A Guide To Understanding The Chakras

ChakraEmbedPhoto: Courtesy of Eyla.
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One of the requirements to become a yoga teacher includes a lengthy take home exam, so my procrastination techniques from college have been useful these past few weeks. However, one of my favorite exercises has been this summary of the chakras, their purpose, function, how to know when they are off balance, and what yoga exercises you can do to strengthen them.

The chakras are energy centers in the body, the word chakra means “wheel.” Understanding them can help us comprehend the way that energy is processed by humans. The first three chakras are known as the lower triangle, and the 5th-7th are known as the upper triangle. The 4th or Heart chakra is the point between them which shifts our perspective from “me” to “we.”

The chakras affect our perceptions, choices, and feelings. They affect our thoughts, mainly the type and flow of them, and what we choose to manifest. When we balance the chakras, it helps open the senses, provides a sense of well-being, and connect us to energies that surround us.

1st Chakra — Root

Security & Survival — Foundations, security, habit, self-acceptance
Color: Red
Location: Bottom of spine
Organs, nerves, glands: Organs of elimination
Proper functions: Grounded, centered, secure, loyal, and stable
Malfunctions: Fear, insecurity, life feels like a burden, feeling like one does not belong

Yoga exercises to strengthen: Crow pose, chair pose, front stretches, lying on the stomach, feet kicking buttocks

RELATED: Self Acceptance: The Most Important Skill To Master

2nd Chakra — Sex Organs

Creativity — To feel, to desire, to create
Color: Orange
Location: Sexual organs
Organs, nerves, glands: Sex organs, reproductive organs, kidneys, bladder
Proper functions: Positive & relaxed attitude to sexual functions, patience, creativity, responsible relationships
Malfunctions: Rigid emotions, frigid, guilt, no boundaries, issues with reproductive organs or kidneys

Yoga exercises to strengthen: Cobra pose, butterfly, cat-cow, pelvic lifts

3rd Chakra — Navel

Action & Balance — The will of the spiritual warrior
Color: Yellow
Location: Area of the navel point
Organs, nerves, glands: Navel, liver, gall bladder, digestive, adrenals, pancreas
Proper functions: Center for personal power and committeemen, self-esteem, strength for inner balance, inspiration, and good health
Malfunctions: Anger, greed, shame, sees obstacles everywhere, conforms and refutes ones own wishes & emotions, problems with digestion, liver, gallbladder

Yoga exercises to strengthen: Bow pose, fish pose, stretch pose

4th Chakra — Heart

Love & Compassion – Love & awakening from 'me' to 'we'
Color: Green
Location: Middle of the chest
Organs, nerves, glands: Heart, lungs, thymus gland
Proper functions: Compassion, kindness, service, love, awakening to spiritual awareness
Malfunctions: Easily hurt, fear of rejection, dependent on love & attention from others, attachment

Yoga exercises to strengthen: All arm exercises and that which twist the upper torso, all pranayam (breathing exercises)

RELATED: Here's How To Attract More Love Into Your Life

5th Chakra — Throat

Projective Power of Communication — Hearing & speaking the truth, the teacher
Color: Light Blue
Location: Throat
Organs, nerves, glands: Throat, thyroid
Proper functions: Center of truth, language, knowledge and ability to communicate, authenticity, inspiring
Malfunctions: Lethargy, shyness, insecurity, fear of others judgments, throat, neck or thyroid issues

Yoga exercises to strengthen: All chanting, shoulder stands, cobra pose, cat-cow, neck rolls

6th Chakra: 3rd Eye

Intuition, wisdom & identity — the union of opposites
Color: Indigo
Location: Between the eyebrows
Organs, nerves, glands: Brain, pituitary gland
Proper functions: Concentration, determination, intuition, understanding your purpose
Malfunctions: Confusion, depression

Yoga exercises to strengthen: Meditating with eyes closed and rolled up to the third eye point, all exercises where the forehead rests on the floor, archer pose

7th Chakra — Crown

Humility & vastness — Transcendence
Color: Violet
Location: Crown of the head
Organs, nerves, glands: Brain, pineal gland
Proper functions: Connection to the highest self, enlightenment
Malfunctions: Grief, fear of death, feeling separate

Yoga exercises to strengthen: All meditation

8th Chakra — Aura

Color: White
Location: The electromagnetic field
Organs, nerves, glands: Aura
Proper functions: The aura projects & protects, combines effects of all the chakras and makes up their total projection
Mal-functions: Shy, vulnerable, withdrawn

Yoga exercises to strengthen: Triangle pose, archer pose, all arm exercises, all meditation

This post was authored by Courtney Somer.