Chakra 101: How To Heal Them

Via Michelle Margaret Fajkus for Elephant Journal

A chakra is a “wheel,” an energy center in the body. Nadis are the ethereal tubes that allow prana to move through the body, just as blood moves through blood vessels.

Chakras are located at points where nadis intersect; there are said to be 72,000 nadis throughout the body and thousands of chakras.

Both the upward current and downward current of energy must be open and flowing for us to be optimally healthy and whole. Anothea Judith writes in her classic guidebook, The Wheel of Life, “The liberating current brings us excitement, energy, and novelty, while the descending current brings peace, grace and stability.”

There are seven major chakras in tantric yoga philosophy. Here is a quick guide to each of these seven sacred energy centers; may it be of benefit.

If you are a beginner (and aren’t we all?), please be sure to practice yoga mindfully and with the guidance of a qualified teacher.

1st Chakra

Location: Root/base of the spine

Sanskrit: Muladhara/”root support”

Color: red

Element: earth

Issues: stability, survival, unity, identity, ego, birth, death

Associated with: legs, feet, bones, adrenal gland, large intestine, teeth, spinal column

Governs: perception of the physical world; motivation and intent, birth, work, money, eating, digestion

Malfunction: weight problems, eating disorders, constipation, sciatica, arthritis, knee problems

Healing Techniques

Music: tribal drums; root chakra playlist

Affirmations: I am Earth. I am here. I am solid. I am alive. I am beginning anew.

Yoga poses: mountain, squat, standing forward bend, garland, child’s

Connect with: Mother Earth/pacha mama, the soles of the feet, root lock/mula bandha

Pranayama:Ujjayi breath

Practice: Hatha yoga, yin yoga

Meditation: breath awareness

2nd Chakra

Location: Sacrum/center of pelvis

Sanskrit: Svadistana/”sweetness”

Color: orange

Element: water

Issues: duality, choice, desire, emotions, sexuality

Associated with: the liquid part of the body, circulatory and urinary systems

Governs: feelings of creativity; the intimacy and vulnerability of sexual attraction; the ability to produce and nurture our own children

Malfunction: impotence, frigidity, uterine/bladder/kidney problems, lower back pain

Healing Techniques

Music: jazz; sacral chakra playlist

Affirmations: I am change. I am growth. I am desirable. I am dynamic. I am flowing with grace.

Yoga poses: Warrior 1, Warrior 2, lizard, pigeon, hanumanasana (“the splits”)

Connect with: the hips

Pranayama: Alternate Nostril Breathing

Practice: Tantra yoga, vinyasa flows

Meditation: meditation on sensation

3rd Chakra

Location: Solar plexus/navel

Sanskrit: Manipura/”Lustrous gem”

Color: yellow

Element: fire

Issues: power, will, strength, courage, effort

Associated with: adrenal glands, pancreas, liver, stomach, nervous system; regulation and distribution of metabolic energy

Governs: emotional issues, personal power, self-respect, courage, healthy humility; learning the power of grace

Malfunction: ulcers, diabetes, digestive disorders, muscular problems

Healing Techniques

Music: rock; solar plexus playlist

Affirmations: I am powerful. I am fierce. I am capable. I am energetic. I can change my life.

Poses: single leg lifts, double leg lifts, boat, eagle, plank

Connect with: the core, abdominal lock/ uddiyana bandha

Pranayama: breath of fire

Yoga practice:karma yoga

Meditation: meditation on emotion

4th Chakra

Location: Heart/center of chest

Sanskrit: Anahata/”unstruck sound”

Color: green

Element: air

Issues: love, friendship, kindness, forgiveness, devotion, generosity

Associated with: thymus gland, lungs, hands, heart, blood; immune and endocrine systems.

Governs: love, compassion, unconditional acceptance

Malfunction: high blood pressure, respiratory problems, heart and lung problems, feeling heartbroken

Healing Techniques

Music: classical, heart chakra playlist

Affirmations: I am fresh. I am clean. I am unstruck. I am unstuck. I am loving. I am loved.

Yoga poses: standing back bend, camel, reverse warrior, triangle, bridge, wheel

Connect with: the heart, the breath, the wind, maitri

Pranayama: full yogic breath

Practice:Bhakti yoga, yin yoga, restorative yoga

Meditation:forgiveness, Metta/loving kindness

5th chakra

Location: Throat/center of neck

Sanskrit: Vissudha/”With purity”

Color: turquoise/sky blue

Element: sound, ether

Issues: communication, expression, creativity, speech, listening

Associated with: thyroid and parathyroid glands, lungs, vocal cords, shoulders, neck, arms, hands

Governs: expression of thoughts and feelings, finding our own truth and relearning the ability to express ourselves

Malfunction: colds, thyroid problems, ear/hearing problems, sore throats, speech problems

Healing Techniques

Music: World, throat chakra playlist

Affirmations: I am open. I am honest. I am expressive. I am empowered.

Poses: camel, shoulder stand, fish, neck rolls, cobra

Connect with: the throat, throat lock/Jalandhara bandha

Pranayama: bumblebee breath

Practice: chanting, Mantra yoga

Meditation: Tonglen

6th Chakra

Location: third eye/between, slightly above and behind eyebrows

Sanskrit: Ajna/”Wisdom center”; perception and command

Color: indigo/midnight blue

Element: light

Issues: intuition, insight, intellect, imagination

Associated with: pineal gland; visual input from our two physical eyes and our “third eye” of psychic perception

Governs: spirituality and the search for meaning in life, visualization, inner awareness and witness consciousness

Malfunction: blindness, headaches, nightmares, eye strain, blurred vision

Healing Techniques

Music: soul, third eye playlist

Affirmations: I am looking. I am seeing. I am noticing. I am intuitive. I connect with my inner wisdom.

Yoga poses: child’s, cobbler’s, savasana, locust, bow

Connect with: the forehead, the present moment, the inner self

Pranayama: kapalabhati breathing

Practice:Yantra yoga

Meditation: Vipassana/insight meditation

7th Chakra

Location: crown/top of head

Sanskrit: Sahasrara/”thousandfold”

Color: violet or white

Element: thought

Issues: divinity, wisdom, connectivity, inner peace, enlightenment

Associated with: pituitary gland

Governs: our connection to the divine, the universe, God, our Buddha Nature, a higher intelligence; living our Truth; willingness to surrender

Malfunction: depression, alienation, confusion, boredom, apathy, feeling disconnected or disjointed

Healing Techniques

Music: the sound of silence

Affirmations: I am. I am here, now. I am Buddha. I am the church.

Yoga poses: headstand, rabbit, downward dog, easy pose, half-lotus, lotus

Connect with: the top of the head, the sky, the universe

Pranayama: ocean breath

Practice:Raja and jnana yoga

Meditations:Zazen, pure awareness, mindfulness