by Jill Willard Chakras are energy centers in and around the body. The word chakra means “wheel.” There are 7 most often talked about chakras in the body, and even more in the aura—or energy field. Chakras are part of a system—they are all integrated and affect one another. When one part of our body or experience is blocked this shows up in an imbalanced chakra, and often, an unwanted life experience. We block our life force energy that moves throughout the chakras and therefore block our intuitive nature and capacity for healing. As we mature, our chakras are able to come to their fully balanced mature state. This can happen with more awareness and strength when we learn the lessons that the universe presents to us. The universe will teach us the lesson again and again until we come to understand it and balance our chakra system, creating the life, energy, and ease we wish for. We can always go back and clear, strengthen, realign, and add vitality to a chakra. Every chakra is important—they bring life force through our body. When we are out of balance in our chakras, our life is out of balance. 1st CHAKRA Representing Roots Location: Sit bones, legs, hips Color: Red Represents:The first chakra represents the relationship to basic needs, including food, shelter, safety, protection, mother and father influence, rest, and the feeling of belonging to a group, family, or organization. To Create Balance:It is very important that we grow “healthy roots” connecting us to the earth, to each other, and to our past. Sometimes our childhood holds us back, as there are old memories and dynamics that shape our current experience. Clearing out our root chakra as adults is a beautiful way to feel more grounded, have a good elimination process, and also connect us in a healthy way to our bodies and our ancestry. Go out on walks and feel your feet and stride, do grounding movement that focuses on strong legs and open hips, and where you release energy back to the earth. Simply release energy! Visualization can help here, as well as any form of positive counsel—when we shed light on this base chakra, often much emerges that needs to be reconciled and flushed out. 2nd CHAKRA Representing Pleasure Location: Reproductive, Sexual Organs Color: Orange Represents:The second chakra represents our relationship to pleasure and to all things, including each other and to the self—this extends to our relationship to our bodies, sex, food, alcohol, drugs, sugar, addiction, peers, hormones, gossip, shopping. To Create Balance:As a culture, we are stuck in the second chakra, and stuck in our youth: We have an imbalanced and problematic relationship to things… to sex, drugs, shopping, food. And definitely to the illusion that what we want is outside of us, that someone or something else holds the key. To create balance, we need to take a mature and honest look at our relationships—what makes us feel good and why, and where might we be stuck in a junior high mentality. We must look at how we can have healthier relationships with ourselves, our family, our friends, our society, the media, and our everyday schedule, and in the process, we need to discover what brings us pleasure in a balanced, honest way. (Pleasure does not mean greed, avarice, or sensationalism.) It’s important to determine where we can trim the excess and clean out our personal closets. With clarity, we can begin to decipher what and where we wish to put our healthy energy, our attention, our currency, and our focus—we must be discerning about all of this, including our sexual experiences. Balancing this chakra by reevaluating our relationship to all things is very helpful and cathartic. It’s also helpful to open our creative natures, which can be done by taking a class or getting out an old paint set—it does not take much to begin to circulate the vital energy of experiencing pleasure. Some believe the second chakra is where creativity is born. Think back to your first experiences of creating a new friendship, playing a sport, or learning to write, paint, dance, draw, or cook—experiencing this type of unleashed joy is what we want. It’s very connected to intuition. 3rd CHAKRA Representing Power Location: Stomach area Color: Yellow Represents:The third chakra represents power, healthy boundaries, self-worth, and the way we see ourselves in the world. This chakra is also strongly tied to the ego, having a healthy drive, and using power as good for the whole, not only for one’s own gain. Will power is also represented in this chakra, as is self-control and assertion. To Create Balance:This chakra’s balance hinges on our ability to understand our thoughts and feelings about power. In reality, power is a lovely word offering great abundance and healthy boundaries. We can use movement and meditation to strengthen the core and breathe deeper—this creates a release for your thoughts and a deep connection to your entire body. During meditation, using powerful mantras such as “I am Strong" is a wonderful way to activate your power chakra. Diaphragmatic breathing is important, as are gentle sit-ups. It’s important to understand that the third chakra burns off the energy in the heart to create heat and power, and we must eat food that is good for the gut; this is often shown in readings to help with hormone regeneration. It’s critical to remember our worth, and to create kind, strong boundaries and space to meditate or walk quietly. This helps release old energy and patterns tied to old thoughts of worth. It is also very important to say no, without guilt! Wait for three seconds (at a minimum) before responding or committing to something, this helps to understand how important boundaries are formed. 4th CHAKRA Representing Love Location: Heart Color: Green (some choose pink) Represents:The fourth chakra represents the relationship to love, love, love—and specifically empathy. This chakra governs the fact that we’re all connected, that we are all one. It is the conduit connecting the lower to the upper chakras and intuition. With a balanced, kind heart, we can help all living things experience great joy and gratitude, and co-exist in harmony. To Create Balance:Many don’t go higher than their heart chakra (or even to their heart chakra)—though many mistakenly think that they are there. I believe this is why we have so much dis-ease in that region and in the gut below—we are not using our power chakra to burn off energy in a healthy way. When we don’t burn off energy, the heart simply gets too heavy, the emotions get too dense, and mental and emotional disharmony occurs - releasing and letting go is very important. To balance this chakra, it is helpful to create or make a forgiveness trail where you can release anger, blame, worry, and guilt—when you get to the destination, walk back in solitude and gratitude. A labyrinth or hike will fulfill this intention. Even when driving, dedicate that time to releasing an emotion or negative thought. Meditation and gentle movement are extremely effective at releasing and balancing. The most powerful thing you can do is to learn how to forgive yourself and others—to understand and forgive yourself for how you were in that moment or experience, and why you were drawn to a certain situation or relationship. Start a gratitude journal or list, and really let that love resonate in your heart. 5th CHAKRA Representing Truth Location: Throat Color: Blue Represents:The fifth chakra represents speaking truth with love, and when balanced, speaking from the heart. This is very important for purification, breath, hormone balance, and feeling liberated! To Create Balance:We do not say exactly how we feel enough, and it causes many issues with the thyroid and hormones. It is time to be brave and speak truth with love, and to be impeccable with our words—brevity is important. Singing, and mouthing vowel sounds can be helpful for balancing the throat, such as an “O” and “E.” A mantra can help here. Even the simple sound of ‘om.’ Using our voice in a rhythmic hum or vibration is another way to begin purifying and releasing our thoughts and emotions. In addition, focusing on the color blue, and visualizing a clear exchange of words and thought can be helpful. Letter writing, getting our voice out on paper, or singing in the car or shower (anywhere) is helpful. Having a tough conversation with a family member, friend, co-worker or loved one is an extremely powerful way to balance our throat chakra. Remember throughout that compassion, love, and empathy are our greatest tools. 6th CHAKRA Representing Intuition and Insight Location: Between the brow on the forehead, the Third Eye Color: Purple Represents:The sixth chakra represents intuition, which has many aspects. Being intuitive means having a knowing about something; this can also include being psychic or clairvoyant. It also means being highly creative. To Create Balance:Being of service is important here: We must use what we know for peace and harmony. As this chakra opens, life becomes more vibrant and we feel increasingly lighter and alive. Once we really understand that intuition unlocks creativity and more choice, we are more open and inclined to focus on ways to activate it. Visualize opening the third eye, which is located between, or slightly above the center of your brow. Once we feel that a space resides in all of us for intuition, we have already created a spot for its opening. To open our intuition it is helpful to activate our power source or inner fire to burn off unwanted fear and nervous energy. It is helpful to become charitable with our giving, which involves many things, including time, hugs, eye contact, and touch. We must be brief and straightforward with our words, particularly in difficult conversations—and we must take responsibility for our part in the relationships and conversations we are in. It is helpful to understand the purification and balancing aspect of the thyroid and hormones when it comes to speaking. Meditation continues to be the key to opening and strengthening intuition. Meditation can happen in many forms—it will clear your mind and help release old roadblocks. Any form of true silent time will help the intuitive voice rise. Try walking instead of running. Every morning, continue to give gratitude/thanks and set a clear intention to be open to signs and signals that might present themselves that day. As with eye contact, it’s critical to notice people, color, and flow. Honor the signs and give thanks for what holds grace and joy. 7th CHAKRA Representing Wisdom Location: Crown, top of head Color: White, clear, or purple/indigo moving toward clear Represents:This glorious crown or top chakra is the connection to the higher divine, the light, natural nirvana, and a oneness with the universe. It is where consciousness resides. It is thought that life force energy enters through our crown chakra and travels down through the rest of our chakras. At this point, you are no longer an energy match for dark thoughts and insecurity. We begin to deeply understand our spiritual nature. Great knowing resides here. The glow, or fountain of youth often feels obtained when we balance this chakra. True and loving connection to ourselves, our spirituality, our highest self, and all living things. To Create Balance:Taking time for gratitude and prayer are important for whole balance and the sense of loving connectiveness that this chakra represents. Quiet time is one of the greatest tools, using meditation and positive visualization to create great balance and awareness. Activating love and understanding is very helpful, as is leaving judgment behind. At every opportunity, surround yourself with positivity, which can assist all of us to reach our highest potential and goals. Balancing this chakra fills us with magnetic feelings of unity.