What are Chakras? Balancing Your Energy Flow with Expert Heidi Spear
Have you ever wondered what exactly chakras are and why they are important for your energy? If you’ve looked into holistic energy work, you’ve most likely heard about the seven chakras that represent energy centers in your body. Treatments like Reiki healing often focus on the balance of these chakras.
Chakra healing improves your mind, body, and spirit while reconnecting you to wisdom, joy, love, and appreciation. To help clear up our questions about the chakras and why they are important for energy balance we turned to Heidi Spear, author of My Pocket Chakra Healing, which will be released on September 10.
Spear first became interested in holistic health when she encountered health issues in 2006, and doctors and specialists weren’t able to find solutions. With symptoms that included bad migraines, she realized that in order to feel better, she’d have to learn about healthy living for herself.
“I sensed that I needed to learn more about nutrition, stress reduction, and coping with the ups and downs of life instead of finding a doctor who could give me some kind of medication,” shares Spear. “I felt that I needed to adopt a natural approach to health and healing, and a way of life that was supportive of well-being.”
Practicing yoga with a DVD and meditating were two of the practices that helped start her journey to feeling better: “In 2008, I moved into Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health as a volunteer and lived there for a year. I studied with top teachers in yoga, meditation, mindfulness, chakras, Reiki, nutrition, and more. I became a certified yoga teacher and a Reiki Master.”
Additionally, Spear started seeing an Ayurvedic specialist and Functional Medicine doctor, who shared lessons on how to choose the right food and spices to support health. Spear reveals that changing her diet, cooking delicious food for herself, and practicing a lot of meditation and yoga helped launch her on the path to healing: “Paying attention to the flow of life-force energy within me, and consciously choosing positive thoughts put me right on the path to recovery—and my symptoms vanished.”
Below, Spear answers our questions about chakra healing:
What is a chakra and where does the concept come from?
The word “chakra” means “wheel” or “disc.” It’s a Sanskrit term referring to the wheels of energy that keep energy flowing through our body. Often, people who study yoga also study the chakras because they both come from the traditions of India. The life-force energy that flows through the chakras is called “prana” in Sanskrit; it’s called “chi” as in “tai chi” in Traditional Chinese Medicine; and in Japanese it’s “qi” as in “qigong.” We need this life-force energy to flow in a balanced way without getting stuck or moving too quickly for our overall well-being.
Can you share a little about each chakra?
We have chakras throughout our body. When talking about basic chakra healing, we focus on the seven major chakras that are aligned in the primary energy channel, located in the spine. This energy channel, known as the Sushmna, travels up and down the spine from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Here is a little bit about each of these seven chakras:
The first chakra (the root chakra) is located at the base of the spine, at the perineum. When this chakra is balanced, you feel grounded and safe.
The second chakra is in the sacral area of the body, roughly a couple of inches above the root chakra. A balanced sacral chakra helps you feel creative, playful, and financially secure.
When the third chakra (located in the solar-plexus area of the body) is balanced, you have a healthy sense of self-esteem and the will to accomplish your goals.
A balanced fourth chakra (at the heart center) helps you receive and give love.
When the fifth chakra (located at the throat) is balanced, you have more ease communicating authentically and listening openly without judgment.
The sixth chakra is located at the third eye, in the middle of the forehead. When in balance, the sixth chakra supports you in being able to balance your analytical mind and intuition.
When the seventh chakra (at the crown of the head) is balanced, you feel a strong connection to spirit and to the sense that we are all connected.
How does a chakra become blocked and how would you know if your chakras were blocked?
One of the best ways to know if your chakras are blocked is to notice how you feel, both mentally and physically. If you feel sluggish, stagnant, anxious, or any other feelings we typically consider “negative,” then it’s very likely that at least one of your chakras is blocked. Whether the symptoms are physical, mental, or emotional, they are signs of energetic imbalance. Each chakra corresponds to different psychological and physical symptoms, and learning about those can help you understand which chakra might be blocked. The best antidote is to balance all the chakras daily because all of them are connected.
Why is it important to balance and heal your chakras?
Your natural state of health includes a balanced energy flow throughout the body. Some of the benefits of chakra healing include increased resilience, contentment, and clear thinking. Balancing your chakras helps you show up as the best version of yourself.
Can you share a simple tip for helping to unblock and strengthen your chakras?
One simple tip for balancing your chakras is to set aside 5 – 10 minutes each day. Close your eyes, and for about five minutes observe how you are feeling—physically, mentally, and emotionally—without judgment. Just notice. Notice where there is tension and where there isn’t. Notice negative and positive thoughts. And notice the breath. Then, after about five minutes, take a few deep breaths, and for the next five minutes visualize white light starting at the crown of the head. Visualize that light slowly traveling down through each of the chakras.
Take your time, and as you do this, take relaxing deep breaths. Once you have envisioned the white light all the way down at the base of the spine, see it spreading throughout the entire body. Then, take a nice deep breath and open your eyes. Notice if you feel better than you did before you began. Because thoughts are energy, thoughts play a role in many of the ways we can balance the chakras.
For more tips and chakra healing advice from Spear, be sure to check out My Pocket Chakra Healing, which includes more than 50 exercises and practices to unblock and strengthen your chakras so that you can achieve health and prosperity on the go. The book is an essential introduction to chakras—the seven centers that control the flow of energy within your body.
*This information is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Before taking on any new practices, please consult your medical doctor.
Lizzy Sherman is an award-winning digital content writer/editor. She has been a featured guest speaker at Cal State University Northridge, Digital LA and The National Association of Audience Marketing Professionals. When she's not writing, Lizzy enjoys yoga and playing guitar. Follow her on Instagram: @zillizy