There's no point pretending - chakras, colours and crystals will not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Maybe you’re a hardcore type who responds to Jocko Willink podcasts, getting up at 4am and ‘smashing’ your body and goals. If that’s you go nuts and more power to you!
I’ve found that as I get older and seek to balance stress related conditions I prefer a gentler, and frankly nicer, approach. That's where this system comes in.
The ancient concept of chakras, or energy centres on and around the body, is a comprehensive and gorgeous framework for improving wellbeing that invites you to build holistic health through practical measures to address each area of life.
Each core human need is accounted for - from basic survival, to social belonging, to creative and self expression through to a spiritual connection. Each of these needs are collected around logical parts of the body, and associated with memory-jogging colours, crystals, symbols, sounds, nutritious foods, essential oils and flowers, to list a few.
Psychology and behavioural science show that high performance is underpinned by mental focus - that our brains will manifest what we focus on with specificity and regularity. (If you want to get excited about how amazing your brain is, I highly recommend Dr Tara Swart’s book The Source.)
Whether chakras result from a literal flow of energy has not, to my knowledge, been scientifically proven or disproven. Human biology depends on positive and negative charges to transport minerals and enable our mitochondria to create energy and we know that the radiation from WI-FI and other electro-magnetic frequencies interfere with that process. And that it’s vital to the health of our cells to contact the planet with bare feet and for our skins to access the vital negative ions that put us back in balance. So intuitively, it makes sense to me that the body has a flow of energy, and that there may indeed be key energy centres, co-located with nerve bundles and major organs as the chakra system indicates.
In some ways it seems less important to be able to substantiate the mechanics because we know beyond doubt that the ways we use our brain have power to change the way we feel emotionally and physically.
Numerous studies have shown the best way to leverage the brain’s power to create our own reality, to draw forth actual change as a result of imagining it, is to make that imagining as real as possible through the senses - sight, touch, sound, smell and taste. Our brains literally cannot tell the difference between a ‘real’ experience and a richly visualised one. So we can hack our software! It’s incredibly powerful.
Again, separate to any discussion on the intrinsic powers crystals may or may not possess, at the absolute least, crystals become another layer within our rich visualisation process. An important sensory input - an attractive, tangible, creative way to build on a key theme, for example clear communication, or choosing to be compassionate.
As we begin to associate particular colours, crystals and other sensory triggers with key needs and goals, we naturally focus our attention on those goals, consciously and subconsciously, each time we see or engage with the physical trigger. This increases the likelihood of manifesting what we desire to have.
Like other human biological systems chakras are predicated on balance - you can have too much or too little of a good thing - for example a key mineral like Zinc. With chakras a healthy flow is ideal, and energy that is blocked/sluggish or overactive is associated with negative states of body, mind and spirit. Let’s get into some of the detail, and you can see what you think!
Base chakra - Red/Brown/Black/Silver
Concept: to be here
Relates to: Reproductive glands
Embodies the basic survival needs every human requires to exist. Oxygen, water, food, shelter, security, a place in the material world. This chakra is located where the body meets the ground when in a sitting position, and is represented by the colours red, earthy brown black and silver. When the base chakra is healthy or flowing well, we feel in good health; safe and secure, connected to our bodies. When blocked or sluggish we may feel disconnected from our bodies, unsafe, physically underweight, have poor boundaries and be undisciplined in behaviour. Overactive base chakras are characterised by overeating and overindulgence, fear of change and materialistic behaviour. Problems with the bones, feet, legs joints and eating disorders are associated with this chakra.
Crystals that display in this colour range include Red Jasper, Red Tiger’s eye, Smoky Quartz, Black Tourmaline, Jet, Obsidian, Bloodstone etc.
Navel chakra - Orange
Concept: to feel
Relates to: Adrenal glands
Represents our emotions, sexuality, relational self-worth and creativity. It is located under the belly button and is associated with the colour orange. When this energy centre is balanced we experience joy and pleasure in life, have positive relationships, and express a balance of masculine and feminine energies. An underactive navel chakra exhibits jealousy, fear of sex and intimacy, low self-esteem, and menstrual and/or genital-urinary problems. In an overactive state: sex addiction, oversensitivity, being ruled by emotion or being emotionally manipulative.
Crystals that are associated with the navel chakra include Carnelian, Amber, Peach Moonstone, Orange Calcite, Orange Aventurine.
Solar Plexus chakra - Yellow/Gold
Concept: to act
Relates to: Pancreas
Embodies our personal will-power, confidence and capacity for achievement. The Solar Plexus is in the middle of our torso and represented by the colours yellow and gold. When this centre is in balance we experience mental clarity, sense of purpose and drive to create a legacy. When blocked or sluggish we may display codependency, irresponsibility, lack of drive, and suffer from asthma ulcers or poor digestion. When overactive, we may become overly driven and aggressive; power hungry, and addicted to sedatives.
Crystals associated with the solar plexus include Golden Rutilated Quartz, Citrine, Yellow Tiger’s eye, Topaz, Yellow Calcite.
Heart chakra - Green/Pink
Concept: to love
Relates to: Thymus gland
Represents our capacity for love and relationships. It is located on our hearts, and associated with the colours green and pink. A healthy flowing heart centre is seen through positive balanced relationships and the ability to both freely give and receive love. In this state we experience compassion, empathy and peace. Blocked heart centres exhibit physical problems including high blood pressure and other blood disorders, as well as heart or lung disease. Emotional signs include being judgemental, stingy, lacking compassion or empathy for others and for the self. Overactive heart centres may manifest in clingy demanding behaviour, poor social boundaries and problems with breathing and immunity.
Crystals that speak to the heart chakra include Rose Quartz, Aventurine, Jade, Phrenite, Rhodochrosite, Rhodonite, Malachite, Amazonite, etc.
Throat chakra - Green-Blue
Concept: to speak
Relates to: Thyroid gland
Embodies our capacity for self-expression and personal integrity through truthful communication. Located on our throats, this centre is represented by green/blue colours. When this centre is in balance we speak, write and otherwise express ourselves clearly and effectively. We do so with compassionate honesty regardless of how others might react. When our throat centres are blocked it can become difficult to express how we feel and think. We fear judgement and rejection, and this can manifest in throat problems of all kinds, thyroid issues, and we can feel a sense of disconnection between what we really think and what we actually share with others, or an inability to be heard. In an overactive state, the throat chakra may manifest as poor listening skills, inauthenticity, gossiping or arrogance.
Crystals to work with the throat chakra include Turquoise, Blue Lace Agate, Aquamarine, Chrysocolla, Blue Topaz, etc.
Third eye chakra - Indigo
Concept: to see
Relates to: Pineal gland
Located in between the eyes, the third eye chakra as a concept speaks to human’s ability to perceive beyond what’s obvious, to develop insight and intuition as we mature. A balanced healthy third eye centre shows itself through open-mindedness, wisdom, and the ability to visualise goals, make good decisions and follow through. A blocked third eye chakra displays through dogmatic beliefs, feeling stuck in life, or being in denial and self delusion. This can extend to physical eye problems and regular migraines. An overactive third eye is seen through obsessive behaviour, frequent nightmares, difficulty understanding or even hallucinations.
Crystals associated with the third eye include Lapis lazuli, Kyanite, Iolite, Sapphire, Sodalite etc.
Crown chakra - Violet/White/Pearl
Concept: to know
Relates to: Pituitary Gland
The crown chakra embodies our connection to the spiritual world or realms beyond what are physically apparent to us. Located on the top of the head, it is represented by the colours violet, white and pearl. When we have a healthy crown chakra we have a sense of connection and alignment within ourselves, and we have a sense of being connected with others and a sense of one-ness with the world. A sluggish or blocked crown chakra may manifest with problems learning, mental fogginess and confusion, and limiting beliefs. An overactive crown chakra may display as over-spirituality, disconnection from and delusions about our own body.
Crystals that speak to the crown chakra include Selenite, Pearl, Moonstone, Amethyst, Labradorite, Clear Quartz crystal, Fluorite etc.
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This is a bird's eye view of a much deeper field - there are thought to be as many as 114 chakras in total. But maybe you already noticed yourself relating to one or a couple of these characteristics, and maybe you’ve been feeling these things for quite some time. If so, it could help you to take a systematic approach to focusing on one or two key areas and improving them. No point trying to boil the ocean all in one go, as they say!
My hope is this shows you (or reminds you if these are old ideas you lost touch with as I did for years!) that the chakra system is not just hippy fluff, but can function as a practical framework for identifying, conceptualising and improving on our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
I'll put some specifics together on how to work with the chakra system in another blog post.
Meanwhile, let me know what you think! Is this a bridge too far or eminently sensible?