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Chakras - What are they and what do they do?

Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means wheel. Most Eastern traditions describe seven major chakra points, each correlating to a different part of the body. These are where two or more channels of energy cross in your body, forming an energy center. When your energy flow is out of balance or gets blocked, you can become ill. Your chakras become out of alignment and in turn so does your mood, body, health - basically your life. When working on your chakras, start at the Base chakra and work your way up. You want to heal the lower chakra levels before proceeding to work on the higher chakra levels. The three primary chakras below the Heart chakra are mainly related to your physical body and the perceived world around us. The three primary chakras above the Heart chakra are spiritual in nature.

Crown Chakra - The Crown Chakra or Sahasrara, is known as the Thousand-petalled Lotus, since Sahasrara means ‘a thousand petals’ in sanskrit. The seventh primary chakra is located at the top of head. It symbolizes the balance of duality within us and is a place of pure consciousness. It is from this chakra that all other chakras emanate.

  • Key points: pure consciousness, peace, spirituality, inner wisdom, awareness
  • Color: violet
  • Location: top of head
  • Aromatherapy / Essential Oils: ylang-ylang, rosewood
  • Gemstones: clear quartz (balancing), amethyst (balancing)

Brow Chakra - The Brow Chakra or Ajna, is known as the Third Eye Chakra. The sixth primary chakra is located center of forehead, slightly above the eyebrows. Ajna translates as "command" in sanskrit, and is depicted with two petals which represent the two aspects of prana. The Third Eye Chakra is considered the eye of intuition and intellect.

  • Key points: wisdom, intuition, vision, spiritual guidance, clarity, dreams, psychic abilities
  • Color: white or deep blue
  • Location: center of the brow
  • Aromatherapy / Essential Oils: Frankincense, Basil
  • Gemstones: lapis lazuli (balancing)

Throat Chakra - The Throat Chakra or Vishuddha is the fifth primary chakra, it is located in the center of the throat. Vishuddha means “to purify” in sanskrit and is depicted with 16 smoke-colored or turquoise petals. It is a bridge from the Heart chakra to the Brow and Crown chakras. Basically, it is the bridge from our earth body to our spiritual body. The Throat chakra is all about communication. If we speak and sing good words, it will stay in alignment. If we use our voice to hurt or destroy others, it will become out of balance and manifest physical symptoms of the ear, nose, throat and respiratory issues.

  • Key points: communication, self-expression, will
  • Color: turquoise
  • Location: center of throat
  • Aromatherapy / Essential Oils: lavender, roman chamomile, rosemary, thyme, sage
  • Gemstones: turquoise (balancing), chrysocolla (balancing), quartz (calming), yellow or blue topaz (activating)

Heart Chakra - The Heart Chakra or Anahata is the fourth primary chakra. It is located at the center of the chest on the sternum. Anahata means “unstruck note” in sanskrit and has 12 petals. The Heart chakra isn’t just about physical love, but about loving and appreciating the creation life. The scent in the air after a good rain, the softness of a dandelion or the pleasant sound of little birds chirping outside. The Heart Chakra is a gateway to higher consciousness.

  • Keypoints: passion, love, trust, safety, inner-child issues, rejection
  • Color: green and/or pink/red/white
  • Location: center of chest
  • Aromatherapy / Essential Oils: rose, melissa, neroli
  • Gemstones: peridot (activating), rose quartz (balancing)

Solar Plexus Chakra - The Solar Plexus Chakra or Manipura is the third primary chakra. It is located between the navel and the bottom of the sternum. Manipura means “place of gems” in sanskrit and has ten petals. It enables and regulates the flow of vital energies throughout the body. The great Indian sage Patanjali says that through control of Manipura full knowledge and mastery of the body are achieved. The ten petals symbolize spiritual ignorance, thirst, jealousy, treachery, shame, fear, disgust, delusion, foolishness and sadness. You must heal this chakra before working on aligning higher up chakras.

  • Keypoints: physical center, personal power, emotional control, fear, anxiety, introversion
  • Color: yellow
  • Location: between naval and sternum
  • Aromatherapy / Essential Oils: clary sage, juniper, geranium
  • Gemstones: topaz (activating), yellow tourmaline (activating), emerald (calming), sapphire (calming), citrine (balancing)

Sacral Chakra - The Sacral Chakra or Svadisthana is the second primary chakra. It is just below the belly button (if you rest your thumb in over your belly button your fingers should be covering it). Svadisthana means “one’s sweetest abode” or “one’s own place” and has six lotus petals. The petals are associated with affection, pitilessness, feeling of all-destructiveness, delusion, disdain and suspicion. This chakra deals with assimilation on many levels - sexually, food, ideas and creativity - and is referred to as the center of self-expression and joy.

  • Keypoints: creativity, energy storage, relationships, addictions, sexuality
  • Color: orange
  • Location: below belly button
  • Aromatherapy / Essential Oils: sandalwood, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, champaca
  • Gemstones: carnelian (activating), emerald (calming), moonstone (balancing), aquamarine (balancing)

Base Chakra - The Base Chakra or Muladhara (also known as the root) is the first primary chakra. It is at the coccyx at the base of the spine and has four lotus petals. The lotus petals represent your greatest joy, natural pleasure, delight in controlling passions and blissfulness in concentration. The Base chakra is associated with the Earth element, and symbolizes the basis of life, “grounding” or “rooting” us is the main function of the Root chakra.

  • Keypoints: grounding, health, connection to Mother Earth, survival, moving forward
  • Color: red
  • Location: base of spine / bottom of torso
  • Aromatherapy / Essential Oils: cedarwood, patchouli, myrrh
  • Gemstones: emerald (calming/grounding), black tourmaline (calming/grounding), carnelian (balance)