What Are Chakras?

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 28, 2021

Some spiritual views hold that our body is more than just physical and mental, it’s also an energetic system called chakras. Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means wheel or cycle. There are seven main chakras situated along the spine, from the base of your spine to the crown of your head. This age-old belief has become integrated into many New Age styles of thought.

Chakras are thought to provide subtle energy that helps your organs, mind, and intellect work at their best level. Chakras and spiritual energy have not been thoroughly examined in medical studies, but they may help you think about your own mind and body like any religion or belief. 

The Seven Main Chakras

The root chakra - Muladhara

The root chakra, or Muladhara in Sanskrit, is the first and primary chakra, believed to be located at the base of your spine. It is linked with the color red and the element earth.

The root chakra is thought to affect how you connect to the world and to control feelings of survival, ambition, dependency, and stability. As the primary source of energy, its unbalance can lead to feelings of deep fear and insecurity that hurt your drive to succeed, causing feelings of frustration and lack of purpose. 

When the root chakra is balanced, it is thought to create feelings of security, positivity, energy, independence, and strength.

The sacral chakra - Svadhishthana

Below the navel, the svadhisthana chakra radiates the color orange and represents the element water. The sacral chakra is considered to be responsible for sexuality, creativity, intuitiveness, self-worth, compassion, and adaptability. When the sacral chakra is unstable, it’s thought to cause emotional outbursts, a lack of creativity, and sex-obsessed thoughts.

The solar plexus chakra -Manipura

The Sanskrit name of the solar plexus chakra, Manipura, means city of jewels, and it’s believed to be found between the ribcage and the navel. Its color is yellow, and it is tied to the fire element.

For those who believe in chakras, the solar plexus chakra is the center of self-esteem and emotions like ego, anger, and aggression. It is thought to present itself on a physical level through digestive problems, liver problems, or diabetes. On an emotional level, if the solar plexus chakra is imbalanced, it is believed to cause feelings of depression and low self-esteem. When it’s balanced, it would become a source of energy, productivity, and confidence.

The heart chakra -Anahata

Connected to organs such as the heart and lungs, the heart chakra is believed to lie at the middle of the cardiovascular system. The heart chakra connects lower chakras to the higher ones. Its color is green, and its element is air. 

The heart chakra is considered a link to compassion, trust, passion, and love for self and others. When Anahata Chakra is out of balance, it is believed to cause anger, lack of trust, anxiety, jealousy, fear, and moodiness. An overactive heart chakra is thought to lead to high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and heart problems.

The throat chakra - Vishuddha

Vishuddha, the throat chakra, is thought to control the neck, mouth, tongue, and other parts of the throat area. The throat chakra's color is blue, and its element is ether. The throat chakra is tied to self-expression, communication, and confidence. Balancing throat chakra is believed to regulate the flow of hormones and help inner thoughts to be spoken in a positive manner. 

The third eye chakra -Ajna

The third eye or Ajna chakra is set between the eyebrows. The third eye has no elemental association but is represented by color indigo. Often used in asana practice as a focal point, the third eye chakra is believed to control your intellect, intuition, wisdom, and spiritual power.

According to this belief system, an open and balanced third eye chakra allows you to notice the connections in this world and beyond.

An underactive third eye chakra is thought to manifest as a headache, a migraine, or blurry vision. When balanced, the third eye is believed to free you from earthly attachments.

The crown chakra -Sahastrara

Sahastrara, the crown chakra, is at the top of the head, the highest of the seven main chakras. The crown chakra color is violet or white. Also known as the “thousand petal lotus” chakra, this is considered the most spiritual of the central chakras. 

Opening the crown chakra is believed to connect a person to their higher self, since it’s the place of spirituality, enlightenment, and energetic thoughts. It is tied to inner wisdom and the cosmos. When unbalanced, the crown chakra is thought to influence depression, disconnection from the outside world, frustration, and destructive emotions.

Spirituality can be a great tool for many. Some people may find this belief system helpful in understanding their lifestyles, but it is still important to keep all avenues of support open. Talk with a health care professional if you’re having issues with mental health or physical health. 

Show Sources


Meditative Mind: “Understanding 7 Chakras. What are they and how balancing them helps us physically, emotionally, and spiritually?"

Mind Works: “What is Chakra Meditation?”

Arhanta Yoga: “What are the 7 Chakras? A Comprehensive Guide of the Energy Centers and their Effects.”

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