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If you’ve been dabbling in the world of yoga for a little while, then chances are you’ve heard about the 7 chakras. But have you ever asked yourself, “what is a chakra?” If so, this post is for you!

Full disclosure, I’ve never really been into chakras. I know, what kind of a yogi am I? The truth is, I’ve been skeptical of their existence and/or validity. I’m more of a ‘believe it when I see it’ kind of girl.

But I’m trying to keep a more open mind about things that I don’t know about, and things on the more “woo woo” side that I can’t see or touch. So I’m taking a dive into what the chakra system is all about.

 

WHAT IS A CHAKRA?

To answer the question, “what is a chakra?”, we have to first understand prana and the nadis. In Sanskrit, prana means ‘vital energy’ or ‘life force’. It is the energy responsible for all life experiences, physical and spiritual.

The nadis are energy pathways that transport prana throughout the body. I like to think of nadis as subway lines that carry the prana throughout the body.

According to yogic philosophy, chakras refer to centralized locations where the nadis converge. I like to think of them like prana subway stations, where different lines meet and cross.

The Sanskrit word chakra literally translates to wheel or disk. This is because the prana that moves inside of us is constantly spinning and rotating. And where the pathways of prana meet, there is even more spinning.

What Are Chakras? A Guide to the 7 chakras to help answer the question, "what is a chakra?"

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THE 7 CHAKRAS

There are 7 chakras in total. They run through the centerline of the body, starting at the base of the spine, up through the crown of the head

The 7 chakras provide energy to different parts of the body, mind and spirit. Each chakra has a corresponding color, element and mantra.

Below is a brief overview of each of the 7 chakras.

 

1. Root Chakra: Muladhara Chakra

The first chakra is the chakra of stability, security, and our basic needs. It represents our foundation and feeling of being grounded.

Location: Base of spine in tailbone area.
Color: Red
Element: Earth
Mantra: LAM
Emotional connection: Survival emotions related to financial independence, money and food.

Related: The Root Chakra: The First Chakra, or Muladhara Chakra

 

2. Sacral Chakra: Svadhisthana Chakra

The second chakra is our creativity and sexual center. It is related to our connection to others, and our ability to accept others and new experiences. It is also responsible for our creative expression.

Location: Lower abdomen, about two inches below the navel and two inches in.
Color: Orange
Element: Water
Mantra: VAM
Emotional connection: Sense of creativity, abundance, well-being, pleasure and sexuality; an ability to go with the flow.

 

3. Solar Plexus Chakra: Manipura Chakra

The third chakra is our source of personal power. It has to do with our ability to be confident and in control of our lives.

Location: Upper abdomen in the stomach area, between the navel and the breastbone.
Color: Yellow
Element: Fire
Mantra: RAM
Emotional connection: Self-worth, self-confidence and self-esteem.

 

4. Heart Chakra: Anahata Chakra

The fourth chakra is at the middle of the seven. This chakra unites the lower chakras of matter and the upper chakras of spirit. It serves as a bridge between our body, mind, emotions, and spirit. The heart chakra is our source of love and connection.

Location: Center of chest just to the right of the physical heart.
Color: Green
Element: Air
Mantra: YAM
Emotional connection: Love, joy and inner peace.

 

5. Throat Chakra: Vishuddha Chakra

The fifth chakra is our source of verbal expression. It has to do with our ability to communicate and speak our highest truth.

Location: Throat.
Color: Sky Blue
Element: Ether, or “space” (carrier of sound)
Mantra: HAM
Emotional connection: Communication – speaking and listening, self-expression of feelings and the truth.

 

6. Third Eye Chakra: Ajna Chakra

The sixth chakra is our center of intuition. It has to do with our ability to focus on and see the big picture.

Location: Forehead between the eyes
Color: Indigo
Element: It is not associated with any element, as this chakra is considered “beyond” the physical elements.
Mantra: OM
Emotional connection: Intuition, imagination, wisdom and the ability to think and make decisions.

 

7. Crown Chakra: Sahasrara Chakra

The seventh chakra is the chakra of enlightenment. it forms the spiritual connection to our higher selves, others, and ultimately, to the divine. This chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually, and serves as a way of connecting to divine energy.

Location: The very top of the head; the crown of the head.
Color: Shimmering almost-white violet
Element: It is not associated with any element, as this chakra is considered “beyond” the physical elements.
Mantra: Silent OM
Emotional connection: Inner and outer beauty, our connection to spirituality and pure bliss.

 

Learning about the 7 chakras can help us to become more in tune with the natural energy cycles of our bodies. To learn more about each individual chakra and to practice a yoga sequence related to each one, click on the name of the individual chakra.

 

Happy chakra balancing!

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