The Chakras

The Chakras are energy centres and transformers which take in and give out energy. They lie in the subtle energy field of the aura – just above the physical body.  Chakra is translated from Sanskrit as meaning ‘wheels of light’.  There are seven major chakras: the root or base chakra, the sacral, the solar plexus, the heart, the throat, the brow or 3rd eye and the crown. There are also many minor chakras including those on the hands and feet.  

Diagram of the 7 major Chakras
The 7 Major chakras or the energy centres

Once a basic understanding of the chakras and their associated physical, mental, emotional and spiritual influences are gained, we can use this knowledge like a map and a tool for our own self-awareness and development. Those who are sensitively in tune with their body may be able to feel their chakras working. There may be a sensation of whizzing, whirring, buzzing, tingling, pulling, opening, or even pain at one of these energy centres which can signify ‘something going on’ – that the chakra is opening up. However, it would be wise to consult your GP if you are experiencing any pain, to rule out any physical reasons for it. 

The chakras work like filters or transformers of a power station.  Information comes in and is filtered and then stepped up or down in frequency in order to make individual sense of our inner and outer worlds. For instance, ‘Love’ to one person may mean one thing, but to another person it may be perceived differently as a result of their experiences and the condition of their chakras.  The condition of our chakras are responsible for how we put our own ‘twist’ on things (or not), and how we perceive the world around us and what we experience as a result of that.  

Generally speaking the chakras at the front tend to give out, or project energy – the ones at the back take it in. In the case of giving and receiving, those in the healing or caring professions may find that they give out a lot of energy at the front by giving continuously to others. If we are not ‘open’ to receiving from others or ‘giving’ to ourselves, even a little time to replenish our batteries, the chakras at the back may be or may become blocked. If they are not drawing in an ample supply of energy from the back to replenish that given out at the front we become out of balance. We may then begin to place ‘conditions’ upon ‘giving’ or eventually reach burn-out; how can we give love if we have not got love to give? It is about learning to give to ourselves as well as to others, knowing that we are worthy of receiving that – see the sacral chakra for more information about this.  

If the chakras are in balance the flow will be uninhibited (we can go with the flow), if the chakra is unbalanced, closed, or rotating the ‘wrong’ way, then energy will not flow properly and we experience resistance (our own form of self-protection, our vulnerability). Chakras can be overactive which means that they may be too open and letting too much energy in e.g. hyperactivity or in the case of being wide open it may feel like there is  ‘too much information’ coming in which can lead to the brain feeling rather fried, or we may be too talkative if the throat chakra is effected! When the chakras are under active or blocked and not letting enough energy in we may feel lethargic, fatigued, stuck, unable to express ourselves and find it difficult to  move on from each situation we encounter.  

The condition of the chakras and their balance with one another, interlink with the physical body and translate into the state of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. It takes many years of work on the chakras to enable them to function in an open balanced manner (just think about how we close up when we ‘don’t like something or someone) and given that our circumstances are constantly changing it is not an easy task. However, it is one that if we endeavour to undertake as part of our own personal and spiritual journeys can liberate us enormously as we become more flexible and accepting.  It may be the case that in the interim period of healing, it does serve us to close off (retreat) in order to reflect on our vulnerabilities and to heal. 

Side view of the Chakras
The 7 major chakras run along the spine and from back to front

There is often much importance placed upon the opening of the third eye and the desire to gain psychic abilities, but less emphasis placed upon the lower chakras.  Ideally the chakras cannot be isolated and focused upon singularly, as they interconnect and support each other in their functions. Disregarding this principle can lead to further imbalances, so the development of each chakra is vitally important – it would be like having an upside down pyramid otherwise (top heavy and ungrounded).   For example, the root chakra which when functioning healthily keeps us grounded in the reality of the present moment, provides a firm foundation, security and stability to open up and see things as they really are with the third eye – rather than the fantasy of how we would like things to be! 

On this page is more information about the major chakras. 

There are 7 major chakras or 7 main ‘energy centres’ of the body. Imbalances in these energy centres make up who we are as a person – our physical mental, emotional and spiritual aspects  – and how we are, i.e.how we experience life: if we’re happy, if we struggle, if we have ill health etc. Understanding the chakras further can be an aid to consciousness, self-development and healing. It takes years of work on the chakras for them to become balanced – if they ever are.  For more information on the chakras generally, click here first. Although the chakras are written about individually, it is important to remember that they do work in conjunction with one another. 

Root or Base Chakra 

The Root Chakra, our security and survival

‘I have’ 

Associated Colour: Red 

Location: The root chakra is situated at the tailbone, or base of the spine at the perineum, midway between the anus and genitals.  

About the root chakra: The base chakra is a ‘foundation’ chakra, one which helps us to build strong foundations in order to remain stable and grounded.  It enables us  to   remain   centred   in   our   physical body (instead  of  ‘going  off  on  one’  or living in our head’). It helps us to live in the present moment, taking responsibility for ourselves and ‘owning’ our actions and what we do. It deals with our security, our stability, our safety, vitality and energy resources, our sense of belonging and our survival.  

Imbalances in this chakra can be caused by: abuse (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, child abuse, sexual abuse, bullying), trauma, accidents, shock, abandonment, relationship break-ups and make-ups,  marriage, grief, moving house, school, or job, change of any kind including changes in friendships relationships, social groups, financial problems, redundancy or dismissal from work, imprisonment.  

Imbalances in this chakra are indicated by a variety of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual conditions such as: Lack of energy, low blood pressure, flaky skin, anaemia, poor circulation, back problems, sciatica, constipation, lack of confidence, can’t achieve goals, self-destructive, suicidal, insecure, untrusting, fear of being abandoned and fear of the future and ability to survive, eating food quickly, hoarding, stagnation, fear of change, egotistic, domineering, aggressive, greedy, reckless, addicted to wealth, self-absorption, instability. 

Crystals which help to bring balance to the root chakra:  Bloodstone, hematite, red jasper, black tourmaline, black obsidian, ruby, red garnet, azurite, chrysocolla, citrine, carnelian. 

Grounding exercises can also help this chakra to come back into balance. Please note these suggestions often may not work instantly and may form part of a combination of approaches unique to you. It is finding out what works for you, as what works for one may not work for another. 

Sacral Chakra  

The Sacral Chakra – feeling our feelings

 ‘I value myself’ 

Associated Colour: Orange  

Location: Situated 1-2 inches or roughly three finger widths below the navel. 

About the sacral chakra: The sacral chakra is associated with relationships, friendliness, creativity, sexuality, emotions, self-esteem, and female intuition. This chakra links to our sense of self-worth, our energy, our procreative desire as well as confidence in our creative abilities.  The sacral relates to our ability to interact with others and it is also the sexual centre, particularly for woman because the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries are located there. It is the centre of the emotions, women’s intuition and clairsentience (clear feeling) – ‘I had a feeling that you’d call’.  When the sacral is balanced we are humanitarian, friendly, sociable, sexual and creative and allow ourselves to experience the full range of human emotion.  

Imbalances in this chakra can be caused by:  emotional abuse,  emotional suppression (a stiff upper lip), physical, sexual abuse, relationship break-ups and make-ups, pregnancy and birth, drug addiction 

Imbalances in this chakra can lead to a variety of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual conditions such as: Kidney weakness, muscle cramps and spasms, insufficient lactation, allergies, extreme shyness, overly sensitive, resentful buried emotions, guilt,  sexual issues such as guilt, frigidity,  impotence, sex addiction, difficulty conceiving,  co-dependency, clinging behaviour, difficulty conceiving, emotional immaturity, jealousy, poor boundaries, objectifying others, inability to form lasting relationships, sending mixed messages (saying one thing but feeling and meaning another), emotionally explosive, aggressive, manipulative, caught up in an illusion and fantasy, overindulgent, inability to distinguish between  own and other people’s feelings. 

Crystals which help to bring balance to the sacral chakra:  amber, carnelian, moonstone, citrine, red jasper. 

Solar Plexus  

‘I trust myself’ 

Associated colour: yellow  

Location: just below the breastbone behind the stomach 

About the solar plexus: This is the chakra of personal power. There is a sense of identity (standing firmly in our own power) without the need to dominate others, having self-respect and respect for others. We acknowledge other’s differences without feeling a need to change them. When   this  chakra  is balanced there  is  a stable sense of self-esteem. We are outgoing, cheerful, relaxed and accepting.  We are able to be spontaneous and take on new challenges and are self-disciplined, reliable and flexible.When open the solar plexus brings the certainty that we have found our own unique gift and we are on the right path. It is also considered by some to be the centre of intelligence, ruled by the conscious mind and active only when awake. This chakra is the source of the “gut” instinct.  

Imbalances in this chakra can be caused by:  authoritarian parenting or dictatorships, oppression, mental and emotional abuse, bullying, manipulative behaviour – situations where we may be ‘disempowered’ 

Imbalances in this chakra can lead to a variety of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual conditions such as: digestive difficulties, food allergies, irritable bowel, stomach aches, ego issues, liver problems, diabetes, gallstones,  mental and nervous exhaustion, confidence problems, worries about what others think, confused, feels that others control life – power issues and power struggles, likely to compromise in order to please others, over-passivity, sluggish, hyper-sensitivity, anger turned inward, judgemental, blaming, critical, workaholic, perfectionist, overly intellectual, alcoholism, drug addiction, demanding employer, as employee resents authority, may need drugs to relax, superiority complex alternates with a hidden inferiority complex, constantly testing partner, critical and complaining about relationships.  

Crystals for the solar plexus chakra: Citrine, yellow tourmaline, malachite, moonstone, chrysocolla, yellow jasper, rutilated quartz 

The Heart Chakra  

‘I love’ 

Associated Colours: Green or Pink 

Location: in the centre of the chest  

About the heart chakra: The heart chakra is the centre of compassion and a major centre of healing, indicated by the phrase “my heart goes out to you”. Its functions are the higher emotions such as love, caring,  devotion,   harmony   and a love of life with a desire to make life affirming  choices.  It is also concerned with  grief,  sorrow  and  pain.  

When this chakra starts to open we become more sensitive and are able to transcend the ego’s limitations. When the heart is balanced we are able to identify, empathise and relate more creatively with other people, plants, animals and insects – honouring and upholding all other life unconditionally.  We are able to step into another’s shoes. The heart concerns our feelings and how we express them towards others and ourselves; it has enormous power in transforming negativity and destructive situations, “perfect love casts out fear”. Peace, compassion and trust reside in the awakened heart chakra. Some would say that this is where the true mind resides, rather than in the ‘brain’. 

Imbalances in this chakra can be caused by:  conditions which ‘break our heart’ or leave us feeling emotionally ‘wounded’ or with cause to feel fear, such as friendship and relationship break-ups, abandonment, death of loved ones, poisonous and critical verbal abuse, spiritual abuse 

Imbalances in this chakra can lead to a variety of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual conditions such as: heart pain,  heart attack,  high blood pressure, lung conditions, asthma,  circulatory & lymph problems,  tension, victim mentality, paranoia, indecision, co-dependant. Afraid of: letting go, being free, family members getting hurt, being abandoned, unworthy of love, terrified of rejection, and needs constant reassurance, loneliness, and isolation, possessive, jealous, moody, angry, melodramatic, manic-depressive, uses money to control people, bitterness, possessiveness, emotionally blackmailing, attitude of a martyr:” I’ve made so many sacrifices for you”, conditional love “I’ll love you if…” withholds love to get the desired behaviour: “you wouldn’t do that if you loved me”, lacking empathy. 

Crystals which help to bring balance to the heart chakra: rose quartz, malachite, moldavite, aventurine, peridot, ruby, chrysocolla, pink tourmaline, pink beryl, amazonite, violet tourmaline (links the base and heart chakra), jade. 

Throat Chakra  

‘I express myself’ 

Associated Colour: Blue 

Location: base of throat 

This is the energy centre of communication, bringing with it a powerful desire to talk about what we are experiencing. This chakra is also associated with listening, hearing, purification, truth, creativity and Divine will. When we begin to examine our emotions and work on our limitations a deep   cleansing   and   purifying  process starts to unravel which leads to new realms of clarity, insight and therefore self-expression and creativity. We begin to live and voice our truth, through direct experience of it. We also learn to listen to ourselves, and pay attention to that. This chakra is a major emotional and spiritual healing tool, helping us not only to express ourselves (verbally and creatively, through drawing or writing) but also to listen and hear other people too. Psychic manifestations linked with this chakra include hearing inner music, receiving clairaudience (clear hearing), channelling and psychic art. 

Imbalances in this chakra can be caused by:  If an individual is not able to express themselves, or be heard, listened to and understood, then problems in this area are more than likely to occur. If their creativity is suppressed, if they lack trustworthy people in their life, or if they have experienced oppression, control or spiritual abuse, this can also lead to blockages here.  

Imbalances in this chakra can lead to a variety of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual conditions such as: thyroid problems, sore throat, tonsillitis, inflammations, skin irritations, rashes, fever, ear infections, gum inflammation, teething, ulcers, digestive problems, shyness, quietness, manipulative, can’t express thoughts, stuttering, fear of speaking, poor rhythm, talks too much, doesn’t listen, dogmatic, addictive.  

Crystals which help to bring balance to the throat chakra: azurite, turquoise, lapis lazuli, sodalite, aquamarine, blue sapphire, amber, amethyst, moonstone, amazonite, pyrite, aqua aura. 

Brow or 3rd Eye Chakra  

‘I see’ 

Associated Colour: Indigo or purple 

Located: found between and just above the eyebrows.  

About the third eye chakra: It is the centre of psychic power and higher intuition and believed by some to be the seat of the soul. It enables a deeper vision of life and the insights that it can offer. It is associated with intuition and inner wisdom, thought and vision, spiritual love and connection.  It  is the place where  we can see reality without judgement and we have the ability to discriminate and chose options. When the brow chakra is balanced we experience accurate interpretation, imagination and clear vision. When kundalini rises up the spine, it is said to stimulate the pineal gland, which may explain the experience of seeing coloured flashes of light. Psychic manifestations linked with this chakra are that we can tune into our Higher Self (our intuition and inner wisdom), experience guidance from angels or spirit, experience telepathy and past lives. We have access to the source of all knowledge (also known as the Akashic records or collective unconscious). This is the centre of clairvoyance (clear seeing).  

Imbalances in this chakra can be caused by:  denial in others ( “I didn’t do that! And other so called ‘crazy- making’ behaviours”), lack of acknowledgement of the presence or existence of others,  

Imbalances in this chakra can lead to a variety of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual conditions such as: pineal and pituitary gland associated problems, ear problems, left eye problems, endocrine system problems, nervous system problems, psychic exhaustion, headaches, eyestrain, undisciplined, oversensitive to the feelings of others, afraid of success, schizophrenic (unable to distinguish between ego self and Higher Self), poor memory, easily led or influenced, others are able to “pull the wool over your eyes”, egomaniac, proud, manipulative, religiously dogmatic, authoritarian, delusional, difficulty concentrating, denial.  

Crystals which help to bring balance to the brow chakra:  amethyst, fluorite, violet tourmaline, sodalite, lapis lazuli, moldavite, diamond, garnet, azurite, carnelian (to reduce excess energy), moonstone, jade (for insight through dreams) 

Crown Chakra 

 ‘I am’ 

Associated Colour: Violet, white or gold 

Location: just above the crown of the head – where the ‘halo’ is 

About the crown chakra: Religious paintings often depict the crown chakra on spiritual leaders, saints and angels, as a halo. The seventh chakra is about spirituality, Oneness, knowingness (claircognisance – clear knowing) and universal   knowledge:   the  ability  to  be still  and  know.  When  the  crown chakra   starts to open an aspect of the lower self dies. which can be a painful, humbling process (long dark night of the soul). The death of the lower self creates a void to be filled by part of the Higher Self (soul) grounding into the physical realms (realisation), and the Higher Self awakens (re-birth). 

Surrendering the lower self’s will is an important aspect of the seventh chakra: an ability to be vulnerable and to allow, ‘come what may’. Spirituality is omnipresent; living constantly in the Now, ‘going with the flow’ with no sense of separation between the personality and the higher self. The body is acknowledged as merely a vehicle and a knowing that the soul is immortal and never dies – with this, fear of death is no longer an issue.  

It’s worthwhile for the ego to note, that enlightenment is not so if it is not experienced as a continual sensation – instead, more likely it is a series of smaller awakenings, which can come and go, until full enlightenment is able to be vibrationally ‘contained’ in the human physical body. Also worthwhile for the ego (and spiritual seekers) to note, “you would not know an enlightened man if you walked past him in the street”. Consistent, genuine humility is key – but rare.   When the energy is balanced in the crown chakra we have wisdom, knowledge, consciousness and spiritual connection. We have total access to the subconscious (and superconscious or collective unconscious) and an ability to remain alert during and after death.  

Imbalances in this chakra can lead to a variety of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual conditions such as: depression, headaches and migraines, parasites, black eyes, baldness, dandruff, no spark of joy, catatonic, can’t make decisions, confusion, disassociation, apathy, scepticism, limiting beliefs, sense of frustration, unrealised power, psychotic, depressed or bipolar, schizophrenia, frequent migraine headaches, destructive, over-intellectualism, spiritual addiction, spiritual crisis.  

Crystals which help to bring balance to the crown chakra:  clear quartz, citrine, moldavite, diamond, amethyst, fluorite, violet tourmaline, gold calcite.