The purpose of chakras is to maintain the free flow of energy in our bodies, which explains the translation of chakra as a “wheel” or “cycle.”
“Chakras are electromagnetic vortices that take in and redistribute subtle life force energy in and around the body,” says Damla Aktekin, inner child energetic wound healer and founder of A Drop of Om. “Understanding this system can give you a roadmap for what areas of your body and your life need attention and care right now.”
Each of the chakras is associated with nerve bundles, organs or glands in the particular area in which they’re located. As such, they not only affect the physical functionality of that region but also may influence an individual’s emotional and spiritual state.
What Is a Blocked Chakra?
When a chakra is balanced, energy flows freely throughout the body. However, when the free flow of energy is blocked in a chakra, which can occur due to certain lifestyles, experiences, physical environments and more, imbalance occurs. If a chakra is obstructed, a person may exhibit physical and emotional manifestations of the imbalance.
It’s unhealthy for the chakras to be either completely blocked or continuously overflowing with energy—balance is the goal. However, when a non-life-affirming (stressful or traumatic) event occurs related to a particular chakra, that chakra begins to work faster to try to resolve the issue.
“When your nervous system goes into a fight, flight or freeze mode, your heart beats faster and your blood flow increases,” says Aktekin. “Your chakra system mimics this [reaction] on an energetic level by going into an overactive state and increases its rotation and activity where necessary.”
For example, imagine you find yourself in the aftermath of a car accident in which you were unharmed. You would still need to talk (thereby activating your throat chakra) to explain the situation to a police officer. Afterward, you most likely would feel like you didn’t want to talk anymore (which indicates throat chakra energy depletion) and would probably want to lie down and rest (energy depletion in all your chakras), explains Aktekin.
“Over time, if the chakra keeps rotating at an unusually fast pace, it eventually breaks down and slows to a depleted rotation, even appearing as not rotating,” says Aktekin. “This means that chakra will then try to take energy from the other healthy rotating chakras, which means a complete depletion and an almost stopped motion in the entire chakra system.” This extremely slowed movement is what most people refer to as a “blocked chakra,” but Aktekin prefers to call them “not fully flowing” chakras.
“In an ideal case, you want to have a flowing and resilient chakra system that knows when to open or close—rotate or not rotate too much—and doesn’t get stuck in a certain position creating imbalances,” says Aktekin. A lack of flow within the chakras can manifest as heaviness, discomfort, numbness and occasionally as pain in the body, she adds.
Pain or discomfort in an area of the body might correspond to an area of your life that isn’t flowing or functioning optimally, according to Aktekin. The stagnation manifesting physically due to a blocked chakra can begin to affect other areas of life as well, such as interpersonal relationships and career performance.
“Your emotions are felt and stored in your body, including complex emotional patterns related to traumas and stresses of your life,” says Aktekin. “These patterns of emotions may not be currently helping your life, especially if they require too much energy from your nervous system and energy body (chakras). These places of discomfort and pain are amazing opportunities for finding other ways to engage with life.”
In other words, unprocessed emotions may turn into physically stored symptoms. Because of this connection, chakras can be an important part of your inner guidance system.
Awareness and understanding of the chakras can lead to a more holistic understanding of the connection between the physical, emotional and energetic body.
The Seven Chakras
The seven main chakras correspond to specific places in the body. Together, they create a symbolic energetic healing roadmap. Each chakra has specific attributes, such as a corresponding number, element, sense, color and more.
The Root Chakra (Muladhara)
The root chakra, Muladhara, meaning “base support” in Sanskrit, is located at the base of the spine, encompassing the sacrum, pelvic floor and first three spinal vertebrae. It’s associated with survival, physical stability, grounding and more.
Attributes of the Root Chakra
Developmental age: 0 to 2 years old
Body parts affected: Hips, legs, feet, bones, teeth, adrenals
What it governs: Physical safety and security, feeling safe in the body, ancestral roots, DNA
Affirmation: “I am”
Signs of a blocked root chakra include:
Lack of enthusiasm, purpose or ambition
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The Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana)
The sacral chakra, Svadhisthana, meaning “sweetness” in Sanskrit, is located in the lower abdomen (midway between the navel and perineum). It’s associated with sexuality and emotions.
Attributes of the Sacral Chakra
Function: Creation, procreation
Developmental age: 2 to 5 years old
Body parts affected: Genitals, womb, kidney, bladder, circulatory system
What it governs: Desire, pleasure, sexuality, creativity, emotions
Affirmation: “I feel”
Signs of a blocked sacral chakra include:
Uterine, bladder or kidney issues
Stiff lower back
Lack of inspiration
The Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
The solar plexus chakra, Manipura, meaning “lustrous gem” or “city of jewels” in Sanskrit, is located between the navel and diaphragm and is associated with personal power.
Attributes of the Solar Plexus Chakra
Function: Will, assertiveness
Developmental age: 5 to 7 years old
Body parts affected: Digestive system, pancreas, muscles
What it governs: Personal power, being an individual, discovering you can do things, shining your own unique light
Affirmation: “I can”
Signs of a blocked solar plexus chakra include:
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The heart chakra, Anahata, meaning “unhurt” in Sanskrit, is located in the middle of the chest next to the physical heart and is associated with love.
Attributes of the Heart Chakra
Function: Compassion, love
Developmental age: 7 to 9 years old
Body parts affected: Lungs, heart, arms, hands
What it governs: Loving and being loved, giving and receiving, compassion, being part of a community or group of friends (including collective grief)
Affirmation: “I love”
Signs of a blocked heart chakra include:
Heart disease or lung disease
High blood pressure
Poor emotional boundaries
Fear of rejection
The Throat Chakra (Vishuddah)
The throat chakra, Vishuddah, meaning “purification” in Sanskrit, is located in the throat and is associated with communication.
Attributes of the Throat Chakra
Function: Communication, gratitude
Developmental age: 9 to 13 years old
Body parts affected: Entire throat region, thyroid, neck, shoulders
What it governs: Listening and being heard, refined artistic expression, creating your reality through your words, voicing your needs
Affirmation: “I speak”
Signs of a blocked throat chakra include:
Fear of speaking up
The Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)
The third eye chakra, Ajna, meaning “to perceive” in Sanskrit, is located in between the eyebrows slightly above eye level and is associated with inspiration, intuition, seeing and self-knowledge.
Attributes of the Third Eye Chakra
Function: Seeing, intuition, clarity
Developmental age: 14+ years old
Body parts affected: Eyes, pineal gland, face
What it governs: Listening to your insight or inner sight, tapping into your intuition, choosing your thoughts
Affirmation: “I see”
Signs of a blocked third eye chakra include:
Eye issues, such as blindness, eye strain and blurred vision
Inability to focus
The Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
The crown chakra, Sahasrara, meaning “thousandfold” in Sanskrit, is located at the very top of the head and is associated with intelligence and bliss.
Attributes of the Crown Chakra
Sense: All senses
Function: Wisdom, information, awareness
Developmental age: Forms through all life stages
Body parts affected: Pituitary, cerebral cortex, central nervous system
What it governs: Relationship to all life, consciousness, your purpose and how you choose to spend your time, the element of vibrations or vibrational quantum realm
Affirmation: “I know”
Signs of a blocked crown chakra include:
Imbalance and poor coordination
Inability to learn
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