If you attend regular yoga classes you may have heard your teacher refer to chakras during certain asanas. Chakras refer to the wheels of energy that run up the centre of your body and align with your spine. Yoga is a great introduction to the healing modality of balancing the seven chakras, but did you know that meditation, visualisation, movement, breathing and a careful selection of foods, are all ways to balance and heal your energy centres too?
Each chakra represents different emotions, colours and elements and we are going to explore all seven of them:
Location: Base of the spine
Represents: Our foundations, basic survival and our sense of connection. It is often linked to money and financial independence.
Imbalance: An imbalanced root chakra will affect your physical structure eg. feet, legs, joints and muscles. It’s also associated with your adrenals and endocrine system. Emotionally it will trigger feelings of loneliness, insecurities, abandonment, depression, disconnection and instability.
Heal & Balance: Eat nourishing root vegetables, proteins like red meat, eggs and nuts, and fill up on red foods like pomegranate, cherries and tomatoes. You might also like to throw on your hiking boots and get back in touch with nature.
Yoga poses: Mountain pose and the warrior series are helpful for strengthening the root chakra.
Location: Lower abdomen just below the navel
Represents: The seed of our creativity, physical reproduction and our connection to others. It is the centre for feeling emotion, pleasure and intimacy. It is also where our sense of abundance blooms.
Imbalance: An imbalanced sacral chakra will often result in a low libido or the opposite a very high sex drive. It may show up as an inability to express your emotions or alternatively the inability to contain them. You may find it hard to manifest or get into the creative groove.
Heal & Balance: Eat rich sources of healthy fats like fish, nuts, seeds and coconut. Orange foods will also help to balance your sacral chakra. Think oranges, carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin and mandarins. Spend time in or around a body of water.
Yoga poses: Any poses that open up the hips will nourish your sacral chakra. Try pigeon, frog or wide legged child pose.
Solar Plexus Chakra
Location: Above the navel and below the rib cage
Represents: Our energy centre and personal power station. It’s responsible for our willpower, self-discipline and our self-esteem.
Imbalance: An imbalanced solar plexus chakra will manifest as a sense of powerlessness, low self-esteem and a lack of confidence.
Heal & Balance: Grains, legumes and spices are all nourishing for the solar plexus chakra. But if yours is overactive, avoiding hot and spicy foods is probably a wise idea, we don’t want to stoke the fire. Also enjoy yellow foods like bananas, pineapple, corn, chamomile and lemons. If your solar plexus in underactive heat building activities like hot yoga, walking in the sunshine or having a nourishing infrared sauna will help heal and nourish it. However, if it’s overactive (perhaps you need to turn the ego down a notch) stick to activities that are cooling like swimming in the ocean.
Yoga poses: Anything that works the core. Think plank to strengthen, bow pose to stimulate blood flow to the organs and boat pose to feel the burn. Ensure you counteract each heat stimulating pose with a nourishing and cooling pose like savasana.
Location: Heart centre
Represents: The heart chakra is the energy centre from which we radiate love, joy, happiness and compassion. It also allows us to feel sorrow, sadness, anger and lust. The heart chakra is where we find our true self and only when we are able to love and accept ourselves are we able to truly love others.
Imbalance: An imbalanced heart chakra can manifest in uncontrollable emotions like anger, sadness, greediness or grief. You may find yourself in a relationship where you are constantly giving and not receiving anything in return, always ‘fixing’ and ‘changing’ your partner.
Heal & Balance: Getting out in the fresh air and immersing yourself in nature is vital when healing the heart chakra. Practicing deep belly breaths is also very nourishing. Fill up on all of the greens. Think green fruit & veggies, green superfoods and lots of luscious fresh herbs.
Yoga poses: Backbends are the ultimate heart opener. Think bridge, camel, wheel and upward facing dog.
Location: Base of the throat
Colour: Sky Blue
Represents: The throat chakra governs our communication and creative expression. It reflects our authenticity and is all about speaking our truth. Hearing, and specifically listening, is also associated with the throat chakra as it is a vital part of good communication.
Imbalance: An imbalanced throat chakra may result in indecisiveness, lack of creative expression, inability to defend yourself and an unwillingness to accept criticism.
Heal & Balance: Immerse yourself in the blues of nature. Spend time under a bright blue sky or immerse yourself in the depths of a blue ocean. Fill up on bLue foods like blueberries and blackberries. A smoothie made with blueberries and coconut water is very healing for the throat chakra.
Yoga poses: Yoga poses to open and balance your throat chakra include fish pose, which helps relieve upper respiratory congestion and stretches the muscles and glands in the throat, thyroid and thymus. Camel pose, which stretches the front body and when done in full stretches and stimulates the throat. Plow pose is also great for the throat chakra and differs from the other two by opening up the back of the throat rather than the front body.
Third Eye Chakra
Location: Between the eyebrows
Represents: The third eye chakra is led by our intuition, inner perception and where we connect to a mental state. Our ideas, imagination, dreams, focus and values are all born through our sixth chakra.
Imbalance: An imbalanced third eye chakra can result in difficulties embracing a spiritual connection or awareness of your inner and outer realities. An overactive third-eye chakra is connected to people who tend to live in fantasy worlds and are out of touch with reality, whereas an underactive third-eye chakra manifests as rigid thoughts and stubborn belief systems.
Heal & Balance: Sitting out in the sunlight with your third eye facing towards the light for short periods of time can help rejuvenate the third-eye chakra. Foods that heal the third eye include cacao, purple foods like eggplant, cabbage, kale and purple sweet potato and omega-3 rich foods like salmon, walnuts, flax seeds and chia seeds which are perfect for boosting brain power.
Yoga poses: Yoga poses that assist in healing this chakra are child’s pose, because the forward bend puts pressure on and stimulates the third eye, and eagle pose because it’s a strong balancing pose and requires focus and concentration which helps stimulate the third eye.
Location: Top of the head or just above
Represents: The crown chakra is our access to higher consciousness. It’s also associated with feelings of bliss, ecstasy and deep wisdom.
Imbalance: An imbalanced crown chakra can manifest as a disconnection to faith or the universe, close-mindedness or sometimes even an obsessive attachment to spiritual matters.
Heal & Balance: Meditation is the fastest way to heal an imbalanced crown chakra. Take a minute to connect to yourself and your spirituality. The crown doesn’t have specific foods associated with it, rather filling up on nourishing and healing foods in general can only positively impact this chakra.
Yoga poses: Inversions and restorative poses can nurture the crown chakra in their own ways. Inversions like headstand stand encourage blood and oxygen towards the head which helps open, balance and soothe the crown chakra. Restorative poses like seated forward fold encourage introspection and reflection which is also soothing for this chakra.
A bit more about Jordanna Levin:
Jordanna is a creative and a retreats caterer in Sydney. She is also the Creator of Lunar Nights, a monthly sell-out event that provides an opportunity to set intentions and master manifestation under the powerful energy of the New Moon. Follow her here.