Chakras – A guide for people who don’t know about them!

In light of my upcoming Radiant Flow Chakra Hooping workshop,  I want to do a chakras for dummies kind of blog post.  I don’t like calling people dummies if they don’t know something, so instead I’ll call this Chakras for people who don’t know about them! While you may think you don’t know about them, I think you do and I want to show you how they influence your life everyday.

First off, everyone has chakras, even you, even if you can’t feel them or don’t know where they are, you’ve got em. They are part of our energetic makeup and are kind of like a computer program running in the background, influencing our bodies and minds.  There are 7 major chakras and each of these energy centres relates to a body part/organ, a gland, and a behaviour or aspect of your life.

The 7 main chakras and their location in your body

The 7 main chakras and their location in your body

Each chakra is responsible for distributing subtle energy to the part of the body it corresponds to and they also distribute energy to your energetic body as well. Just like cars, chakras need tune ups from time to time because they can become out of balance, over or under active and can create dis-ease or disease in the body. A tune up could mean getting a Reiki treatment, practicing a chakra meditation or attending a chakra hooping workshop (wink wink). Regular maintenance is a good idea for your car and a good idea for you. I always feel much better after I give myself a Reiki treatment or get one from someone else.

Chakra’s also hold information, like behavioural patterns and emotions like guilt, pain or anger that you haven’t let go of.  A chakra tune up can bring up that old, painful stuff , but that’s a good thing because the tune up will also release the old baggage which gives you the opportunity to be healthier and happier going forward. Think of it like spring cleaning. The house always feels so much better when you’ve tossed all the things you no longer need and cleaned all the nooks and crannies right? Your body and soul is the same and will feel pretty awesome after a chakra tune up too!

Each chakra is associated with a colour, element and sound. I won’t get too much into this, but if you’ve ever seen a rainbow you already know all the colours associated with each chakra. Look, you already know more than you thought!

To help you get a better understanding of each chakra, keep reading. I’ve listed the english and sanskrit word for each as well as an example of how you may have experienced the chakra in your life before. I’ve found that chakras can be understood through intellectual knowledge, but are best understood through experience. This is a very brief overview and there is a lot that I’m leaving out, but it’s a good start. Ok, let’s go!

Root Chakra or Muladhara
Ever heard someone described as a tight ass? This term describes a person who is cheap and I think it’s a good example of an out of balance Root Chakra. Muladhara is located at the base of the spine, by the perineum and relates to physical security, safety, trust and community. A person who is a “tight ass” may have an issue with physical security. For example, they may not trust that they will have enough money and will try to keep as much of it as they can. This person literally might have a tight ass and have a constant contraction in their sphincter.  A person with a balanced Root Chakra may find it easier to trust that money will come and go and will have less fear about letting go of money.

Sacral Chakra or Svadhisthana
This chakra is located just below the navel and relates to the reproductive/sexual organs. It is our creative centre and is where juicy ideas come from. I say juicy, because the element for this chakra is water. Have you ever just tapped into your creative energy and ideas just flow out of you, perhaps like water out of a tap? That is you experiencing this chakra in balance. If Svadhisthana is out out of balance, writers may experience writer’s block, for example. To keep the juicyness flowing, try moving the hips so more creative energy can be birthed.

Solar Plexus or Manipura
This chakra is located in the upper stomach and I like to think of it as the fire in your belly. You might have guessed the element of this chakra is fire. When you’re really motivated and want to complete a project and have a lot of focus, that is your solar plexus in balance and at work. On the other hand, fire in your belly could show up as indigestion or digestive issues which could mean either your fire has been put out and you need to build it again by taking back some personal power – or it could be burning out of control and you need to put the fire out and mellow out a bit. This chakra is very powerful and when in balance, really gives you the drive to achieve your goals!

Heart Chakra or Anahata
Anahata is the most relatable chakra as everyone has experienced both love and heartbreak. The element of the heart is air, we can feel it, it can feel warm and pleasant or cold and icy, just like the wind.  When your heart is open it is easy to express love, but when it is closed it is difficult to relate to others and you might even have difficulty breathing when something really traumatic happens as the lungs are connected to Anahata. I think the movie The Fifth Element is a great way to visualize the power of the heart. At the end, when Leeloo experiences love for the first time her heart chakra bursts open, activating the other 4 elements and saving the world.  In the movie they don’t say that it’s her heart chakra, but  that imagery is pretty bang on in depicting the heart chakra beaming out love. If it’s not that, I don’t know what else it is! If you have haven’t seen the movie, here is the final scene. The Beatles were right, all we really need is love.

Throat Chakra or Vishuddha
Vishuddha is about purification, communication and expression. If you’ve ever had a frog in your throat, have had to choke back tears or have spit out your words, it may be because you had an imbalance in Vishuddha. It is often difficult to truly express ourselves because of fear of judgement, but clearing that frog from your throat can make way for self expression and in turn, confidence. On the other hand, some people may be “loud mouths” or not know when to shut up. This is another form of imbalance in the throat and still could be fear based. I find keeping this chakra in balance requires a lot of maintenance but when I’m feeling open in the throat, I feel pretty awesome, like I can take all the creative energy and power from my sacral and solar plexus chakras and use it to show up as my true self.

Third Eye Chakra or Ajna
Ajna is the little voice that pops up inside of your head from time to time that gives you a nudge to do something you wouldn’t normally do, like fill up your tank of gas before you’re completely out for example. If you listened, you might end up finding out that if you would have waited to get gas the price would have risen by 10 cents a liter. If you didn’t listen, you will end up wishing you would have!The struggle with this chakra can be shutting off the constant chatter in your brain so your inner voice can be heard. Meditation can really help to quiet the mind and allow your intuition to shine through.

Crown Chakra or Sahaswara
Maybe not as many people have experience with it, but most people have heard about spiritual enlightenment and that is what Sahaswara is all about. The top of the head is our connection to god, to the universe, to source, to a higher power or whatever you believe in. I often think that pictures of Jesus or other biblical figures with halos on their heads are people with open crown chakras. You don’t have to be Jesus to have an open Crown Chakra though. I like to think that serendipity is a result of an open Crown. Some divine force is leading you to be in the perfect place at the perfect time so you get the perfect opportunity to meet someone who changes your life or leads you to your perfect job or, or, or, the possibilities are endless. Even if you aren’t religious or spiritual, you can still benefit from a chakra tune up. You don’t need to believe in god to have a Reiki treatment, so don’t let that hold you back from trying it out.

That is my very brief overview of chakras,  I feel like I could write a whole book about them! If what I have talked about piques your interest and you want to learn more I encourage you to try a chakra yoga class or a Kundalini Dance class (or a chakra hooping class  :P) and feel what comes up for you when you explore them further. Experiencing my own chakras through Kundalini Dance, meditation and chakra hooping has allowed me to understand myself better than I ever could have imagined and has really set my life on a completely different path. The exploration has brought up a lot of stuff that has been hard to deal with, but it’s also helped me to feel amazing and ecstatic at the same time which is totally worth it.

❤ Nicole

The power of movement

I am constantly reminded of the importance of moving my body and how quickly it can change my mood. Beyond the physical benefits of an active lifestyle, movement lifts me up, shifts my mood and reduces stressed.  I really don’t move my body to get a workout, but am happy get one in the process. I mainly move for enjoyment. Hooping, walking my dog, dancing or practicing yoga give me so much more than a fit body.

Movement Manages Stress

Hooping in the sun, always makes me feel better.

Managing stress is incredibly important. Like most people, I can get very busy “doing” and life can get overwhelming. Before I know it, that stress turns into anxiety and I can be a bit of a basket case but a 15 minute hoop session can change that almost immediately. My mind becomes clear, I can focus and I feel like I can take everything on. I truly can, too, and I’m more motivated to keep on going.

I’ve tried different ways to deal with my ever increasing workload; working through lunch, after hours in the evening and even on weekends. Working all the time was successful in that I got through everything I needed to but was so run down by the end of it, I became sick and was bedridden for two weeks – during my much needed vacation. I realized pushing through it and not taking time for myself wasn’t working. I’m going through my busy season right now and feel much more balance and healthy with lunch time hoop sessions, evening yoga classes and regular walks with my dog.

Movement Manages Mood

When the blah’s strike and I can’t be bothered to do anything about it except wallow in my sorrows, I often pick up my hoop, sweat a little and my frown is instantly turned upside down. My disposition completely changes and I begin to view things through a sunny lens rather than a cloudy one. It’s so easy to change, I just wish I would always remember this.

Movement is a catalyst for altering your mood. Emotions (energy in motion) are just chemicals and energy in our body, waiting to be expressed and released. If we don’t move our bodies, the emotions get stuck and build up. When we move and breathe, these emotions are un-stuck and our subtle energy, also known as chi or prana, flows through our body freely. To me, this is the whole purpose of the physical practice of yoga. That’s why you feel so great during savasana at the end of a yoga class, you’ve made space for all that prana (life force energy) to flow through all of your cells.

Think about it like this – when there is a kink in a hose, water gets backed up and pools and if there is too much pressure, eventually it could burst – ever blow up at someone when you’re mad? As soon as you release the kink, there is a spurt of water and it flows freely once more. Moving the human body is like unkinking the hose and letting our energy escape and flow free. If we don’t make space for the energy to move through us, over time, it will create dis-ease in our bodies, also known as disease. So many physical ailments can be prevented simply by moving. For me, movement is essential to remain healthy on the physical, mental and emotional levels.

The next time you’re feeling stressed or feeling down, get up and get moving. Find something you love to do that makes you breathe deep and sweat a little. Going for a run, a swim, a bike ride – even dancing in your living room or doing a few stretches will work. Take that time for yourself and give that energy inside of you a place to move. I can almost guarantee you will feel better than you did before you started!