‘Prana’ is the energy that flows throughout the body and allows it to carry out bodily functions that are vital for life. We can think of prana as flowing along nadis (meaning ‘rivers’ in Sanskrit).

Chakras (meaning ‘wheels’) represent the points at which nadis cross over. We hold 7 of these meeting points as the main energy centres of the body. Each chakra has its own symbolic meaning and we can use them to help us understand and find a solution to the many problems we encounter in life.

1. Root Chakra (Muladhara)

Located at the perenium, this is the foundation of our being. We have a dominant root chakra when we have to focus on self-preservation: it drives us to prioritise food and sleep. A blocked root chakra prevents us from opening higher chakras, i.e. we must always fulfil our physical requirements first.

2. Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana)

This chakra allows us to enjoy the world. Someone with an open sacral chakra has a passion for life and its pleasures. A blocked sacral chakra symbolises the lack of energy for creativity, movement, desire and relationships.

3. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)

This chakra symbolises our perception of self, therefore influences our confidence and self-discipline. It is where we source our energy to take action: meet challenges and move forward in life. When this chakra is out-of-balance it can cause us to become either over-confident/over-ambitious, or lack self-esteem.

4. Heart Chakra (Anahata)

This is our centre of love, warmth, altruism and joy. It symbolises our ability to be compassionate towards others, ourselves and the environment. We can think of a blocked heart chakra as a lack of desire to act with loving-kindness. Conversely, a heart chakra that is too open will cause us to empathise too intensely, or give too much of ourselves.

5. Throat Chakra (Vishudda)

Energy from the throat chakra can be very powerful because it is associated with self-expression and communication. It allows us to express our truth and project creativity into the world. In a practical sense, an open throat chakra enables clear and confident speech. An imbalance at the throat chakra may cause a fear of public speaking, or conversely cause one to speak too much/inappropriately.

6. Third Eye Chakra (Anja)

This is referred to as a third-eye because it allows us to see things the way they truly are. We cannot always rely on our 5 senses. An open and balanced third-eye chakra brings clarity, strong intuition, self-awareness and emotional balance.

7. Crown Chakra (Samsara)

Located at the top of the head, we can think of the crown chakra as our wisdom. To bring energy to the crown chakra is to reach a higher state of consciousness where we can think beyond our personal pre-occupations to achieve a sense of peace.

Published by Mary Barry

Yoga instructor

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