I believe Chakra is not an alien word to those who watched Naruto, a Japanese comic series. I was a huge fan of it and you can not imagine how badly I wanted to own a powerful Chakra as Naruto to perform Ninjutsu when I was young. I always thought Chakra was just created by the animator in the imaginary world. Amazingly, I found out it does exist in reality through yoga. In Naruto’s world, Chakra is a form of energy. It resides in every cell of the body and is transported throughout the Chakra Network, which runs through the entire body. And the more Chakra a Ninja has, the more powerful Ninja Arts he/she can perform.
What is Chakra in real life? The Chakra literally means “spinning wheel”. In the point of the yogic view, Chakras are storage places for energy force instead of energy itself. There are 7 Chakras located along the spine from coccyx to the crown of the head: 1) Muladhara (Root Chakra) at the end of the spinal column; 2) Svadishthana (Pelvic Chakra) at the genital organs in the sacral region; 3) Manipura (Navel Chakra) at the navel in lumbar region; 4) Anahata (Heart Chakra) at the heart to the thoracic region; 5) Vishuddha (Throat Chakra) at the throat in the cervical region; 6) Ajna (Third-Eye Chakra) between the eyebrows; 7) Sahasrara (Crown Center) at the crown of the head. Each Chakra represents a state of consciousness. They converge energy, thoughts, feelings and the physical body and largely influence our potential and experience. In other words, by understanding how Chakras work in our body, we can rediscover ourselves.
Muladhara (Root Chakra) affects our natural instincts like safety, security and basic needs to be met like food and living. The imbalance in Muladhara causes anxiety, fears or eating disorders. If you are insecure, your Muladhara Chakra is not strong enough. Asana and meditation are good ways to strengthen it. Asanas such as Warrior stances, Chair Pose, deep lunges, and squats can be practiced to balance this Chakra.
Svadishthana (Pelvic Chakra), as the water center and home of the reproductive organs, is associated with our desires as well as social feelings and bonding. If it’s blocked, we may be ruled by our attachments. if our consciousness moves freely through this area, we can access our potential for self-healing and sensual pleasure. Similar to Muladhara, meditation and asanas such as forward bends, deep lunges, and squats help us bring our awareness to this Chakra.
Manipura (Navel Chakra) is the center of personal strength and purpose. It holds a vast amount of our physical vitality. When this Chakra is balanced, we are empowered by strong self-esteem and confidence. If it is imbalanced, we may experience disorganization, aggressive ambition or heightened ego. Twisted asanas are excellent for purifying and healing Manipura.
Anahata (Heart Chakra) is the gathering point of our human emotions. So we can experience compassion, love, connectivity and peace if the awareness flows freely in the area. But if you are always suffering from deepest feelings of insecurity, loneliness and despair, you can try practice pranayama, meditation and backbend asanas to help open the energetic center.
Vishuddhi (Throat Chakra) is the energetic center of expression. If you have stage fear and have difficulty in speaking out your opinions, you are undergoing an imbalance in this Chakra. To increase throat energy, you can practice the chant, Jalandhara Bandha as well as asanas such as Plow, Camel, and Fish Pose.
Ajna (Third-Eye Chakra) is the place where the mind and the body converge. It is responsible for our six senses, intuition and inner-knowing. If you feel unsettled, lack sleep or cannot concentrate on tasks or remember things, we may need Nadi Shodhana and meditation to focus on this Chakra.
Sahasrara (Crown Center) is the bridge to the spiritual world to connect us to our spirit and self-awareness. If you are experiencing depression or lack of life compassion, you can work on meditation to increase this Chakra.
To know yourself more, you should assess which of your Chakra is out of balance. Try the asanas, meditation and pranayama above and be a better version of yourself.