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Anatomy of the Chakras

How do our energy centres (the chakras) relate to our physiology? Learn about the link between energetic, emotional, mental and physical imbalances. This article will give you yet another perspective on how all aspects of our Self are connected; it's an invitation for you to dive deeper into self-inquiry and self-discovery.

What are the chakras?

Chakras are centres of energy in the body that govern certain functions and aspects of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self. There are seven of them, the first one is located at the very base of the pelvis around the sit-bones and the last one is located at the crown of the head, they are found along the spine.

The lower chakras are related to the more physical, tangible aspects of the self such as shelter, food, sexuality, relationships, ego-strength, our sense of self, confidence and drive. As we move upwards the chakras become more subtle, spiritual, less tangible; they relate to unconditional love, communication, listening, truth, vision, clairvoyance, intuition, connection to the divine.

They follow a logical ascension in their energies and feed one another. When working with the chakras, whether in Yoga, Reiki or any other practices, we seek to bring balance to the whole system as they are all connected, and one chakra being out of balance can disturb the whole flow of energy. To give you an example, someone who seeks to develop their intuition by opening their third eye centre (ajna chakra), will need all other chakras to be in balance in order to achieve this connection. If that person is ungrounded, anxious, erratic (first and second chakra imbalances) they will not be able to have the equanimity required to connect with their intuitive power.

The seven chakras:

1. Mulhadhara Chakra

Issues: security, basic needs, body, support, physicality, earth

Deficiency: disconnection from the body, notably underweight, fearful, anxious, financial difficulty, poor boundaries.

Excess: obesity, overeating, hoarding, greed, sluggish, lazy, fear of change, rigid boundaries.

Location and physiological connections: pelvis, coccygeal plexus, base of the spine; pelvic plexus, first three vertebrae, feet, legs. Organs of motion & elimination.

2. Svadhisthana Chakra

Issues: emotions, sexuality, creativity, pleasure, water

Deficiency: rigidity in body and attitudes, fear of sex, poor social skills, denial of pleasure, fear of change, lack of desire, excitement, passion.

Excess: pleasure addiction, sexual addiction, excessively strong emotions, oversensitive, seductive manipulation, emotional dependency, obsessive attachment.

Location and physiological connections: lower abdomen, sacral plexus; sciatic nerve, gluteal and piriformis muscles, kidney, bladder. Organs of reproduction: reproductive system, genitals.

3. Manipura Chakra

Issues: energy, activity, individuation, self-esteem, power, fire

Deficiency: low energy, weak will, easily manipulated, poor self-discipline, low self-esteem, cold emotionally and/or physically, poor digestion, passive, unreliable, attraction to stimulants.

Excess: overly aggressive, controlling, need to be right, manipulative, attraction to sedatives, stubbornness, competitive, arrogant, hyperactive.

Location and physiological connections: solar plexus (right above navel); abdomen, lungs. Organs of assimilation: digestive system, pancreas, liver, intestines, stomach.

4. Anahata Chakra

Issues: love, balance, self-love, relationship, intimacy, devotion, giving/receiving, air.

Deficiency: antisocial, withdrawn, critical, judgmental, intolerant of self or others, loneliness, isolation, depression, fear of intimacy, lack of empathy.

Excess: codependency, poor boundaries, demanding, clinging, jealousy, overly sacrificing.

Location and physiological connections: chest, cardiac plexus, lungs, arms and hands. Organs of circulation: circulatory system, heart.

5. Vissudha Chakra

Issues: communication, creativity, listening, finding one's voice, sound.

Deficiency: fear of speaking, weak voice, difficulty putting feelings into words, introversion, shyness, poor rhythm.

Excess: too much talking, inability to listen, poor auditory comprehension, gossiping, dominating voice, interruptions.

Location and physiological connections: throat, pharyngeal plexus, upper vertebrae. Organs of communication: thyroid, esophagus.

6. Ajna Chakra

Issues: intuition, imagination, visualisation, manifestation, dreams, insight, vision.

Deficiency: insensitivity, poor vision, poor memory, difficulty seeing future, lack or imagination, denial, monopolarised (one right and only way).

Excess: hallucinations, delusions, obsessions, difficulty concentrating, nightmares.

Location and physiological connections: forehead, brow, carotid plexus, third eye. Organs of sensation: eyes, pineal gland, brain, pituitary gland, eras.

7. Sahasrara Chakra

Issues: transcendence, belief system, higher power, divinity, consciousness, awareness.

Deficiency: spiritual cynicism, learning difficulties, rigid belief systems, apathy, excess in lower chakras: materialism, greed, domination.

Excess: overintellectualization, spiritual addiction, confusion, dissociation from body.

Location and physiological connections: crown of head, skin, hair, nails. Organs of the nervous system: brain, nervous system, hypothalamus, pituitary gland, pineal gland.

Self-inquiry exercise
  • Which chakra did you feel spoke to you? which specific characteristics?

  • When you observed excess or deficiency in one or multiple chakras, did you identify any correlations with their corresponding physical parts?

Healing your chakras

Healing starts with awareness which is why it is important that you first take a look at what links you can make within your own body and your chakras. Once you are aware or perhaps remembered times where a certain body part was aching and it might have been connected to the corresponding chakra.

A personal example might help you to make sense of this: a few years ago I suffered from a very painful angina, my throat was so sore I could hardly swallow or breathe, I felt my whole head was congested. Once passed, I realised that at that time I had a big fight with a loved one and wasn't able to express and assimilate what I was feeling. Once I was finally able to express my feelings through writing and talking it out, my throat was healed. This event made me realise that when I struggled to speak up or express my emotions in the past, I was always hit by a bad angina. Since this realistion it hasn't happen again.

1. Mulhadhara Chakra: physical activity, lots of touch, massage, grounding (feet on earth), Yoga, reclaim right to be here.

2. Svadhisthana Chakra: movement therapy, emotional release, inner child work, boundary work, 12-step program for addictions, healthy pleasures.

3. Manipura Chakra: risk taking (deficiency), grounding and emotional contact, deep relaxation (excess), vigorous exercise, martial arts, ab work, psychotherapy: build ego-strength.

4. Anahata Chakra: breathing exercises, work with arms, journaling, psychotherapy: grief, forgiveness, inner child...

5. Vissudha Chakra: stretch neck and shoulders, release voice, singing, chanting, storytelling, journal writing, non-goal-oriented creativity.

6. Ajna Chakra: create visual art, visual stimulation, meditation, coloring and art therapy, hypnosis, dreamwork.

7. Sahasrara Chakra: reestablish physical connection (excess), reestablish spiritual connection (deficiency), learning and study, spiritual discipline, meditation, belief system work.

The chakras can be wonderful gateways to begin or deepen your journey towards self-discovery.

On Sunday, November 6th 2022 at 6pm-7.15pm (lisbon/uk time) I'll be leading a full chakra balancing practice where we will explore each energy one by one to regain balance and wholeness. BONUS: you'll receive my in-depth chakra imbalance test to find out which one of your chakras my need rebalancing. You can sign up here.


Eastern Body Western Mind: psychology and the chakra system as a path to the self by Anodea Judith

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