What exactly are chakras in yogic philosophy? How do chakras influence your health?
The body stores emotions in the form of energy in the chakras. In his book Becoming Supernatural, Joe Dispenza provides a meditation technique designed to move your energy through your chakras, clearing away negativity and increasing the flow of positive energy.
Here’s how to balance chakras with meditation.
Understanding Your Energy Centers
There are seven major chakras in the body, in a straight line from the base of your spine to the crown of your head:
- The lowest three chakras, which are located in the lower half of your torso, are associated with survival—they contain energy related to sexuality and reproduction, digestion and elimination, and competition for survival. Emotions like anger, frustration, and guilt tend to get stored in these lower centers, particularly the third center, known as the “solar plexus.” This is why you often feel these emotions in your gut.
- The fourth chakra is located in the middle of your chest and is associated with your heart. This center generates the energy of love, compassion, and selflessness.
- The fifth chakra is located in the area of your throat and is associated with empowerment through language and expressions of truth.
- The sixth chakra is located in the middle of your head, behind the space between your eyebrows, and is sometimes called your “third eye.” This center is associated with higher states of consciousness.
- The seventh chakra is located at the top of your head and is associated with experiences of the divine or supernatural.
Dispenza says most people tend to hold the majority of their energy in the lower three chakras, and this keeps us mentally in survival mode. This means we go through life acting more on our instinctual drives than on our higher abilities. He explains that energy moves through your spinal cord via what he calls a “prana tube” and the goal of meditation is to move that energy from the lower chakras to the higher ones. Increasing energy in the higher chakras will shift your perspective from one of ego and survival to one of selflessness and connectedness. And he says breathwork can help you raise that energy, thereby increasing the power of your electromagnetic field and generating elevated emotions.
|How to Balance Chakras Through Kundalini Yoga
In this portion of the book, Dispenza is essentially describing kundalini yoga, though he uses different terminology for some of the concepts. According to kundalini yoga—which has its origins in the ancient Vedic texts of India—there is a powerful energy that lies dormant at the base of the spine, which is characterized as a sleeping serpent (Dispenza refers to it as a dragon). Through yoga practices, the serpent can be awakened and the energy directed upward through the chakras—or, energy centers—to the crown of the head, allowing access to a higher state of consciousness.
Each chakra is associated with different aspects of our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves and represents a different level of consciousness. When your energy isn’t correctly flowing through the chakras, according to this system, you’ll experience imbalance in these centers, causing the following problems:
1) Root chakra (Muladhara): An energy imbalance in the root chakra may cause you to feel a lack of purpose and ambition in life, causing feelings of stagnation and frustration.
2) Sacral chakra (Svadhisthana): Too much energy being held in the sacral chakra can lead to emotional explosiveness and an excess of sexual energy, while too little can cause a lack of energy and creativity.
3) Solar plexus chakra (Manipura): An imbalance in this area can lead to digestive issues, as well as anger, depression, and low self-worth.
4) Heart chakra (Anahata): When your heart chakra is imbalanced you may experience problems relating to others, such as jealousy, insecurity, and trust issues.
5) Throat chakra (Vishuddha): When this chakra is out of balance you’ll have problems with expressing yourself. This might manifest as a lack of confidence or timidness.
6) Third eye chakra (Ajna): An imbalance in the third eye can cause you to become overly egocentric, or the opposite—fearful of success. It can also cause headaches and vision problems.
7) Crown chakra (Sahasrara): Having an imbalance in the crown chakra can result in self-destructive behavior, thwarting your own progress toward enlightenment.
To raise your energy from your lower chakras to your heart and beyond, Dispenza offers an energy center meditation. This involves placing your awareness on your lowest chakra, at the base of your spine, and then feeling the space around that area. You will then send positive thoughts and emotions into that chakra. Then, you’ll move upward, doing the same thing for each of the chakras one by one.
After you’ve focused on each chakra and the energy around them, you’ll visualize all the energy around your whole body. This meditation should calm down your autonomic nervous system and allow you to raise the vibration of the energy throughout and around your body, moving the lower-chakra energy upward to the higher chakras. Dispenza offers a more detailed guided version of this meditation on his website.
(Shortform note: Although there’s little scientific evidence to support the existence of chakras, medical research does show that breathwork can have a healing effect on your body by calming your autonomic nervous system (ANS). In The Body Keeps the Score, psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk explains that your breathing pattern directly affects your heart rate variability (HRV), the balance between how your heart rate rises and falls. A healthy HRV indicates a healthy ANS, which allows you to stay calm in the face of challenges and also contributes to better physical health by keeping your stress hormones low.)
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Here's what you'll find in our full Becoming Supernatural summary:
- How to use the power of your thoughts to transform your physical reality
- Why you may be trapped in a vicious cycle of negativity
- A unique meditation method you can use to reprogram your subconscious