Illness is bred in the body not only as a result of genetic mutation or poor luck in health, not solely from smoking or eating bad food, for a disease is as much a degradation of the mind as it is of the body. The way one feels mentally, spiritually, and one’s attitude to life – all these things no matter how small play a part in the health of the body.
I was not one to be to believe that the thoughts produced in my mind, that my attitude to others and to my own life could negatively impact my well being, however, I could never be more wrong. Granted, growing up and even now I have always had a bright and positive disposition.
It is important to understand that one’s outlook on life, the words that one uses in everyday conversations and the personal thoughts and feelings that are kept in the darkest corners of the mind play a role in the integrity of the bodies wellness.
One way to look at the psychology of disease is through the seven Chakras of the body. The seven chakras include; the root chakra, the sacral chakra, the solar plexus chakra, the heart chakra, the throat chakra, the third eye chakra and lastly the crown chakra. Chakras are the seven centres of spiritual power housed within each human body. These energy centres each depict a precise level of consciousness within the individual’s body and control our psychological state as well as our connection to the physical, spiritual world and the energies from above. Visually depicted as wheels spinning down the middle of the body, they stem from The Vedas, which are old Indian texts that illustrate the birth of the cakravartin also known as the chakra or chariot wheels.
The energy, known as the “chi” enters the crown chakra from the cosmos, from there it moves down each chakra bringing new energy and healing by purifying negative emotions and removing negative energy associated with them. At the root chakra, the energy reverts and moves up the body being released at the crown and re-entering the cosmos.
If even one chakra is too open or too closed they will not allow the energy to flow through them properly, through this the individual’s soul will not be able to grow in maturity and understanding until they have sorted out their issues concerning the imbalanced chakras. Their balance is a reflection of the balance of the body. Like an ecosystem that needs to work synergistically at every level in order to maintain harmonic balance so does the body. If one chakra or organ of the body is unbalanced or not performing optimally, over time it will affect the integrity of the rest of the body resulting in illness.
Located at the base of the spine or the tip of the coccyx the root chakra is connected to the earth element providing structure, stability, a sense of vitality and grounding for the body – giving a sense of safety.
The root chakra with its slow vibrations and movements is directly connected to the crown chakra and the two together look over the hormones of the body. If either one is not properly balances the function of both will be compromised.
Obtaining influence from the colour red, it is depicted as a mass of swirling red light or a four-petaled lotus.The root chakra has a connection to the bones of the body (teeth, nails, etc), as well as the gonads, prostate, anus, colon and particularly the adrenal glands (which are a primary organ in a humans will for survival – producing and releasing cortisol which stimulate and propels our fight or flight response). The adrenal glands are also connected to the third chakra as they floor energy into the body.
Fear is a prominent negative aspect of the root chakra. When it becomes unbalanced fear can become a major issue. Fears of being emotionally and physically abandoned, an inability to move forward, a fear of change and an inability or difficulty to love oneself. It is important to build up one’s confidence with positive thoughts and actions. Experiencing and recounting feelings of gratitude, using “self-love” mantras, setting out goals and doing random acts of kindness can aid in balancing the root chakra as well as diminishing the feeling of fear.
Closed Root Chakra
When ones root chakra is too closed it can result in an individual who grows and develops into a person who is in constant worry about money, is poorly satisfied with life and their future prospects. It can result in very self-destructive and addictive behaviour.
Open Root Chakra
When ones root chakra is far too open it can lead to one feeling isolated and alone, not able to connect to the world. This can lead to a need for material possession, selfish and loveless behaviour.
How to Strengthen the Root Chakra
There are many things that one can do to bring balance back to their root chakra. Yoga and meditation can be incredibly beneficial. The Mountain Pose, Apanasana, fierce posture and forward bend are all a wonderful way to practise grounding the body to the earth and reconnecting with the planet and the rest of your body. Padmasana or the lotus position is a wonderful yoga pose that works very well at grounding body and soul. In this position silent meditation, verbal chanting and deep breathing can send positive vibrations throughout the body stimulating the root chakra at the base of the spine; lighting a cedar incense or diffusing or applying patchouli, cedarwood, sandalwood, vetiver or ylang-ylang essential oil while practising yoga or meditating is very positively stimulating to the root chakra.
The practice of qigong is another wonderful way to bring balance back to the root chakra. Cleansing and bringing strength to the organs associated with the root chakra is another beneficial way to bring stability as is massaging one’s feet. Walking in nature as well as walking barefoot on grass or earth can be very grounding for the root chakra.
Carrying stones on one’s person that are associated with the root chakra can aid one in strengthening an unbalance. Hematite, red jasper, lodestone, ruby, garnet, bloodstone and black onyx are all strongly associated with the root chakra.
The Sacral chakra is purifying, providing one with a sense of joy. It holds feminine principals as it is associated with the ovaries and uterus (along with the bladder, hips, kidneys and the large intestine).
Located at the pelvis or sacrum the sacral chakra is associated with the element of water and is a fast-moving and vibrating chakra in the body. It creates a fluid movement throughout the body allowing feeling, creativity and emotions.
The colour orange radiates from this chakra as does a six-petaled lotus. The sacral chakra warrants independence of the self but also a sharing aspect towards others. It is often seen as a feminine chakra due to its connection to the womb, ovaries and menstrual cycle as well as its connection to the moon – which is seen to regulate fertility and menstruation.
Guilt is a prominent negative aspect of this chakra. When it becomes unbalanced guilt can become unmanageable. When the sacral chakra is strong it allows for one to be able to do what is best for themselves all the while expressing empathy and understanding towards others. A strong feeling of guilt can wear down on an individual making it hard to express their emotions resulting in feeling very weighted down and emotionally drained. Avoiding friends and family, or people altogether, giving up hope, will and determination and feeling miserable and meaningless.
Closed Sacral Chakra
When the sacral chakra is closed it results in a lack of balance in one’s life. One is not able to do what they love in life, they withdraw from social situations, family and friends, becoming reclusive. They are unable to focus on the ‘self’ and instead work on helping others as they place their needs farther away from importance.
Open Sacral Chakra
Addictive behaviours, violence, manipulation, abandonment jealousy can all become issues when one’s sacral chakra is too open. It is very beneficial for such an individual to practice calm meditation, massages, aromatherapy and reflexology on organs pertaining to the sacral chakra. As the chakra element is water it is recommended that one take warm or hot baths with orange or mandarin essential oils, swimming in a heated pool or enjoying a spa.
How to Strengthen the Sacral Chakra
The practice of yoga is beneficial for all chakras, however, each chakra will associate with a distinct pose to bring back balance. The Sacral chakra benefits greatly from thePaschimotanasana pose as well as Karma yoga. Karma yoga combines actions and yoga poses, and requests of the individual to act, think and be willing in their everyday actions without expecting a favourable outcome. Incorporating damiana, orris root or gardenia incense into the practice is beneficial.
Massage is another wonderful way to bring balance back to the Sacral Chakra. Lomi Lomi is such a massage and incorporating rose, rosemary, ylang-ylang, geranium, jasmine, sandalwood, juniper, tangerine or petitgrain essential oils into the massage can give a great added benefit.
As water is the element of the sacral chakra it is beneficial to incorporate it into the reawakening and balancing of the chakra. Swimming, hot baths or showers, walking in rain, by the ocean or by a moving river. A balanced sacral chakra is able to flow through life – not without incident – but without judgement, expressing positivity and creative expression. Dancing, which uses the hips and lower abdomen – the house of the sacral chakra is another way to nurture and strengthen it.
Carrying stones on one’s person can give extra strength and flow to this chakra. Gemstones that connect with the sacral chakra include; carnelian, coral, moonstone, orange calcite, carnelian, yellow zircon.
The Solar Plexus chakra transforms knowledge, is a haven of self-worth and a predominantly of masculine principles. Fast and expansive its element is fire and it creates warmth and heat throughout the body as it moves upwards.
Located in the navel or belly button, the solar plexus is also connected to the organs around the navel such as the digestive system, liver, spleen, gallbladder, pancreas and when balanced aids in the production of insulin.
The colour yellow radiates from this chakra as does a ten petaled lotus. The solar plexus chakra’s chief operating force is combustion and the desire and right to act – it is a driven chakra that strives to compete, win, succeed and conquer. When used properly and positively such drive-in one’s life can lead to great things, however like with all things in life if unbalanced the end result may not be the best.
Shame is a prominent negative aspect of this chakra. When it becomes unbalanced one can begin to question their self-worth, intuition and drive. Shame is deep-rooted and it reflects negatively on the mechanisms of the body particularly slowing down digestion. Shame can bring about a negative relationship with food, feeling that one needs comfort or indulgence to make them feel better when the act of bingeing, purging and restricting only makes the shame more prominent.
Balancing the Solar Plexus
When you begin to bring awareness to your solar plexus (or bring it back into balance) you awaken and resurface held back emotions such as anger, hurt or fear. It is essential to deal with these issues so as to be able to bring balance to the chakra and the body as a whole.
When the solar plexus is too open, it is very likely for the individual to experience a great deal of anger – this can be pushed down, however, the more that one suppresses their feelings the more unbalanced the chakra will become as will the rest of the body. This can lead to poor self-esteem, a lack of confidence, inability to be independent, poor motivation, no drive in life and an overall poorer self-image and worth. It will also result in poor digestion, possible ulcers, liver disease and IBS.
One of the best ways to begin to bring balance back into the solar plexus chakra is to cleanse the body and improve digestion. Using Yoga and meditation to reawaken the chakra is also beneficial – though suppressed emotions will resurface it is essential to deal with them so as to be able to move forward. Doing assiyana bandha pose, bhujangasana, bow pose or a pike pose all aid in strengthening the solar plexus. Practicing qigong, jogging or power walking also aid in feeling the fire of the chakra.
Deep breathing into the belly or lower intestines, observe and feel the breath expanding and feeding the fire of your solar plexus, concentrate on how your body feels, your organs. Feel the breath flowing into your body, moving downwards and feel it escaping your lips as it takes with it anger, fear and hurt leaving you lighter, happier and stronger. Using incense or essential oils while you meditate and practise deep breathing aids in strengthening the solar plexus. Juniper, lavender, lemongrass, bergamot and rosemary are strengthening and balancing essential oils for the solar plexus; Woodruff, dragon’s breath, sandalwood, ginger and cinnamon are solar plexus balancing incense.
Carrying stones on your person can also aid in strengthening and balancing your solar plexus chakra. These include; Tigers eye, Topaz, Yellow Citrine, Yellow Jasper, Amber, Rutilated quartz.
The Heart chakra is all about self-love, it is unconditionally giving, compassionate and healing. Located in the chest or heart it is a fast-paced and stimulating chakra that creates constant motion in the body.
Connected to the element or air it has a strong influence on the heart, sternum, upper back, breast, general function of lungs, blood and oxygen circulation. if there is an imbalance in the chakra these areas will be affected. It is one of the most chakras in the body as it holds an equilibrium for the other six (as there are three above and three below) having the heart be the centre for the converging energies.
The colour green radiates from this chakra as does a twelve-petaled lotus. The heart chakra’s right is to love and it is properly developed in the body between the ages of three and a half and seven making it incredibly crucial to show and give children love and compassion as they grow and develop.
Grief is a strong negative aspect of the heart chakra. When something does not go our way or we are not okay with the fact that issues may not go our way and when the heart chakra is blocked or out of balance it can result in a great deal of grief. When it is left unchecked it can lead to longstanding sadness. Love is necessary to allow the chakra and the grief to soften.
Balancing the Heart Chakra
An unbalanced heart chakra is associated with bodily ailments such as asthma, allergies, pneumonia and heart disease. One becomes concerned with their emotional security and comfort and has trouble with self-acceptance and compassion.
To bring balance back to the heart chakra it is important to become aware of it. Through meditation concentrate on how the chakra feels, is it warm or cold, do you feel constricted or free? Awareness of this chakra allows you to feel and experience unconditional love for all living forms as well as a connection to the universe.
All the hurt, sadness, grief that was bottled up in the body is let go resolved and released with a gentle ease. The heart chakra gives a great deal of love but it also requires love in return, therefore, it is essential to surround yourself with loving, caring and positive people as a way to keep the heart chakra in balance.
Laughter is incredible at opening the heart chakra and the more open the chakra is the easier it will be to laugh and love (laughter has also been shown to be beneficial against high blood pressure). Qigong through the stimulation of the lung and circulatory system also aids in stimulating the heart chakra. Because the heart chakra is also associate with touch it is important to exercise this sense through massage and physical contact. With touch give off positive vibration, making sure that all actions are conveyed with care and love.
Yoga is another practice that again aids in bringing balance.The virabhadrasana pose and Bhakti yoga are spiritual and emotional practices that aid in generating love and devotion in the body.When the heart chakra is balanced you will feel peace, compassion and love. Using incense such as lavender, orris root, yarrow, jasmine, marjoram and meadowsweet or essential oils such as peppermint and eucalyptus can give the body extra strength to stabilize and heal the heart chakra.
Keeping stones on one’s person such as Moss agate, Rose Quartz, Aventurine, emeralds, tourmaline and jade.
The Throat chakra is all about self-expression, communication, will, creativity and feelings. Possessed with the right to speak and be heard the throat chakra is connected with the element of ether or space.
Located in the throat, this chakra is fast paced and in need of room or space to move within the form, it creates if there is no space there will be no form. The throat chakra has a strong influence on the neck, thyroid, parathyroid gland, ears, windpipe and upper lung. Its chief operating force is resilience, it is strong and has great willpower.
The colour blue radiates from this chakra as does a sixteen petaled lotus. The throat chakra’s right is to use one’s voice and it is properly developed in the body between the ages of seven and twelve, making it important to allow children to be heard, to form their own opinions and to express themselves in a loving and positive environment.
Lies, dishonesty and a lack of integrity are all strong negative aspects of the throat chakra. When the chakra is suppressed or out of balance it can lead to an inability for an individual to find their voice, for others it may result in them being deceitful and lying as well as an inability to express feeling and thoughts.
Balancing the Throat Chakra
When the throat chakra becomes unstable the throat can begin to feel constricted, dry, itchy or perhaps there is a little tickle at the back of it. When it becomes very severe it can result in thyroid problems, hearing problems, an issue with keeping and/or respecting time. The chakra when unbalanced or if there is too much of it in the body can begin to become an individual’s worst enemy as one is unable to provide themselves with justice, they cannot stand up for themselves and quietly allow themselves to be pushed aside or down.
If there is too much throat chakra one may become unable to properly express themselves, such an individual will rarely if ever stop to listen to the advice of others and may become incredibly prejudiced and unable to accept or listen to the opinions of others. Working towards forgiveness, self-love and love towards others can begin a great healing journey for the throat chakra.
To begin to balance the throat chakra drumming on the chest softly with the hands, humming loudly, chanting a mantra such as;
I am willing to express my true self and hence fully participate in my own creation. [or] I accept and embrace change.
Meditation and prayer are also healing. While meditating or praying using incense such as frankincense, benzoin or mace as well as essential oils such as geranium and sweet birch can aid in positively stimulating the throat chakra.
Work on your creativity and communication, participate in an art class, dance class, poetry reading or book club. Such an environment will stimulate your creative side and enhance and work on your communication skills. Qigong facial massage is also very beneficial for balancing and strengthening the throat chakra as it relaxes the face, releasing tension in the jaw and mouth. Yoga also works wonders for opening the throat chakra such as the shoulder stand pose, Halasana/Matsyasana and mantra yoga – yoga and chanting.
Carrying gemstones on ones person to stimulate and strengthen the throat chakra is wonderful – especially if you are going to be doing a big speech or talk – it aids in opening your throat chakra and keeping you rooted. These stones include; Blue Lace Agate, Apatite, Angelite, Turquoise, Aquamarine and Celestite.
The Third Eye or brow chakra is all about self-responsibility, it holds the moral code of the body, mind and soul and gives us a sense of what is right and what is not. It allows us to see beyond what our eyes perceive.
It is located between the eyes or at the top of the forehead, the third eye is fast paced, moving quicker than the throat chakra. It has a strong influence on the face, nose, sinuses, ears, eyes, brain, function of the pituitary gland, cerebellum, central nervous system, and the centre of the forehead.
The mind’s eye or third eye is associated with pure energy and a knowledge of all things in the universe, it provides us with insight and intuition. When the mind eye is fully open it holds its full potential to be able to separate the truth from reality, providing wisdom. The colour indigo radiates from this chakra as does a ninety-six petalled lotus.
Illusion is a strong negative aspect of the third eye chakra. Many things in this world can dazzle us, however, we must be able to see them for what they are. The third eye when it is functioning optimally allows the individual to distinguish between false visions. This will allow one to begin to do what is right and moral as they see it, they will be provided with clarity and intuition – perceiving more accurately the world around them, discovering what is the best for their self.
Balancing the Third Eye Chakra
When the third eye is out of balance you may often experience vision problems, headaches and nightmares. You may find that you constantly make ill choices in life and seem to have your eyes clouded from the truth. To strengthen the third eye chakra it is important to locate the centre of the forehead and focus on the mind’s eye, feels its pace and its presence. Imagine it at the centre of the brain and feel it extend to the base of your feet and onwards as well as through the top of your head and towards the universe. Take time in visualizing its presence in your mind.
Use mediation as a way to bring focus and connectivity to the third eye chakra. Visualize the colour indigo and it radiating as a ninety six-petaled lotus from the mind. Yoga can aid in strengthening and bringing balance to the third eye, Yantra – the yoga of movement is a very beneficial practice as is Nataraja sana. Incorporating incense such as mugwort, star anise, acacia and saffron can aid in stimulating the third eye as well as lavender and magnolia essential oils. Carrying gemstones on your person can aid in opening up the third eyes. These include; Lapis Lazuli, Prehnite, quartz and star sapphire.
The Crown chakra is all about self-knowing and one’s higher purpose in life, it’s symbol is thought and a connection with divinity. It’s right is the right to know and the crown chakra is grown and develops over a lifetime.
Located at the top of the head, cerebral cortex or the central nervous system the crown chakra is constantly extending towards the sky and the universe. It has a strong connection with the cerebrum and pituitary (primarily the pineal gland).
The crown chakra is associated with the complete union of the spirit and a true knowing of oneself. It provides us with true understanding and an ability to surrender oneself and be of service to a higher power or the energy of the universe. The colours purple, violet or white radiates from this chakra as does a 1000 or 972 petalled lotus.
Attachment is a strong negative aspect of the crown chakra. When one becomes irresponsibly attached to another person or to a material object it is often at such instances when depression, alienation, boredom, an inability to concentrate or learn as well as confusion can become present in their life. When you begin to hold yourself back from what you should be truly doing with your life you close the crowns connection with the universe and as such lose a connection with the rest of your body.
Balancing the Crown Chakra
A weak crown chakra can lead to an individual fostering a great deal of fear and phobia in their life. Instead of relying on their own ability to live the life they become paralyzed and look towards other or material goods to bring their life meaning and purpose. This also leaves one unable to enjoy the many pleasures and wonders of life. It is important to feel the bliss of life and come to a realization of what their universal identity is.
To bring awareness to the crown chakra one must grow in self-confidence, a belief in your higher purpose in life. Walking in the sun aids in stimulating and strengthening the crown chakra as does yoga mudra or crown Mundra. This yoga pose requires you to sit on the floor cross-legged, relax into a rhythmic breathing and lay the left hand on the top of the head and the right on the coccyx. Sit like this for several minutes as you concentrate on your breathing and concentrating on the opening of the crown chakra.
Crystal meditation is another great way to strengthen your crown chakra. By placing a gemstone (either a howlite, labradorite, amethyst, diamond, quartz (clear) or selenite) on the top of your head while meditating allows to crown chakra to open up and be strengthened. This also aids in creating and cleansing the energy within the body and leaving a spirit that is pure. It is also beneficial after meditation and qigong (which is also great for the crown) to do a basic yoga (Bakasana and Sirsasana are also beneficial) stance and concentrating on visualizing your crown chakra opening up to the universe above as you practise rhythmic breathing. The use of Lotus and Gotu kola incense or frankincense and gardenia essential oils can aid in strengthening and stimulating the crown chakra.
Fenton, S. (2009).Simply Chakras.Sterling Publishing Company: New York.
Leadbeater, C.W. (1972).The Chakras.Quest Books: United States.
Mercier, P. (2000).Chakras: Balance Your Body’s Energy for Health and Harmony. Godsfield Press: New York.
Minchi, P.M. (2009).Chakra foods for Optimal Health. Conari Press. San Francisco.
Seidman, M. (2009).Balancing the Chakra. North Atlantic Books. California.
Selby, A. (2006).The Chakra Energy Plan. Sterling Publishing Company. New York.