You probably know that "chakra" is a Sanskrit word meaning cycle or wheel. You also probably have friends who practice chakra meditation. But what is it?
Chakra meditation is meditation with a focus on balancing and charging your chakras, or life forces. Your body has seven chakras, or spinning hubs of your life force, and they each play a critical role in the health of your mind and body.
What Is Chakra Meditation?
Chakra meditation means something different to everyone. For some it is an extremely spiritual experience. For others, the focus is more on benefitting the body. This type of meditation focuses on opening up each of your chakras so you can fully benefit from what each of them brings to the table. First, let's look at the seven chakras.
The Root Chakra
The Muladhara, or root chakra, is found at the base of your spine. It determines how we connect with the world outside ourselves and governs our basic needs of food, shelter, and stability. It is associated to the earth element and the color red.
The Sacral Chakra
Svadhisthana, known as the sacral chakra, is found just below the belly button. It is linked to the creative process and our sexuality. The sacral chakra encourages us to explore the world around us, adapt to change creatively, and use our creativity to find outlets in the arts. Its element is water, and it is associated with the color orange.
The Solar Plexus Chakra
Manipura is the Sanskrit word for City of Jewels. This chakra is found between the belly button and the rib cage. Experts believe it is the source of self-esteem and personal agency, allowing us to translate our desires into action and results. It is associated with the fire element and its color is yellow.
The Heart Chakra
The heart chakra, anahata, means "unstuck" in Sanskrit. This chakra is found in the center of your cardiovascular system and is connected to such organs as your lungs and your heart. This chakra is linked to your emotional profile, like your ability to appreciate connectedness and compassion and your inherent generosity. Its element is air, and it is associated with the color green.
The Throat Chakra
Vishuddha, the chakra of the throat, rules the mouth, tongue, neck, and other physical elements in the throat's area. It controls how we choose to communicate. A strong throat chakra allows us to express ourselves masterfully. This chakra is related to confidence and understanding. Its element is ether and its color is blue.
The Third Eye Chakra
The third eye chakra, ajna, is the most well-known chakra of them all. It is indigo and its element is light. Ajna is responsible for insight and intuition, particularly on a spiritual level. A balanced, receptive ajna chakra opens up up to recognize interconnections that exist in this world and others. Its element is light and its color is indigo.
The Crown Chakra
The crown chakra, also known as sahasrara, is located at the top of your head. It is colloquially called the "thousand petal lotus" chakra and is considered to be the most spiritual of all the core chakras. It is responsible for governing spiritual consciousness. It provides the potential for waking you up to the divine dimension. It embodies the spirit and is purple or sometimes white.
How Does Chakra Meditation Improve Your Mind and Body?
The primary way chakra meditation improves the wellness of your body is by relaxing you. Studies prove that people who meditated twice a day for 20 minutes each period reduced their risk of stroke and heart disease by 48%. On the emotional side, meditation reduced levels of anger.
Anger affects your mind and body simultaneously by raising your blood pressure and cortisol levels while leaving you emotionally imbalanced.
Other Benefits to Your Body
An imbalanced root chakra can lead to you not eating or making poor food choices. Strengthening your root chakra cures digestive ailments and keeps your gastrointestinal tract healthy. Your sacral chakra is involved intimately with your creativity. It allows you to lower your blood pressure by finding creative, artistic outlets. It also keeps your reproductive organs healthy.
Your solar plexus chakra also plays a significant role in digestive health. If you incorporate chanting into your chakra meditation, focus on this chakra by chanting "RAM". The "a" is long, like "rom". The heart chakra is responsible for maintaining the health of your heart and lungs. If you have high blood pressure or respiratory complications, focus on balancing this chakra.
An open throat chakra prevents a wide array of physical maladies ranging from hormonal imbalances to a high susceptibility to infection. The third eye chakra makes it easier to understand your place in the world and how everything is interconnected. You may find you run into things less often because you are more self-aware.
A balanced, charged crown chakra helps you draw power from the world around you. Since this chakra helps you experience peace and confidence, you will benefit from lower blood pressure and more success in anything you set your mind to. This includes eating healthier and increasing your athleticism and overall physical wellbeing.
Benefits to Your Mind
Your sacral chakra governs your imagination, allowing you to creatively solve problems with outside-the-box thinking. It is also crucial for coping with new experiences and allows you to explore the world in peace.
Your solar plexus chakra allows you to embrace your experiences with welcome acceptance and understand your role in them. This works wonders for alleviating stress. A balanced solar plexus chakra allows you to see the bigger picture and accept things are the way they are for a reason.
Anahata, the heart chakra, allows you to form deep, emotional connections with those around you if you open it up and balance it. Your throat chakra, visshuddha, prevents feelings of estrangement and isolation when it is open. It also works with your sacral chakra to help you express yourself.
Ajna, the third eye chakra, drives your intuition and insight on all planes of existence. It works closely with your solar plexus chakra to walk through life at peace, understanding where you fit into the world. Finally, if you keep your crown chakra healthy, you will experience the peace, well-being, and confidence of a child while being as wise as the adults you looked up to at a young age.
8 Zen Tips for Chakra Meditation
Successful chakra meditation begins with sitting comfortably with a spine that is straight but not rigid. Once you are seated properly, focus on each part of your body. Start with your feet and work your way up. As you do this, allow that body part to relax and feel your stress melt away.
Focus on Your Breath
The next step is to focus on your breathing. Let your breathing become deep and steady. Do not force it. If your mind wanders, simply bring it back to the breath gently and keep your focus on every inhale and exhale you take. Do not judge yourself if you lose focus on your breathing. Simply recognize it and correct it.
Picture the oxygen entering your lungs and flowing through your bloodstream. Picture it nourishing each of your cells, organs, and muscles in your body. Visualize it removing toxins and pain from your body that you expel on each exhale.
Visualize Your Heartbeat
Visualize your heart beating and your body functioning perfectly. Visualize the collaboration of all the parts in perfect harmony. See how the breath sustains each of these parts individually and your body as a whole. Recognize how your breath drives the force of life through the entire organism you know as your body.
Imagine a Life-Giving Energy
The next step in chakra meditation is to imagine a life-giving energy you inhale along with the air. You should picture this energy as yellowish orange in color. See this energy envelop all of you and infuse your aura.
While this energy infuses your aura, picture your aura becoming stronger and brighter. Your aura is being charged by this incredible orange energy. This step is gradual. Allow your aura to grow brighter ever so slightly. This energy should continue to flow with every inhale.
Energize Each Chakra Individually
One of the most important steps in chakra meditation is to individually energize each chakra. Begin with the root chakra located in your lower back. Imagine red energy swirling clockwise. The energy you take in with every inhale feeds this swirl and makes it brighter. The energy makes it strong.
Next, imagine a third source of energy. This energy source comes up through the earth. It is the same life-giving energy that you draw in with your breath. This energy also feeds the swirling energy that is your root chakra.
Move Up to the Sacral Chakra
Once your root chakra is bright and strong, move upwards to the sacral chakra, located just beneath your navel. Go through the same slow, steady process that you did with the root chakra. Visualize energy from your breath and the earth strengthening and brightening your sacral chakra.
Once your sacral chakra is reinvigorated, continue moving up your body one chakra at a time. Infuse your solar plex chakra, heart chakra, throat chakra, head chakra, and crown chakra with life-giving energy. Remember to take your time. Do not worry if your throat chakra is taking longer than usual to strengthen or you always struggle to brighten your heart chakra. Every time you meditate will be different.
It is only advisable to work from the bottom upwards. Do not grow impatient and jump around, even if one chakra takes a significant amount of time to fill. Your root chakra affects and energizes your sacral chakra. Your sacral chakra, in turn, charges and reinvigorates your solar plex chakra. Energizing your throat chakra before your solar plex chakra or heart chakra will have an adverse effect.
Visualize All Chakras Being Fed
Once you are finished energizing and strengthening your chakras, imagine each of them being fed by this energy at once. Remember, this energy comes both from your breath and the earth.
To help you connect with the energy coming forth from the earth, you may want to sit on the ground or a pillow with your back against a wall for support. Remember to visualize your chakras and aura becoming brighter, clearer, and completely recharged from this life-giving energy.
Open Your Eyes and Relax
Finally, your chakra meditation is nearly complete. Open your eyes and take a couple minutes to relax with your eyes open. Take close note of your body and spend time in tune with how energized and incredible you feel right now.
Try to practice for 15 to 30 minutes each time you sit. However, if it only takes 10 minutes or it takes you 45 minutes your first few times, it is okay. Enjoy knowing that you are taking the time to enhance the wellness of your body and mind.
Chakra meditation is a type of meditation focusing on opening, brightening, balancing, and strengthening each of your seven chakras. Each plays a critical role in your physical and mental health. Blocked chakras can lead to many ailments ranging from high blood pressure to infection. When meditating, relax each muscle in your body starting with your feet and work your way up.
Once your muscles are relaxed, focus on your breathing and visualize healing energy traveling through your breath and the earth to revitalize you. Do not judge yourself if you find your mind wandering from your breath. Simply refocus. Starting with your root chakra and working your way up, recharge each of your chakras. Start by trying to do this 30 minutes each day.
The most important thing you can take out of this guide to chakra meditation is to remember that each meditation session is different and spending extra time on a particular chakra is better than not recharging it completely. With consistent practice and dedication, you will find that this meditation style comes easily and benefits you physically and mentally.