So firstly what are chakras? Chakras were first mentioned thousands of years ago in the Vedas, an ancient Yogic text, where they were described as quite literally wheels of energy in the body. It’s good to remember that a lot of ancient traditions did come from primitive understandings of biology and so even though they might seem basic and far-fetched to us nowadays they can still hold a lot of significance in their teachings if we look at them as a different, simpler way to explain the body.
I like to think of chakras as energy hubs within the body that regulate the flow of vital energy (prana) to different parts of our bodies. Like all energy, just because we cannot see it does not mean it is not there and does not affect us. Albert Einstein was famously quoted saying
“Everything is energy and that is all there is to it”
and the fact that everything is energy is also the basis of modern quantum physics.
For me personally, the chakras are not some far-fetched hippy talk, nor are they scientifically proven fact, they are simply a different way to explain, connect with and understand our bodies.
There are seven main chakras in the body and these hubs are focused areas of high energy within the body. These hubs are located along the spine and they direct and regulate the flow of energy into our ‘nadis’ the channels through which energy flows in our body. There are supposedly 72,000 nadis in the body according to the ancient texts, in our modern understanding of the body this system has been likened to the nervous system. Therefore the chakras can have a very tangible effect on our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies, especially when a chakra is blocked or out of balance and therefore nadi is not receiving the energy it needs.
So without further ado here is a breakdown of each chakra and what it might affect if out of balance.
The Muladhara /Root Chakra
The first chakra is emotionally associated with our basic survival needs and safety, the ability to provide for life’s necessities and to feel at home. When it is balanced we feel grounded & stable, but when it is out of balance it can lead to feelings of insecurity and fear.
PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTIONS associated with this chakra being out of balance*: chronic lower back pain, sciatica, varicose veins, rectal issues, depression, immune-related disorders..
LOCATION: base of the spine
MANTRA: I am
YOGA poses which help activate this chakra: standing balances.
The Svadhishthana/Sacral Chakra
The second chakra is associated with our emotional and sexual needs and desires as well as our creativity. When in balance it allows us to feel & enjoy things and let things flow. When it is blocked we may feel stuck and unable to enjoy experiences.
PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTIONS associated with this chakra being out of balance: chronic lower back pain, sciatica, ob/gyn problems, pelvic/lower back pain, sexual potency & urinary problems.
LOCATION: lower abdomen below the navel.
MANTRA: I feel
YOGA poses which help activate this chakra: hip openers, twists, backbends
The Manipura/ Solar plexus Chakra
This chakra controls the fire in our lives, it is associated with power and self-esteem. If it is balanced one would feel confident and like they can succeed at anything they try, a real go-getter, if out of balance it can lead to lack of self confidence and not being open to trying new things.
PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTIONS associated with this chakra being out of balance: Arthritis, gastric ulcers, colon/intestine issues, pancreatitis/diabetes, indigestion, anorexia and bulimia, liver dysfunction, adrenal dysfunction.
LOCATION: solar plexus
MANTRA: I do
YOGA poses which help activate this chakra: core work
The Anahata/ Heart Chakra
This chakra is associated with our ability to love ourselves, and others and to feel compassion. A balanced heart chakra will allow someone to love and appreciate themselves as they are and to love and feel compassion for others and the world. A blocked heart chakra may mean a person has absolutely no compassion for others, an inability to love others and has no care for the world around them.
PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTIONS associated with this chakra being out of balance: Heart problems, asthma/allergy, lung issues, upper back and shoulder pain, breast cancer.
MANTRA: I love
YOGA poses which help activate this chakra: Backbends
The Vishudda/ Throat Chakra
This chakra is related to our ability to communicate and express our feelings as well as to our creativity. A balance chakra allows easy expression and speaking the truth. Any imbalances in this chakra may mean communication problem and even not being true to oneself.
PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTIONS associated with this chakra being out of balance: raspy throat and chronic sore throat, mouth ulcers, gum problems, temporomandibular (jaw) joint problems, scoliosis, swollen glands, thyroid problems.
MANTRA: I speak
YOGA poses which help activate this chakra: shoulderstand series
The Ajna / Third Eye Chakra
This chakra is related to our intuition and inner guidance. When in balance we are connected to an inner guidance and see things with clarity, we can have vivid dreams. When the third eye chakra is out of balance one may have a problem making decisions, have no imagination and dull dreams and generally will not have a strong sense of intuition.
PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTIONS associated with this chakra being out of balance: Neurological disturbances and issues, blindness and deafness, full spinal difficulties, seizures.
LOCATION: between the eyebrows
MANTRA: I see
YOGA poses which help activate this chakra: Forward bends
The Sahasrara / Crown Chakra
This chakra is related to our spiritual connectivity. A person with a balanced crown chakra should be open to new ideas, people and experiences and trusts the world believing in a higher power than humankind, this person would have faith and be able to see a bigger picture. An out of balance crown chakra may make a person feel quite negative towards the external world and may have no beliefs in any higher being.
PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTIONS associated with this chakra being out of balance: energetic disorders & depression, chronic exhaustion not linked to anything physical, extreme sensitivity to light and sound and other environmental factors.
LOCATION: crown of the head
MANTRA: I understand
YOGA poses which help activate this chakra: Headstand/inversions
Simply thinking of the chakras as specific places where we can put our attention in order to unwind any blocks in our bodies is a good starting point. Where our attention goes, our energy also flows. When we allow ourselves to become really quiet and actually tune into our bodies and what is happening within it is possible to feel the flow of energy and to become aware of where there is little to no energy flowing too.
Here is a simple chakra meditation for you to try:
If you ever feel one of your chakras is out of balance, a simple practice of meditation and awareness can help to bring the balance and energy back. Sit quietly and comfortably with length in your spine and close your eyes taking a few deep breaths to connect yourself. Once your thoughts being to settle down bring your awareness to the location of the chakra in question and perhaps focus on the colour or the mantra of that particular chakra for a few minutes. The quieter and more focused you become the more you may actually begin to feel the flow of energy in the body. Practicing this daily either first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening can really help to balance our chakras. If you have an established yoga practice you can also focus on yoga poses mentioned above to help unblock and balance your chakras.
If this very short summary of the chakras has stirred something within you and you would like to find out more I highly recommend a book called “Anatomy of the Spirit” by Caroline Myss, PH.D. I have to credit this book for the majority of my understanding and knowledge of the chakras and therefore for this article!
 All the physical dysfunctions described of all chakras are taken from “Anatomy of the spirit” by Caroline Myss PH.D.