Ah, chakras. You’ve heard your favorite yoga teachers talk about them and you’ve seen promises of balancing your chakras in everything from essential oils to beautiful stones.
But what are they, anyway? And what does it mean if you have an imbalance or blockage?
I can definitely help you with understanding that. I’m semi-obsessed with chakras and energy and I’ve created an entire program designed with chakra healing techniques for people with imbalances and blockages.
But before you jump into a chakra balancing program or sign up for any energy healing, it’s important that you understand the 7 chakras, how they relate to your spiritual wellness, and what the physical symptoms are of a blockage.
Understanding the chakras will make any energy healing or program a much more powerful experience than going into it blind.
So, are you ready? Let’s dive in.
What Are Chakras Anyway?
Chakras are the energy centers of our body. The sanskrit word “chakra” translates to “wheel” or “disc.” Think of the chakras as spinning wheels of pranic energy located at different spots along your spine. There are seven chakras that begin at the base of your spine and move upward, ending with the seventh on the crown of your head (the eighth chakra is not typically included in chakra study, but it does exist!). Each chakra has its own name, color, associated stones and crystals, and energetic realm that it rules.
I like to think of each chakra as a mini-computer, programmed to do certain tasks that help our emotions, thoughts, and personal growth. Sometimes those programs need to be pointed in a new direction to get us where we want to go and that’s where chakra balancing comes in.
Chakra balancing is just getting the flow of energy back into a functioning and harmonious state. I love to work with chakra meditation as part of my yoga practice, where I focus on the color of the chakra, chant mantras and meditate on yantras, practice chakra affirmations and sometimes use chakra crystals and stones to get back in balance.
Use this primer to learn more about what chakra balance and imbalances look like, and how the colors of the chakras are so integral to how our subtle energies are organized!
What Are The Seven Chakras And Their Colors?
The seven chakras are associated with specific energy centers located throughout the body. Here is a quick explanation of the seven chakra colors, their meanings, and what they represent.
1. Muladhara, the Root Chakra: Red Color
The Sanskrit word for the first chakra is Muladhara, meaning “support” or “pillar. It’s also known as your root or sacral chakra because it’s located right at the base of your spine, on your coccyx. Think of Muladhara as the base or root of your whole chakra system — it supplies prana to the rest of the body, mind and spirit. It’s said that half of the root chakra is outside of the body, grounding you into the earth. This is where Kundalini energy begins and enters the body.
- Sanskrit meaning: “Root Support”
- Color: Red. Red has the densest vibration of all the colors, and is the most stimulating. It immediately pulls your attention; think of how you feel when you see a stop light, or blood. The root chakra signals warnings and dangers immediately, and we act accordingly. It is life force, courage, and vitality.
- Key themes: Survival. Fight or flight, instinct, stability, material safety, trust, and security. The root chakra also impacts our passion, physical strength, and sexuality.
- Balanced Muladhara chakra: You feel a vital prana, strong will power, persistence, and endurance. There is a connection with earth and nature, and a sense of self-preservation. Things are in order, and you feel economic, mental, physical, and spiritual stability.
- Imbalance of Muladhara chakra: There is laziness, narcissism, and existential dread. Negative energy, over-worrying, rage and resentment build. You may find yourself clinging to those who project a sense of safety. Physical issues might include colon pain, constipation, sciatica, lower back pain, hemorrhoids, prostate issues, or menstrual cramps.
- Aspects of Nature: Dawn, dusk, red earth, fire.
- Associated Crystals: Agate, Black Tourmaline, Bloodstone, Tigers Eye, Hematite, Smoky Quartz.
2. Svadisthana, the Sacral Chakra: Orange Color
Located just above the sexual organs and beneath the navel, right above the root chakra, the sacral chakra is the center of your creative and joyful experiences. The root chakra gives you the stability to explore, and the sacral chakra is the joy and enthusiasm that drives you to do it. The svadisthana chakra transforms the root chakra’s earth energy and uses it for creativity and pleasure. It is a feminine, flexible, vital energy connected to your feelings of bliss — but not just hedonism! Too much of a good thing can be irritating; even destructive. The sacral chakra also connects you to inner wisdom, stillness and personal development, as well.
- Sanskrit meaning: “Your own seat,” or “One’s own place.”
- Color: Orange. Orange is enthusiastic, joyful, and the color of vitality and strength. It is equally red and yellow (rooted and powerful). It is sensual and associated with Tantra, the practice of moving kundalini energy up the spinal column to attain enlightened states.
- Key Themes: Water, procreation, sensuality, creative expression, compassion, pleasure, gut feelings, and wisdom. The sacral chakra is healing and compassionate.
- Balanced Svadisthana chakra: Creativity is at full force. You have a healthy attitude about sexuality and your body, and feel accepting of others and compassionate to their flaws. There is curiosity and desire, and an independence in looking for these things. You are vibrant, optimistic, and playful.
- Imbalance of Svadisthana chakra: Poor boundaries, especially sexual ones, are a big red flag of an imbalanced sacral chakra. You might feel a lack of control around your sexual urges, or, extremely repressed about sex and your body. Jealousy, fear, sexual dysfunction, obsessive or strong emotions and attachments, or feeling detached from one’s soul or self are all symptoms of a blocked sacral chakra.
- Aspects of nature: Fish, sea creatures, running water, moonlight, the warmth of the sun, procreation.
- Associated crystals: Carnelian, Citrine, Coral, Moonstone.
3. ManiPura, the Solar Plexus Chakra: Yellow Color
The ManiPura chakra is the seat of the power that you walk with through the world and the primary source of your personal and professional success. It is your willpower and self-control, and the respect for yourself and others. This chakra is also associated with your ability to know yourself — your personality — and feel confident in how you walk through the world. The solar plexus chakra is located in the belly, just below the heart.
- Sanskrit meaning: “Jewel city”
- Color: Yellow. The strength of yellow shines bright like the uncovered sun, and illuminates the “I” — your sense of self.
- Key Themes: Self-esteem. Willpower, and a driving force. Like an engine that is humming. Leaving your mark on the world. Optimism, youth, intellect, and compassionate warmth.
- Balanced ManiPura chakra: You are developing your talents and asserting yourself with balance and mercy. You know yourself well and trust yourself. You are confident and hold inner worth. You keep a good diet and exercise often, and feel strong, autonomous, and free.
- Imbalance of ManiPura chakra: You feel afraid, and it’s transformed into a pent up aggression, needing the last word, and competing with others in an unbalanced way. Sleeping doesn’t come easy to you, and you often feel stressed and have nightmares. You blame others for your failures or bad luck, and you’re stubborn, dominant, and manipulative. Criticism causes you to spiral into obsessive worry and anger.
- Aspects of nature: The planet Mars, blazing fire, sunlight.
- Associated crystals: Orange Calcite, Citrine, Malachite, Topaz.
You might also like: What is Kundalini Yoga and How is it Different Than Hatha/Vinyasa? [+VIDEO]
4. Anahata, the Heart Chakra: Green Color
The heart chakra is the center of your being. It is the chakra that connects the three lower physical-emotional main chakras to the three higher mental and spiritual main chakras, where they can be transformed and integrated into a higher vibration. It is where we vibrate with love, not only for our personal relationships, but for all beings.
- Sanskrit meaning: “Unhurt,” unstruck, immaculate, unspoiled.
- Color: Green. The color of life; naturally calming, healing, and supportive.
- Key Themes: Love. Openness, self-acceptance, and the acceptance of others. Empathy resides in this chakra, and selfless love for all beings.
- Balanced Anahata chakra: Others are welcomed in, and accepted for who they are. There is balance in self-love and love for others. Empathy, wisdom, feelings of interconnectedness, friendliness, and emotional balance rule.
- Imabalance of Anahata chakra: There is loneliness and isolation, dysfunctional relationships (jealousy, criticizing, fear of rejection), and/or co-dependence and clinginess. Intellectualizing problems and criticizing or cruelty may be symptoms, as well. Lung problems, heart problems, and upper back problems point to this chakra being blocked.
- Aspects of nature: Forest, clean air, unspoiled nature, meadows, Antelope, birds.
- Associated crystals: Jade, Rose Quartz, Green Calcite, Tourmaline.
5. Vishuddi, the Throat Chakra: Blue Color
The pure blue of the throat chakra is the link between the green of emotions in the heart chakra, and the indigo reasoning of the third eye chakra. This chakra asks us to vibrate higher; to synthesize, create, and express thoughts and feelings. It is conscious creation, as opposed to the orange creation that happens without consciousness.
The throat chakra is how we express who we are to the world. The Sanskrit word “Vishuddi” means “especially pure,” pointing to how this chakra vibrates highest when it’s unbound, honest, and without reservation.
- Sanskrit meaning: “Especially pure”
- Color: Blue. The blue, unclouded sky of pure existence. Blissful, clear, calm, and true, blue is where things slow down and you can listen to the still waters within for the truth.
- Key Themes: Communication, listening, expression of the self, how we understand and are understood. Independence, truth.
- Balanced Vishuddi chakra: There is ease is communicating your needs, but also who you are. Your voice is strong, decisions and consequences are understood, and there is balance in when you listen and when you express yourself. You are creatively expressed in the arts, but also in your life.
- Imbalance of Vishuddi chakra: Fear of speaking out, shyness, feeling embarrassed or confused are one aspect of this chakra. Alternatively, lying, verbally abusing, and gossiping are signs of an overstimulated chakra. This can cause thyroid problems, TMJ, laryngitis, teeth and gum problems, and neck stiffness.
- Aspects of nature: Ether, white elephant, seawater, clear sky, twilight.
- Associated crystals: Blue lace agate, Lapis Lazuli, Aquamarine, Turquoise.
6. Ajna, the Third Eye Chakra: Indigo Color
The third eye chakra is our connection to the spiritual world. It vibrates with the esoteric, spiritual phenomena that can become available to you once all of the lower chakras are clear and activated. Ajna brings deeper understanding of things; insights and connections that are always there but not always sensed.
- Sanskrit meaning: “knowledge”
- Color: Indigo, also called royal blue, is the color of night — there is a depth of awakening and change in this color that connects us to space and time.
- Key Themes: Intuition, insight, “sixth sense,” imagination.
- Balanced Ajna chakra: There are feelings of wisdom, inner peace, spiritual awakening and awareness. You might feel closer to Spirit, and closer to your Self. It’s easy to sort the significant from the insignificant, creating intuitive knowledge and understanding.
- Imbalance of Ajna chakra: Lack of perspective, problematic priorities, lack of imagination. Difficulty concentrating or retaining information, dualistic thinking or being stuck in one “truth.” At its worst, a blocked Ajna chakra can lead to sociopathy and delusions.
- Aspects of nature: Night sky, stars, deep ocean.
- Associated crystals: Lapis Lazuli, Amethyst, Black Obsidian, Purple Flourite.
7. Sahasrara, the Crown Chakra: Violet Color
The crown chakra, also known as the crown lotus, or the thousand-petaled lotus, is the most subtle of the chakras. It exists at the very top of the head, where a crown would sit, near to the cerebral cortex. It is the culmination of awakening Kundalini energy in all the chakras, which rises up the spine to the crown chakra and causes spiritual awakening.
- Sanskrit meaning: “Thousand-Petaled”
- Color: Violet, the highest vibrating color, is one of magic, purification, and mystery that brings together the polarities of the world. This chakra is also associated with white and gold.
- Key Themes: Cosmic awareness, higher consciousness, faith, spiritual power, connectedness to all beings.
- Balanced Sahasrara chakra: Transcending all dualism, you are spiritually free. You are in connection with all beings and the universe; there is no separation. Your chakras are spinning freely and prana is flowing through your body, and you feel deep wisdom and a connection with the Divine.
- Imbalance of Sahasrara chakra: Detachment from reality, mental disorders, greed, and overwhelm are common. When the other chakras have not been developed, bringing energy to this chakra can cause extreme problems: spiritual crisis, disinterest in living, fragmentation, addiction and/or cognitive delusions.
- Aspects of nature: Blooming lotus flower, snake, top of the mountain, cerebral cortex.
- Associated crystals: Blue Lace Agate, Amethyst, Clear Quartz, Selenite.
Understanding the chakras and the entire chakra system can be incredibly powerful. There are so many ways to balance your chakras, from chakra yoga to bija mantras. You can learn how to harness life-force energy to support you, your emotional well-being, and your goals. The major chakras listed above are the most commonly studied chakras in the entire chakra system, but the subtle body is a complex and intricate energetic system.
Just like there are different levels of consciousness, there are different levels to the spiritual realm…
…and that is where the chakra system comes into play.
And once you balance chakras within yourself, you can let that divine light shine, baby!