest chakra, representing our ability to be fully connected spiritually. It is found at the top of our head. If we are in touch with this centre of energy, we can connect to our inner and outer beauty, our spirituality and simple, pure bliss. It is represented by the colour violet, or white. Since it represents our spirituality, this chakra is balanced by breathing exercises and meditation.
Articles consulted for this blog post:
- Theories of the chakras: Bridge to higher consciousness
- The chakras
- Chakras: Energy centers of transformation
- The chakras and the human energy fields
- Wheels of light: Chakras, auras, and the healing energy of the body
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