Author | Photos Jared Rice

Understanding Chakras and How They Affect Your Body and Life

Several years back, after I experienced my first mega burnout phase, I decided to get a reiki attunement and then proceeded to fall down a Deepak Chopra rabbit hole. The journey into getting to know my chakras helped me navigate my body and my life in a much more empowering way.

We have seven main chakras, which start at our pelvic floor and extend up to our crown, and each one corresponds to nerve centres and major organs. While our chakras aren’t tangible parts of our body, they are centres through which energy flows. I like the idea of seeing my physical occurrences from a bigger perspective. “What does this heaviness in my chest, headache, or even recurring digestive issue tell me about what I’m doing?” 

Here’s a rundown of the seven main chakras and which areas of your body, and life, they affect:

Root Chakra (at your pelvic floor, lower spine, bladder, bowels):

Our root chakra is the seat of our basic security (think: survival needs like, food, clothing, shelter). When it’s balanced, we’re grounded and secure. When it’s unbalanced, we might feel anxious, isolate ourselves, or experience digestive issues. Keep this chakra balanced by meditating outside in nature, hanging with a community that gives you life, or getting someone to help you brave the world of your finances. Also, eat root vegetables to get more of that grounded energy in you.

Sacral Chakra (just below your navel, sexual organs and kidneys):

The sacral chakra is all about our creativity. When we feel uninspired or a lack of passion or drive, getting energy flowing in this area can help. Fire up this chakra with belly dancing, move your hips in circles, or do hip opening yoga poses. These movements help release your grip on life, which is a key component of being able to create what we want. Lie in the sunshine and imagine it’s orange light washing away the attachments that are keeping you stuck (this chakra is associated with the colour orange).

Solar Plexus Chakra (around your breastbone, stomach, small intestine):

This is the seat of our personal power and rules our ability to assert ourselves and be confident in a group (think: chest puffed out, or “shrinking,” and keeping this area hidden). Low self-esteem might manifest as low appetite or gastrointestinal issues. Keep this chakra open by being bold–in your style and in the way you show up in public. If you’re feeling insecure, get a tiger’s eye or citrine crystal, put it on this area, and meditate on what makes you feel powerful AF.

Heart Chakra (the middle of your chest, heart and lungs):

The heart chakra is all about our ability to give and receive love. When we say our heart is swollen or broken, that’s because we feel and process these feelings in this area. Keep this chakra open and able to receive love by expressing gratitude. Soak in a bath with rose hip essential oils. Release grudges and intend to live from a place of compassion.

Throat Chakra (your throat, mouth, respiratory system, and thyroid):

This chakra rules our ability to communicate authentically. Ever notice when you’re nervous or feeling imposter-y, your voice might get caught in your throat or become slightly higher pitched? And when you’re relaxed, your voice gets a lot deeper? This is because the muscles in your throat respond to how you’re feeling when you’re speaking. Keep this chakra open by speaking your truth every day. Practice speaking your intentions out loud with a blue crystal like kyanite on your throat.

Third Eye Chakra (between your eyebrows, pineal gland):

The third eye is the seat of our intuition. If you’re ignoring your intuition and just pushing forward with what’s rationally correct, you might get stuck with headaches or a foggy feeling of uncertainty. Keep your third eye open by asking yourself what you know to be true. Train your third eye to be more intuitive by actually taking action on what your intuition says.

Crown Chakra (at the top of your head, pituitary gland):

The crown chakra is our connection to our spirituality. If we spend too much time consumed with intangible ideas, we say our head’s in the clouds, and if we’re not open to different perspective, we say we’re close minded. Whether you’re feeling ungrounded or too limited, this chakra could be what needs your attention. Stimulate your higher self by expanding your mind–reading about spiritual paths or listening to podcasts that deal with esoteric concepts. Or come back down to earth by connecting with people around you.

Want to learn more about chakras? Take a look at this directory of the 7 Chakras for Beginners via Mind Body Green. If you’re into crystals, check out Energy Muse’s chakra crystals chart to see what crystal can be used on which chakra. For audio learners, take a spin through the My Seven Chakras podcast. The Chakra Girl has some fun banter on her podcast, too.

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