How do the chakras help us understand our spiritual growth?

Posted by Frances Stahl

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Frances has been practicing yoga for over a decade, but has been dedicated to the Ashtanga lineage for the last 2 years. She is deeply grateful for the practice, her teachers, and community. She also loves nature and adventure. Full Bio
Q:

How do the chakras help us understand our spiritual growth?

A:

Each chakra represents one of seven energy centers in the human body, each representing a physiological function and sacred truth. Starting with the muladhara and moving up through the body to the sahasrara, the chakra system maps our spiritual growth and journey through life.

Yoga and meditation help us cultivate awareness into these energy centers, and may help us make sense of our individual spiritual and emotional maturation.

The muladhara chakra is located at the base of our spine (at the coccyx) and corresponds to our attachment and reliance on our tribe or family for primal needs. If this chakra is in balance, the individual will feel safe and stable and connected to the earth. However, if the energy is depleted within this chakra, the individual may feel anxious, unstable or fearful.

The svadisthana is located just below the belly button and represents our need for partnership. This chakra is also closely linked to our attachment to the physical world and our desire to control our external surroundings. At this stage of spiritual growth, we carve out our personal identity and start seeking partnerships that satisfy our personal needs outside of our tribe. If the svadisthana chakra is in balance, the individual will feel happiness and sensuality. If out of balance, feelings of guilt, insecurity and fear may arise.

The manipura is located about two inches above the belly button and represents our personal power. At this stage of spiritual development, we start forming our sense of ego, our self-esteem, and self-discipline. The energy of the manipura chakra also helps us develop an awareness of our intuitive voice, which starts to guide our decisions, providing self-confidence and motivation.

The anahata is located at our heart center, and represents our emotional energy center, mediating between our spiritual and psychical bodies. It guides our actions through love and compassion, and challenges us to approach life with a calm and steady awareness. At this stage in our spiritual journey, we learn to love ourselves deeply, challenging us to listen to and honor our spiritual path. If out of balance, the individual may lack empathy, feel lonely and be intolerant of others.

The visuddha is located behind our throat and represents the maturation of our will power, and our ability to communicate our inner truth. Balancing this chakra will enable smooth communication, without criticism or excessive talking.

The ajna is located between the eyes just above the brow. The ajna chakra helps us gain intuition, insight and wisdom. If this chakra is out of balance, the individual may struggle to recall dreams, imagine or visualize.

The sahasrara is located at the top of our heads and represents our final stage of spiritual development. The sahasrara chakra symbolizes our connection to the universe, the Divine, and our higher Selves.

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