Integrative Nutrition Blog

Chakra Basics: Get to Know Your 7 Energy Centers

February 22, 2017
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While some may consider chakras as “New Age” they are actually part of a system that dates back to 1,500 – 500 B.C., written about in the Vedic texts of India, and passed down through oral tradition prior to that. They’re also mentioned in yogic teachings, which is likely why you’ve already opened your heart chakra in yoga class.

So what exactly is a chakra?

Simply put, it’s an area of the body that is dense with energy. They’re usually associated with the subtle or energy body, rather than the material/physical body, although several of the chakras correspond to areas that have vital organs, such as the heart, brain, and reproductive organs.

There are 7 main chakras, from the root of the spine to the top of the head, nestled right through our center. Chakras are sometimes described as wheels or disks, because they are not static the way bones are, but continuously rotate as energy moves through us in upward and downward currents, like a figure 8 that repeats itself – with the chakras being the connection points. It is said that when your chakras are healthy and vital they are “open” but when when energy stagnates one or more chakras is blocked, or closed, leading to various symptoms.

Let’s go through each of the 7 chakras, from the bottom up.

1. Root Chakra
This is located at the lowest part of your torso, the perineum or the base of the spine. Your root chakra is associated with birth, survival, safety, and stability. It is all the things necessary for the rest of life to unfold, including food and water, shelter, and a sense of belonging. It is our connection to nature, to our family, our origins.

What’s important for root chakra health: self-care in all forms
When it’s weak: fear, anxiety, uncertainty, disconnection, bone/joint pain
Corresponding verb: I have, I am
Foods: protein and meats

2. Sacral Chakra
While the root chakra is solid and stable, the sacral chakra is all about movement, fluidity, and change. It is associated with creativity, emotions, and sensuality. Located in the lower abdomen, it is connected with the womb in women, and with attraction and reproduction.

What’s important for sacral chakra health: pleasure, creative pursuits
When it’s weak: boredom, lack of inspiration, stiffness, impotence, uterine/bladder/kidney issues
Corresponding verb: I feel
Foods: liquids

3. Solar Plexus Chakra
Located in the upper abdomen, just below the rib cage, the solar plexus chakra is our source of power and confidence. It is associated with our inner fire, will, energy, self-esteem, and essence of transformation. If you feel that you are lacking power, tap your solar plexus chakra to activate it and gain internal strength.

 What’s important for sacral chakra health: trust in yourself
When it’s weak: feeling of being trapped, weak, powerless, vulnerable, digestive disorders
Corresponding verb: I can, I do
Foods: starches

4. Heart Chakra
Once our basic survival needs are met, and we have movement and autonomy, we can be fully open to love. The heart chakra is located at the body’s heart center, and extends throughout the arms and hands. This chakra is associated with affinity, unity, healing, balance, relationships, and compassion.

What’s important for heart chakra health: love
When it’s weak: disgust, withdrawal, judgment, heart disease, asthma
Corresponding verb: I love
Foods: greens and herbs

5. Throat Chakra

Located in the throat, this chakra is associated with expression and communication, not only between the self and others, but also between one’s own mind and body. It connects our ability to speak and listen, to sing, express our thoughts creatively, and let our true selves show. When this chakra is healthy, we literally resonate with the things that bring us joy.

What’s important for throat chakra health: expressing your truth
When it’s weak: inability to communicate, neglect of self-care, thyroid problems, colds
Corresponding verb: I speak
Foods: fruits

6. Third Eye Chakra
This is our source of intuition, vision, imagination, and clairvoyance. Located in the middle of the forehead, this chakra represents our ability to see beyond our material selves. It is the chakra of insight, awareness, and light.

What’s important for third eye chakra health: avoiding illusion
When it’s weak: confusion, bad decision-making, headaches, eyestrain
Corresponding verb: I see
Foods: ones that alter consciousness

7. Crown Chakra
Just as the root chakra is our connection to the earth, the crown chakra connects us to the cosmos and universe. Located at the top of the head, the crown chakra is associated with wisdom, consciousness, transcendence, and meditation. It has the ability to bring us bliss and allow us to understand the true nature of reality.

What’s important for this chakra: pursuit of learning
When it’s weak: lack of knowledge, apathy, small-mindedness
Corresponding verb: I know, I understand
Foods: none

What do you think? Share what you find interesting about the chakras in the comments below!

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