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by Lynn Roulo

This article will take us through each of the eight chakras, offering a brief explanation with a Kundalini Yoga kriya and meditation to help bring each of these energy centers back into balance.

What are Chakras?

Chakras are energy centers that exist within the human body. These energy centers are mapped to different emotional and psychological issues and can be used to help identify imbalances and to establish internal harmony.

The combined effect of our chakra systems become who we are, how we feel, how we behave, and how we change.

In simple terms, the word "chakra" is a Sanskrit word meaning wheel or circle. These whirlpools of energy are mapped along the spine. In most forms of yoga, there are seven recognized chakras. These are:

  • 1st Chakra: Root Chakra
  • 2nd Chakra: Sex Organs
  • 3rd Chakra: Navel Point
  • 4th Chakra: Heart Center
  • 5th Chakra: Throat Center
  • 6th Chakra: Third Eye Point
  • 7th Chakra: Crown Chakra

In Kundalini Yoga, an eighth chakra, the Electromagnetic Field, is recognized.

The First Chakra/The Root Chakra (Muladhara)

Muladhara means "root, support."

The first chakra is about survival, support, and feeling grounded and safe in our environment. It relates to our ability to focus, project, and manifest worldly, practical needs. When the first chakra is balanced, it manifests as a feeling of security.

When the first chakra is out of balance or blocked, it results in feelings of instability, insecurity, grief, and depression. There can be themes of self-centeredness and self-indulgence as the ego works hard to get its needs met. In extreme imbalance, this can look like a very self-serving person.

  • Color: Red.
  • Location: at the base of the spinal column, the perineum, midway between the anus and the genitals.
  • Focus: Τhe first chakra is centered around issues of survival, including taking care of the health of our physical body and managing our day-to-day needs.

First chakra questions:

  • Do you take care of your physical body? Do you exercise? When was the last time you had a physical examination or went for routine dental care? Are you at your optimal weight?
  • Do you actively seek information about your diet? Do you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet free from processed food?
  • Do you enjoy your work? Do you experience fulfillment or frustration in your job?
  • Do you budget, save money, and actively manage your financial situation?
  • Do you feel secure in your environment or are you usually anxious (about resources including time, money, energy)?

Kundalini Yoga Classes for the First Chakra:

The Second Chakra/The Sex Organs (Svadhisthana)

Svadhisthana means "sweetness."

The second chakra is about sexuality, creativity, inspiration, and energy storage. This is the chakra of polarities (opposites), and these polarities create movement. Pleasure is one of the essential features of the second chakra, and the second chakra is where we gain a degree of freedom and complexity. When in balance, this chakra manifests as the ability to experience pleasure, creativity, and inspiration in an open, yet tempered way.

When the second chakra is out of balance, you may have a hard time experiencing pleasure, expressing yourself, and relaxing. Pleasure is a double-edged sword and being out of balance in this chakra can manifest as avoiding pleasure or indulging in it too much. Imbalances can result in frustration, attachment, anxiety, fear, or overindulgence, and excessive hedonism.

  • Color: Orange.
  • Location: midway between the pubic and the navel. It includes the lower abdomen, genitals, and womb.
  • Focus: The second chakra is about sexuality, inspiration, pleasure, and creativity.

Second Chakra Questions:

  • Are you able to express your emotions in acceptable ways at the right time?
  • Are you flexible: physically, emotionally, and mentally?
  • Are you able to let go of a feeling? Do you repress your feelings?
  • Are you able to nurture others? Are you able to accept nurturing?
  • Are you able to relax and seek pleasure? Do you allow time for play and relaxing? Are you comfortable doing nothing?

Kundalini Yoga for the Second Chakra:

The Third Chakra/The Navel Point (Manipura)

Manipura means "lustrous gem."

The third chakra is about personal power, a strong will, self-motivation, the ability to make decisions, and the ability to inspire other people. When in balance, this manifests as the ability to confidently pursue your goals, to project powerfully into a situation, and your personal grit to keep going in difficult circumstances.

When the third chakra is out of balance, you may lack initiative, and you may not pursue your goals. You may feel victimized by life circumstances and have feelings of powerlessness.

  • Color: Yellow.
  • Location: between the base of the sternum and the navel.
  • Focus: The purpose of the third chakra is transformation. In the third chakra, we overcome inertia. This is the center of action, will, and vitality.

Third Chakra Questions:

  • Do you have willpower?
  • Are you able to set goals and achieve them?
  • Do you know how to maintain personal energy levels?
  • Do you feel self-confident?
  • Do you inspire others to see their personal best and potential?

Kundalini Yoga for the Third Chakra:

The Fourth Chakra: The Heart Center (Anahata)

Anahata means "unstruck" (as in the sound made without two things striking).

The fourth chakra is about love and the infinite patterns of interdependence between all things. When the heart chakra is open and balanced, we perceive the world as unity, not separation. When in balance, you can easily and consistently access compassion, accept others in a non-judgemental way, and feel joy, happiness, and bliss.

When the fourth chakra is out of balance, you cannot access compassion. You may be afraid to give or you give to those who don't deserve it and share with those who don't want it. You may be blocked from feelings of joy and happiness, and you may feel isolated.

  • Color: Green.
  • Location: at the heart center of the body.
  • Focus: This chakra is about love, compassion, acceptance, fulfillment. In the fourth chakra, we feel connected to others and are able to give and receive love.

Fourth Chakra Questions:

  • Do you feel happy? When and how often are you happy?
  • Do you have friends? Are you able to maintain long-term friendships? Do you make friends easily?
  • Are you able to love and accept yourself? Are you able to experience compassion?
  • Do you feel part of the world around you? Do you see the world as "we are one" or "us against them?"
  • Are you able to give and share?

Kundalini Yoga for the Fourth Chakra

The Fifth Chakra: The Throat Chakra (Visuddha)

Visuddha means "purification."

The fifth chakra is about sound, communication, creativity, connection, expression, and interactions. When the fifth chakra is open and balanced, we communicate our truth clearly and compassionately. We can both speak effectively and listen actively. Purification is an aspect of this chakra.

When the fifth chakra is out of balance, communication is ineffective. This may manifest as a lack of expression or as bitterness. You may have something you want to say but you have difficulty speaking or communicating in a way others can hear. It may be difficult to say your truth.

  • Color: Blue.
  • Location: the throat.
  • Focus: Sound, effective communication including speaking, listening, writing, chanting, telepathy, and any of the arts, particularly those related to sound and language.

Fifth Chakra Questions:

  • Are you able to listen to ideas expressed from a point of view that differs from your own without reacting? Are you able to hear what others have to say?
  • Do you find opportunities to approach different aspects of your life creatively, such as performing mundane chores in a way that brings beauty and grace to the task?
  • Do you like the sound of your voice when you are talking, singing, thinking silently, and meditating?
  • When you are with others, do you harmonize with them?
  • Can you manifest your ideas?

Kundalini Yoga for the Fifth Chakra.

The Sixth Chakra: the Third Eye Point (Ajna)

Ajna means "to perceive."

The sixth chakra is about intuition, visualization, imagination, perception, and dreaming. The sixth chakra is the center of seeing the unseen and tuning into the subtle undercurrents of a situation. When in balance, your intuition is strong and clear. You can visualize situations and access inner wisdom.

When the sixth chakra is out of balance, you may experience detachment, confused thinking, or ongoing nightmares. You may feel confused and experience a lack of clarity.

  • Color: Indigo.
  • Location: the third eye point (the brow point at the forehead between the eyes). This chakra is located in the brain.
  • Focus: Clear seeing, intuitive understanding, light, and clairvoyance.

Sixth Chakra Questions:

  • Can you visualize and imagine things?
  • Can you see in imagery and understand things in a non-linear way? When you hear the word "tree" do you see the word tree or a physical tree?
  • Have you had psychic experiences, clairvoyance, or unusual coincidences? Are you in touch with your intuition (where you know something clearly without knowing why)?
  • Do you have vivid dreams regularly? Have you ever kept a dream journal?
  • When you do yoga or meditate, can you visualize energy?

Kundalini Yoga for the sixth chakra

The Seventh Chakra: the Crown Chakra (Sahasrar)

Saharsrar means "thousandfold."

The seventh chakra is about thoughts, information, and understanding. It represents our conscious and unconscious thought structures and belief systems. The function of this chakra is knowing and when in balance, we take in and understand full information. Knowing is a complex process that requires continual transcendence and shedding of the old. To be in balance, we must constantly discover and assimilate new information.

If the seventh chakra is out of balance, we may become close-minded, rigid in our thinking, depressed, confused, and anxious.

  • Color: Violet.
  • Location: the top of the head.
  • Focus: thought, information, and knowing.

Seventh Chakra Questions:

  • Are you able to become aware of your own thoughts, actions, and motivations?
  • Are you objective and accepting of your thoughts, actions, motivations, and feelings?
  • Do you meditate regularly? Meditation is one of the most effective activities to bring the seventh chakra into balance.
  • Are you open to having spiritual experiences?
  • Are you able to take in new information?

Kundalini Yoga for the Seventh Chakra

The Eighth Chakra: The Electromagnetic Field

This eighth chakra is a chakra recognized in Kundalini Yoga but generally not in other forms of yoga.

The eighth chakra is about the aura, the energy field that surrounds you, and your subtle body. It is used to filter all vibrations that come into your field. The aura is the center of consciousness, where our exchange of energy takes place with our environment. When in balance, it provides a protective shield against negative energies and helps project radiance. Your aura and electromagnetic field are your first line of energetic defense.

When the eighth chakra is out of balance, you may feel weak, vulnerable, overwhelmed, and unable to protect yourself from negative energies, harm, and disease. You may be particularly sensitive and overwhelmed by negative situations and low vibration energy.

  • Color: White.
  • Location: The energy field surrounding the body. If your aura is very strong, it can extend up to nine feet from your physical body.
  • Focus: Protection and projection. The electromagnetic field influences how you are perceived by others and offers you energetic protection unless lower vibration forces.

Eighth Chakra Questions:

  • Do you feel radiant? Do you feel your energy can uplift a room?
  • Do you sense you deflect negative energy or does it permeate your field, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and uncomfortable?
  • Can you choose to relate to someone or disconnect from their influence?
  • Do you feel connected to your higher self?
  • Do you feel in touch with your life's purpose?

Kundalini Yoga for the 8th Chakra

The Journey Never Ends

You've now taken a journey through the chakras, but the journey never really ends. Maintaining balance of these energy centers requires conscious work and ongoing maintenance.

A few things you can do to keep your chakras open and in balance include:

  • Eating a whole-food based, healthy diet (free from processed ingredients). Check out some great recipes here.
  • Maintaining a daily yoga/meditation practice.
  • Enjoying a clean, comfortable environment free from excess clutter.
  • Surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people who truly care about you and want the best for you.

If you notice you are out of balance in any of the eight chakras, you can begin to restore balance by doing the corresponding Kundalini Yoga kriya and/or meditation for 40 days.

This post is based on the books "Energy Maps: A Journey Through the Chakras" by Gurudarshan Kaur Khalsa and Meditation as Medicine by Dharma Singh Khalsa.

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