The Chakra System in Summary
What are the 7 chakras in the chakra system? And how will knowing about them and embodying them transform your life?
Your body is beautifully and magically designed. It is the perfect vehicle in which to evolve your soul. Doing so requires letting the divine flow through it. Your soul wants to shine brightly from within your body. The chakra system, which consists of energy wheels up and down the length of the body, holds different levels of consciousness from which your soul can shine out.
In this article I’d like to give a brief meaning for each of the seven chakras.
The word Chakra is a Sanksrit word meaning “wheel” or “circle.” It refers to the energy centers located along the spine throughout the body. The Chakra System is a network of energy channels connecting these energy centers. It’s our spiritual nervous system. As you work through the different chakras and their associated psychological issues you mature spiritually.
The body contains seven chakras, or wheels. Each wheel holds a specific level of awareness. Each wheel is involved in your soul’s maturation and illumination. The chakras are designed to help us learn the lessons we need to learn to live a fully empowered life. As the chakras open, our bodies open, our consciousness opens, and we become more connected to the infinite power of the universe. The universe becomes part of our being, and we then live openhearted and more empowered in our bodies.
The Chakra System:
7 Types of Chakra
The chakras located lower in the body consist more of our instinctual, animal side, and the chakras located higher in the body consist more of our mental and spiritual side. Each chakra can have various levels of activity as it spins. Some can be more open than others. Some chakras, in certain situations, can shut down. When our chakras are open, they are functioning in a healthy way.
We can’t live solely in our heads, in the clouds, or in a state of spiritual bliss. Well most of us can’t do that, right? Likewise, we can’t solely operate on a physical level. Or at least it is not fun to do so. To make life more fulfilling, you need to have a higher consciousness, otherwise you would be no more evolved than an animal. I am not implying animals are not evolved, but we would not have higher intelligence if we didn’t have these higher centers open, bringing in higher wisdom, and evolving our consciousness as a species.
Ideally, to live a healthy, balanced life, you want to have all of your chakras equally open and balanced. However, often due to stress, belief systems, and life challenges, the chakras get out of balance. You can have an underactive chakra. To compensate, other chakras may become overactive. If you do lots of computer work or mental work, you will lose the openness in your root, or first, chakra, for example.
Various health problems can occur if the chakras stay out of balance chronically, either too active or too underactive. Illness can develop in the area of the chakra that is out of balance and in the gland associated with that chakra.
Each chakra is similar to a spinning wheel. When it spins clockwise, it is spinning in a direction that allows divine consciousness to flow through our bodies. When a chakra is spinning counterclockwise, our energy is blocked. We are resisting or not aware of something. Lack of awareness keeps us living in unconscious ways. Keeping the chakras unblocked and open is important. When all the chakras spin in a healthy direction and are open, you feel healthy and centered in your body. Let’s discuss each chakra.
1. The First Chakra
The first chakra is about feeling safe in the world.
The first chakra is also called the root chakra. It is located at or near the bottom of the body. It’s usually depicted at either the perineum or the anus. The first chakra is about tribal connections and feeling a sense of belonging in the world or in your life.
It’s your foundation. Having a community you can relate to and feel a sense of belonging, whether that is your family or some other group, is important. The first chakra is about feeling safe in the world, feeling grounded and rooted. Someone who always moves may have a hard time establishing a healthy first chakra.
The root chakra addresses our most basic issues of survival, such as financial independence, food, and feeling accepted by our “tribe.” Having a sense of stability will keep your root chakra open. Life is never fully secure, but doing things that cause you to feel as if the rug is being pulled out from under you will destabilize your first or root chakra. Any big change in your life, such as a new job or moving to a new location, can cause your first chakra to shut down until you feel grounded again. That is why it is important to do things to ground yourself during transitional periods in your life. Any form of exercise, meditation, or massage that is calming, slows you down, and allows you to get out of your head and into your body will help nurture your root, or first, chakra. Lying on the earth in nature is a great way to feel grounded. Putting your feet on grass and feeling the sensation of connecting to Mother Earth is also a great way to “get rooted.”
A healthy first chakra creates an important foundation for the rest of the chakras.
2. The Second Chakra
The second chakra is about sex, power and money. It is how we use our creative power to manifest. We create babies, companies and our life’s work.
The second chakra is the sex chakra, located at the genitals. Often when working with the chakra system in public, for example in a yoga class, the teacher may explain that the second chakra is below the navel, but it is actually at the sex organs. The second chakra is considered to be below the navel and above the genitals because it isn’t socially acceptable to put our hands over our genitals in public. However, it encompasses the whole area of your genitals and below your belly button. Your genitals hold lots of energy. Wouldn’t you agree? They hold your creative life force energy. Why wouldn’t there be a chakra dedicated to this area?
I call the second chakra the “sex, power, and money” chakra. The second chakra is about your creativity. We can create another human being, we can create lots of money, and we can create works of art. Definitely, each of us creates our own unique and individual lives. When we are feeling juicy and alive in the second chakra, we want to create. The problem is that we can create good or bad things. We can create situations that expand us, and we can create situations that bind and even destroy us. The second chakra is powerful, and it is important to bring greater awareness to how you navigate your second chakra.
Having sex with someone to create security is a good way to have your chakra spin in the wrong direction. You can’t fool your second chakra. As a woman, your second chakra wants to be loved and adored, just as much as the rest of your body does. In our culture, there is a tremendous amount of conditioning in this chakra. A woman is supposed to be sexually attractive. A woman is also supposed to bear children and be a good mother. Also in our culture, a woman is supposed to be independent, autonomous, and just as capable in a “man’s” world.
Bringing more light and awareness to your second chakra is empowering. Sexual shame saturates our culture. Even if you learned to think of sex in a positive way, you still live in a culture saturated with sexual shame. There is no avoiding it. For us to create better relationships and lives, we need to heal the sexual shame stuck in the second chakra.
When you were young, what messages did you receive about being a woman? What did you learn about how a woman should conduct herself with the opposite sex? Did you receive a message that your femininity was a tool to get what you wanted? I call these, lovingly, “crotch contracts.” Have you made any crotch contracts in your sexual relationships? Where have you sacrificed your most precious sacred space, and not in your highest good?
The second chakra is for us to learn to honor another and ourselves. Being sexual and sharing your genitals with another is a deep exchange. It is important to learn how to share in a way that honors you and the other if you want your second chakra to spin in a healthy direction.
3. The Third Chakra
The third chakra is about our self-esteem. It is our power center and having a sense of worth.
The third chakra is located at the navel. It is your power center and the seat of your emotions. The third chakra is about self-esteem, self-respect, and knowing you are valuable. It is about knowing, no matter what is going on in your life, that you are a worthy human being.
When things go wrong, it’s easy to beat yourself up and think you’ve done something wrong or that you’re not good enough. Through those times, it is important to nurture and validate yourself. This will care for and support your third chakra.
Have you ever been in a situation where you feel a “pit” in your stomach? That is your third chakra talking to you. It is a time when you need to come to your own rescue and remind yourself that you are perfect, just the way you are. You need to know you are loved, and that you are good enough. The pit in your stomach is a call out to you to raise your self-esteem.
When you feel centered, confident, and in charge of your life, you have a healthy third chakra. The third chakra is about learning to deeply, authentically, and unconditionally honor yourself.
4. The Fourth Chakra
The fourth chakra is the heart center and it is about unconditional love. It is our ability to love ourselves and others. This is a very powerful chakra indeed and we spend much time down in the lower three chakras working out their issues before we can get to the fourth chakra of unconditional love.
The fourth chakra is the heart chakra. It is located at the center of your chest. The heart is a powerful organ. It emits an electromagnetic field 40 to 60 times greater than that of the brain. The actual field created from your heart is far stronger than that created from your brain. The Heart Math Institute, an organization that studies the heart and emotions, has measured this energy and its effect on our well-being. The organization’s mission is to facilitate a fundamental shift in health, well-being, and consciousness. They do phenomenal work. You can find them at www.hearthmath.com.
As we open our hearts, we raise our consciousness. The fourth chakra, simply put, is all about love. It is about learning to love others and ourselves in a balanced way. It is learning to give of ourselves in a way that is not self-sacrificial. It is about learning to not hold back, and to give of ourselves in a way that allows deeper connections with others. It is a tricky dance; I believe we are all here to learn about this dance.
I often hear people comment about how selfish someone is. What is selfish? My mother couldn’t do enough for others. She was a beautiful and caring woman who died, I believe, earlier than she needed to. She gave so much of herself to others. She had five children, and was always available and ready to be of service to each of us. My mother was a great mom. I was lucky to have such an amazing and giving mother. There was one thing, though, that she didn’t learn. She didn’t learn how to give to herself as she so selflessly gave to others. She always put others in front of herself. She didn’t know how to include herself in the equation of all the love she gave. She didn’t know how to relax, open, and receive. I believe many mothers, even though very loving, have these issues. The fourth chakra is not only about loving others; it is also about cultivating a sense of deep self-love.
The fourth chakra, the heart chakra, also teaches us to be more receptive. You are receptive when you have a neutral mind that is beyond judgment. An open heart means a neutral mind.
The fourth chakra is the center chakra. There are three chakras above and three chakras below. The three chakras below are called the lower triangle. Many people spend much of their lives dealing with issues regarding the first three chakras. You have to understand the lessons of the first three chakras, the lower triangle, before you can truly open the fourth chakra, the heart chakra. Lower triangle issues are that of feeling safe in the world, being financially stable, having a positive relationship with sex, power, and money, and feeling worthy and emotionally centered. Do these issues sound familiar? Most of us consistently confront issues of the first three chakras, and we never get above our bellies in our consciousness. The collective consciousness of our society plays out issues and dramas of the lower triangle (the lower three chakras). Not paying your bills (chakra 1), relationship drama (chakra 2), and not feeling good enough (chakra 3) are typical themes common in the lives of many in our culture.
The heart chakra teaches us to love others and ourselves no matter how much money, power, or status they have. The fourth chakra teaches to love all beings, including ourselves, as equals.
5. The Fifth Chakra
The fifth chakra is about speaking our truth. The ability to speak clearly and express what is on your heart.
The fifth chakra is located at the throat. This is the chakra of surrendering your will to divine will. It is about learning how to speak the truth, your truth, and how to speak from your heart.
We did not inherit a language that connects us to our needs and feelings. The language you speak, if you really analyze it, is disempowering. As a simple example, we often use the word “try.” Begin to notice how often you hear people say they are going to try to do something. Trying implies just that, trying, but not completing it. Not only are we constantly “trying” to do something in our lives, we are also “having to” do lots of things as well. “Having to” implies that you’re being forced to do something. You are not doing it from a place of choice. See if you can get “having to” out of your vocabulary. Instead, say, “I desire” or “I intend to.” Can you stop “trying” and “having” to do things? Intending and desiring to do things will give you more energy and power to accomplish what you set out to do. When you do this, you will see how challenging it can be to avoid “trying to” and “having to.” Shifting your words shifts the energy of your body.
These are two examples. Your words, whether they are spoken to yourself or out loud, have a powerful effect on your consciousness and how you feel. If you speak empowering words, you will move forward in the world with certainty and confidence. If you speak disempowering words, you will lack confidence and second-guess your actions.
Positive talk is extremely important for survival in this harsh world. Unfortunately, in many ways, our world is competitive and even predatory. If you can’t be your own cheerleader and speak in a way that instills confidence in yourself and your life, then you will have a weak fifth chakra center, no matter how much support and cheerleading you receive from others.
You can also have a weak fifth chakra center if you hold back words by not sharing what you feel. Let’s say you keep your mouth shut as a way to keep the peace. Or maybe you let your feelings come out sideways with drama, being over emotional, complaining, or behaving like a victim. The fifth chakra teaches us how to speak our truth in a way that is empowering and beyond blame. It is the ability to speak your truth from your center. You can only do that if you have embodied your truth. It is when you intentionally use “I” instead of “You,” as discussed earlier.
Using embodied “I” statements is authentic communication. It creates a healthy throat chakra. It is not selfish, and it does not mean that you only care about yourself. It is direct and honest. It is empowering to your body and soul.
Be aware of this and start to notice when you are “You-ing” someone. What you are doing is playing victim and giving your power (energy) away. Instead, use “I” statements that express, in the moment and in the body, real-time reality. Examples would be, “I don’t feel safe,” or, “I am hurt,” or “Ouch; that hurt my heart.” When you speak in embodied “I” statements, you bring power back to your body’s energy field. Using “I” statements in this context is empowering.
In order to use “I” statements as we are discussing, you have to tune into you. You can’t use “I” statements if you are disconnected from your feelings. You need to be self- aware. If you say, “I feel hurt,” it is your reality. The other person may not like it, but they are not going to defend themselves. There is nothing to defend. You haven’t attacked. You are simply stating what is going on with you in that moment. If you say, “You hurt me,” everything changes. The other person can easily become defensive. You are also stating an opinion, and not necessarily a reality. You, again, are giving away your power. See if you can start to express yourself in a way that is closer to what you are experiencing in your body (your truth, not an opinion), and put it in words. “I am sad, I am mad, I am happy!” Bring all the energy back to you. Speak your truth from your heart, and your throat chakra will be healthier for it.
6. The Sixth Chakra
The sixth chakra is about intuition. The ability to trust your intuition and follow your own inner guidance.
The sixth chakra is located at the third eye, the space just above and between your eyebrows. This is your third sight, or sixth sense. You can strengthen your third eye by closing the other two. We think what we see in the world with our two eyes is reality, but might it be possible that true reality can only be seen through our third eye? This chakra allows us to see beyond the day-to-day world. It is our spiritual connection. It brings the mystical into the mundane, making life a bit more divine.
The sixth chakra connects us to truth. What is truth? What is your truth? Because of our cultural and societal conditioning, many people do things for approval or to gain cultural acceptance. A big one is having kids. I have heard people say, “I thought you were supposed to grow up and have kids.” They didn’t consider that they had a choice in the matter. They thought, “This is what you do; you have kids when you grow up.” Then they have children and realize the huge responsibility associated with being parents. And maybe they aren’t really into raising kids. Or maybe they didn’t choose a good partner to share the responsibilities. Or maybe they did it because they wanted someone to love them. I pray for the day when our culture supports bringing children into the world more consciously.
This is just one example of how your truth gets covered up. Maybe you go to college and major in business, but what you really want to study is art and psychology. Layers of untruth wrapped around you keep you from making decisions from your authentic self. You let opinions, expectations, and even fear influence you in your decision instead of listening to your inner truth.
We all do this to some extent. We are all connected. We all want to be accepted by others, and our relationships help us see who we are. They reflect back to us who we are. That is why knowing your truth can be a slippery slope. Knowing what is right for you and all concerned is not always easy. That is why it is important to keep the third eye open to help guide you.
Your third eye is your intuition. Everyone has intuition, whether it is developed or not. It is worth developing and trusting your intuition. When your third eye is open, your higher self guides you. You are connected to spirit. You are able to see the vicissitudes of life from a higher and broader perspective. You aren’t easily caught up in life’s drama.
Your sixth chakra, or third eye, is also your imagination. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Imagination is how manifestation happens. Your sixth chakra draws inspiration into your life. Inspiration is “In Spirit.” When you feel inspired, you are guided by spirit. It is important to pay attention to those times, and then use your imagination to magnify the inspiration and put it into reality.
When you don’t know exactly what direction to go or what path to take, still yourself and call on spirit. Allow inspiration to come through your third eye. Ask your higher wisdom to show you the way. Open your third eye, your sixth chakra, and allow divine guidance to come in. It is more powerful than logic to guide you through unclear times. The sixth chakra teaches us to trust and be guided by our inner knowing.
7. The Seventh Chakra
The seventh chakra is about your connection to spirit. It is about your connection to something greater than yourself.
The seventh chakra is also called the crown chakra, and it is located at the top of the head. It is the soft spot on a newborn’s head. The baby just came from the spirit world and is still very connected to “heaven.” As the baby matures, the soft spot closes and becomes bone, part of the skull. As adults, even though we don’t have soft spots any more, we still have a connection to “heaven” or spirit. The crown chakra allows us to draw divine energy into our bodies. It is our connection to source. I believe when we die, our souls go out through the tops of our heads.
It is important and empowering to know a divine presence is always around you. It takes faith in whatever form, be it religious or non-religious, to know there is more than simply this life’s experience for us all. It takes faith to believe there is more beyond this mundane world. The crown chakra is your spiritual connection, whatever that is for you. You may be Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, or none of the above. The crown chakra is not your religious orientation. It is related to your spirituality and connection to the all-knowing.
The Chakra System: Identifying the Chakra from how people speak.
When you’re having conversations with people start to notice what chakra they are speaking from and whether it is a positive or negative expression of that chakra.
For example, if they say they’re unable to pay the rent they are speaking from their first chakra (survival mode).
If they are speaking with a lack of self-esteem they are struggling in their third chakra.
If they are telling you how they are following a hunch they received then they are expressing through their sixth chakra.
These are three examples. Listen to people and see if you can tell what chakra they are expressing themselves from. Make it a game. Make it fun.
In summary, by working through the issues of each chakra, you illuminate your body and open it up, which allows divine energy to flow through you more and more. This is our evolutionary process, becoming connected to that part of us beyond our physical body while still in our physical bodies. It is the process of inviting your soul into form so it can express itself. Understanding the chakras helps us do that.
The chakra system is part of yogic teachings. Because of yoga’s increased popularity, many find yoga a form of physical exercise. Those who are not as spiritually oriented but practice yoga will be affected on some level spiritually. If you do yoga regularly, you can’t help but become more conscious.
I’m Anna-Thea, an author and Divine Feminine Educator. I educate women on how to reclaim their bodies as sacred. If you’d like to learn more about Divine Feminine wisdom and incorporate it into your life check out my online courses.