Last week I wrote some background information regarding chakras, and when I noticed that the article grew pretty long, I decided to split it in to two. You can read the first part here.
With this information, you can start observing your personal traits and qualities, and see where possible strengths and weaknesses are. I mentioned in the previous part that when you notice an imbalance on anyone of the chakras, it is better to do balancing exercises and not only “boost” the side that seems to be weaker.
So let’s look at each chakra in the light of the details and information we have collected so far.
Muladhara – Root support
This chakra is our battery, the source of our life force, our roots and a connection to the source, sense of vitality and stability. It governs our daily life, the mundane, our energy levels and physical strenght. Also the mystical Serpent Power known as Kundalini is said to reside in our root chakra. The imbalances in this area could appear as laziness, greed or as paranoia.
As the name indicates, Muladhara is located at the perineum, between the anus and the genitals. The element of Muladhara is earth, and so it is heavy, solid, slow, massive. The foods of this type are sweet and oily. The sense organ is nose, and it’s naturally connected to the sense of smell.
Muladhara and Svadisthana together are governing the ovaries of a woman, or testes for men – and the related hormones. Physiological action of Muladhara is expelling, thus feceating.
The color for the root chakra is red and the symbol is a square with downward pointing triangle within it. It has four spokes or petals. The bija sound of Muladhara chakra is LAM.
Balancing asanas for Muladhara would include: Padahastasana, Bhadrasana, Pachimottanasana, Janusirsasana, Virasana. Further, Jala Neti practice can help with balancing this chakra. You can also try mud baths or bentonite to help to restore balance in this area. You can also try aromatherapy as a healing modality here. The music you can listen to tune in to the Earth and Muladhara energies are the types of tribal drumming, didgeridoo and rhythm, such as this one.
Svadisthana – Pleasant
Svadhisthana, or sex chakra as it is sometimes called, governs our sexuality, emotions, pleasure, creativity, imagination and our basic instincts. Seduction, passion and desire are all attributes of this level of our consciousness. It’s easily influenced by the moon, and it makes us connect socially, but it’s also an energy of a herd-mentality – such as social media. All different kinds of over-sensitivities belong to this chakra. An imbalanced Svadhisthana could express itself as depression, envy, jealousy and possession, even panic. For most of us it’s the most dominant chakra at this time.
The element of Svadisthana is water, and it is cold, wet, soft and sticky. The sense organ is tongue, and the sense is taste. It is located just above our genitals, and naturally connected to that area of our being.
The color of Svadisthana is orange, and it has six petals. The symbol of it is half moon, and the bija mantra is VAM. The traditional color is said to be vermilion red.
Balancing asanas for this chakra are for example: Shalabhasana, Matsyasana and Sukhasana. From the kriya techniques, tongue scraping affects this part of our being. Water has a sexual quality, so if you feel this part of your being is being over-active, avoiding excessive water could help balancing you. Rich and sensuous taste is strengthening the Svadisthana, so stale and plain food would help to reduce the activity of this chakra… Svadisthana music could be identified with the easy listening chillout or jazzy style, but here’s one example by Vangelis. Lots of popular music belong to the realm of Svadisthana, but all of it may not be pure.
Manipura – Jewel city
The location of manipura chakra is often mixed: some say it’s located at the navel or just one fingerbreadth below it, while others say it’s higher up, at the solar plexus center in our body. My sources and discrimination place it at the navel.
This is our character, personality, leadership, self-esteem, willpower, the seat of our ego, ambition, pride. It makes us strong and independent, being who you are regardless of the environment. Imbalances at this level of our consciousness could manifest as vanity, aggressivity, violence and wars.
The element of Manipura is fire, and it is warm, active and clear, direct. The sense organ is eyes, and thus it’s connected to our sight. Physiologically Manipura is governing the adrenals and pancreas, which have an effect on our adrenaline and cortisol levels. Also works on the insulin levels of the body. Manipura is our approach to the world, and it’s connected to our feet and legs.
The color of Manipura is yellow, it has ten petals. The symbol is an upward triangle (NOT like in the image above!). The bija mantra of Manipura is RAM. Traditional symbolism says that the petals are blue and the triangle is red “radiant like the rising sun”.
Balancing asanas for Manipura include the following: Trikonasana, Uddiyana Bandha, Utthita Ardha Dhanurasana, Dhanurasana, Pavana Muktasana and Mayurasana. From the kriyas, rinsing the eyes with cold water would help. Bathing in the sun or having a sauna are healing for Manipura, or exposing yourself to a fire. Trataka is yet another excellent practice to work on Manipura. Manipura music is heroic and adventurous, and easy to spot on adventure movies. Here’s one heroic movie theme and here yet another piece with great cello.
Anahata – Unstruck sound
Anahata chakra is also called the heart chakra, and it’s located in the middle of our chest. This is the place where people point when they are asked to point to themselves!
In Anahata, we find qualities like devotion, empathy, sincerity, saintliness, unconditional love, surrender, humbleness and giving, receiving and experiencing love in general. This kind of love is easily experienced with the babies and animals. The negative aspeccts of Anahata could appear as martyrdom.
The element of Anahata is air, and thus it can expand and move easily to all directions. Air is dry, cool and light. The sense organ of Anahata is skin, and so the sense connected to that is touch. Our hands are said to be an extension of our heart, and so Anahata is also about reaching out and engaging through our hands. Anahata is connected to the thymus and heart, and is governing our immune system.
Anahata has 12 petals, and it’s color is nowadays mentioned to be green, but the traditional texts call it rather golden, or red “like bandhuka flower”. So here we can see that the understanding of the colors can really vary!
The symbol of Anahata is two triangles, one pointing up and one pointing down, forming a Star of David. The bija mantra is YAM.
Anahata balancing asanas are for example: Bhujangasana, Gomukhasana and Yogasana. Exposing your (naked) body to the wind can help to restore balance here. You could also try hugging therapy! Anahata music is elevating and perhaps can have a tinge of longing, such as this theme or this beautiful piano piece.
Vishudda – Pure
We’re now getting to more subtle realms of chakras. Vishudda is most poorly understood of the chakras, but you can get a glimpse of the energy of Vishudda when you watch and let yourself to be overwhelmed by a bright night sky with billions of stars in vastness.
Vishudda is located around the pit of the throat. The qualities connected to this level are purity, mystery, the perception of space and time, deep intelligence, spiritual intuition and abstract thinking.
The element of Vishudda is ether. It is soft, light and smooth. It’s connected to our ears and hearing, along with the vocal cords. Vishudda relates to the thyroid and parathyroid function, and so it is affecting our metabolic rate.
Vishudda has 16 spokes or petals, and the color is purple or violet. The bija mantra for Vishudda is HAM.
For balancing Vishudda, you can use asanas such as Ardha Matsyendrasana (both sides!) and Sarvangasana. It’s a bit difficult to find obvious Vishudda music, so I leave this part for later exploration. Some artists to explore may include Philip Glass and Jean Michel Jarre.
Ajna – Command
The word Ajna means command, and the qualities associated with it are deep understanding, mental power, concentration and control, hypnosis and as siddhis or paranormal capabilities of telepathy and clairvoyance. The location of Ajna is in the middle of the forehead.
Often different meditation exercises lead us to Ajna, because it is a doorway to unity consciousness. The frequency of Ajna is much higher than any of the chakras below. Psychedelic drugs tend to work on this level, but the expansion they can offer can be chaotic and even scary, and it can be difficult to integrate those experiences back to daily life.
Ajna has 96 spokes in two divisions and it’s the last chakra to have a polarity. Summing up together the spokes or petals from the chakras below Ajna, you get the number 48, and this times two makes the number 96. Here could be an indication to the idea that Ajna can command all the other chakras.
Ajna is connected to the pituitary gland, which is responsible for growth hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone TSH and the bonding hormone oxytosin.
The symbol of Ajna is a lotus with two petals, and the color nowadays is indicated as indigo blue. More traditional interpretation would be a white lotus. Here the bija mantra is the familiar OM or AUM. Contemporary music for Ajna would include electronic trance music.
To work with Ajna chakra, you could use the Mantra Meditation I wrote about earlier. Asanas to work on this level of consciousness include very balancing Garudasana, Vajrasana, Siddhasana (very good!) and Halasana, the Plough Pose. Another technique to use here is the Shambhavi Mudra.
Sahasrara – Thousand Petalled Lotus
Finally we have arrived at the top of our chakra ladder, to Sahasrara, which is located at the top of our head. The exact location is indicated by the fontanel in the scull, but like all the other chakras, it’s just outside the physical body.
The pineal gland in the middle of our brain is connected to Sahasrara. Pineal gland secretes hormones like DMT and melatonin to our body, so it could be understandable that different states of consciousness could be achieved through Sahasrara activation.
Sahasrara is said to be an independent energy center, not technically a chakra in a same way like the other six. But more often than not, it’s counted as one of the seven.
The Sahasrara qualities are pure consciousness, perfection and refinement, bliss, liberation. Keeping your focus on Sahasrara can help you to connect with the Universal Consciousness,
Sahasrara has 972 petals, and the color could be indicated as violet. The best asanas for working with Sahasrara are Prasarita Padottanasana (connecting Muladhara and Sahasrara) and Sirsasana, the head stand. Music for Sahasrara would include pieces by organ and a divine instrument named Rudra Vina.
I did not quite know where this article would go once set on a journey… There’s so much information available, and through my own experiments and experiences in yoga and healing, along with a sceptical mind, this was not an easy endeavour. This, of course is a super-condenced version of all the details, and the information I have collected here is from many different sources.
A Sanskrit scholar Christopher Wallis gives a profound, modern definition of chakras in his blog post:
In the Tantric traditions, chakras (Skt. cakra) are focal points for meditation within the human body, visualized as structures of energy resembling discs or flowers at those points where a number of nāḍīs or meridians converge. They are conceptual structures yet are phenomenologically based, since they tend to be located where human beings experience emotional and/or spiritual energy, and since the form in which they are visualized reflects visionary experiences had by meditators.
While all the definitions given here may not be fully in accord to all the traditional sources, it nevertheless will give you valuable information and tools on how to help your body find its optimal balance and get in tune with the universal energies all around us.
Happy exploring 🙂
Ps. If you have anything to ask or have any comments or observations about the chakras and how you have worked with them, please leave your comment below!