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What Are the 7 Chakras? Plus, How Yoga Can Unblock Them

Reading Time: 5 minutes 30 seconds

DATE: 2023-06-21


Some people develop a yoga practice to reduce stress or to get their physical body in better shape. For others, yoga is a way to keep their chakras open and in balance. 


Seven chakras are considered critical to health and wellness. Before we get into these seven, let’s talk about what a chakra is and why they’re important.


Chakra Definition and Importance


The word chakra means “wheel” or “disk” in Sanskrit. It refers to various energy centers within the body. These energy centers work together to promote self-healing.
 

If the chakras are open or balanced, one is said to enjoy optimal emotional and physical health. A person’s energy is able to move freely from one area of the body to another. This leads to maximum wellness and healing.


If the chakras are blocked or unbalanced, it can show up in the form of mental or physical health issues. The symptoms experienced depend upon which chakra is hindered or out of balance.


Although some healing experts contend that there are 114 different chakras in the body, many agree that the most important ones can be reduced to a list of seven (1). 


What Are the 7 Chakras?


Each of the seven main chakras is correlated with a certain location on the human body that runs along the spine. They are each represented with a unique chakra color and chakra symbol. The color and symbol create a chakra system that aligns with the order of the colors in a rainbow. Some also connect them with specific chakra stones or healing crystals.


Here are the seven chakras, starting at the bottom of the spine and working toward the top.


#1: Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra)

  • Location: perineum

  • Color: red

  • Symbol: an inverted triangle that sits inside a square, which sits inside a four-petalled lotus

  • Stones/Crystals: red, brown, and black stones and crystals, such as hematite, garnet, and black obsidian


This chakra is located at the base or bottom of the spine, by the tailbone. The root chakra is associated with security and stability. When it is open and balanced, you feel stable and grounded while in the midst of challenges. The root chakra also supports greater levels of comfort and resilience.


#2: Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana Chakra)

  • Location: sacrum 

  • Color: orange

  • Symbol: a crescent moon that sits inside two circles, which sits inside a six-petalled lotus

  • Stones/Crystals: orange or golden-colored stones and crystals, such as carnelian and orange calcite


The second chakra is the sacral chakra. Its location is near the sacrum, which is a bony structure at the back of the pelvis. The sacral chakra is important for sexuality and pleasure. It also plays a role in creativity and emotions. 


#3: Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura Chakra)

  • Location: above the navel 

  • Color: yellow

  • Symbol: an inverted triangle that sits inside a 10-petalled lotus

  • Stones/Crystals: yellow and burnt orange stones and crystals, such as citrine, tiger’s eye, and yellow topaz


The third chakra is the solar plexus chakra. It is known as the “seed of personal power.” That’s because this chakra is connected with our will and autonomy. It influences our self-identity, personal beliefs, and self-esteem. The solar plexus chakra also plays a role in digestion and metabolism.


#4: Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra)

  • Location: middle of the chest 

  • Color: green

  • Symbol: a hexagram (made of two triangles) that sits inside a 12-petalled lotus

  • Stones/Crystals: green stones and crystals, such as emerald and green aventurine, and pink stones and crystals, like rose quartz and rhodonite


The fourth chakra is the heart chakra. The heart chakra is the energy center that helps us feel love, compassion, and kindness. It’s also where we experience a sense of peace and the chakra from which we give others compassion. 


#5: Throat Chakra (Vishuddha Chakra)

  • Location: neck, throat 

  • Color: blue

  • Symbol: a circle that sits inside an inverted triangle, which sits inside a 16-petalled lotus

  • Stones/Crystals: blue-colored stones and crystals such as aquamarine, lapis lazuli, and amazonite


The fifth chakra is the throat chakra. Our ability to communicate effectively and express our emotions comes from the throat chakra. The throat chakra is also linked with honesty and cleansing or purification.


#6: Third Eye Chakra (Ajna Chakra)

  • Location: between the eyebrows 

  • Color: indigo

  • Symbol: an inverted triangle that sits inside a two-petalled lotus

  • Stones/Crystals: deep blue and purple stones and crystals, such as sodalite, labradorite, and amethyst


The third eye chakra is the sixth chakra. This energy center is involved in visualization and imagination. It’s also where you’ll find intuition. Psychics are said to have open third eye chakras, enhancing their ability to be clairvoyant. 


#7: Crown Chakra (Sahasrara Chakra)

  • Location: top of the head 

  • Color: violet or white

  • Symbol: a circle that sits inside a thousand-petalled lotus

  • Stones/Crystals: clear or white-colored stones and crystals, such as clear quartz, selenite, and howlite


The seventh chakra is the crown chakra. Located toward the top of the head, this chakra is associated with knowledge, spirituality, and self-realization. An open crown chakra allows for feelings of fulfillment.


What Happens If a Chakra is Blocked or Unbalanced?


If a specific chakra isn’t working as it should, some refer to it as being blocked. Others say that it isn’t so much blocked as it is out of balance. The basis for this second argument is that a chakra can experience both too little and too much energetic activity. In the case of the latter, there is no blockage. Instead, the chakra is overactive, which can create just as many problems.


For example, if you have a blocked sacral chakra, you may have a lower interest in sex. Since this chakra plays a role in emotions, you may also feel detached, isolated, lonely, or anxious. If the sacral chakra is overactive, you might have a high sex drive. You may also feel overwhelmed or experience major mood swings.


A blocked throat chakra can appear in the form of trouble expressing negative emotions or being speechless. Conversely, someone with an overactive throat chakra may overcommunicate. They might also experience more sore throats or mouth and jaw issues. 


Signs of an Unbalanced or Blocked Chakra


Because each individual chakra is associated with a specific energy center, identifying one’s mental and physical issues is important to determining which chakra may be unbalanced or blocked. 


Some overall signs or symptoms can also be present. Here are a few that, if experienced, might suggest that it’s time for a person to tend to their chakras:

  • Chronic anxiety or depression

  • Experiencing major mood swings

  • Feeling stuck 

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Hard time concentrating

  • Difficulty communicating with family, friends, and co-workers

  • Reproductive issues

  • Pain or disease in the body


How Yoga Can Help Balance or Unblock Chakras


Chakras can be opened with meditation, by repeating a certain mantra, and engaging in breathing exercises. But they can also be unblocked through yoga. Thus, yoga instructors can play an important role in helping people achieve better health and wellness by unblocking some or all of these seven chakras.


Certain yoga poses help strengthen and/or open specific chakras. For example, Bridge Pose can help open sacral chakras. So can Lizard and Pigeon Pose. If the root chakra is blocked or unbalanced, a good yoga pose to try is Tree Pose. Warrior Pose is also good for the root chakra.


Understanding what each yoga pose does to the body can help yogis and yoga teachers know which ones to do for their personal chakra issues. Teaching these poses to students can also help the students know which ones to add to their personal fitness routines. (It also helps them choose which poses to do for their other fitness goals, such as the best yoga poses for strong arms.)


Of course, yoga does more than help balance or unblock the seven chakras. It also offers additional benefits for the body, mind, and soul. You can help your students gain all these benefits as a certified yoga teacher. 


The ISSA Yoga & Wellness Academy provides a Yoga 200 instructor certification course. This course is Yoga Alliance-approved and includes the techniques and cues you need to know to be an effective yoga class leader.



References

  1. Rogers, L., Phillips, K., & Cooper, N. (2021, January). Energy healing therapies: A systematic review and critical appraisal. Retrieved April 13, 2023, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349039163 _Energy_Healing_Therapies_A_Systematic_Review_and_Critical_Appraisal

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