Chakras are subtle energy centers that run along the center of the body. Some say they appear as lotuses, others as spinning wheels or a rotating funnel. Since this is subtle anatomy, it is really up to you to feel into what resonates most!
Chakras are centers of stored prana (life-force energy), and each one has a unique frequency and vibration. These centers are connected to the shushmna nadi, which in turn weaves them all together. The base-level frequency of the chakras is determined by one’s karma and is related to the dominant guna of the mind. As you move through your mental tendencies and transcend limiting patterns and beliefs, you lessen your karmic load and heighten your vibrational frequency, resulting in an increased state of awareness. Usually, the chakras circulate at a low frequency and create an ordinary state of mind, but as one’s kundalini awakening occurs, the frequency rises, resulting in a heightened level of awareness. Pranayama, mantra, and meditation all help support the increase of frequency.
I’m sure most of you have heard of kundalini before, and have possibly even been to a kundalini class. These classes typically consist of extreme forms of breathwork to flood the body with prana in order to reach heightened states of consciousness. People are hungry for experience and desperately seeking transformation, and will often go to extremes to get this - whether through intense breathing practices, fasts, or psychedelic explorations. While these breakthroughs can be eye-opening, it is important to be properly prepared.
Purifying the nadis and building ojas are two main components to supporting your system for this transformation to occur. You don’t need to do the most intense form of pranayama or go on major fasts to have an impactful experience. The breath is a powerful tool, and even deep and slow pranayama makes a big impact. Gentle and consistent practices that help raise your kundalini are more sustainable and just as powerful as the blast off’s created through substances. (I’m not by any means condemning psychedelics, pranayama, or fasting, but proper supportive practices are necessary for integration!) Make sure you are taking care of and listening to your body, heart, and mind.
The first chakra is the muladhara chakra, also known as the root chakra, and is associated with the earth element. Mula translates to root. It is called the root chakra because it is located at the base of the spine. This chakra governs your feelings of home and safety in the physical realm.
Balanced Flow: feeling grounded and emotionally steady. You have a strong sense of reality and feel firmly planted on Earth.
Excess Flow: becoming overly attached, stubborn, lethargic, with little motivation to grow or evolve.
Decreased Flow: the inability to focus, feeling ungrounded and unstable - whether emotionally or physically.
With the flow of ordinary prana, this chakra is in charge of sustaining one’s awareness and stabilizing emotions. With the flow of heightened prana, this chakra sustains feelings of bliss and spiritual awareness in the face of turmoil.
The second chakra is the svadhisthana chakra, also known as the sacral chakra, and is associated with the water element. Sva translates to self, and in reference to the chakras it means “self-abode”. It is located just above the pubic bone. This chakra governs desire, attachment, and deep feelings.
Balanced Flow: you have a healthy level of attachment and feeling for the world, and a controllable desire for pleasure.
Excess Flow: an increase in attachment and desire, which creates dramatic emotions, and leads to depression.
Decreased Flow: a decrease in attachment and desire, which can lead to detachment and fewer emotions.
Love, devotion, and creativity are all associated with this chakra. With the flow of heightened prana, this chakra results in desires from the soul instead of the ego, like the desire to know God or to become Love.
The third chakra is the manipura chakraand is associated with the fire element. This translates to “city of gems” which is pretty cool! It resides in the solar plexus region. This chakra governs your ability to focus on and achieve your dreams and visions.
Balanced Flow: you are able to get things done in a calm and confident manner.
Excess Flow: intensity and slight obsession, not being able to relax until you achieve the goal you set out for yourself. This can cause irritability and even anger.
Decreased Flow: lack of drive to accomplish anything, you become dispassionate and disinterested.
With the flow of heightened prana, you discover your dharma - soul purpose and fulfill the goals of the higher Self.
The fourth chakra is the anahata chakra, also known as the heart chakra, and is associated with the air element. It translates to “unstruck sound” and resides in the center of the chest. Unstruck sound refers to the whispers of the soul and the calls of your heart. Your inner knowing can be heard only if you listen closely. This chakra governs your ability to have a clear and steady mind and outlook.
Balanced Flow: you have a clear outlook and connection between your inner knowing and your surroundings.
Excess Flow: an increase in fear, worry, and anxiety.
Decreased Flow: a decrease in thoughts and feelings; feeling sluggish and dull.
With the flow of heightened prana, thoughts focus on higher aspirations as you release from your old, limiting beliefs. A healthy level of detachment occurs, as you become embodied in your divinity.
The fifth chakra is the vishuddha chakra, also known as the throat chakra, and is associated with the ether element. Shuddi translates to pure, and vishuddhi means “very pure”. It resides in the region of the throat. This chakra governs self-expression.
Balanced Flow: you are able to express yourself; your speech is aligned with your inner thoughts.
Excess Flow: becoming hyper-expressive, impulsive, and dramatic.
Decreased Flow: the inability to express oneself, with speech slowing down or stopping completely.
With the flow of heightened prana, your speech moves away from the ego and becomes very intentional while aiming to express Divine Truth.
The sixth chakra is the ajna chakra, also known as the third eye chakra, and is associated with an even subtler form of the ether element. Ajna means “command” and is located in between the eyebrows. This chakra governs your ability to perceive the world around you - your reality is a reflection of your deepest beliefs.
Balanced Flow: your worldview is filtered through your ego, and everything appears in congruence with your basic beliefs.
Excess Flow: the ability to perceive more opportunities and a more active imagination is present; analyzes the world deeply.
Decreased Flow: fewer possibilities perceived and a more practical approach to life. There is little room for self-reflection or insight.
With the flow of heightened prana, you transcend the ego. You become one with the witness, who simply perceives truth. You are able to perceive the Divinity in all of creation.
The seventh chakra is the sahasrara padma chakra, also known as the crown chakra, and is associated with the casual form of the ether element. It translates to “thousand-petalled lotus” and is located at the top of your head. This chakra governs your self-awareness.
Balanced Flow: you have a stable awareness of your body and mind.
Excess Flow: an increase of rajas - which is turbulence. An increase in awareness as kundalini rises and clears things out can be quite challenging. Your eyes are finally open, but you may not like what you see.
Decreased Flow: a predominance of tamas - which is ignorance. The inability to see the deeper meaning behind things; you have a simple view of life and are operating from the ego.
With the flow of heightened prana, you expand your awareness, your mind becomes more sattvic, and there is no separation between you and the Divine. This is the ocean of pure consciousness itself.
Essentially, we are given the tools and knowledge to take care of our bodies on the physical level through diet and one’s relationship to food, as well as exercise, self-care practices, and lifestyle. This provides the foundation for our spiritual work to take place. As we travel our inner landscape we may have to navigate challenging feelings such as pain, fear, abandonment, loss, rejection, and limiting beliefs. We are given tools such as meditation, pranayama, mantras, sensory therapies, and so many more, in order to travel our subtle realms. We must greet our pain with gentle compassion and awareness, knowing that ultimately we are safe, we are love, and we are Divinity in physical form. Through this awareness our pain is transformed, we lessen our karmic load, and our frequency rises.