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A Yogi’s Guide: Introduction to the Chakra Energy System

Have you ever wondered what the chakras actually are?

Maybe you’ve heard about them online, at your favorite yoga class, or from your friends, but the concept seems abstract and difficult to grasp in a practical way. Sure, everyone’s all about opening their “Third Eye,” but what does that actually mean?

Remember, though, that the chakra system is one of the most ancient human systems. Plus, yogis aren’t the only ones who work with chakras. Buddhists also work these energy centers as do several indigenous cultures, including the Quechua, who refer to chakras as ñawis.

Chakras aren’t all theory either. Some scientists have noted that the chakra system corresponds to certain body parts, glands, and especially to the spine and nervous system. In fact, holistic healers often observe that certain physical conditions and traits are correlated with different imbalances in the chakras.

In this article, we’ll go over the subtle body, chakra openings, how imbalances manifest, and how to balance your chakras.

What Are Chakras?

Chakras are wheels of electromagnetic energy located in the human body that influence and reflect behavior, experience, beliefs, and interactions with others. They act as satellite dishes, absorbing environmental information and becoming stagnant and blocked or free flowing based on conditions. 

The bottom three chakras, or the lower triangle, govern self-consciousness, will, and survival. Much like the foundation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, they represent our fundamental needs for safety and security. They are the basis of our personality, our will, and our emotional experience. 

Since the bottom three chakras drive our ability to take care of ourselves, it’s important to ensure they’re in balance before attempting to dive too deeply into upper chakra work.

The middle chakra, known as the heart chakra, connects the lower three chakras to the top three, forming a bridge between individual and communal, physical survival and transcendence. It moves beyond self-preservation and into connection.

The top three chakras connect to how we engage with the world and spiritual principles of awareness, consciousness, and enlightenment. They represent our ability to speak out truth, engage with other beings, understand the deeper meaning of our experience, and develop our connection to the cosmos.

Chakras can become blocked or imbalanced in a variety of ways. Negative experiences such as growing up in poverty or having our heart broken might create imbalances in the root or heart chakra. An imbalanced root chakra might cause someone to hoard or worry constantly about money, while an imbalanced heart chakra might deter someone from entering a relationship.

They may also be over or underactive as a result of our culture, conditioning, or belief system.

When a chakra is overactive, that means it’s sending out too much energy, disrupting the flow and processes of the rest of the energy body. When it’s underactive, it’s blocked or weakened, resulting in a weakened energy system. Either way, there are plenty of tools to help you come back into balance.

Introduction to Energy Centers in the Body

Root chakra

Keywords: Stability, security, safety on earth, material success, survival 

Color: Red

Overactive: Aggressive, combative, competitive, easily threatened, jealous, selfish

Underactive: Passive, easily victimized, disassociates from their body, doesn’t take care of survival needs, feels unsafe on the earth


My needs are always provided for.

I am safe, secure and welcome on the earth.

I create the conditions I need to thrive.

It is safe to be in my body.

Vibrating more densely than the other six main chakras, the root chakra is closest to the physical, material realm. So, it guides our physical survival — our needs for food, resources, shelter, and our ability to be safe from harm such as abuse or natural disasters. 

Social connection is also part of survival, so the root chakra is also related to being supported, accepted, and taken care of. When these needs aren’t met, it can lead someone to be in a panicked, fight-or-flight mode. Likewise, someone who grew up in an unstable environment, who is struggling financially in a recession, or who has lived a nomadic life may also struggle with root chakra issues.

Chakra Balancing: As you can imagine, it’s very hard to feel connected, creative, and inspired (all elements of the higher chakras) when you’re worried about where your next paycheck is coming from. So, it’s very important to nurture and balance the root chakra. 

This might look like working on the energy center itself (via energy work, visualization, or meditation) as well as working on any conditions that are contributing to imbalance. This could include therapy to resolve issues around safety, getting a more secure and stable job, or settling somewhere to put down roots.

Sacral Chakra

Keywords: Creativity, sensuality, pleasure, sensory experiences, emotions, empathy

Color: Orange

Overactive: Gluttonous, superficial, sensation-seeking, emotional flooding, takes in the feelings of others, addictive

Underactive: Repressed feelings, low libido, overly intellectual, self-sacrificing, judgemental of sensual pleasures


I enjoy pleasure in all areas of my life.

I am safe to enjoy sensuality.

I am a creative being.

My emotions flow easily.

Vibrating at a slightly higher rate than the root, the sacral chakra connects to our sensory experience. It governs all of the things that enable us to enjoy life in a physical body, whether it’s the smell of blueberry muffins or the feel of warm sand beneath your toes. It’s also the seat of emotions (with the exception of love, which is the province of the heart chakra). 

An excessively authoritarian environment that denigrates physical pleasures would likely be detrimental to the sacral chakra, as would the excessively indulgent lifestyle. An underactive sacral chakra may lead to creative blocks, lack of libido, and an inability to enjoy life. An overactive sacral chakra can lead to addiction, compulsive behaviors, materialism, or confusing sensuality with love.

An overactive sacral chakra can also mean an overstimulated energy body, leading to emotionally driven addictions. Empathic people who resonate strongly with other people’s emotions will typically have an overactive sacral. Finally, this center is associated with creativity, so creative inspiration or lack thereof can reflect on its health. 

Chakra Balancing: In addition to chakra clearing meditations and energy work, balancing an underactive sacral chakra might involve creative expression, practicing grounding and being rooted in the body, and releasing any tendencies to judge pleasure. Balancing an overactive sacral might look like balancing excessive emotion with logic and tending to any addictive tendencies.

Solar Plexus Chakra

Keywords: Personal will, will power, confidence, motivation

Color: Yellow

Overactive: Egotistical, stubborn, self-absorbed, domineering, controlling

Underactive: Victim mentality, low self-esteem, indecisive, lack of purpose, unable to say no, people pleasing


It is safe for me to be powerful.

I am the creator of my life.

I compare myself only to my highest self.

My personal story is valuable.

Vibrating more quickly than the root or sacral chakras, the solar plexus is the fuel and engine for the upper chakras. It’s the seat of will — determination, commitment, power, and your level of controlling or being controlled. A balanced solar plexus enables healthy assertiveness, decision-making abilities, personal power, and drive to pursue life goals.

A healthy solar plexus chakra will give you a strong foundation of self-worth and self-preservation. Without it, you may collapse into frequent self-doubt, insecurity, codependency, and people-pleasing. You may find it difficult to make decisions, stay focused,  and follow through on your commitments. You may look for a rescuer or someone to guide and direct you. This leaves you vulnerable to being manipulated.

An overactive solar plexus chakra can fuel feelings of superiority as well as a domineering, aggressive way of relating to others. You may have difficulty letting go of control, be extremely stubborn, and come off as arrogant.

Whether under or overactive, an imbalanced solar plexus chakra can often result from disempowering or abusive experiences. One person who was bullied in school might have never developed healthy assertiveness via the solar plexus chakra, while another person may have reacted to bullying by becoming tough and aggressive.

Chakra Balancing: To open up a blocked solar plexus, you might try affirmations for self-worth,  yoga asana (try Warrior Pose), or learning to assert yourself. If you have an overstimulated solar plexus, you might need therapy to reduce aggressive tendencies or to try conflict resolution techniques.

Heart Chakra

Keywords: Empathy, love, connection

Color: Green

Overactive: An overactive heart chakra is rare. Heart chakra energy is based in love, which naturally heals the self and others. However, those with very open heart chakras may end up absorbing other people’s feelings and moods to their own detriment.

Underactive: Mistrustful, resentful, difficulty receiving from others, giving from a sense of obligation rather than genuine goodwill, disconnected, isolated


It is safe for me to love.

It is safe for me to receive.

I choose to be free and happy.

I am releasing all painful thoughts of my past.

While the sacral chakra governs most of our emotions, the balanced, healing energy of genuine love is governed by the heart chakra. It’s hard to make a case for too much love, though people who are excessively affected by the feelings of others will need to do boundary and protection work to care for themselves.

Empathy, compassion, and our ability to connect to others based in shared humanity are all aspects of the heart chakra. Many intuitives will first meditate to open the heart chakra and connect to their clients before giving a reading, as it’s a direct line of communication to the other person that’s not obscured by intellect.

Our heart center is very wise, as is the physical heart itself. In fact, though most people believe that the physical heart “obeys” orders from the brain, it’s most often the other way around. Scientists have also found that hearts will resonate with other hearts

Just as you might expect, a closed heart chakra will make it hard to open up to love, trust, and have deep connection with others. It can lead to isolation, resentment, and bitterness, or it can cause you to sabotage healthy relationships out of fear. A balanced heart chakra allows for empathy, kindness, and connection, with strong and self-supportive boundaries.

Chakra Balancing: Working on heart chakra blockages might involve releasing past heartbreaks (writing a letter and burning it is a good technique), connecting to animals (it’s easy to open up when you see a sweet puppy’s face), or practicing gratitude. Empaths and those with very open heart centers might try working on boundaries or use crystals and essential oils to keep them energetically protected. 

Throat Chakra

Keywords: Communication, authenticity, truth, expression

Color: Blue

Overactive: Lack of filter, critical communicator, gossiping, condescending, difficulty listening

Underactive: Difficulty speaking up, insecure, small voice, shy, insecure, passive


I have a right to speak my truth.

I know when to listen.

I am open and honest in my communication.

I can be honest and loving at the same time.

The throat chakra represents our ability to speak our truth with love. When in balance, we stand up for ourselves, state our true opinion when appropriate, and speak confidently and clearly. We’ll find that others understand us easily and respond to us positively. When out of balance, we’ll either be very quiet or overly verbose, speaking our mind without a filter.

Those who grew up in environments where their voice was suppressed or where it wasn’t safe to speak their truth will likely have to work in this energy center. They may find they frequently have sore throats, lose their voice a lot, stumble over their words, or speak impulsively, revealing too much. People frequently misunderstand them, so they may feel unheard and unseen, leading to even deeper throat chakra issues.

Those with overactive throat chakras have the stereotypical “big mouth.” They might not be able to keep a secret, and they may use words as a weapon. They may broadcast their beliefs loudly on social media, commenting and criticizing people when they weren’t asked for their opinion. They may have selective hearing and miss what other people have to say. 

Chakra Balancing: Balancing the throat chakra might look like writing a letter, making a decision to be honest about something, and learning communication skills. Singing and chanting are also excellent. Someone with an overactive throat chakra might practice giving other people a chance before they speak using mindfulness meditation. By learning to balance this energy center, they can diminish feelings of antagonism and alleviate miscommunication.

Third Eye Chakra

Keywords: Intuition, imagination, vision, beliefs, perception

Color: Violet

Overactive: Excessive daydreaming, scattered, mentally foggy, anxiety, lack of clarity, overactive imagination that can lead to fear and worry

Underactive: Overly intellectual, difficulty trusting, lack of self-awareness, lack of intuition


It is safe for me to trust my inner knowing.

I’m at peace with my thoughts.

My mind is calm.

I embrace creative and imaginative thinking.

It is safe for me to see the truth.

Vibrating at a much higher rate than lower chakras, the third eye point connects you more deeply to your intuition, which may present itself to you as imagination, vivid dreams, and visualization. When your third eye is open, you can see the truth about situations without relying on logic. You might instinctively understand whether or not someone is good or bad for you.

You’ll have a heightened imagination and ability to think symbolically and metaphorically. You learn visually, appreciate visual art, and may daydream a lot. If this is excessive, you may become “lost in the clouds,” feel detached from your physical body, struggle with too much intuitive information, and feel confused or foggy. If you tend to merge with the ideas of others, you may find you lose a sense of self.

When underactive, you may struggle with imagination and visualization. You may find it difficult to think creatively or to envision other people’s points of view. Highly attached to the concrete world, you may only trust what you see.

Chakra Balancing: Many newcomers to spirituality want to dive into the third eye right away, but that’s not a good idea. Without a strong, stable foundation, you can easily slip into fantasy or become ungrounded. After working on the lower chakras, you might try visualization, meditation, and other spiritual practices to open your third eye. If you find you’re too open, learn about energetic boundaries and work on continuously grounding yourself into the here and now.

Crown Chakra

Keywords: Spirituality, connection, collective consciousness, purpose, enlightenment

Color: White

Overactive: Overwhelm, ungroundedness, spaciness, neglectful of physical needs, spiritual elitism, obsessed with spirituality, overly empathetic

Underactive: Lack of inspiration, no belief in a higher force, closed-minded, rigid


I am connected to a higher power.

I am fulfilling my spiritual purpose on the earth.

The earth is my home.

I take care of my body.

I am open to new beliefs and ideas.

The crown chakra vibrates faster than any other chakras in the body, and connects you directly to source energy. When open, you may find you simply “know” things, as you’re deeply tapped into the universal mind and are open to insight coming from the collective. You may understand the concept of “oneness” more than most. 

Many people strive for spiritual enlightenment to the point where they want to disengage from anything earthly. That’s a sign of an overstimulated crown chakra. We’re here on earth for a reason. It’s important to balance the spiritual and the physical. When too open, the crown can open you to an overwhelming amount of information that you’re not equipped to handle. 

Closed crown chakras are more common however. This can lead to feelings of apathy around spirituality, cynicism, and disbelief.

Chakra Balancing: It’s important to have a solid basis in the lower chakras before attempting to open this energy center. Without this basis, you’re like an electrical circuit with no grounding. You can gently open this center through meditation and other spiritual practices. 

If you struggle with an overactive crown chakra, grounding is essential. You can also try putting your hands on your head when you’re feeling spacey and confused. Be certain that your physical, earthly needs are cared for regularly.

You Can Balance Your Chakras

Chakra balancing will make your life run more smoothly and help you resolve the core issues in your life. Each energy center governs areas such as survival, personal will, communication, and enlightenment. Each can become blocked through experience, beliefs, or the way you live your life. When over or underactive, chakras can create physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual ailments. Much more than a woo woo concept, the chakras correspond with organs in our body, with our spine, and with our nervous systems.

Take control of your life by controlling your energy today!

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