The chakras are important centers of energy that appear throughout your body. For thousands of years, keeping the chakras in balance has been linked to maintaining mental and physical wellbeing. Through chakra meditation, you can improve the balance of your key chakras and bring your health and mental attitude into a more peaceful state.
While there are hundreds of different chakras in the body representing energy centers large and small, it's most productive to focus on the seven core chakras. These are the major points that have been identified as critical by multiple spiritual traditions. Here they are in ascending order:
1. Root Chakra (Muladhara)
This chakra is found at the base of your spine. It governs your connection to the wider world, your fundamental needs for food, shelter, and stability. Issues with your root chakra can cause a number of emotional and physical disturbances, especially digestive ailments.
2. Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana)
The sacral chakra rests just below the navel. It's intimately involved in the creative process; it governs both your reproductive organs and your imagination. A balanced sacral chakra is essential for coping with new experiences and exploring the world.
3. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
Your solar plexus chakra sits above your navel, in your stomach. This chakra is fundamental to digestion, but it also has an important mental and spiritual role. You can only embrace the things you experience and understand your place in them when your solar plexus chakra is in balance.
4. Heart Chakra (Anahata)
On a physical level, the heart chakra, which is located at the center of the cardiovascular system, is intimately tied to the organs around it. Imbalances here can be responsible for respiratory problems and high blood pressure. Mentally, an open and balanced heart chakra allows you to form emotional connections with others.
5. Throat Chakra (Visshuddha)
Located in the throat (near the thyroid glands), this chakra governs communication and self-expression. A blockage in the throat chakra can cause feelings of isolation and a range of physical issues, from susceptibility to infection to hormonal imbalances.
6. Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)
The third eye chakra lies just above the junction of your eyebrows. This chakra is in charge of insight and intuition on both a spiritual and a mundane level. Keeping the third eye chakra in balance allows you to see how the world around you is interconnected and makes it easier to understand your place in it.
7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
Color: Purple / White
In many ways, the crown chakra, which sits on the top of your head, is the "business end" of the primary chakras. When your chakras are in balance and your energy is healthy, the crown chakra serves as a power connection to the wider world. Maintaining a healthy crown chakra leads to a sense of peace, well-being, and confidence.
As noted in several points above, chakras can become blocked, closed, or imbalanced. When one of your chakras is closed off to the natural flow of energy through your body, your being will compensate by directing more energy to the more functional chakras.
This results in some chakras shutting down while others become hyperactive. Both pose serious repercussions to your mental and physical balance, and careful meditation is the best way to keep all of your chakras open and bring them into harmony.
Testing Your Chakras
You may be curious about which chakras, if any, you're having particular trouble with. To help you with this there are a number of "chakra tests" available online that will ask you personality test-style questions before arbitrarily judging the effectiveness of your chakras.
If you are curious to find out, make sure to try out the test developed by Mindvalley.
A more effective way to understand chakra blockages is learning in depth about each chakra and look out for its associated signs of imbalanced.
Every chakra has unique symptoms (both physical and mental) that indicate under- or over-activity. Once you begin to recognize these symptoms by yourself you can start associating them to the chakras you'll want to concentrate on.
Because your chakras are part of an intimately connected system, there is only so much work you can do on singular chakras. It's better to meditate on all of them to bring the entire system into balance. With time and experience, you'll get better at detecting individual imbalances and directing your meditation to focus on particular chakras.
To get started, all you need to do is find a peaceful place where you won't be disturbed for at least a half hour.
Sit comfortably on the floor with your legs folded in front of you. You can sit on a cushion if you find the position uncomfortable. Hold your spine erect but not stressed. Let your hands fall limp on your knees. Breathe deeply and evenly.
What you can do is visualize each chakra in turn, from the root to the crown. As you do, you should picture the energy flowing into and through that chakra. Use the color associations of each chakra provided above during your meditation.
Give each chakra patient attention and focus on it until you can see vibrant energy passing through it. Each chakra deserves several minutes for itself.
By the time you reach the crown chakra, you should have a clear mental image of positive energy flowing all the way through your body.
When you're first starting to explore chakra meditation, it can be tricky to keep track of the energy centers and colors you need to focus on. Guided meditation tools can be an enormous help here.
These are images, videos, or audio tracks (using the mantras listed above) that help you pace your meditation and keep you focused on the proper chakra. This video on youtube can be a great start for your meditation:
Individual Chakra Meditation
After you've successfully gone through a few meditation sessions, you should start to feel more sensitized to the energy flowing through your chakras. You'll start to tie your feelings and physical state into specific chakras. Now you may want to start concentrating your sessions on individual chakras.
Do not force this process; with experience, you should find it more or less natural for your focus to drift to the chakras that are most in need of balancing when you meditate. You'll find that there are many specialized positions, breathing exercises, mantras, and gestures (mudras) available to help you concentrate on specific chakras.
Hopefully, this introduction to chakra meditation has been enlightening. You should have enough information to give basic mediation a try right now. Don't end your learning process here! There are plenty of other insights waiting for you to discover.