A Beginner's Guide To The 7 Chakras

By Yogi Cameron
Yoga, Meditation, & Ayurveda Guru
Yogi Cameron has helped thousands of people tap into their spiritual side, having studied Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga since 2003. He became certified in Yoga at the Integral Yoga Institute in New York City as well as the Sri Satchidananda Ashram, and studied Ayurvedic Medicine at Arsha Vidya Peetam in South India and trained at the International Academy of Ayurveda in Pune, india. He’s been featured in ELLE, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and The London Times, and has appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Today Show, and more.
Yoga, Meditation, & Ayurveda Guru

The seven chakras are the main energy centers of the body. You've probably heard people talk about "unblocking" their chakras, which refers to the idea that when all of our chakras are open, energy can run through them freely, and harmony exists between the physical body, mind, and spirit. Chakra translates to "wheel" in Sanskrit, and you can imagine them like wheels of free-flowing positive energy.

In this beginner's guide, we'll introduce how to identify when any of your seven main chakras are out of balance. We'll also summarize the defining characteristics, elements, and colors of each chakra, from root to crown.

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1. Root Chakra (Muladhara)

The Muladhara, or root chakra, represents our foundation. On the human body, it sits at the base of the spine and gives us the feeling of being grounded. When the root chakra is open, we feel confident in our ability to withstand challenges and stand on our own two feet. When it's blocked, we feel threatened, as if we're standing on unstable ground.

  • Location: Base of spine, in tailbone area
  • What it controls: Survival issues such as financial independence, money, and food
  • Mantra: "I can't grow from an unsteady foundation."
  • Color: Red
  • Element: Earth
  • Stone: Hematite
  • Yoga pose: Warrior I
  • When it develops: 1-7 years old

2. Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana)

The Swadhisthana, or sacral chakra, helps inform how we relate to our emotions and the emotions of others. It also governs creativity and sexual energy. Those with a blocked sacral chakra could feel a lack of control in their lives.

  • Location: Lower abdomen, about 2 inches below the navel
  • What it controls: Your sense of abundance, well-being, pleasure, and sexuality
  • Mantra: "I always honor others but not before myself."
  • Color: Orange
  • Element: Water
  • Stone: Tiger's Eye
  • Yoga pose: Bound Angle Pose
  • When it develops: 8-14 years old

3. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)

The third chakra, the solar plexus chakra, speaks to your ability to be confident and in control of your life. Think back to the last time you had butterflies or felt a pit in the stomach: That's the Manipura chakra at work. If your solar plexus chakra is blocked, you might feel overwhelming amounts of shame and self-doubt. Those with open sacral chakras are free to express their true selves.

  • Location: Upper abdomen in the stomach area
  • What it controls: Self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem
  • Mantra: "Self-love starts when I accept all parts of myself."
  • Color: Yellow
  • Element: Fire
  • Stone: Amber
  • Yoga pose: Boat Pose
  • When it develops: 15-21 years old

4. Heart Chakra (Anahata)

The Anahata, or heart chakra, is the bridge between the lower chakras (associated with materiality) and the upper chakras (associated with spirituality). As the name suggests, this chakra can influence our ability to give and receive love—from others and ourselves. Someone with a blocked heart chakra will have difficulty fully opening up to the people in their life. If someone's heart is open, they can experience deep compassion and empathy.

  • Location: Center of chest, just above the heart
  • What it controls: Love, joy, and inner peace
  • Mantra: "When I love myself, loving others comes easily."
  • Color: Green
  • Element: Air
  • Stone: Rose Quartz
  • Yoga pose: Camel Pose
  • When it develops: 21-28 years old

5. Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)

The Vishuddha, or throat chakra, gives voice to the heart chakra and controls our ability to communicate our personal power. When it's functioning at full capacity, it allows us to express ourselves truly and clearly. Someone with a blocked throat chakra will feel like they have trouble finding the words to say how they truly feel.

  • Location: Throat
  • What it controls: Communication, self-expression, and truth
  • Mantra: "I speak my truth, always."
  • Color: Light Blue/Turquoise
  • Element: Sound/Music
  • Stone: Aquamarine
  • Yoga pose: Fish Pose
  • When it develops: 29-35 years old

6. Third-Eye Chakra (Ajna)

As we move up the body, we're getting closer to communion with the divine. The Anja, or third-eye chakra, controls our ability to see the big picture and connect to intuition. Think of it as the eye of the soul: It registers information beyond the surface level. Visions and intuitive hits are not uncommon for someone with an open third-eye chakra.

  • Location: Forehead between the eyes (also called the Brow Chakra)
  • What it controls: Intuition, imagination, and wisdom
  • Mantra: "I am open to exploring what cannot be seen."
  • Color: Dark Blue/Purple
  • Element: Light
  • Stone: Amethyst
  • Yoga pose: Child's Pose
  • When it develops: 36-42 years old

7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)

The Sahasrara, or crown chakra, the highest chakra, sits at the crown of the head and represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually. When you fully open your crown chakra—something very few people ever do!—you're able to access a higher consciousness.

  • Location: The very top of the head
  • What it controls: Inner and outer beauty, spiritual connection
  • Lesson: "I am a vessel for love and light."
  • Color: Violet/White
  • Element: Divine Consciousness
  • Stone: Clear quartz
  • Yoga pose: Headstand
  • When it develops: 43-49 years old

Now that you have a general overview, you can start to unblock and balance each of your chakras using these primers:

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More from the author:
Balance & Align Your Chakras To Increase Your Health And Find Your Purpose
Check out Chakras 101
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