WHAT ARE CHAKRAS? A Simple Guide to Your Complex Energy Centers

Image: Natural Body by Joel Ormsby, licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Thanks to the popularity of yoga, meditation and alternative healing therapies in the West, the term ckakra has become quite mainstream over the last couple of decades. That said, when a yoga teacher eloquently instructs you to open your “muladhara” chakra or fire up your “manipura” center, you likely have no idea what she’s talking about!

What are chakras? While chakras are multi-dimensional and complex energy centers that could take a lifetime of study to truly understand, having basic insights into chakras can help you work with them to experience greater mind-body-spirit wellness.

The term chakra comes from Sanskrit – the ancient, sacred language of India – and means “spinning wheel”. It refers to the ever turning energy centers that are a part of your subtle or energetic body. Yogis and clairvoyant seers (people who can see energy and auras) describe chakras as spinning fans, lotus flowers, or suns of light stacked along the body.

While chakras are not physical, they do correspond to specific locations, organs, hormones and activities of the body. They also influence and are influenced by your thoughts, feelings and life areas. Their function is to process life force energy (known as prana or chi) to bring about holistic wellness.

Although there are thousands of chakras all over the body, yoga and healing practices focus mainly on the seven major chakras. Optimizing these major chakras automatically enhances the functioning of all other (smaller) chakras.

So, what are the seven main chakras? Here is a simplified Chakra 101 Guide with their essential properties, along with empowering affirmations to harmonize each one:

First Chakra: Root 

Sanskrit Name: Muladhara (meaning support)

Colour: Red

Location: Base of spine

Corresponding areas: Survival, physical grounding, sustenance and abundance, feeling safe, secure and supported, having basic needs met.

Affirmation: I am safe, secure and supported in all ways.

Second Chakra: Sacral 

Sanskrit Name:  Svadhisthana (meaning sweetness)

Colour: Orange

Location: Below the naval/belly button

Corresponding areas:  Pleasure, passion, sexuality, fertility, creativity, desires, appetites and cravings, enjoying life in physical   ways, sense of deserving and being worthy

Affirmation:  I am perfectly balanced in all my desires, and I live my life with great joy.

Third Chakra: Solar Plexus

Sanskrit Name: Manipura (meaning sparkling jewel)

Colour: Yellow

Location: Center of stomach, above the naval

Corresponding areas: Personal power, self-worth, self-esteem, self-respect, self-control, strength of will, energy, spontaneity, courage, confidence, resilience, purpose

Affirmation: I have the power in my life, and I use it to achieve my dreams and do what honours me.


Fourth Chakra: Heart 

Sanskrit Name: Anahata (meaning flawless)

Colour: Green

Location: Center of chest

Corresponding areas: Love, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, humanity, self-acceptance,

clairsentience (clear/intuitive feeling), balance, healthy relationships

Affirmation: I am a being of love and I radiate this love to myself and everyone.


Fifth Chakra: Throat

Sanskrit Name: Vissudha (meaning purity)

Colour: Light blue

Location: Center of throat

Corresponding areas: Truth, communication, creative and artistic expression, inspiration

Affirmation: I speak my truth with love and express myself with grace and integrity.

Sixth Chakra: Third Eye

Sanskrit Name: Ajna (meaning awareness, perception)

Colour: Indigo, dark blue with some deep purple

Location: Middle of forehead

Corresponding areas: Intuition, perception, visualization, imagination, clairvoyance (clear seeing), accurate interpretation, wisdom, knowledge, truth, intelligence

Affirmation: I see the truth in all situations and let my inner wisdom guide me.


Seventh Chakra: Crown

Sanskrit Name: Sahsrara (meaning thousand-fold)

Colour: Violet, gold, white (or a combination)

Location: Top of head

Corresponding areas: Spirituality, bliss, enlightenment, self-realization, spiritual connection, consciousness, claircognizance (clear knowing), divine guidance

Affirmation: I accept and honour the spirit within me and all living things.

Understanding the chakras helps us realize that everything really is connected. As we become more aware of how mind, body and spirit are intertwined, we can take more conscious steps to heal and harmonize every part of our selves and our lives. Plus, now you might just know what your yoga teacher means when she asks you to “let your anahata unfold!”

Originally posted in Lioness Woman’s Club, Alternative Health Section on July 26, 2012

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