We can use chakra meditation to understand the nuances of our body, to locate our weak points or overuse and to heal these specific energy centers.
Each of the chakras has traditional meanings that help us focus on tendencies that characterize the specific energy center. As we meditate progressively from the bottom up on each center, we get to know a more nuanced understanding of our deepest selves. By accessing each center or wheel, we activate its innate dynamism, which drives us to a new level of liveliness.
The first chakra, Muladhara or Root Chakra, comes from the base of our spine and rules through the bottom of our feet. Muladhara, which means "root support", is traditionally depicted as red. By breathing deeply into this chakra with love and healing light, we wash away both impurities and strengthen our sense of stability and grounding in our life. By focusing on the root chakra, we gain confidence and serenity and a foundation for security.
The second chakra, Svadhisthana or sacral chakra, is located just below the navel and the small back. Svadhistana translates as "home", "loveliness" or "sweetness". It is designed as orange energy. By cultivating the “sweetness” in our sacral chakra, we can heal sexual wounds and promote our natural sensuality, creativity and enthusiasm for life itself. This home of "sweetness" is the source of vitality.
The third chakra, Manipura or Stomach Chakra, monitors our will and is illuminated by the color yellow, like the sun. Manipura is often translated as "place of jewels". Instead of overstraining our will and willpower by pushing ourselves or others around, we can learn to inhale the yellow light of the sun as a reminder to release the will and willpower. When we give up our intrusiveness, we activate a subtle – more lovable, yet more effective – source of strength. Manipura is the cache of our goal in life and is therefore called the "place of jewels". When we inhale into this chakra, we allow our destiny to manifest easily instead of rushing around chaotically.
The fourth chakra, the heart chakra or anahata, is represented with the color green. Green is the color of nature – its calm, its growth and its green. The word Anahata means "whole" or "unbroken". By breathing into our heart center we can all heal brokenness, bitterness, and loneliness. The intrinsic "unbrokenness" of the heart chakra promises us that whatever happens in this life, we can always return to the heart chakra in order to become whole again. We can even regrow our innocence here.
The fifth chakra, Vishuddha or Throat Chakra, guides the voice and breath with its sky-blue light. Vishuddha means "pure". When we breathe in this chakra, we purify our life. The throat chakra is the passage from the central body to the head; So as we heal the throat chakra, we become more aware of our body and the wisdom that resides there – an embodied form of integrity. Sending healing and loving breath to our throat chakra brings us to both honesty and authenticity. It is through the breath that we clear ourselves, which is why many meditation practices focus on the breath. Vishuddha is the hall of purified communication.
The sixth chakra, Ajna, often referred to as the third eye, is located on the forehead and between the eyebrows. Ajna means "knowledge" or "perception". This is where our imaginary eye is located. By opening our third eye, we begin to see and know deeply into the lives of others and into the nature of reality itself. Imagination and empathy are married in this chakra and show us the true meaning of insight. Our intuition and wisdom arise when we open our third eye. By breathing light and love into Ajna, we activate the ability to perceive the inner workings of other people, non-human animals, plants and the material world.
On the crown of the head or slightly above the crown, the seventh chakra is called the crown chakra or Sahasrara. Sahasrara means "thousand-petalled", "thousand-spoked" or "thousand". A thousand traditionally is the number of infinity: in other words, this chakra refers to our infinite nature. The crown chakra is often experienced as being interspersed with lavender or white light. As we ascend to our highest chakra and bring clarity and openness through our breath, we can clear our sense of confusion and awaken our awareness of what is sometimes referred to as "cosmic awareness," "enlightenment," or "knowledge of God". Regardless, cleansing our crown chakra brings a profound experience of serenity and even bliss.
When we practice chakra meditation, we will notice areas that we are overusing or that feel weak. By gently breathing into the respective chakra, we can reduce the strain on that chakra and learn to balance our personality. Through the balance and purification of the chakra energy centers, we access and increase our inner strength and health.
Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Dr. Kaiya Ansorge. Dr. Ansorge is academically trained in psychology, philosophical theology and religion. She started practicing chakra meditation in India and found the practice transformative. She now regularly leads chakra meditations for groups and individuals as well as other workshops, classes and life coaching. You can find her and her free videos and audio tracks at www.kaiyaansorge.com. You can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.