Your body is made up of more than just bones, muscles, blood, and organs. You have an entire energetic system in your body. Ancient yogis knew this and used yoga, meditation, and foods to help restore balance to the subtle or energetic body. When your energetic body is off, your physical body, mind, and emotions all experience changes. How to Spot & Fix a Chakra Imbalance?
A chakra is a whirling vortex of energy in your body, or an energy center. Your body has seven major chakras positioned along your spine. A chakra occurs where two nadisor channels of energy intersect. We’ll begin at the base of your spine and work our way upwards.
The Root Chakra, or Muladhara Chakra is located at the base of your spine. The word Muladhara in Sanskrit means root support.
The element associated with the root chakra is earth. The color is red. The Bija Mantra, or seed sound for the root chakra is Lam.
This chakra governs feelings of safety & security, as well as finances. When the root chakra is balanced, you feel safe, financially secure, all of your basic needs are being met, and you feel grounded and stable.
The Sacral Chakra, or Svadhisthana Chakra is located at the sacrum, the bony plate above your tailbone that connects to your lumbar vertebrae. Svadhisthana means “dwelling place of the self” and is also translated as “in her own abode”. This chakra governs the reproductive organs.
The element associated with the sacral chakra is water. The color is orange. The Bija Mantra, or seed sound for the sacral chakra is Vam.
This chakra governs emotions, creativity, sensuality, relationships, sexuality, and reproduction.
When this chakra is balanced, you feel an overall sense of vitality, you are creative, you are in touch with your emotions but not overwhelmed by them, you have healthy relationships and boundaries, and sexuality is balanced & healthy.
The Solar Plexus Chakra in Sanskrit is called the Manipura Chakra, which means “lustrous gem” or “jeweled city”. This chakra is located in the area of the solar plexus, just above the navel and up to the breastbone.
The element associated with the solar plexus chakra is fire. The color is yellow. The Bija Mantra, or seed sound for the solar plexus chakra is Ram.
This chakra governs digestion, metabolism, self-esteem, and energy or drive. This chakra dictates how you digest experiences – how you feel about things that happen in your life and your overall attitude towards your life.
When the solar plexus chakra is balanced, you feel self-confident, driven, you have clear goals in mind and are taking steps to work towards them, digestion is healthy, and you feel energized.
Anahata Chakra, which means “unstruck”. This chakra is located at the center of the chest and its energy radiates downward into the arms and hands – everything we do with our hands, we do with our hearts.
The element associated with the heart chakra is air. The color is green. The Bija Mantra for the heart chakra is Yam.
The heart chakra is the middle chakra. This is the place where physical & spiritual come together, the middle way. This chakra governs love, kindness, compassion, generosity, and empathy.
When the heart chakra is balanced, you are able to give & receive love freely, you feel compassion for others, you forgive, and you feel love & acceptance towards yourself as well as others.
the Vishuddha Chakra, which means “purification”. This chakra extends from the throat out to the ears, mouth, thyroid and jaw.
The element associated with the throat chakra is ether, or space. This chakra responds to sound. The color is blue. The Bija Mantra for the throat chakra is Hum.
The throat chakra governs communication, listening, speaking your truth, and honesty.
When the throat chakra is balanced, you are able to speak the truth from your heart, you listen to what others have to say, you hear things truthfully – not putting words in others mouths, and communication is honest & open.
In Sanskrit, the third eye chakra is the Ajna Chakra, which means “beyond wisdom” or “to perceive”. This chakra is located between the eyebrows and also includes the eyes, pituitary glands, and parts of the brain.
The element associated with the third eye chakra is light. The color is indigo. The Bija Mantra for the third eye is Om.
The third eye governs wisdom, imagination, & intuition – the body’s natural wisdom. Psychic abilities such as telepathy & clairvoyance may become possible as the third eye chakra opens.
When the third eye chakra is open & balanced, you are in tune with your intuition. You see things clearly as they are, and are able to focus, and trust your instincts.
In Sanskrit, the crown chakra is the Sahashrara Chakra, or “the thousand petaled lotus”. This chakra is located at the crown of the head.
The element associated with the crown chakra is thought. The color is either violet or white. The Bija Mantra for the crown chakra is a silent Om, said only in your mind.
The crown chakra essentially represents enlightenment, or self realization. This chakra allows us to feel connected to our own spirit, as well as to all sentient beings, and to Source.
When the crown chakra is balanced, you experience Ishvara Pranidhana or surrender to the divine, oneness and connection to all sentient beings, unconditional love, miracles, and an understanding that we are all one cosmic consciousness. This may manifest as moments of clarity & compassion or even enlightenment.
When your chakras are not aligned, you’ll often feel physical, emotional, and mental symptoms. These symptoms can range from physical numbness to pain, from a mild sense of unease to patterns of distrust in relationships. In the body, if one muscle isn’t working, another will compensate for it and you may experience pain in the muscles that are compensating. The chakras compensate in a similar way. For example, if one chakra is blocked, another may be overactive to compensate.
Possible symptoms of a root chakra imbalance are anxiety, fear, nightmares, eating disorders, as well as physical problems with the colon, bladder, problems with elimination, prostate, low back, leg or feet issues.
You may use food to ground yourself, as in comfort eating. You may also use a lack of food to establish “control”.
One of the best ways to reconnect with your root chakra is through earthing, or walking barefoot in the sand, grass, dirt, or anywhere that you can dig your feet in.
Yoga poses to activate and balance the root chakra:
Foods that help balance the root chakra include grounding, earthy foods, and foods that are the color red.
Meditating with certain crystals can help establish balance in the root chakra. Crystals for the root chakra include:
Using grounding or earthy essential oils can also help. Rub these oils on the soles of your feet or diffuse them.
Possible symptoms of a sacral chakra imbalance are issues with intimacy, emotional instability, lack of emotion, stifled creativity, addictions, fear of change, depression, reproductive or urinary issues.
The sacral chakra is your creativity center and responds best to play. Write, paint, sculpt, draw, dance, do anything that involves creativity – and don’t take it too seriously! Playful creativity works wonders for the sacral chakra.
Yoga can also help stimulate the 2nd chakra. Hip openers and any free, fluid movement help with the sacral chakra. Some yoga poses that help to stimulate and balance the sacral chakra are:
Foods that will help balance the sacral chakra include foods with a high water content, and foods that are orange in color.
Meditation with crystals that are orange or remind you of water can help heal the sacral chakra. These crystals include:
Essential oils for the sacral chakra include bright citrus scents that are uplifting, and floral scents that are used to enhance mood, such as:
Possible symptoms of an imbalance of the solar plexus chakra are trouble with digestion, narcissism or low self esteem, eating disorders, trouble making decisions, anger issues, and lack of purpose.
The solar plexus chakra is the “make it happen” chakra. Stoke your inner fire by setting goals for yourself and keeping your big picture plan in mind when making decisions. Activities like making a dream board or vision board can also help this chakra. Write realistic to-do lists with items that you can check off each day. Core exercises and mindful eating habits also help keep this chakra’s flame glowing bright!
Yoga for the solar plexus chakra includes core strengthening and twists. Some yoga poses that help to stimulate and balance the solar plexus chakra are:
Pranayama such as Kapala Bhati can stoke the flames of the third chakra.
Kapalabhati is a fast, rhythmic breath that can be done by pumping the solar plexus in order to forcefully exhale. The inhalation happens naturally so the focus is on the exhale and the belly pumping in and up. For beginners, start with three sets of 30 exhales with a full breath in between sets.
Foods that balance the solar plexus chakra include foods yellow in color and foods that aid digestion and help replenish Agni or digestive fire.
Meditate with crystals, such as:
Use energizing and uplifting essential oils, such as:
Possible symptoms of an imbalance of the heart chakra are jealousy, holding grudges, grief, hatred, feelings of unworthiness, fear of betrayal, and physically, heart problems.
Gratitude practices are healing for the heart chakra. Lay down and breathe deeply into your heart. Visualize a gratitude slideshow – play images of things, people, experiences, places, and things that you are grateful for today. You could also keep a gratitude journal where each day you write down something that you are grateful for that happened that day or that you were reminded of.
Heart opening and back bending yoga postures help balance the heart chakra. These poses could include:
Mantra practice can also be beneficial for the heart chakra. The mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” roughly means “May my heart open like a lotus flower”. Try chanting this with your awareness on the heart.
The heart responds well to green foods, such as:
Meditating with certain crystals can be healing for the heart chakra. Either place the crystal in your hand, or lay down and rest the crystal on your heart. These crystals include:
Diffusing essential oils or rubbing them onto your heart can also help the heart chakra. Essential oils for the heart include:
Possible signs of an imbalance of the throat chakra are misunderstanding dishonesty, inability to communicate openly, stifled voice, fear of not being accepted, sore throat or problems with the throat.
The throat chakra responds to communication and sound. Chanting, singing, listening to music, and even just talking things out help the throat chakra. The brain processes information differently when we hear something out loud, rather than just in our thoughts. This is part of why therapy is so useful – it helps to speak things out loud.
Yoga poses that stimulate the thyroid gland or stretch the neck muscles are ideal for the throat chakra. Yoga poses that help to stimulate and balance the throat chakra include:
Simhasana or Lion’s Breath is an ideal pranayama for the throat chakra. Inhale through your nose, and exhale loudly through your mouth sticking your tongue out as far down as you can. Other pranayama techniques that make noise can also help the throat chakra. Try ujjayi breath, Bhramari Breathing, or even fluttering the lips (horse breath) or exhaling with a trill sound can be effective tools to stimulate the throat chakra.
When using food for the throat chakra, eat or drink things that soothe and help detox the body. Think of things that physically feel nourishing to the throat, like warm teas and soups.
Crystals that help the throat chakra include:
Essential oils for the throat chakra include:
Possible symptoms of an imbalance of the third eye chakra are inability to focus, false perception, lack of imagination, inability to trust intuition, headaches, or sinus issues.
When the third eye is blocked, you tend to see things through the lens of your past. You don’t see the truth, but rather a distorted view that is muddled by your past experiences. You may imagine worst case scenarios, or see the world through rose colored glasses.
Techniques such as palming, and other styles of yoga for your eyes, can be beneficial to the third eye chakra. Even simply meditating with the eyes closed but looking up at the third eye can be great to help open this chakra. Meditation even without any specific technique helps to open the third eye. You may even feel a slight tingling or sensation of movement on the forehead as you meditate.
Yoga poses where the forehead is pressing down on the mat, meditation, and balancing postures that require focus can be used to help stimulate the third eye. Some yoga poses that help to stimulate and balance the third eye chakra include:
Foods that balance the third eye include foods that are good for your brain, and foods that are purple, such as:
Meditate with crystals such as:
Diffuse essential oils, or rub them onto your third eye being mindful of avoiding your eyes. Use essential oils such as:
If the crown chakra is out of balance, headaches, feelings of disconnect, confusion, and attachment to material may occur.
The crown chakra responds best to silence. Think light, peaceful, spacious, meditative qualities. Pranayama before meditation can be helpful to clear the mind and prepare the body to meditate. Use of float tanks, or sensory deprivation tanks, can also be a great tool to connect to the crown chakra.
Inversions and any postures where the crown of the head is on the floor help send blood to the head and wake up the crown chakra. Some yoga poses that help to stimulate and balance the crown chakra include:
Safe fasting can be useful to balance the crown chakra. This chakra focuses primarily on purification & detoxing. Juice cleanses can be a safe and helpful way to get the mind clear to aid in meditation. An even milder cleanse could include a day of only eating fruits.
This chakra is highly spiritual. There is a light, spacious quality to it. Food is of the earth; heavy and dense. When not fasting, it is helpful to meditate first thing in the morning before food to connect with the crown chakra. While fasting, be sure to drink plenty of water and listen to your body. You should feel vibrant during a cleanse and if you notice that your body is fatigued, you may want to seek the help of a nutritionist or an Ayurveda specialist to find a cleanse that is right for you.
Meditate with crystals such as:
Use essential oils with a peaceful or spiritual quality, such as: