Chakras? How many calories are in them? Are they carbs? I have to check if they fit my macros.
The Sanskrit word Chakra literally translates to wheel or disk. In yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, this term refers to wheels or swirling vortexes of energy throughout the body. There are seven main chakras, which align the spine, starting from the base of the spine through to the crown of the head. To visualize a chakra in the body, imagine a swirling wheel of energy where matter (physical) and consciousness (mental/psychological/higher consciousness) meet. This invisible energy, called Prana, is vital life force, which keeps us vibrant, healthy, and alive.
Aaaaallllrighty then…… So, huh?
The Importance of the Main Chakras in the Body
These swirling wheels of energy correspond to massive nerve centres in the body. Each of the seven main chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs as well as our psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of being. Since everything is moving, it’s essential that our seven main chakras stay open, aligned, and fluid. If there is a blockage, energy cannot flow. (Imagine a break in an electrical circuit- the rest of the power sources along the circuit suffer.) This energy exchange is what gives you that psychic sense of your surroundings, while the flow of this energy is directly affected by your thoughts, emotions, health, and state of mind.
In our natural, balanced state, are chakras are all unblocked and our energy can flow freely through all its various channels around the body. Keeping a chakra open once the complexity of living our lives is factored in is a bit more of a challenge, but not so difficult when you have awareness. Since mind, body, soul, and spirit are intimately connected, awareness of an imbalance in one area will help bring the others back into balance. However, a combination of difficult life circumstances, lack of awareness, illness and other human ailments can easily knock one, two or even all of our chakras out of balance, which, in a vicious cycle, continue to perpetuate and even deepen the original symptoms that initially caused the imbalance in the first place.
The Chakras of Matter
The first three chakras, starting at the base of the spine are chakras of matter. They are more physical in nature.
First Chakra: The Muladhara is the chakra of stability, security, and our basic needs. It encompasses the first three vertebrae, the bladder, and the colon. When this chakra is open, we feel safe and fearless.
Second Chakra: The Svadhisthana chakra is our creativity and sexual center. It is located above the pubic bone, below the navel, and is responsible for our creative expression.
Third Chakra: The Manipura chakra means lustrous gem and it’s the area from the navel to the breastbone. The third chakra is our source of personal power.
The Fourth Chakra: The Connection Between Matter and Spirit
Located at the heart center, the fourth chakra, anahata is at the middle of the seven and unites the lower chakras of matter and the upper chakras of spirit. The fourth is also spiritual but serves as a bridge between our body, mind, emotions, and spirit. The heart chakra is our source of love and connection.
When we work through our physical chakras, or the first three, we can open the spiritual chakras more fully.
The Chakras of Spirit
Fifth Chakra: The Vishuddha chakra is the fifth chakra, located in the area of the throat. This is our source of verbal expression and the ability to speak our highest truth. The fifth chakra includes the neck, thyroid, and parathyroid glands, jaw, mouth, and tongue.
Sixth Chakra: The Ajna chakra is located in between the eyebrows. It is also referred to as the “third eye” chakra. Ajna is our center of intuition. We all have a sense of intuition but we may not listen to it or heed its warnings. Focus on opening the sixth chakra will help you hone this ability.
Seventh Chakra: The Sahaswara chakra or the “thousand petal lotus” chakra is located at the crown of the head. This is the chakra of enlightenment and spiritual connection to our higher selves, others, and ultimately, to the divine. It is located at the crown of the head.
Imbalances in your Chakras may manifest in various ways;
1. Root Chakra
· Prevents release of guilt, grief and sadness – may lead to an inability in moving forward
· Feelings of loneliness, insecurity, ungroundedness, unconfident, abandonment, indecision, depression, anxiety, phobias & obsessions
2. Sacral Chakra
· Lack of energy flow throughout entire body – extreme lethargy and lack of interest, particularly in exercise and sex.
· Sadness, loneliness and depression.
· Eating disorders, low libido, low self-confidence, addiction and dependency issues, unbalanced emotions
3. Solar Plexus Chakra
· Stressed and powerless
· Mental and physical exhaustion
· Poor concentration and lack of memory
· Frequent fear
· Feeling uncentered/ungrounded/unbalanced
· Sugar addictions, insomnia, eating disorders
4. Heart Chakra
· Heightened interpersonal relationship issues
· Lose sight of beauty, love, empathy and compassion.
· Apathetic, hopelessness, faithlessness, distrust, uncommitted, detached
5. Throat Chakra
· Trapped feelings unable to surface.
· Difficulty expressing oneself, esp. with regard to emotions
· Nervousness, anxiety, fear, attention deficit disorders, poor coping skills, feelings of isolation
6. Third Eye Chakra
· Loss of sense of intuition
· Clouded judgement and poor decision making
· Closed to new ideas
· Bombarded by own thoughts/ unable to process thoughts
· Stuck in an emotional and intellectual rut
· Nightmares, personality disorders, neuroses, learning difficulties, hallucinations
7. Crown Chakra
· Affects your entire being
· Nervous system disorders
· Feelings of being incomplete
· Depression, confusion, loss of faith, mentally disconnected, paranoid and hyper-vigilant
So, a healthy flow of energy, or Prana, through our bodies leads to general mental and physical health, happiness and wellbeing, while a blockage in one of these may cause us some trouble in one of the many ways listed above. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that each and every one of the Chakra’s major deficiency issues also manifest as Eating Disorder symptoms. It is safe to say that someone suffering from an eating disorder, whether it be Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, Orthorexia or EDNOS, is more than likely suffering from a major blockage of Prana throughout their body. All of their Chakras are probably somewhat blocked or even completely locked down, leading them to be unable to cope with life in a normal and balanced way. This leads them down a road of poor coping mechanisms, lack of insight, inability to think and see with clarity, and turning to abuse of food in one way or another to manage these symptoms; all the while the relevant symptoms are being engrained even more deeply in each of the Chakras.
So how do I unblock my Chakras?
Unblocking our Chakras is complex and the process exists on a scale- healing a sprained ankle is not the same as healing a broken femur and dislocated knee and hip. The first step is awareness. Being able to identify your difficulties and see what Chakra that might relate back to, or, vice versa, learning about a particular Chakra and recognising something in your learning that you realise is very relatable to you. This is both the first and biggest step. From there, there are many ways you can go towards balancing your Chakras. Obviously, my first recommendation would be yoga, particularly an Ayurveda or Kundalini class if there is one available near you, though any good yoga teacher will be able to help and guide you if you explain your underlying reason for being there. Meditation, mindfulness, mindful walking in nature can all be effective and again, if you are not familiar with a meditation practise already, a good teacher will be able to help you. Reiki is very popular for Chakra balancing, as is acupuncture. There is no one way to go about doing it, but the one thing I believe in solidly is this- if you are serious about your healing, you need to be serious about your underlying triggers. You need to be ready to find the catalyst for what caused such a maelstrom within you in the first place. Unblocking your Chakras is well and good, but you are going to need support to deal psychologically with what arises from this sudden free flow of energy. This might come in the form of a counsellor, a psychologist, a support group, perhaps even considering looking into CBT or a similar complimentary therapy. Without this holistic approach your issues will just continue to cycle and you will almost certainly experience a return of symptoms and a potential relapse of the larger issues.
TALK IS CHEAP!
It’s easy for me to sit here typing this. I’ve studied this, from a purely hypothetical point of view I know exactly what I am talking about and would be able to counsel anyone else on what might be a good route for them to go down. BUT- BUT! – this is easy for me to see in others, it is not so easy for me to see it within myself. I read that list of symptoms and I think ‘check’, ‘check’, ‘check’; but there is still a part of me that feels a massive disconnect from it. I’ve felt so numb for so long now I don’t even remember what it’s like to properly feel. I know that this will come with my continued weight restoration, the literature says so. But I feel uncertain, even afraid that maybe I’m just broken and I will never be rid of what seems like an overwhelming number of the symptoms associated with a very unhappy Chakra system. I don’t know why I am able to be such a source of insight and advice when it comes to others but I cannot get my own shit together. Maybe it’s like the way they say doctors make the worst patients. Perhaps I need to approach someone else for advice, help and support in this. As my ED Recovery continues I know that there are symptoms that will be alleviated due to that alone, but looking forwards I think I need to get proactive about finding someone to be my mentor for once, to point out the things that I can’t see but are right under my nose.
So, if any of you find something that works for you, or discover something I haven’t mentioned that’s effective, please comment below, let us know and we will share our experiences with one another.
I’m sure this is a topic that I will be exploring more in other posts so please ask all the questions and I’ll make it my business to answer them as best I can.
As always, my love to all of you, my beautiful, strong, powerful Yogilateral Warriors, thank you so much for your continued support, it means the world to me.