Ask the experts: What are chakras?
If you’ve heard of chakras before but aren’t sure exactly what they are or how they affect your wellness, this is for you.
Here we speak to yoga teacher and certified holistic therapist Thimela Garcia to learn what chakras are, how to tell if they’re blocked and how we can unlock them.
What exactly are chakras?
The chakras are vortexes of energy. They are believed to be the energy centres in your body responsible for all life experiences, physical and spiritual.
The Sanskrit word chakra means ‘wheel’, and according to Indian traditions there are around 114 chakras in the human anatomy. However, the most important ones are the seven main chakras that run from the base of the spine to the top of the head. These are known as the primary or main chakras because it is thought that they have a direct influence on the physical, mental, and emotional bodies. They also control and regulate the flow of universal or spiritual energy within us.
According to chakras’ location in the body, they relate to certain organs and glands, as well as to systems in our bodies. The seven main chakras are the ones we are able to work with on a regular basis to improve our mind, body, and spirit wellbeing.
I’ve heard chakras can become blocked. How can you tell if this happens?
Experiencing too much stress, physically or mentally, may cause one or more chakras to be out of balance. Personal habits such as poor physical alignment or posture, eating unhealthy food, prolonged stress, or self-destructive behaviour may cause the chakras to be imbalanced. Too much or too little life force flowing in the chakras can cause imbalances within them.
Every chakra has unique symptoms that indicate under or over activity. Here are some common warning signs that your chakras might be off balance:
- You are feeling ‘off’ lately
- You are getting sick very frequently
- You feel there’s a black cloud above you
- Experiencing digestion problems
- Regular headaches, restless sleep, and nightmares
- Feeling fearful and anxious
- Feeling depressed and lonely
- Feeling tired more often
- Experiencing a lack of energy or fatigue
- Feeling stuck in life, or having a lack of purpose
- Your creative energy is not flowing
How can we unblock our chakras?
Unblocking your chakras is about removing stagnant and dense energies from your chakras to allow free flow of prana (life force).
If you’re experiencing imbalances in one chakra, this will impact other chakras, bringing a general imbalance in the whole system. Often the area in your body where you are experiencing the problem is an indicator that the chakra associated with that part is the one giving you trouble, however, this is not always the case. For example: an overactive solar plexus chakra can manifest in someone as being very greedy and arrogant. They tend to dominate and suppress others in order to be in control of every situation. These actions can automatically block the heart chakra, which is a spiritual chakra associated with love, compassion, and kindness.
In order to unblock your chakras, it is necessary to understand what is the root cause and where and how in your body this is manifesting.
Thimela’s top tips for working with chakras, day-to-day:
- Cultivate a regular self-care routine that involves a simple yet effective chakra healing practice. It could be a chakra visualisation meditation, chakra mantra meditation, or positive affirmations for the chakras, for example. Work with the chakras, enjoy the experience of becoming more intuitive, and tuning-in to the subtle energies of your bodies.
- Invest in good texts and chakra resources and put into practice what you have learned. See how that information is related to you and your life.
- Take your time to understand the chakra basics. This will help you to connect better with your energy centres, and pinpoint the chakra that needs your attention. A seven-week journey through the chakras tends to work really well for beginners. Each week you concentrate on one particular chakra, starting with the root chakra at the base of the spine and moving up to the crown chakra at the top of the head.