What are Chakras? Our simple guide to Healing and Balancing the 7 Chakras

Wondering what the chakras are and what they do? Here is our easy guide to the seven chakras, including what happens when they’re out of balance, and how to heal them.

What are chakras? 

The chakra system is first mentioned in the Vedas. These are oldest collection of Hindu scriptures, written in Sanskrit in India, circa 1500 BCE. “Chakra” is Sanskrit for "wheel”—named this way to describe the life force inside of each of us, spinning and rotating. The chakras are centre points in the body, where three energy channels meet in a triangle shape, forming a wheel. 

The chakras are like spinning cogs, parts of the well-oiled machine that is you. Like a machine, every part needs to be in good working order for the system to run. If the chakras are out of balance, we can run out of steam, and feel cranky or down. 

Although there are over one hundred chakras, and around 72,000 energy channels, the ones I want to focus on here are the seven chakras used for chakra healing. These are located through the centreline of the body,  beginning at the top of the head and ending at the base of the spine. The health of our chakras is directly connected to our health, in the body, mind, emotions and spirit. They are our guardians. When the gates are open, life energy can flow freely through them. When the gates are closed, and a chakra is blocked, energy cannot flow, and we feel out of balance.  


What happens when the chakras are out of balance? 

Each of the seven chakras affects us differently when it’s out of balance, as they are each connected to different parts of the body and self.  

Understanding what the seven chakras are can help us to understand how they work. When we can identify which of our chakras are blocked, we can act to bring balance to our system and feel better in body, mind and spirit.

The 7 Chakras

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The 1st Chakra: The Root Chakra, Base Chakra or Red Chakra 

Location: The base of the spine 

It is also known as “Muladhara Chakra”, which is Sanskrit for “root support”, as this chakra is our root, our base, and represents the centre of stability for the mind and body. This chakra is the key to our feelings of safety, survival and self-sufficiency. The Root Chakra is made up of all that grounds us in life, including our emotional stability. When we feel settled, grounded and safe, we know that the Root Chakra is balanced or open. When we feel unsettled, the Root Chakra is closed or out of balance.  

Emotional Symptoms: When we experience blockages in the Root Chakra, we can experience problems such as anxiety disorders and nightmares.  

Physical symptoms: Problems in the Root Chakra are associated with colon trouble, bladder issues, feet, lower leg and lower back problems. 


The 2nd Chakra: The Sacral Chakra or Orange Chakra  

Location: the lower abdomen between the belly button and pubic bone.  

It is also known as “Svadhisthana Chakra”, which is Sanskrit for “one’s own dwelling place”. The Sacral Chakra deals with relationships, creativity, pleasure and pain, and our emotions. When we feel stable in our sexuality, emotions and sensuality, our Sacral Chakra is balanced or open. 

Emotional symptoms: When this chakra is closed, or out of balance, we feel emotionally unstable, and are more likely to experience a fear of change, an addiction or sexual dysfunction. 

Physical symptoms: Changes in appetite, energy levels, and sleeping patterns related to depression or addiction could be signs of a blocked Sacral Chakra. 


The 3rd Chakra: The Solar Plexus Chakra or Yellow Chakra 

Location: the solar plexus, between the belly button and the bottom of the rib cage, running from the navel to the bottom of the breast.  

It is also known as “Manipura Chakra”, which means “lustrous gem” in Sanskrit. This chakra is our source of personal power, the centre of our self-esteem and our warrior-like power. When this chakra is open, or balanced, we feel motivated, full of confidence and a sense of purpose.  

Emotional Symptoms: When it is closed, or out of balance, we feel out of control, with a lack of self-esteem.  

Physical Symptoms: If the Solar Plexus Chakra is blocked, it can lead to digestive issues and stomach cramps.  


The 4th Chakra: The Heart Chakra or Green Chakra 

Location: The middle of the chest, including not just our heart but our lungs and the thymus gland 

It is also known as “Anahata Chakra” which means “unbeaten” or “unstruck” in Sanskrit. This chakra is our centre, where our body and spirit meet our aspirations, and our reality. When our heart chakra is open, or balanced, we accept others as well as ourselves, so feel confident, happy and satisfied.  

Emotional symptoms: When this chakra is closed, or out of balance, we may lack self-assurance or feel angry and jealous  

Physical symptoms: Markers of stress such high blood pressure might indicate a blocked Heart Chakra.  


The 5th Chakra: The Throat Chakra or Blue Chakra 

Location: the throat, covering the neck and jaw.  

It is also known as “Vishuddhi Chakra” which means “incredibly pure” in Sanskrit. This chakra is our source of expression, communication and faith. When the Throat Chakra is open or balanced, we express ourselves effectively, give wisdom, and listen to others. 

Emotional symptoms: When it is closed, or out of balance, we lack self-assurance, and struggle to speak the truth. 

Physical symptoms: Issues in the Throat Chakra can lead to sore throats, neck stiffness and problems with the thyroid. 


The 6th Chakra: The Third Eye Chakra or Indigo Chakra 

Location: space between the eyebrows, and includes the lower part of the brain, the eyes and the head itself  

It is also known as “Ajna Chakra” which means “to perceive” in Sanskrit. The Third Eye Chakra is the centre of our intuition, controlling our insight, our emotions and mental energy. When the Third Eye Chakra is open, or balanced, we use our intelligence, our imagination and our intuition, with an awareness of our true, spiritual Self.  

Emotional symptoms: When it is closed, or out of balance, we fail to trust our intuition, relying on the intelligence of others.  

Physical symptoms: A blocked Third Eye Chakra is blocked causes spells of dizziness and headaches. 


The 7th Chakra: The Crown Chakra or Purple Chakra 

Location: The crown of the head 

It is also known as “Sahasrara Chakra”, which means “lotus with a thousand petals” in Sanskrit. It is the centre of our wisdom and consciousness, our connection to the true Self and divine energy. When we have an open or balanced Crown Chakra, we have a strong awareness of who we are and are more likely to be able to reach states of calm in meditation.  

Emotional symptoms: When it is closed, or out of balance, we are out of touch with the spirit self, distracted by daily living.  

Physical symptoms: A blocked Crown Chakra can lead to a feeling of disconnect, separating us from others and from daily activity. 


Now that you know what each chakra does, let’s talk about how to heal them.

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Guide to chakra balancing and healing 

Do you feel out of touch with yourself, down in the dumps, or in need of a little recharge? It happens to all of us from time to time. It might be that your chakras have fallen out of balance, which can happen when life’s ups and downs drain us of positive energy. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to bring back a sense of balance and to unblock the chakras.  


Using yoga to balance and heal your chakras 

The history of yoga is intermingled with the history of the chakras, as both feature in the Vedas.  

Any yoga class should help balance all the chakras. Though you might prefer a Restorative Yoga class or a Yin Yoga class if you want to gently stretch and rebalance, faster classes can sometimes aggravate feelings of instability and being out of whack.  

You could also try practicing yoga at home, using specific yoga poses to heal areas where you feel unbalanced. If you want to work on a particular chakra you should practice yoga poses which open that chakra. For example, hip-opening yoga poses target the lower chakras, while backbends expand the chest, useful for opening the heart chakra. Fish Pose is great for the Throat Chakra, Shoulder Stand works well for the Third Eye Chakra while Headstand, the so-called “King of Yoga Poses” is excellent for the Crown Chakra. 


Using a chakra bracelet or chakra necklace to heal and balance your chakras  

One easy way to heal your chakras is to wear a chakra bracelet, or chakra necklace. Chakra jewellery has been worn by yogis in India for centuries and is imbued with the power to heal and realign the chakras. It works by absorbing negative energy, leaving only positive energy, to help those who wear it feel at ease. With a greater store of positive energy, wearers can channel this positivity into their daily lives, transforming their outlook and making them feel more in control.  

Anyone can wear chakra bracelets and chakra necklaces, as all you need are faith and trust in the power of chakra jewellery to feel the benefits. To delve further into how chakra bracelets work, read our post here.

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Using essential oils to heal and balance your chakras  

Although essential oils have been used for centuries in holistic healing, their use has become much more prevalent in the West in recent years as people have awoken to their benefits for health and chakra healing. A simple way to use essential oils to heal the chakras is by applying them directly to the area of the chakra you wish to align.  

There are a range of aromatherapy oils specifically designed to open and balance each chakra. There is also a chakra oil which balances all of the chakras. Some essential oils can be applied directly to the skin but be sure to read the label and shop wisely. Certain oils are too strong and will inflame the skin. You could also try inhaling the calming scent of essential oils, as this can uplift the mind and spirit, promoting a sense of well-being.  


Using meditation to heal and balance your chakras  

Just as we practice yoga to target different areas of the body, we can focus on our body position during meditation to help promote chakra healing and balancing. 

The best way to heal the chakras through meditation is to activate the area during your practice. For example, here’s how to clear the Root Chakra using meditation. 

The Root Chakra is found at the base of the spine, in the tailbone. It can end up out of balance when we travel extensively, with no home base. To balance this chakra, try practicing meditation sitting so that your root is grounded, with your feet firmly on the ground – no Chair Yoga or Aerial Yoga here. When we connect with our minds through meditation, whilst our root is firmly grounded, we bring together body, mind and our foundation and link who we are with where we are, reminding ourselves that we are parts of something much bigger. 

“If you are quiet enough, you will hear the flow of the universe. You will feel its rhythm. Go with this flow. Happiness lies ahead. Meditation is key.” – Buddha  

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Lucy Edge 

is a yoga advocate and writer with three yoga books to her name, including the beloved travel memoir Yoga School Dropout. She writes regularly for the national press, has authored over 150 guides to types of yoga and yoga poses, discovered nearly 250 proven health benefits of yoga through her painstaking classification of 300 clinical studies, and collected more than 500 personal testimonials to the real life benefits of yoga. She is also the creator of our yoga shop – YogaClicks.Store – handpicking yoga brands that are beautifully made by yogis committed to environmental and social sustainability.