I’m no ancient spiritual, holistic, or New Age guru and consider myself devoutly faithful and religious, but I recently came upon something that piqued my interest. I was in New Mexico visiting my mom, sister, and niece and we were at an art/craft show when I saw a necklace I really liked. Pictured above, it’s a simple chain with seven colored beads dangling on the end. I thought it was so pretty and told the artist I wanted to buy it. It was then that I learned it’s a “chakra necklace.” Being that I’ve been a yoga devotee for many years, I was familiar with the term “chakra” but my knowledge was rudimentary. Until now.
Chakra (cakra in Sanskrit) means “wheel” or “disk” and consists of a complex and ancient energy system in our bodies that originated in India. Popularity has increased with the growth of yoga and New Age philosophies but they were first mentioned in the Vedas, a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. Don’t get me wrong, this cradle Catholic is very religious and spiritual and I’m not jumping off the beliefs bridge; I just love learning new things. And, if along the way I can improve how my body functions and how my mind works, I’m all for it.
I’m here to share what I’ve learned and am pretty sure many out there know much more and can both add to and possibly correct some of this, but I’m giving it my best shot.
In short, chakras are energy points in our bodies. They are often referred to as spinning disks of energy that are in their best form when they’re “open” and aligned. They correspond to our nerves and major organs as well as areas of our bodies that affect our emotional and physical well-being.
Some say there are 114 chakras but the seven major ones that run along our spines to the tops of our heads are what most people refer to and talk about. Each of these seven has a corresponding number, name, color, health focus, and specific area of the spine from the sacrum to the crown of the head. It is believed that for a person to function at their best, chakras need to stay open, or balanced. If they get blocked, you may experience physical or emotional symptoms related to a specific chakra. One way to unblock or rebalance chakras is by doing certain yoga poses, breathing exercises, and mediation practices. Bingo! Now I truly understand why we do all those poses and breathing in yoga. It all makes sense. To clarify even more, let’s look at the seven major chakras.
The root chakra, or Muladhara, is located at the base of your spine. It provides a base or foundation for life, helps you feel grounded and able to withstand challenges, and is responsible for your sense of security and stability. A blocked root chakra can manifest as physical issues like arthritis, constipation, and bladder or colon problems. Blocked root chakras can also result emotionally through insecurity about finances, basic needs, or our general well-being. When it’s in alignment and open, we feel grounded and secure both physically and mentally.
The sacral chakra, or Svadhisthana, is located just below your belly button. This chakra is responsible for you creative and sexual energy and is also linked to how you relate to your emotions and the emotions of others. Issues with this chakra can be associated with urinary tract infections, lower back pain, and impotency. Emotionally, this chakra is connected to our feelings of self-worth, pleasure, and creativity. When balanced, you enjoy life and the fruits of your labor without overdoing things.
The solar plexus chakra, or Manipura, is located in your stomach area. It is responsible for confidence and self-esteem as well as helping you feel in control of your life. It is often considered the “bravery” and “boundary-setting” chakra. Blockages in it often result in digestive issues like ulcers, heartburn, eating disorders, and indigentsion. It’s also the chakra of our personal power, meaning it’s strongly related to our self-esteem and self-confidence.
The heart chakra, or Anahata, is located near your heart in the center of your chest. It should come as no surprise that it is connected to our ability to love and show compassion and feel connected to others. Blocks in our heart chakra can manifest in heart problems, asthma, and weight issues. It is the middle of the seven chakras, so it bridges the gap between our upper and lower chakras and when out of alignment, it can make us feel lonely, insecure, and isolated.
The throat chakra, or Vishuddha, is located in your throat and is related to our ability to communicate verbally. Voice and throat problems, including those having to do with our teeth, gums, and mouth, may indicate blockage. Blocks or misalignment can also be manifested through dominating conversations, gossiping, speaking without thinking, and having trouble speaking your mind and standing up for yourself. When in alignment, you will speak and listen with compassion and it will literally help you speak up in a smooth, confident, and authentic way. When balanced, the throat chakra allows you to openly and lovingly speak the truth and gives a voice to your personal preferences, beliefs, and values.
The third eye chakra, or Ajna, is located between your eyes. Think of this chakra as having a strong gut instinct as it’s responsible for our intuition. It’s also linked to imagination and connects us with our ego and our soul. Since this chakra is physically located on the head, blockages show up as headaches, sight or concentration issues, and hearing problems. People who have trouble listening to reality or tend to be “know it alls,” may also have a block. When open and in alignment, one will follow their intuition and see the “big picture.” When this chakra is balanced, you’ll feel in tune with the physical and spiritual world, as it is believed to be our human connection to the divine, aka God in my case.
The crown chakra, or Sahasrara, is located at the top of your head. It is linked to every other chakra (and therefore every organ in this system) so it affects not just all of those organs, but also our brain and nervous system. It is considered the chakra of enlightenment and represents our connection to our life’s purpose and spirituality. Personal habits such as poor physical alignment or posture, eating unhealthy food, or self-destructive behaviors result in an imbalanced crown chakra. Prolonged imbalance may lead to physical disease and illness, musculoskeletal issues, and mental health challenges like depression or anxiety. Those with a blocked crown chakra may seem narrow-minded, skeptical, or stubborn. When this chakra is open, it is thought to help keep all the other chakras open and bring about personal bliss and transcend suffering, otherwise known in the Buddhist tradition as “Nirvana.”
Opening and healing these chakras is key, and my amazing yoga instructor Nicki Simonich with www.inneressenceyoga.com is the expert healer and teacher. As she says, through life, these energy centers can become out of balance and show up in our days as things like lack of self-confidence, a creative block, or even a sense of not being safe. She coaches her clients to find their best inner selves and lives.
“Often when working one-on-one with clients for Trauma Informed Yoga Therapy and even Life Coaching, I can see how their struggles form a pattern connected to a certain chakra and together we work to bring balance back in,” she says. “For example, those who have experienced a trauma in their life will often experience a sense of not feeling safe and secure. This shows up in the Root Chakra being out of balance and can be worked on by grounding oneself with standing yoga postures that focus on the legs, hips, and feet. Mantras such as ‘I am here now’ can also be supportive as well as other tools and techniques.” (A mantra is a word or phrase repeated in prayer, meditation, or incantation for inspiration and motivation.)
So, where do we go from here? How do we keep these chakras open? One, you can contact Nicki, as I mentioned earlier, as a great way to promote chakra balance is to create alignment in your body through yoga poses, breathing practices that encourage the flow of energy, and meditation to bring about clarity of mind. I try to do all of these on a regular basis, the first two coming through my yoga class and the latter coming through my daily prayer and devotionals. To each his own on all of these, but I thought I’d share a few yoga poses that may help unblock specific chakras. Even I’m learning here and it’s so wonderful to grasp why each pose we do in yoga has a reason behind it. On that note, let’s go with some yoga!
Root chakra. Being that the root chakra is the base chakra and reflects our foundation, Tree Pose or any balancing poses like Mountain or Warrior are great for establishing a strong relationship with our bodies’ foundations.
Sacral chakra. Poses that strengthen your pelvic floor, where the sacral chakra resides, such as Bridge or deep hip openers like Pigeon are great for strengthening an opening your sacral chakra.
Solar plexus chakra. The solar plexus chakra is all about your inner fire and your core so poses like Plank, Boat, or Triangle are great for firing up your abs and creating more balance in this chakra.
Heart chakra. This one can open up all the other chakras in a sense and helps us open up better to others, so heart opener poses like Camel are key, as are Cow Face, High and Low Lunge, and Humble Warrior, which help open your chest, shoulders, and arms.
Throat chakra. Plow and Fish poses are great ways to open up your throat chakra as both open up the back and front sides of your neck, where the throat chakra resides.
Third eye chakra. This chakra rules your ability to dream up different life possibilities so poses like Forward Fold and Eagle, which involve getting your upper body intimately connected with your lower body, are great for third eye opening.
Crown chakra. It’s perfect to end with this, as the pose that’s best for the crown chakra is the pose that ends all yoga practices: Savasana. This relaxing pose helps strengthen your crown chakra by connecting you with your eternal self…your soul…and reminding you where you came from and where you can go.
So back to my pretty necklace and other chakra items…which can come in various styles and items other than jewelry. What’s their purpose other than being really pretty? Come to find out wearing a chakra necklace can be both an uplifting and stylish experience and as Nicki told me, they are not just pretty colors but tools of healing.
Made up of seven crystals – most often jasper, carnelian, citrine, rose or clear quartz, aquamarine, lapis, lazuli, and amethyst – they are thought to bring healing and clarity to those who wear them and when they come in close contact with the skin. Many believe a chakra necklace helps strengthen the spirt and encourage positive vibes in our bodies while also clearing our minds. Wearing one is also considered a way to open blocked chakras and keep good energy flowing in your body. They reportedly provide balance and emotional strength, remove internal doubts or fears, and can bring you more in tune with yourself and the world around you. I’m also guessing that if you want to strengthen a single chakra and put focus on its opening, you could choose a solitary stone related to it and wear it.
Lastly, fun facts about Chakras per Nicki: the bottom three are more connected to your earthly experience while the top three are connected to your spiritual experience. The middle, which is your heart, is what bridges your earthly and spiritual self.
That’s a lot of power in one little necklace! I’m all for hoping it does all that when I wear it or hold it but just in case, I’ll continue to wear my cross and a medal now and then and pray to God to keep my chakras open, my body healthy, and my mind at ease. Namaste!
If you are interested in learning more about working to bring balance into your Chakra system, Nicki offers a 20 minute free consultation at www.MindBodyTruth.com. She also hosts wonderful Zoom yoga classes at www.inneressenceyoga.com