The chakras are the centres of consciousness that make up the human soul. Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning wheel and the chakras can be seen to be coloured, circular energy spheres or discs. The chakras are actually vortices of energy, with the central five chakras being horizontal and having the pointed part of the vortex at the spine and the open part of the vortex at the front of the body. The base chakra has the pointed end of the vortex at the coccyx and the open end at the genitals. The crown chakra has the pointed end of the vortex at the top of the head and the open end directly above. Each chakra vortex spins round and the spin is opposite for adjacent chakras and is contrary in men and women. Facing a woman her heart chakra would appear to spin clockwise and her solar plexus chakra would spin anticlockwise and vice versa for a man. Chakra sizes vary enormously between people but in adults can often be 7cm-10cm (3"-4") in diameter.

Chakras are in different dimensions to our physical selves – they are at higher planes of consciousness. The chakras are the colours of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Red light has the lowest frequency and violet the highest; just as the red chakra is to do with the physical planes of consciousness and violet is connected with the highest planes.

Our chakras behave in ways that can be a little difficult to imagine, to start with. Each of our chakras is conscious, aware and engages with different aspects of life and our being. Chakras are conscious and intelligent but not in a way that is always obvious. A sacral chakra feels basic and deep emotions but will not have the slightest idea about love of the heart or the logic of the solar plexus. The sacral chakra is passionate and feeling but can no more be conscious of logic than the heart chakra can understand the base chakra need for physical survival. Energetic information flows up and down the chakras as they talk to each other and interpret the information and learning from adjacent chakras. They each have different roles to play and they constantly sense and communicate with energies on their planes of consciousness.

The chakra system is as complex and sophisticated as it is beautiful. The chakras are centres of the lower consciousness or the soul and are the subconscious mind. They contain memories and learning of our lifetime and some previous lifetimes and they contain our deepest feelings at different levels of our being. Together the major chakras form what we feel and know to be ourselves – or minds and our feelings. Our souls learn through our experiences and our chakras experience things on many different and subtle levels that we may not be aware of in our conscious minds.

Most people will have imbalances in their chakra systems. Imbalances are due to fears within our souls that happen as our souls grow. Our chakra systems reflect every level of our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual selves and every facet of our being. The outer world that we experience is a reflection of our inner selves and through understanding inner selves we can make positive changes to the way that we experience life and the world and universe around us. It is useful to know about chakras because we can sense them in meditation and thereby find out about inner imbalances and focus healing on them. We can learn about the soul from the chakra system and find out through an understanding of them how we can make positive changes to our attitudes and beliefs to bring us into balance and heal mental, emotional and physical problems.

There are many false beliefs about chakras and one such idea is that chakras can be open or closed. Chakras are always working although they can become more or less more active, alert, receptive or expressive, depending on circumstances or requirements. A chakra that underfunctions is normally due to inner fear in that aspect of consciousness that requires healing.

Human and spiritual chakras

crown chakrathird eye chakrathroat chakra The upper three chakras are more connected to our spiritual aspects.

heart chakra The heart chakra is the centre of our being and finds balance between our spiritual and human aspects.

solar plexus chakrasacral chakrabase chakra The lower three chakras are more about our human aspects.

The lower planes of consciousness have denser, more tangible energies and the higher planes have finer and more ethereal energies. Every aspect of consciousness is a divine manifestation and so we are spiritual beings through and through but the upper chakras are conscious on planes of consciousness closer to the ultimate reality.

Masculine and feminine chakras

Of the main seven chakras there are those which are generally more expressive and those which are generally more receptive although each chakra may change according to the situation.

crown chakrathroat chakrasolar plexus chakrabase chakra The more masculine, expressive chakras are the crown, the throat, the solar plexus and the base chakras.

third eye chakraheart chakrasacral chakra The more feminine, receptive chakras are the third eye, heart and sacral chakras.

The masculine principle is that of the motive force to create and the feminine principle with receiving that force and creating with it. The masculine principle is giving and the feminine principle is receiving. In Taoism the masculine (yang) and feminine (yin) are manifest in the principles of, respectively, Heaven and Earth, light and dark, firm and yielding.

We each have masculine and feminine facets to our beings and every man has feminine aspects, just as every woman has masculine aspects. The masculine and feminine principles are not opposites but are complimentary to each other and are a kind of polarity which sets up a dynamic flow. This polarity goes way deeper than the masculinity and femininity of people, it is concerned, in esoteric terms with the flow of the universe.

crown chakra image Crown chakra

The violet or white crown chakra is the part of our consciousness that is connected to the universe and the highest aspects of consciousness - ultimate reality. The crown chakra is the centre of spiritual purpose, universal oneness and divine union. The crown chakra responds to prayer, spiritual commitment, devotional practice and meditation. The pure divine love of the crown chakra doesn't feel like love as we normally know it - it feels more like openness, stillness, peace and oneness with all things. The ethereal, intangible and dream-like quality of our connection to the highest can transcend the illusion of reality so that we can move beyond time and space and all things.

For many people a feeling of faith in the divine unknown and the ability to reach out to it with wise spiritual practice helps to create a healthy crown chakra. The crown chakra can also be healthy in people who have a sense or acceptance of their spirituality, even if they have no overt spiritual practice or they cannot explain what they feel. Commitment to a spiritual or religious path may help us to develop but allowing our spirituality to grow and change in the face of strict religious dogma may be challenging. People who get angry about religion, with spiritual reality or with the beliefs of others, may well have damaged crown chakras. Such damage may be because in a recent life they died for their religion or felt deserted by their deity. The crown chakra can be healed by sustained acts of faith such as honest prayer and seeking divine union in meditation.

third eye chakra image Third eye chakra

The indigo or purple third eye chakra is a higher, spiritual centre of consciousness related to higher learning, wisdom and discernment. The third eye chakra is the centre of intuition, insight, dreams and clairvoyance through which we can see and understand energies at all levels of consciousness, whether or not we see clear images clairvoyantly. The third eye aids great cosmologists, philosophers and mathematicians to see the universe with truth and wisdom. This chakra sees energies all around us and tells us the blunt, dispassionate truth with piercing insight. The third eye bestows vision - of a bigger picture, with detail and clarity and it helps us to visualise our dreams and imaginings.

The third eye is very much connected with seeing the truth about ourselves and the world and universe around us. Eyesight problems as well as other problems in the upper head can indicate third eye fear and pain. Such imbalances can be healed by sustained effort with meditation and visualisation and this can be challenging since it requires inner acknowledgement of many things that may have previously been fearful to see, such as bad habits, poor behaviour or unhealthy relationships. Being willing to see ourselves, people, the world and the universe the way it is can take courage if we lack a sense of unconditional, divine love that accepts everything just the way it is. The third eye guides us on a wise path and third eye problems can allow an aimless, undependable person with little idea or vision about their path.

Throat chakra image Throat chakra

The throat chakra is the blue centre of consciousness connected with truth, justice and communication. This chakra is about self-expression and being true to our ever-changing selves. The throat chakra is about expressing our whole selves - our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual feelings, needs and desires. The throat chakra is about communication - not only the way that we express ourselves but also the way in which we listen to and hear others. The throat chakra can be merciful or punitive, depending on the judgement and can give us the power and strength to fight for justice. It is from the upper chakras that the throat chakra learns to trust in ultimate divine justice through karma. This chakra can receive audible spiritual information through clairaudience.

People who are able to express their individuality in creative ways, even if they push the boundaries of acceptability are certainly engaging their throat chakras. People who feel that they cannot say what they need to or be who they are have throat chakra problems, as do people who talk too much and don't listen enough. Ear, mouth, jaw, neck and throat problems indicate throat chakra imbalances. People who hear voices clairaudiently which is not their inner voice or divine guidance indicates a throat chakra issue rather than insanity. A sense of injustice can indicate throat chakra issues, as can saying hurtful or vengeful things but these may be because of an under-functioning heart chakra.

heart chakra image Heart chakra

The emerald green heart chakra is located in the middle of the chest which is the centre of love, happiness and beauty. The heart chakra bestows understanding, acceptance and forgiveness of ourselves and others and sees the divine beauty in people and in life. The heart is also the centre of hope and courage - the ability to overcome despair and find perseverance. The heart has virtue and grace to care for living things and the world. The heart chakra is the centre of our being and has information coming from spiritual chakras above and human chakras below, so understands both worlds. The spiritual divine love that accepts all things as they are and the passion and desire of the human being combine in the heart to create compassion - the desire for health and happiness of people and living things. The self-love aspect of the heart chakra is usually sensed as a rose pink colour.

People who are controlling, live in their heads or who see things in black and white are living more from the solar plexus chakra and this indicates a heart chakra that is not working properly. Vengeance comes from the throat chakra and this can indicate a heart chakra that is unforgiving. Cholesterol, heart and lung problems are mostly connected to heart chakra issues – self-love and other love. The heart chakra gives and receives love which should not be confused with the emotions of the sacral chakra: heart chakra love has higher expectations and a higher tolerance.

solar plexus chakra Solar plexus chakra

The solar plexus chakra is the sunny yellow centre of our refined personality, character and ego. It is connected with intellect, logical thought and control which can manifest intelligent and successful actions. It is the centre of our sense of personal power and inner strength and a healthy solar plexus chakra confers a sense of self-belief and integrity. Your solar plexus chakra sees yourself as a sovereign being with free will, self-determination and independence and knows that you are in charge of your life and nobody can control your thoughts. This chakra gives a sense of being organised, capable and mentally active and agile.

This is a more masculine chakra and men who are imbalanced may tend to work more from this chakra. A person who feels disempowered will have a diminished solar plexus chakra which can lead them to be pushy, arrogant or controlling in order to compensate or just be timid and lacking in confidence. Some people may defer to the more feminine, emotional sacral chakra or the loving heart chakra than engage or exert their true power, due to lack of self-esteem. Men particularly can engage in confrontation at the solar plexus level which is about ego, power and will. Tense shoulders and neck can be from a defensive posture caused by solar plexus problems. Thinking too much and being too controlling may be linked to lack of engagement of emotions, creativity and passion of the sacral chakra below or lack of love and trust of the heart chakra.

sacral chakra Sacral chakra

The sacral chakra is the orange centre of emotions, vitality, desire and passion. It is the centre of sexuality, sensuality and pleasure. This is also the centre of the inner child that can be selfish, playful, changeable, jealous, inconsistent, engaging and endearing. The sacral chakra is the creative, emotional power that is engaged when we sing, dance and make love and when we create and enjoy beautiful things. This chakra makes the powerful passion and vitality that moves us to enjoy life rather than just survive. The emotions of the sacral chakra can be raw, wild, untamed and sometimes overwhelming, and finding appropriate and creative ways to express these feelings is healthier than trying ignore or subdue them.

This is a more feminine chakra and in women represents the female archetype. People (women more than men) who are not grounded properly may live too much in the the sacral chakra and become too emotionally-centred. This can be because the earthiness of the unemotional base chakra seems difficult to reconcile with the emotions. For some people the sacral chakra can be over-empathic and can sense and soak up other people's emotions which causes health problems in the lower abdomen, sacral spine and hips. A sacral chakra that is under-engaged can lead to lack of empathy or emotional intelligence and a lack of vitality, fun and pleasure in life.

base chakra Base chakra

The base, or root chakra is the chakra which roots our souls in our bodies and the physical plane and through our feet to the Earth. It expresses our physical needs which, at its most basic level, are to eat and procreate and fight or flight. It is an emotionless chakra which is the centre of our safety and security as physical people in our bodies and on this Earth. We are each an important part of the earth and welcome to its abundance. Our bodies are made from the Earth and it supplies our food, clothing and shelter - everything that we need to physically thrive here. The base chakra is about feeling comfortable in our skin and in our physical environment. Since money is a kind of basic survival energy, this too is base chakra issue. The base chakra affects our skin, bones and muscles and signs of a healthy base chakra are healthy skin, a strong and healthy body and strong legs and feet. The base chakra is also about sex; not so much the making love of the sacral chakra but more of a physical urge.

The base chakra wants the most healthy food: it is the sacral chakra that eats for pleasure which there is nothing wrong with, in moderation. There are a great many people - especially spiritually aware people - who are ungrounded and suffer skin complaints, lack of money, etc. Fears of scarcity may come from times of hardship in this life or another and can affect the base chakra and attitudes about receiving abundance. Even some people who have money may not spend it on creating a healthy and comfortable environment for themselves due to base chakra fears. People with leg or foot problems may have base chakra issues. Fear of the physical world and seeing it as a place of danger, whatever its origin, is a base chakra issue. People who live with the threat of physical danger may have enlarged base chakras but many people with comfortable lives, remote from their food sources and the land or not looking after their bodies, the base chakra may be diminished.

Hand and foot chakras

There are chakras in the hands and feet that are smaller than the seven major chakras. The hand chakras are connected to the heart chakra and throat chakra via the arms.

The foot chakras are connected to the Earth and to the base chakra. Well grounded people will find it easy to feel a sense of connection with the Earth through their feet.

Planes of consciousness

coloured bodies

The chakras are centres of consciousness but there are infinite planes of consciousness between the crown and the base chakras. Furthermore the consciousness of each of these chakras is not just restricted to the area of the chakra but it extends throughout the whole body and even out into the aura (about an arm's length all around us).

Balance and healing

Balances and imbalances within the soul are shown within the chakra system before they manifest as physical problems and can often be sensed during meditation. The colour, size, shape and feelings that you get from a chakra are all indicators of what's going on within them. For instance a dark colour of chakra suggests that there is pain that is ready to leave and be healed. A chakra that is too small suggests that is under-engaged and can be healed by engaging that aspect of consciousness in a healthy and balanced way. Conversely a chakra that is too large suggests over-engaging with that aspect of consciousness. It is unlikely that just one chakra is out of balance since the chakras are a system and a lack in one aspect of consciousness is often compensated for by over-engagement in the aspect of consciousness of an adjacent chakra. A chakra that is diminished is usually due to a fear and will result in some kind of pain. The fear creates pain which may be a permutation of mental, emotional, spiritual or physical pain. The pain is there to help our souls to recognise the fear and to grow accordingly. When a fear is overcome and growth is happened, healing can happen instantly - just like magic.

Here are just a couple of examples of chakra imbalances.

  • A sacral chakra that is yellow (the colour of a healthy solar plexus chakra) would suggest over-thinking or controlling the emotions and deep feelings.
  • A base chakra that is orange would suggest attaching emotions to what should be an emotionless aspect of consciousness.
  • A horizontally elongated heart chakra is usually a sign of someone who wants to heal the world. This could indicate an upper chakra problem since faith in life and the universe bestows a sense that life is a process of development and our pain is needed to help us grow.
  • A sacral chakra that is horizontally elongated suggests over-engagement with emotions and particlualy with other people's. This could be because of a lack of heart chakra engagement.

The chakra system is complex and this is just an introduction but it is worth getting to know your self this way. The chakra system is a good way of understanding our souls and I routinely use chakra examination of my healing clients. Together with a perspective about someone's life, their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and their fears, problems and worries, it is a way of understanding people and helping them to improve their inner balance and their health.

Chakra balancing and healing meditation

You can find a guided meditation for discovering, healing and balancing your chakras at