The word “chakra” is a Sanskrit word meaning “wheel” or “vortex” that dates back to ancient India. Chakras refer to the seven main energy centers that some people believe control the flow of energy in our bodies and affect the way we receive energy from our environment. When energy flows through each chakra evenly, the body is said to be balanced and we reach optimal mental and physical health. However, when one or more of our chakras are blocked, we can experience emotional and physical problems.
The Seven Chakras
The seven chakras run up the body in a straight line, starting at the base of the spine and ending in the crown of the head. Going from the bottom to the top, the first chakra is the root chakra, located at the base of the spine; it grounds you in the present and connects you with the earth and your body. The second chakra, the sacral chakra, relates to your sexuality and relationships with others, both platonic and romantic. The third chakra is located in the navel and is called the solar plexus chakra. This chakra governs your willpower and creativity. Next comes the heart chakra, which pertains to your ability to give and accept love. The fifth chakra, the throat chakra, relates to your creative expression and communication. The third eye chakra, located in the forehead, is your center of inner consciousness, relating to awareness, intuition and psychic powers. Finally, the seventh chakra is the crown chakra, located at the top of the head. The crown chakra deals with self-realization and relates to your ability to feel at peace with yourself in the present.
Common Causes of Blockage
According to the "Chios Energy Healing" manual, a guide to aura and chakra healing that is used as a go-to handbook for energy healers, blockages happen when the upward flow of energy through the chakra system is restricted or stopped at one or more points. This can result from several psychological issues that a person may not be aware of. The most commonly blocked chakras are the heart, throat and third eye chakras. A blockage in the heart chakra may be caused by a lack of compassion or a fear of showing love. Alcohol or chemical dependency, lies and mistrust can create a blocked throat chakra. The third eye chakra, often thought to be the most underused energy center, is typically blocked by a lack of openness or self-awareness or by personal grief. Practitioners of Eastern medicine suggest that a restriction in the flow of energy through the body can increase the risk of common diseases, such as heart disease, thyroid imbalance, asthma and cancer.
How to Open Chakras
Unblocking or opening each chakra requires a slightly different method. You can practice certain exercises, eat certain foods or repeat affirmations to increase awareness and energy flow to specific chakras. According to Nancy Hausauer, an energy healer of 17 years who owns a practice in Tacoma, Washington, you can open your heart chakra with activities such as letting go of grudges, playing with children or animals, focusing on gratitude and using the colors pink and green in clothing or decor. To open your third eye to receive intuition and spiritual insight, meditate while focusing on a point in the center of your forehead. You can also keep a dream journal or repeat affirmations such as, “I am open to the wisdom within me.”
Keeping Chakras Balanced
Exercises including yoga and meditation help balance your chakras by focusing on inner awareness and your connection with the universe. Yoga also helps with energy flow to keep energy moving evenly throughout the body. Energy healing practitioners recommend eating a healthy, organic diet and avoiding alcohol and drugs -- both prescription and recreational -- for optimal chakra function.