Chakras are energy centers in the body that relate to your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. It can be helpful to visualize the chakras as seven spinning wheels of energy, vertically lined from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Each chakra offers gifts to unlock and access so that you can live a happier and healthier life.
When the chakras are balanced, you feel healthy, energized, emotionally resilient, focused, and calm. When the energy in the chakras is deficient and/or underactive, you feel spacey, disconnected, isolated, and powerless. If the energy in the chakras is excessive or overactive, you feel heavy, lethargic, aggressive, possessive, and overly attached to things and people. Our reactions to stress in day-to-day life and to early childhood programming impacts the energy in our chakras.
The good news is that there are simple tools that can bring you back into balance and give you access to the gifts of each chakra. When the chakras are open and balanced, you have access to these innate gifts that have always been a part of you. Think of the chakras as portals where energy can move and flow. These portals can be blocked by stress, tension, anxiety, fear, and anger, making it harder to access all that the chakras have to offer. These daily habits can connect you with the gifts of each chakra and keep you grounded and balanced as you move through the challenges of your day.
Chakra 1: The Root Chakra
Gifts: Acceptance and patience
The root chakra, located at the base of the spine, is connected to the earth element, and it's the foundation of your chakra system. It gives us the gifts of patience and acceptance. The earth element is dense, slow moving, and offers the most resistance in creating change, and as such, the root chakra represents stability, survival, and security. There are many aspects of life that we can't change, such as the family and the country we were born into and the unique circumstances that this presents in our lives. In these types of situations, when we can't change the situation in the moment, we can welcome more patience and acceptance to be with what is and to trust that we can handle it.
Practice: Breath Meditation
Bring your hands to your heart center with the tips of the fingers touching like a teepee. Inhale for five seconds, hold the breath for five seconds, and exhale for five seconds. You are slowing down your breath to four breaths per minute. With each breath, invite more patience and acceptance into your heart and mind. Continue for three to five minutes.
Chakra 2: The Navel Chakra
Gifts: Joy and passion
The sacral chakra, located at the hips, low back, and sex organs, moves us into the water element, the ebb and flow of the tides, and the relationship with the moon and our emotions. The sacral chakra invites you to move, to experience pleasure, to relax and nourish yourself, and to recognize and fulfill your desires. To connect with your sacral chakra, invite more fun into your life and make time for pleasurable activities that bring you joy and awaken your passion. The energy of the sacral chakra motivates and inspires you to relish life, to balance work and play, to experience joy, and to pursue your passions.
Pick a favorite song and dance to it in whatever way feels good in the moment. Move your hips and shoulders, sway, shake, and let the body lead you. Invite pleasure into each movement and reawaken your passion for life. At the end of the song, drink a glass of water, and open up to new levels of joy and nourishment in your life. If you love to dance, practice every day. If dancing isn't your thing, then try this once a week.
Chakra 3: The Navel Chakra
Gifts: Strength and confidence
The navel chakra, located in the stomach and mid-back, represents the warrior and the doer in you. It is fueled by the fire element, which creates heat for digestion and transformation. Life is continually presenting you with hardships and challenges; it's the strength of the navel chakra that provides you with the energy, power, and resourcefulness to overcome obstacles along your path. Representing the "I" and the ego, this is the part of us that achieves and defends. As you accomplish tasks and achieve goals, you grow in confidence and begin to believe that you can handle whatever life brings your way.
Practice: Make a list of your top three strengths
On a piece of paper, write down three of your strengths. These are the qualities that your friends and colleagues compliment you on and that come naturally to you. Trust that you have these strengths within you, and it's time to acknowledge and utilize them more actively. Once you have written them down, commit to using them every day for the next week to achieve your tasks and goals. Notice how your energy and confidence shifts by the end of the week.
Chakra 4: The Heart Chakra
Gifts: Love and compassion
The heart chakra is the realm of relationships, and offers you the gifts of love and compassion. It is located in the chest, shoulders, arms, and upper back. The air element is associated with the heart chakra, representing the breath of life, expansiveness, and movement. Long, deep breaths fill the body with life-giving energy called "prana" and restore balance in the heart chakra. The heart chakra is where "I" becomes "we," transcending the ego's need for self-protection and self-promotion to love others unconditionally. When the heart chakra is balanced, you create space in your heart and in your life to coexist with others in ways that are loving, kind, and respectful. You practice compassion (which literally means "to suffer together') so when confronted with another's suffering, you feel motivated to help and relieve their suffering. The heart chakra helps us realize how much we need other people in our lives to feel happy and fulfilled.
Practice: Start a gratitude practice
Gratitude is the thankful appreciation for what you have in your life. Every day, write down three to five things for which you are grateful. Write in as much detail as you can so that the practice lasts about five minutes. Make sure to write about new things each day as this helps to rewire your brain toward a more optimistic outlook. This practice will help you cultivate more love and appreciation for yourself, your relationships, and your life. Practice for three weeks and see if you notice more love and compassion in your heart chakra.
Chakra 5: The Throat Chakra
Gifts: Expressing and listening
The throat chakra is the center of creative expression, communication, and subtle energy. The element of the throat chakra is ether, the limitless space in which everything exists, and it is associated with openness, spirituality, and vastness. In the subtle realms of the throat chakra, you notice how you express yourself in the world and how you communicate with yourself and others. The throat chakra gives you the gift of expression and the ability to share your thoughts and feelings with others. It can feel scary to share what's inside of you with the world, but if you keep it all in, the pent-up energy creates imbalances in your chakra system. When you share and release your thoughts and feelings, it can feel gratifying and fulfilling. Sharing with others through words, songs, writing, and other forms of expression is a powerful way to connect, create intimacy, and bring beauty into the world. It's also an honor to listen to others as they express themselves and to hold space for their experience.
Practice: Conversation Reboot
Take a moment and assess if you are the listener or talker in most of your conversations. Often, we tend to be one more than the other. If you are normally the talker, then in your next conversation, make an effort to listen deeply and ask questions. Allow for silence even if it feels uncomfortable. If you are often the listener and not as comfortable sharing your feelings and thoughts, then make an effort to open up and share more about yourself. Sharing creates more intimacy and trust in a relationship.
Chakra 6: The Third-Eye Chakra
Gifts: Intuition and intention
Centered between the eyebrows, the third-eye chakra relates to your ability to see clearly, to move beyond duality, and to connect with the wisdom of your soul. The element connected with the third-eye chakra is light, which represents the light of the divine in each of us. Recall that in the heart chakra, we transcend the needs of the ego in order to love deeply and serve others. In the third-eye chakra, we transcend the needs of the ego to connect with the light of our soul, that part of us that serves the highest good, and that guides us to live our life purpose. Awakening your intuition, you are guided by an inner wisdom, recognizing yourself as both human and divine, and shifting from pursuing worldly goals and accomplishments to cultivating inner peace.
Practice: Mantra Meditation
Mantras are sound vibrations that uplift the mind and soul. Chant this mantra to access your intuition and cultivate a relationship with your soul: "I am the light of my soul. I am beautiful, I am bountiful, I am bliss. I am I am." This mantra can work wonders when you're feeling confused and overwhelmed by the details and demands of daily life. Chant along with the recording "Bliss" by Sirgun Kaur and Sat Darshan Singh. Practice for five minutes.
Chakra 7: The Crown Chakra
Gifts: Awareness and peace
The crown chakra, located at the crown of the head, is your connection with spirituality, a belief in something greater than yourself, and a higher purpose. Through the gift of awareness, you cultivate a relationship with your mind and thoughts, realizing that you are not defined by sensations, thoughts, or feelings. In the realm of the crown chakra, you develop an awareness of your behaviors and beliefs and you see how they impact your life and the life of others. You reflect and ask deep, meaningful questions about the existence of life and what it all means, cultivating peace with the stages of life, with loss and pain, and with your own mortality.
Meditate on the mantra "Wha Hay Guru." This mantra expresses the indescribable experience of going from darkness to light—from ignorance to true understanding. The mantra calls on the higher self to move steadily through all the ups and downs in life. You can chant along with the recording, "Prem Siri" by Nirinjan Kaur or mentally chant the mantra. Practice for five minutes.
Now that you know the gifts of each chakra and the practices that will help you access them, you may be wondering where to start. I recommend closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Move your hands in front of your heart center, a few inches away from your body, with your palms facing toward you. Start to move your hands slowly up toward the top of your head and then down toward your legs and feet. Pause at each chakra center and notice sensations and feelings at each center. After a few minutes, let your hands rest on the part of your body that is craving the most healing or balance. Your hands will guide you there. Let your hands rest there for a few breaths and ask that chakra what it needs to come into balance. Listen deeply. This is the chakra to start with on your healing journey. Devote three weeks to bringing this chakra into balance before you move on to the next chakra. Each of the practices I've shared takes only five minutes and can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. Know that small, simple, healthy habits, when practiced daily, can create profound shifts in your health and happiness.
Once you've mastered a five-minute practice, you can learn more about the powers of your chakras and how to incorporate their gifts into your life in my book, Unlock the Power of Your Chakras: An Immersive Experience through Exercises, Yoga Sets & Meditations.