Looking for a guide to understanding chakras for beginners? I have you covered with all the essential details you need to know to start understanding, activating, balancing, and unblocking your body’s important energy centers today!
Discover More About Chakras
- Root Chakra
- Sacral Chakra
- Solar Plexus Chakra
- Heart Chakra
- Throat Chakra
- Third Eye Chakra
- Crown Chakra
If you’ve recently started a new meditation or yoga practice, it’s likely you’ve heard the term chakras used by teachers, speakers, and guides. I still remember when I began listening to guided meditations and hearing terms like third eye chakra and crown chakra being used for the first time. As a meditation beginner, I had a vague, fuzzy idea of what these words meant, but I wasn’t entirely sure on the specifics. Depending on the teacher’s wording, I wasn’t always sure if my third eye chakra was between my eyes or higher up on my forehead, or if the crown chakra was actually on my head or above my head.
Each chakra has its own intricacies to learn about and discover, but before diving into the complexities of the individual chakras, it’s helpful to start with a solid foundation of the basics.
In this post, I provide you with a guide to understanding chakras for beginners. This guide contains a discussion of the seven main chakras and their roles as well as their colors, locations, and other significant details about each energy center. (By the way, did you know that there are actually more than seven chakras and even a few outside of your body? We’ll focus on just the main seven today and talk a little more about the other chakras in a future post!)
I also provide you with affirmations related to each chakra, methods to balance and unblock your chakras, and links to some great meditations to help you activate your energy centers.
So let’s begin!
Chakras for Beginners: Overview
As I mentioned in the intro, there are seven main chakras. Each chakra has its name as well as its Sanskrit name, a specific location in the body, an associated color and symbol, and distinct roles and attributes. (Note that when I say they have specific locations in the body, a chakra is not a physical, tangible thing. Rather, it’s an energy center in the body. More on that in a minute!)
But this isn’t all. Going even deeper, you find that each chakra also has associated foods, gemstones, mantras, body parts, animals, and even essential oils!
But before I dive into the details, let’s start with the most fundamental question: what exactly is a chakra?
The word chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning wheel or disk. So when we define what a chakra is, we often go back to this translation: a chakra is a wheel of energy in your body.
Think of it like a vortex of energy within you:
While chakras are often depicted in images as bright, colored light, we can’t actually see these energy centers in our body. Rather, we experience them through feelings and sensations. You might also call it an inner knowing or intuition.
A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Chakras: The Flow of Energy
Energy is meant to flow, and ideally, this energy (or prana) is always flowing within you. When our chakras are open, energy is flowing and we feel in alignment with our highest selves. But when a chakra is blocked, the energy stagnates, and we become misaligned. Often, this manifests in physical, emotional, mental, and/or spiritual blockages. If one chakra is blocked, we may also overcompensate by causing another chakra to become overactive.
For instance, if your root chakra is blocked (your root chakra is associated with helping you to feel grounded, steady, and stable), then your solar plexus chakra might become overactive (which could cause you to cling to perfectionistic tendencies and/or a desire for control).
There are seven main chakras that each have their own distinct roles, but it’s important to remember that they act as one whole system. It might help you to think of it like the physical organs inside our body. Even though each organ has a specific role and function, they all work together to keep us in optimum health and alignment. When one organ isn’t functioning correctly, this often negatively affects other parts of your body. This is the same with chakras: when one chakra is blocked, this affects the energy flowing through our other chakra points.
A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Chakras: The 7 Chakras & Their Roles
Below is a guide to the seven main chakras and their distinct roles and attributes. You’ll notice that I start with the root chakra and work up through the spine, ending at the crown chakra. If you hear someone refer to first chakra, second chakra, third chakra, and so on, they usually are referring to the root chakra as the first chakra, the sacral chakra as the second, continuing to move upward.
The details below will provide you with a helpful baseline to better understand each chakra as you discover where your energy centers are located and how they function.
- Sanskrit Name: Muladhara
- Location: Base of the spine
- Color: Red
- Balanced Attributes: Grounded, safe, secure, stable, centered. Like the roots of a tree, this is your foundation. You’re firm in your place in life, and your basic needs are being met.
- Imbalanced Attributes: Anxious, insecure, fearful, excessive negativity, depressed. Energies feel scattered and disorderly. Disconnected and restless.
- Mantra/Sound: LAM
- Gemstones: Onyx, smoky quartz, bloodstone, hematite, obsidian
- Affirmations: I am grounded, centered, and stable. I am rooted and secure. All is really well. I have everything I need. I feel safe in my body.
- Sanskrit Name: Svadhishthana
- Location: Lower abdomen
- Color: Orange
- Balanced Attributes: Creative, joyful, prosperous, sexual, sensual, passionate, energetic.
- Imbalanced Attributes: Withdrawn, tense, insecure, needy, irritable, controlling, manipulative.
- Mantra/Sound: VAM
- Gemstones: Orange calcite, jasper, carnelian, red tiger’s eye
- Affirmations: I am open to the flow of creativity. I am creative, passionate, and inspired. My emotions flow freely in a balanced and healthy way. I live a creative, passionate, healthy life. I deeply respect and honor my sacred body, and I honor my own divine sensuality.
Solar Plexus Chakra
- Sanskrit Name: Manipura
- Location: Stomach/below the chest
- Color: Yellow
- Balanced Attributes: Confident, positive, high sense of self-respect and self-esteem, joyful. This is your source of personal power; you have drive, a positive self image, and feel aligned with your purpose.
- Imbalanced Attributes: Low self-esteem, lack of ambition, lack of purpose, fear of rejection, sensitive to criticism, low energy. If overactive, can also become manipulative, domineering, power-hungry.
- Mantra/Sound: RAM
- Gemstones: Citrine, topaz, yellow tiger’s eye
- Affirmations: I am powerful, strong, and confident. I can achieve anything I set my mind to. Today, I confidently welcome new experiences. I am competent, capable, and strong.
- Sanskrit Name: Anahata
- Location: Heart/center of chest
- Color: Green
- Balanced Attributes: Loving, peaceful, compassionate, unconditional love for yourself and others, generous, kind, empathetic.
- Imbalanced Attributes: Depressed, jealous, defensive, judgmental, spiteful. May excessively self-isolate from others. Fearful of intimacy.
- Mantra/Sound: YAM
- Gemstones: Rose quartz, jade, green calcite
- Affirmations: I am loved, loving, and lovable. I love myself unconditionally. My heart is open, loving, and pure. I give and receive love effortlessly and unconditionally. I love and accept myself just as I am.
- Sanskrit Name: Vishuddha
- Location: Throat/center of neck
- Color: Light blue
- Balanced Attributes: Able to express yourself verbally and speak your truth. Communicates clearly and effectively. Calm, honest, peaceful.
- Imbalanced Attributes: Shy, withdrawn, dishonest, critical, moody. If overactive, you may interrupt others or not allow others to speak.
- Mantra/Sound: HAM
- Gemstones: Blue lace agate, turquoise, sodalite, aquamarine
- Affirmations: I am able to calmly and effectively speak my truth. I live an honest, authentic, wholehearted life. My voice matters. I express myself clearly and openly. I find creative ways to communicate my self-expression.
Third Eye Chakra
- Sanskrit Name: Ajna
- Location: Center of forehead/between the eyebrows
- Color: Indigo
- Balanced Attributes: Intuitive and connected to your inner knowing. Imaginative, perceptive, openminded, insightful, mentally strong.
- Imbalanced Attributes: Lack of intuition, unimaginative, fearful, unable to focus, close-minded, holding onto limiting beliefs.
- Mantra/Sound: OM or SHAM
- Gemstones: Lapis lazuli, opal, sapphire
- Affirmations: I listen to my inner knowing in the face of uncertainty. I see and think clearly. My mind is strong, open, and clear. I trust my intuition to guide me to making good decisions.
- Sanskrit Name: Sahasrara
- Location: Top of the head
- Color: Violet (White is also often associated with this chakra.)
- Balanced Attributes: Spiritual, enlightened, connected to a higher power, connected to oneself. Divine peace and a sense of inner wisdom. Able to surrender to a power higher than oneself. Connected to your soul’s purpose.
- Imbalanced Attributes: Cynical, close-minded, disconnected from yourself, disconnected from a higher power. Lack of faith. Unable to connect with others.
- Mantra/Sound: OM (or silence)
- Gemstones: Selenite, clear quartz, amethyst, diamond.
- Affirmations: I am always divinely and lovingly guided. I release the need to control my life and surrender to a higher power. Today, I trust the path in front of me and allow myself to let go and surrender. I trust my intuition and listen to the wisdom of the universe.
Unblocking and Balancing Your Chakras
Now that you have an understanding of where each chakra is located and their distinct attributes, how exactly do you unblock a chakra?
As you may have guessed, there is no scientific answer here. We all have different methods of unblocking chakras, and what works for one person may not work as well for the other. But at the foundation of these practices, it’s most important to set an intention, lean into the process, commit, and believe.
Also remember that it’s very likely and totally normal to have more than one chakra blocked or unbalanced at a time. While each chakra has a separate location and role, they’re all intertwined and function as one complete system. Consider this example: If your root chakra is blocked, you may be feeling unstable, insecure, restless, and possibly even unsafe. The root chakra is your very foundation, and without it being open, it would be nearly impossible to feel creative and joyful (sacral chakra) or confident and positive (solar plexus chakra).
Below is a list of several ways you can start balancing your chakras today. And bonus? All of these can be done at home. (Okay, depending on where you live, you might have to leave the house for the immerse yourself in nature one.)
Methods of Balancing Your Chakras
There are specific yoga poses associated with each chakra, such as the mountain pose for the root chakra or child’s pose for the third eye. If you want to focus on balancing a specific chakra, you can center your practice on only those poses associated with that chakra. For a more balanced practice, incorporate poses that include all of the chakra points. If you’d like, you can also begin or end your practice repeating the mantra for one of the chakra points. (See the list of Chakras above for each one’s associated mantra/sound.)
There are several ways meditation can help with unblocking chakras. You can use a visualization meditation to visualize the energy centers (in each chakra’s corresponding color) brightening, swirling, and glowing. You can also do a mantra meditation in which you repeat the mantras associated with each chakra to clear any blockages and imbalances. See the next section for some links to some powerful guided chakra meditations!
You can use the affirmations I’ve written for each chakra above or come up with your own powerful affirmations. One of the best things about affirmations is that you can recite them anywhere. Repeat them in the shower, during your morning commute, or even standing in line in the grocery store. You can also combine affirmation practices with other methods on this list, such as meditation, journaling, and even dancing!
Each chakra is associated with various essential oils that can help calm or stimulate that specific energy center. For instance, you might use cedarwood for your root chakra, lemon for the solar plexus, or peppermint for the throat. To use essential oils to help balance your chakras, apply a small amount of the oil to the chakra point. (While essential oils are generally safe, I would definitely recommend making sure you use a high-quality brand and following the guidelines of the manufacturer before applying anything to your skin. Depending on the type, some oils may require dilution. Definitely do your research and follow up with a health expert if you have any questions before applying.)
Solar plexus chakra feeling blocked? Wear yellow. Eat a banana. Paint with the color yellow. Make your own homemade lemonade. Find all the yellow items in your home and put them in your line of sight.
One of my favorite practices is to combine affirmations into my journaling. If you have 10 to 30 minutes to sit down for journaling, write down affirmations that focus on one, multiple, or all of your chakras. Another great practice is to visualize and describe your highest, truest, and most authentic self – the highest version of you when all of your chakras are aligned. The key here is to write in the present tense! Instead of writing, “I see myself as . . .” or “I will be . . .”, write, “I am . . .” Embody that version of your highest self and become that person as you write.
Dancing is a beautiful way to express yourself and enhance the flow of energy in your body. If you can, try to involve the body part related to any blocked chakras into your dance. For instance, if your heart chakra feels blocked, incorporate more chest movements into your dancing. You can also incorporate colors here as well! Remember to have fun, don’t take yourself too seriously, and surrender to the flow!
Immerse Yourself in Nature
Walk barefoot in the dirt (root chakra, associated with the earth; go swimming (sacral chakra, associated with water); have a (safe) bonfire (solar plexus chakra, associated with fire); take a cleansing walk as you focus on breathing in the fresh air (heart chakra, associated with air). If multiple chakras feel blocked, getting back to your foundations (nature and the earth) is one of the best ways to clear any blockages.
Eat a food associated with the color of the chakra (i.e. a red apple, green spinach, orange carrot). Try to aim for something healthy, unprocessed, and nutrient-dense.
You can use crystals associated with each chakra to activate that energy center. Some simple practices are to hold the crystal over the chakra point for three to five minutes, lay the crystal on the body for an extended amount of time, or to meditate with the crystal by either holding it or laying it on the body (if you’re laying down). If you want, you can even place all seven crystals on each chakra point at once while you’re laying down.
Express Your Creativity
Embrace ways to express your creativity, such as drawing, painting, dancing, singing, working with clay, writing poetry, or however you like to unleash your inner creative!
The following meditations can all be found on the Insight Timer app (no affiliation). This is a free app that offers over 55,000 meditations and music tracks (all completely free). You can read more about why I choose this app as well as learn about different meditation practices for beginners here.
- Chakra Waterfall Meditation by Jessie Arielle Smith (6 minutes)
- Chakra Balancing by Kiran Chugani (8 minutes)
- Personal Transformation: Energy Centers Chakra Discovery by Dexter and Alessandrina (12 minutes)
- Guided Chakra Healing Meditation by Healing Haus (19 minutes)
- Sacral Chakra Therapy by Cory Cochiolo (19 minutes)
- Chakra Tune-Up by Gemma Clarke (21 minutes)
And that’s a a guide to chakras for beginners! Be sure to check the links at the top of this post to learn more about the individual chakras. Have any questions about chakras? Or have you discovered any practices that have helped you activate and balance your chakras? Leave a comment below to ask a question or share your experiences!