I, the hippiest of hippies, was once not even remotely hippy-ish. Truth be told, most days I don’t even recognize the person I was four years ago.
That person was struggling – a lot. She was looking for something that the life she had been leading up until that point had not been giving her…
As people tend to do, I looked toward the spiritual realm in my time of need. I went to great lengths to study different religions – even moving to Thailand for a time to try my hand in a Buddhist monastery. But it became apparent to me that organized religion, as it is, wasn’t holding me the way I wanted it to. However, through the years of exploration I found that there were a few things that I connected to deeply. I felt truly at peace when I was in nature. I felt connected to my body when I practiced yoga. And I was able to process difficult emotions through chakra work.
‘I don’t speak hippy. What is a chakra and how do you work it?’
A chakra is an energy center in the body. A disk-like vortex where the physical, emotional and spiritual body intersect. They govern our state of balance.
I didn’t know it four years ago, but I was way out of balance. All of the hurt and disappointment and trauma and insecurity I was riddled with, and carried with me day in and day out, affected every aspect of my life.
When I first started educating myself about the chakra system it was more out of a childlike fascination with the apparent magic of it, rather than a belief it would actually work. But not long after I began exercising my new knowledge I saw changes in my health, both physical and mental. I stopped having intense physical reactions to my anxiety. My barely-there confidence, started to grow. And I found that I was starting to swap out new, healthy coping mechanisms for all of my old, ugly ones. I am by no means an expert on the subject and still consider myself very much a student. But it made a very real and tangible difference in my life. And so, if any of this sounds familiar to you, allow me to introduce to you, my digital friend, the chakra basics to use as you please!
The 7 Chakras
There are seven major chakras in the body and they all build off of one another. Malfunctions can have an effect on the physical body and the mind, and if one is out of whack, it likely is affecting one or several others. But don’t fret! We can work them out. Chakra work is mainly done through yoga practice and meditation, so buckle up and get ready to get (meta)physical
Our first chakra is Muladhara or the root chakra. It is located at the perineum, or the base of our spinal column, and it’s primary function has to do with survival, and our sense of groundedness. Its color is red and its element is earth. When the root chakra is balanced, we feel safe, secure and grounded. When the same chakra is malfunctioning it can appear in the physical body as an eating disorder, sciatica or constipation. Emotionally, if you’re feeling fearful, disconnected, or stuck in your life, you might want to look at your root chakra.
To begin a root chakra meditation:
Sit down on the ground. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, in and out. Imagine a red disc spinning at the base of your spine. With each breath, the disc spins more easily and shines brighter. When your disc is bright red, imagine roots growing from your spine, deep into the earth. Just like a big, happy tree, your are one with the earth, and you are unshakeable.
Use a mantra, if it works for you. “I am safe. My roots grow deep into the soil. I am made of the earth. I am right where I need to be.”
Our second chakra is Swadhisthana or the sacral chakra. It is located at the sacrum or navel and rules desire, sexuality and emotion. Its color is orange and its element is water. When the second chakra is balanced we feel emotionally stable and flexible, confident in our fluid and sexual nature and inspired creatively. When the second chakra is malfunctioning it can appear in the body as reproductive issues, sexual dysfunction and urinary trouble. Emotionally, it appears as guilt, shame or intense jealousy. Perhaps you feel apathetic or uninspired. And more likely than not, you don’t feel connected sexually.
To begin a sacral chakra meditation:
Once your red disc at the base of your spine is kickin’, move up the spinal column to your navel. There, imagine an orange disc. Breathe deeply, in and out. As you do, imagine the disc glowing brighter. Imagine the center of the disc opens, and fresh cool water begins to flow through it. Washing it clean, giving it life.
Your sacral chakra manta goes like this: I love myself and my body. I am not my body, my body is a beautiful temple. I am sensual, sexual, desirable. I am creative, capable, inspired. I am flexible in the face of change.
Alright friends, does that feel like a lot of information? Take some time to ruminate on it. Chakra work takes time and dedicated practice, so be patient with yourself. Start working on the first two chakras, and check back at the Wave Blog week for your next lesson!