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Chakras: what they are, what they do, and the best ways to open and unblock them

Updated: Jan 3, 2021

The term chakra conjures up all sorts of associations with spiritual topics and Eastern mysticism, it’s true that the term chakra comes from the Sanskrit for “wheel”, but chakras don’t have to be areas that only those with advanced esoteric knowledge understand.

In its most basic form a chakra is essentially, just a portal or sphere that is associated with and regulates a certain area of your life. From a Western medical perspective, the “chakras” line up with the Endocrine system in your body and have certain biological functions as well, for example the second lowest “Sacral chakra” is connected to the ovaries or testes.

If we adopt a more scientific or technological approach to understanding the chakras you might think of the analogy that a chakra is kind of like a USB port on a computer and it helps run certain applications and specialised functions.

For example, you could use an analogy of the “third eye” chakra placed in the pineal gland of the brain as responsible for the functioning of mind, and the “heart chakra” responsible for emotions and the management of the flow of blood throughout the body.

Each “chakra” has its own specialised functions and has significant influences on the way you carry yourself and move forward in the world. Depending on which chakras are over-active and under-active this could play an important role in developing your personality.

In total there are seven main chakras starting from the base of the spine and leading up to the crown on and above your head.

We will start from the most base chakra and move our way up.

The Root Chakra

The root chakra is the lowermost chakra in the body. It’s situated at the base of the spine and is connected to your legs and feet.

It’s responsible for the feeling of grounding and safety in your life. Anything, related to your basic survival needs is connected to this chakra.

If this chakra is under-active it can result in feelings of insecurity and nervousness in various situations in life and having poor personal boundaries in general. For example, someone with a weak root chakra may just be floating about from situation to situation with no real grounding or stability in their life.

On the other hand, if this chakra is too open and active, it can result in people becoming overly concerned with survival needs and perhaps becoming overly materialistic and greedy.

The best way to open this chakra is to have some form of morning ritual, perhaps for grounding yourself in the day, whether it be to try some form of exercise or gym in the morning, or perhaps just making your bed in the morning and having the same breakfast to build a sense of foundation and grounding in your day-to-day life.

If it is overactive, it may be a good idea to try to open some of the higher chakras to allow the excess of energy / activity to naturally flow-up to higher energy centres and balance out.

The Sacral Chakra

The sacral chakra is the second lowermost energy point and is connected with the genitals (ovaries and testes), regulates the sexual sphere of one’s life, as well as being a centre for emotions, which is why its element is water.

If under-active, then the person may have a low sex-drive and just generally not be in a “fun” mood, they could also be overly self-disciplined.

If overactive, then it is a fair guess that the sex drive will be very high and the person may be in a fun mood a lot of the time and will want to go out a lot and “party”.

To open this chakra more, you may want to try “going with the flow” a little bit. Having some fun and seeing where it leads. You can think of this chakra as almost the inverse of the mind where everything is logical and needs to know the plan. Also, embracing your sexuality a little more and trying to work out any issues around this area may help to open and unblock the chakra.

If the sacral chakra is hyper-active then it’s probably a good idea to calm down a little bit, and maybe instill some self-discipline in your life.

The Solar Plexus

This chakra relates to your sense of ego, identity and confidence in the world. It’s situated above the sacral in the intestines, which is why someone with a healthy solar plexus may be said to have “guts”.

If healthy and in balance, the person will have a solid sense of identity, confidence and balanced ego in the world. It can be correlated with a good grounding via the root chakra and the person knows who they are and what they’re doing in the world.

If overactive, then you can imagine the person may be a bit of a handful, and think they’re a lot more important and significant than they actually are. The overactive solar plexus may be overcompensating for some insecurity. To balance this out, the person may need to learn some humility and tone it down a bit.

If under-active, then the person will probably not have a well formed sense of identity in the world. To help open and unblock this chakra they could try something like public speaking or at least putting themselves in situations where they have to put themselves “out there” in order to help develop greater strength and competence in this sphere of their life.

The Heart Chakra

Situated right in the centre of the body with three chakras below and three chakras above, the heart may be said to be the central chakra and perhaps one of the most important, considering it is the first organ in the human body to begin forming. It is responsible for the area regulating the flow of life around the body (pumping blood) and is also associated with the emotional and feeling centres of the body, as well as just being drawn to things that “resonate” on an intuitive level.

If this chakra is under-active, then you may be working in areas that don’t serve you, because you haven’t found your “calling”, as well as not being able to feel empathy and compassion for others around you, because you don’t have a well developed emotional centre in your life.

If overactive, you may be too compassionate and have a “bleeding heart” where you feel overly responsible for the actions of those around you and that you have to put yourself out and try to help everyone. In this scenario you may need to learn that sometimes “tough love” is necessary.

To open and unblock this chakra it may be useful to try and see things from other people’s points of view and “hold space” for others—trying to develop more empathy and compassion in order to have more harmonious relationships with the people and world around you. If your heart is too open though, it may be a good idea again to develop boundaries and sometimes listen to those around you telling you that some people you need to “let go of” in your life.

The Throat Chakra

This chakra, as you can probably guess, is associated with the way you communicate and express yourself in the world. It is associated with the Thyroid gland in the Endocrine system.

It is the first of the higher chakras above the heart, and if it is blocked and under-active, then you may find you have a “block” when writing or communicating and just feel like there’s a "lump in your throat". It may also be blocked when lying as there is something “in the way” of you trying to tell the truth.

If healthy and balanced then you will have no problem expressing yourself in words and speech and you will be an effective and proficient communicator.

If overactive, then you might find that it is difficult for you to “shut up”. And in this sense, it might be useful to learn to “put a sock in it” or at least just learn when to speak and that sometimes “silence is golden”.

A great way to help unblock and open up this chakra may be journaling and writing your thoughts down, but also public speaking and just generally, trying to “speak your truth”.

The Third Eye Chakra

This chakra links up with the endocrine system by being situated in the pineal gland between the two hemispheres of the brain and close to the corpus callosum. It regulates the realm of thought, intellect and mind, and, when healthy and unblocked, interacts with spheres of spiritual wisdom, when it is in service to the heart.

When under-active, you may be said to not “think things through” or not really be a bright spark when it comes to formulating new plans and ideas, and you may need to apply yourself to more study and intellectual practice to help open and unblock this chakra.

Likewise, when too open and active, you can become overly analytical and logical and always need to know the “how” of what is going to happen instead of trusting and “following your heart”. In this instance, it may be good to realise that when the mind serves the heart then this is a powerful dynamic, but when it’s the other way around it can be like putting the cart before the horse.

The Crown Chakra

This chakra is said to be your connection to higher realms of consciousness and to the divine.

When this chakra is healthy you can just feel connected to something higher around you and pick up great ideas and insights when you’re just walking through nature and “allowing” things to unfold—both great ways to unblock this chakra.

When under-active, you may feel it’s difficult to find the next step you need in order to progress in life and feel “blocked” in general.

Alternatively, when this chakra is over-active then you can feel yourself going away with the fairies and you may need to learn to settle down and ground yourself. Perhaps a great way to do this would be through physical exercises, or eating some grounding foods such as earth vegetables, carrots, potatoes, as well as some earthly and homely meat stews, otherwise you can be very unbalanced and find it difficult to come back down to earth.

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