Chakras. It’s a word familiar to most yoga-lovers and those with an interest in religions and traditions of Indian origin. Yet, for many of us, the chakras are still an unfamiliar concept. But worry not! Whether you’re well-versed in all things spiritual or just dipping a toe in the world of interwoven energies, this blog is here to provide you with the context and information you need to understand what chakras are, where they’re located around your body, and how advocates suggest you use them to find inner peace and balance.
A Brief History Of Chakras
Before we can understand what chakras are, we first need to understand their history. To do that, we need to go back to India in the first century, as this is when the idea first originated in ancient Hindu texts.
At this time, people believed that humans possessed two bodies - the physical body and the subtle body. They believed that the subtle body was made up of lots of interconnected spiritual energies. Even though they knew the subtle body was invisible, they sensed a connection between the physical and subtle - meaning the ‘subtle’ energy-based body could affect the physical body, and vice versa.
Chakras are often described as wheels of energy, or energy centers, that exist at specific places around the subtle body, and the ancients believed they were all connected - much like the various wires and power sources of an electric circuit.
Chakras are associated with both traditional Hinduism and Buddhism - in Hinduism, each chakra is associated with a particular deity and in Buddhism, the chakras correspond with the Four Noble Truths.
The Seven Chakras & Their Role In Yoga
While the idea evolved a long time ago, many people still believe in the existence of chakras today. They are most commonly discussed in the yoga community, where various yoga types- such as kundalini-can be practiced to access, harness and unblock chakras depending on an individual’s physical and spiritual needs. The overall energy accessed in these kinds of yogic practices is known as ‘prana’ and through the movement of the body, advocates believe prana flows between the different chakras. Today, some people also associate the different chakras with various colors, ranging from violet at the crown to red at the base of the spine.
While there are many chakras to account for, today we’re going to be looking at the seven main chakras and their associated characteristics as detailed below.
The Crown chakra, also known as the Sahasrara, is an energy point located at the very top of your head. This is believed to be symbolic of your connection to life - including your connection to yourself, others, and the universe in general. Most people believe that the Sahasrara is also intimately related to your life purpose and calling.
Third eye chakra
The third eye chakra, also known as the Ajna, is located between your eyes. Thanks to this chakra's visual powers, it is associated with imagination, gut-instinct, and intuition. When looking for insight into events beyond the physical world, the third eye is your best port of call.
The throat chakra, also known as the Vishuddha, is found in your throat (no prizes for guessing that one!). As you may expect from its placement, this chakra is linked to verbal communication - not just in speaking, but also in listening and understanding others.
The heart chakra, also known as the Anahata, can be found in the center of your chest, near your physical heart. This chakra is connected to all matters of love and compassion. In this case, that love relates specifically to emotions such as forgiveness and empathy. In Sanskrit, Anahata roughly translates into “unhurt”.
Solar plexus chakra
The solar plexus chakra, also known as the Manipura, is found in your belly. This chakra is believed to be in charge of your self-esteem and confidence. Many people believe that harnessing this chakra correctly can enable them to exert better control over their life and ambitions.
The sacral chakra, also known as the Svadhisthana, is quite specifically located just below the naval. This is the chakra attuned to both your sexual and creative energy. It’s also connected to self-awareness and how well you relate to your own feelings as well as the feelings of those around you.
The root chakra, also known as the Muladhara, is is found at the base of your spine. As is implied by the word, ‘root’, this chakra is connected to your life foundations. It is what keeps you grounded when life gets crazy, and also helps you to weather trials and tribulations. This is the chakra linked to your overall sense of security and stability.
The Chakras And Their Gemstones
Did you know that many people associate the seven chakras with different gemstones? See each chakra and its corresponding gemstone listed below.
The Crown Chakra - Crystal Clear Quartz
Third Eye Chakra - Amethyst
Throat Chakra - Lapis Lazuli
Heart Chakra - Rose Quartz
Solar plexus Chakra - Citrine
Sacral Chakra - Carnelian
Root Chakra - Multi-Agate
Whether you believe in the ancient power of the chakras, love yoga, or are simply interested in the history of how chakra philosophy came to be, you can now be confident that you are clued up on all the basics.
Chakras are intimately connected to gemstones - which also played important roles in the traditions of ancient India - and you can shop our wide range of gemstone jewelry here, or read more about gemstones and their stories here.