Chakras and Yoga, Part 2: Anahata, Vishuddi, Ajna and Sahasrara
The chakras, as we’ve discovered, offer us a fascinating framework for exploring our intersecting physical, emotional, and energetic lives. Nothing exists in isolation, and finding the parallels between our blockages is a useful way to guide us towards finding balance in all aspects of our lives. The first three chakras, which we explored in the last entry, offer valuable insight into our personal wellbeing and the various aspects of our sense of self. The next four, at the heart, throat, third eye, and crown, reveal the state of our interpersonal and spiritual lives.
Anahata: Getting to the Heart of Things
The anahata chakra sits right at the heart, making it the ruler of all things circulatory. The state of this particular energetic plexus affects not only the heart, blood and circulatory system, but also the lungs, arms, and the immune and endocrine systems. Asthma, lung disease and, of course, heart disease might indicate blockages in this area, as would pain or dysfunction in the upper back, shoulders, arms or wrists.
The anahata chakra is also tied to our thymus gland, the control center of our immune system. Ever notice how a broken heart and a sudden illness seem to go hand-in-hand? Disappointed hearts, romantic or otherwise, can unbalance our anahata chakra, wearing out our immune system and welcoming in illness. Other physical symptoms might also indicate imbalance in this important center. Pain in the upper back or shoulders, breathing trouble, or chest pain could be symptomatic of blockages in our ability to love, both romantically and generally.
Vishuddi: Speak Up and Be Heard
The next chakra, the vishuddi chakra, is located in our throat, affecting all things vocal. A sore throat, laryngitis, TMJ, or bronchitis could all stem from imbalances in this throat chakra. The vishuddi chakra is also tied to all areas of the face and neck, and can be the root of problems in the chin, cheeks, lips, jaw, tongue, and ears. Frequent unexplainable neck and shoulder pain? Vishuddi chakra. Sore throat or lost voice with no apparent cause? Vishuddi chakra again.
This important chakra is also tied to the function of our thyroid gland. The thyroid gland regulates our metabolism, and dysfunction here can result in inexplicable weight gain or loss. It also can weave its way into all aspects of your life, causing depression, anxiety, fatigue, change of appetite, difficulty concentrating, body temperature issues, and more. On an emotional level, this makes a great deal of sense. Think about the last time you had something you wanted to get off your chest, but just couldn’t quite say. Maybe you were in a situation where you felt you wouldn’t be heard, or were scared to express your feelings. Feeling unable to express our truth causes an emotional toll that affects our psyche, appetite, and physical wellbeing.
Ajna: Going Mental
Right between your eyebrows, settled in with your third eye, sits the ajna chakra. This important energetic plexus sits at command center, governing the brain and head. Headaches, sinus issues, blurred vision, eye problems, and seizures all relate to imbalances in the ajna chakra. This chakra also controls the pituitary gland, which governs the function of the other glands. Needless to say, imbalance in the pituitary gland trickles down throughout the system.
If you’re feeling lost psychically, imbalance in the ajna chakra may be to blame. Blockages here affect our judgment, leading to indecisiveness, perfectionism, aggressiveness, or stubbornness. Losing our grasp on our intuition creates a destabilizing imbalance that affects every level of our being. Recognizing the physical signs of imbalance in the ajna chakra, we’re given a hint to look at the state of our psyche, examining any life circumstances that may be sending our decisive abilities off-balance.
Sahasrara: Sensitive Spirit
The final chakra, sahasrara, sits at the top of the head, resting like a halo on our crown. Physically, it affects the spinal cord and brain stem. It also governs the pineal gland, which produces melatonin and regulates our cycles of sleeping and waking. It stands to reason, then, that the sahasrara chakra’s affects are mostly psychic in nature. Imbalances here may result in depression, sleeplessness, fatigue, memory-issues, and other such symptoms of a pained psyche. A blocked sahasrara chakra may also leave us over-sensitive to stimuli, disturbed by variants in light, sound, and environment. These are the familiar symptoms of spiritual depletion, those times when life has us feeling low, joyless, and destructive. Noticing the physical and emotional signs and caring for ourselves accordingly can set us on the path towards healing.
Identifying the ethereal experiences related to these four chakras can be a difficult task. Often, we ignore our emotional and spiritual selves, pushing through the emotional and psycho-spiritual pain that unbalances these upper four chakras. Whether it be our ability to love and be loved, speak and be heard, decide and understand, or feel fulfilled and joyful, the psychic and emotional experiences related to these chakras are important to our wellbeing. Luckily, with this framework, we can access their imbalances through visceral physical experience, putting us on the path to healing for fuller, happier lives.
Want to know more about Chakras and Yoga? Find out if a yoga teacher training in Nicaragua is right for you. Our next training: 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in February
All photos are taken ion the beach in Ostional, Nicaragua were we have our yoga center.