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Your Body's Chakra System: A Beginner's Guide
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Your Body's Chakra System: A Beginner's Guide

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If you’ve spent any time developing a yoga practice for yourself or talking with dedicated yogis, you’ve probably heard of chakras. As can be the case with many aspects of yoga, chakras and the concepts associated with them might seem esoteric, but their history goes back over a thousand years, and many people over the ages have sought to improve their lives by working with their chakras. 

To help you understand the ideas behind the chakras, let’s run through their basic functions and explain why and how to keep your chakras open and in balance.

What are the chakras?

The chakras are part of an ancient system of traditional and spiritual healing originating in India in the first millennium AD. They are present in the spiritual systems of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and various forms and interpretations of the chakras can also be found in traditional Chinese medicine.

Simply put, a chakra is an energy node or center in the human body through which various types of energy pass. In Indian traditions, the chakras are a kind of bridge or link between the physical human form and its spiritual counterpart, which exists as energy in this belief system. Keeping the chakras open is thought to improve overall wellness and mental health.


The Seven Chakras

Root Chakra Bennd Root Chakra

Where is it?

The root chakra is located at the base of the spine. For women, it’s near the cervical area. For men, it’s near the perineum. The root chakra is associated with the color red.

What does it do?

The root chakra sits at the core of the human body. As its name suggests, the root chakra is responsible for issues and feelings of core importance to us: survival, critical decision-making, basic needs like food and shelter, and the foundational energy that allows us to live our daily lives.

What happens when the root chakra is unbalanced or blocked?

Because the root chakra is associated with core decision-making and basic human functions, the effects can be significant when it’s blocked. An imbalanced root chakra is associated with feelings of anxiety or insecurity, eating disorders, delusions, dishonesty, and greed.

How do you open the root chakra?

Focus on grounding activities and reconnecting with the natural world. In yoga, tree pose, boat pose, and warrior pose are recommended for opening and balancing the root chakra.

Associated Ayurvedic plant:

Madder Root: 

  • Supports reproductive health
  • Blood purifier
  • Supports lymphatic detox
  • Anti-inflammatory

Sacral Chakra

Bennd Sacral chakra

Where is it?

The sacral chakra is located in the pelvic region just below the belly button.

What does it do?

The sacral chakra controls energy related to creativity, emotional expression, desire, and pleasure. It’s associated with the color orange.

What happens when the sacral chakra is unbalanced or blocked?

An imbalanced sacral chakra can lead to a diminished libido, emotional frustration, and creative blockages. Alternately, you might feel emotionally unstable or overly reliant on pleasurable activities or substances. 

How do you open the sacral chakra?

Yoga poses that activate the pelvic muscles are considered useful for opening the sacral chakra, such as pigeon pose or bridge pose.

Associated Ayurvedic plant:

Annatto Seed:

  • Antimicrobial
  • High antioxidant levels
  • Vibrant, healthy skin
  • Wound healing
  • High calcium content
  • Bone strengthening

 The Solar Plexus Chakra

Bennd Solar Plexus chakra

Where is it?

This chakra is located in the upper abdomen, just below the sternum.

What does it do?

The solar plexus chakra is responsible for energy related to control and expression. It’s associated with the color yellow.

What happens when the solar plexus chakra is unbalanced or blocked?

A blocked solar plexus chakra can lead to feelings of shame and self-criticism or doubt. 

How do you open the solar plexus chakra?

Core-strength poses such as boat pose and cobra pose are effective for balancing the solar plexus chakra.

Associated Ayurvedic plant:

Turmeric:

  • Powerful anti-inflammatory
  • Antibacterial
  • Antioxidant
  • Supports digestive health
  • Supports radiant skin

Heart Chakra

Bennd Heart Chakra

Where is it?

The heart chakra is located in the center of the chest, just above the heart.

What does it do?

The heart chakra is associated with love in all its forms: for the self, for others, for life. It’s linked to the color green.

What happens when the heart chakra is blocked or unbalanced?

You may feel an absence of joy, low confidence, low motivation, or an inability to connect with yourself or other people.

How do you open the heart chakra?

Yoga poses for the heart chakra include camel pose or Humble Warrior.

Associated Ayurvedic plants:

Turmeric and Indigo:

  • Powerful antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Supports a healthy immune system
  • Supports the lymphatic system
  • Combats infections like the cold and flu

Throat Chakra

Bennd Throat Chakra

Where is it?

Right where you’d expect: in the middle of your throat.

What does it do?

The throat chakra is related to communication and self-expression. It’s usually associated with a light blue color.

What happens when the throat chakra is blocked or unbalanced?

Struggles with communication can be signs that the throat chakra is blocked. You might experience a lack of confidence in your words or ideas, or find that your words are not being received well by others. 

How do you open the throat chakra?

Fish pose is frequently recommended for opening and balancing the throat chakra.

Associated Ayurvedic plant:

Indigo:

  • Supports a healthy immune system
  • Supports the lymphatic system
  • Combats infections like the cold and flu
  • Antiseptic

Third-Eye Chakra

Bennd Third Eye Chakra

Where is it?

On your forehead, just above the space directly between your eyes.

What does it do?

The third-eye chakra is usually linked with wisdom—not just in its worldly forms, but also spiritual wisdom. It’s often evoked alongside states of expanded consciousness. It’s associated with a deep indigo blue color.

What happens when the third-eye chakra is blocked or unbalanced?

You may find yourself lacking in imagination or struggling with creative tasks. You might also have trouble connecting yourself to a sense of the larger world around you, both physical and spiritual.

How do you open the third-eye chakra?

Child’s pose is often used to balance the third eye, and some yogis also recommend Folded Eagle or Forward Fold.

Associated Ayurvedic plants:

Indigo and Sappan Wood

  • Antimicrobial and antiseptic
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Supports a healthy immune system
  • Activates blood circulation

Crown Chakra

Bennd Crown Chakra

Where is it?

At the highest point on your head.

What does it do?

The crown chakra is believed to be the energy point that links your consciousness to the universe. It’s usually tied to a violet color.

What happens when the crown chakra is blocked or unbalanced?

In Buddhist thinking, the crown chakra is the key to achieving a full state of enlightenment. If you’re struggling with self-understanding or feeling isolated and lonely, you may need to work on your crown chakra.

How do you open the crown chakra?

Fully opening the crown chakra is a lifelong pursuit, requiring meditation, mindfulness, and lots of practice. Advanced yogis may try headstands as a way to get in better touch with their crown chakras. 

Associated Ayurvedic plants:

Sappan Wood

  • Activates blood circulation
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-bacterial

Try a Bennd Chakra Ayurvedic Yoga Mat

Bennd Cobra Pose on Chakra Ayurvedic Yoga Mat

As you think about your chakras, try to keep an open mind and open heart. Be mindful of your emotions and think about how you might focus your energy to each specific chakra point to address your problems and challenges. Yoga can be a powerful tool for getting in touch with your chakras and forming a higher understanding of yourself.

That’s part of why Bennd’s Chakra Ayurvedic Yoga Mat has become one of the most coveted yoga mats by yogi's. Woven with 100% ethically sourced raw cotton, the Chakra yoga mat is infused with 22 medicinal Ayurvedic herbs and plant-based medicines to help balance your chakras and keep your energy flowing.

Each Bennd Chakra Yoga Mat comes with a free download of our Chakra Meditation featuring Miki Ash. Order yours today and discover what a mindfully crafted yoga mat can do for your chakras and your practice.