The Chakra System

In this article I’ll be looking at the Chakra System.  The word ‘chakra’ comes from the Sanskrit word for wheel.  It is a metaphor for the eternal cycle of time and so represents celestial order and balance ( Wheels of Life, Anodea Judith).  The chakras turn like a set of interconnected cogs and serve to move energy between matter and consciousness. Together they form the chakra system – a set of spinning energy centres responsible for the “reception, assimilation and transmission of life energies” (ibid.)

There are 7 main chakras in the body (and many other smaller ones) which correspond to particular parts of the body and to specific glands.  In addition each chakra reflects a particular aspect of our being.

When a chakra is metabolising energy efficiently it is said to be ‘open’ and this results in balanced and harmonious functioning of the parts of the body which are under its influence.

When there is a restriction or distortion in the energy flow of a chakra it is described as ‘closed’ or ‘partly closed’ and this causes dis-ease in the related areas of the body.

I will outline a brief guide to each chakra giving a description of its attributes.  Among other things, each has its own colour, sense, food and element.  These vary slightly depending on which book you read so my description will generally follow the most common version.



Also known as the Root chakra, this is located at the bottom of the spine and corresponds to the adrenal glands.  These glands are situated on top of the kidneys.   They secrete a number of hormones including:

  • cortisol ‘the stress hormone’, which causes the blood sugar levels to rise as part of the ‘fight / flight’ response;
  • aldosterone which affects the levels of sodium and potassium in the blood and the amount of water absorbed by the body
  • a small amount of sex hormones.

The body parts influenced by this chakra are

  • the legs,
  • feet,
  • bones,
  • large intestine.

The colour of this chakra is red;
its sense is the sense of smell;
its element is earth
its function is survival.

The foods for this chakra are proteins and meats.

This is the part of the chakra system that relates to matter.  It is the first chakra to open when we are born and it helps us to connect to our family and to feel a sense of ‘home’. It relates to survival and grounding so when it is functioning well the person or animal has a strong sense of self awareness, they are grounded and they feel secure.

Those with problems in this area can experience:

  • weight problems,
  • constipation,
  • sciatica,
  • degenerative arthritis
  • knee problems.

They can also struggle with debt or lack of money and they tend to have a sense of not belonging or being worthless.

When this chakra is open and functioning well you are content within your body.  You are confident with money and are able to manage it well so that you always have enough for your needs.  You feel that you belong and have a strong connection with your family or friends.  You feel wanted and loved.



Located slightly below the belly button, this energy centre relates to the gonads (ie the ovaries in the female and the testes in the male) which secrete sex hormones.

It is also linked with the lower back.

The colour of this chakra is orange;
its sense is the sense of taste;
its element is water
its function is desire and pleasure.

The foods for this chakra are liquids.

This chakra is about feelings and emotions and it is strongly connected to sexuality.  It affects the male and female reproductive organs and so problems in this area can result in impotence or frigidity as the person can come to believe that sex is bad and can cause them to be hurt.  They might also feel abused and confused, believing that they are unlovable.

It is also about the balance of yin and yang energies — our inner feminine/masculine balance.

Other issues include kidney and bladder problems and stiffness in the lumbar region.

When it is balanced and open this chakra promotes self-respect and a sense of abundance.  It enables the you to enjoy pleasure and to create healthy sexual experiences.  You feel precious, cherished and special.

This is the second chakra to open.  The first gives us a sense of self and this is followed by an understanding of ‘other’.  The infant begins to understand that the others in their world are separate beings rather than just extensions of themselves.

This chakra relates to creativity.  This is often thought of as reproduction, but it is also the childlike energy to be spontaneous, joyful, creative and exuberant.  When this chakra is functioning well it gives us a great sense of freedom to be ourselves.



This chakra is found between the sternum and the belly button and corresponds to the digestive system.  Its glands are the pancreas and the adrenals.  The pancreas is located near the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine.  It secretes digestive enzymes to help break down food in order for it to be absorbed and utilised by the body (an exocrine function).  These enzymes include:

  • amylase(for starches)
  • proteases(for protein)
  • lipase(for fats)

The pancreas also plays a very important role in the regulation of blood sugar through its endocrine function.  It contains specialised cells – the Islets of Langerhans – which secrete insulin and glucagon.  The former helps to lower the level of glucose in the blood by allowing it to move into the body’s cells and the latter raises blood sugar levels by stimulating the liver to convert stored glycogen to glucose.

The body parts influenced by this chakra are:

  • stomach
  • small and large intestines

The colour of this chakra is yellow;
its sense is the sense of sight;
its element is fire
its function is the use of personal power, will and assertiveness.

The food for this chakra is starch.

It is strongly related to intention and transformation.  It is the most ‘exposed’ chakra in that it is not contained within any skeletal support.  The spine is there behind it, but there is nothing in front of it which is why we can sometimes feel uncomfortable when face-to-face with another as their will centre is directly facing ours.

It is here that we first feel shame but also how we learn to move beyond it.  It is also where we learn about power.  Having realised that there is ‘other’ we learn how to relate to them and how to assert our will.

If this chakra is open and balanced you will be confident and in control of your life, having a strong sense of your own power and how to use it in healthy ways.  You will want to use your power to help others and to make a difference in the world.

However if this chakra is out of balance you will tend to be bossy and domineering, needing to exert authority over others.  It can also lead to feeling like a victim, or feeling powerless as you give your power away in order to keep the peace.

Other problems in this area can lead to an inability to deal with stress and a feeling of ‘overload’.  It can also result in digestive issues.



Located in the middle of the chest this chakra corresponds to the thymus gland which is found at the sternum and plays an important role in immunity.

The body parts influenced by this chakra are

  • lungs
  • heart
  • arms
  • hands
  • pericardium

The colour of this chakra is green (or sometimes pink);
its sense is the sense of touch;
its element is air;
its function is love.

The foods for this chakra are vegetables.

When this energy centre is well balanced the individual experiences self-love, joy and inner peace.  They are also compassionate and able to give love to others.  They are comfortable in their relationships and feel a deep sense of gratitude for how wonderful their life is.

If it is out of balance they might suffer from asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease or lung disease.  They might also be withdrawn, unforgiving or uncomfortable with physical contact.

Having discovered himself as being a member of a family, then a unique entity, separate from ‘other’, and having learned how to exercise his own will, the individual now rediscovers connection with the ‘other’ and with things around him.

This is the middle chakra connecting the lower three, denser energy centres, to the three lighter vibrational energies above.  It plays an important role in healing as this is where the grounded energy from the earth connects with the energy coming down from Spirit.  Light energy from Spirit travels down through the upper chakras to the heart and then along the related energy lines in the arms to the hands and from there to the client.



Unsurprisingly this chakra is located at the throat!  Its glands are:

  • thyroid
  • parathyroid.

The thyroid gland has 2 lobes that are located on either side of the larynx.  It secretes thyroid hormone with helps to regulate the body’s metabolic rate and calcitonin which affects blood calcium levels.

The parathyroid glands are found at the thyroid.  They secrete parathormone which works in opposition to calcitonin to maintain a homeostatic balance of calcium levels.  Parathormone  increases blood calcium levels by causing the kidneys and intestine to retain and absorb it, respectively.  It also releases calcium from the stores in the bones.  Calcitonin on the other hand causes blood calcium to be deposited in these bone stores.

The body parts influenced by this chakra are

  • neck
  • oesophagus
  • bronchi and lungs
  • shoulders
  • arms
  • hands

The colour of this chakra is bright sky blue;
its sense is the sense of hearing;
its element is sound;
its function is communication and creativity.

The food for this chakra is fruit.

When this chakra is balanced is enables strong, healthy communication and self-expression.  You feel comfortable speaking your truth and you feel that others listen to you.  You feel that you are heard and honoured for your truth.

When there is a lack of balance in this area it can result in sore throats, stiff neck, colds, thyroid problems and hearing problems.  It can also cause a fear of expressing oneself, or at the other extreme, being too blunt and hurtful.  It can also result in a feeling of being judged.



Also known as the Third Eye, this chakra is located in the middle of the forehead, slightly above the level of the eyes. It relates to the pineal gland, a part of the brain located at the rear end of the deep cleft that separates the 2 cerebral hemispheres and just in front of the cerebellum.

This gland is thought to influence our biological day / night rhythms.  It produces melatonin that seems to affect mood and sleep / wake cycles.

The body parts influenced by this chakra are

  • eyes
  • sinuses

The colour of this chakra is indigo;
its sense is the sense of sight;
its element is light;
its functions are intuition and seeing (including insight).

It is also thought to relate to ‘second sight’ and other psychic talents.

The ‘food’ for this chakra is mind altering inhalants.

When this chakra is open and balanced it results in a wisdom, imagination, and the ability to make decisions.  You have a strong sense of your own inner truth and listen to, and follow it as it guides you on your life path.  You are confident in your own intuitive decisions.

When it is out of balance it can lead to visual problems, a lack of imagination and therefore empathy, or an inappropriate use of imagination where you prefer to live in your own inner world rather than being open to the reality of your situation.  You might feel lost when it comes to your spiritual purpose and path in life.  You feel disconnected from your intuition, or don’t believe that you have any.

It can also cause headaches, nightmares and an inability to trust one’s own judgement.



This chakra is located at the top of the head and corresponds to two glands:

  • pituitary
  • hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is located in the back part of the brain, just behind the point at which the optic nerves cross.  It connects the conscious mind with the rest of the body by connecting the higher centres of the cerebral cortex with the lower brain centres and the endocrine system.  It also controls many important nervous system functions including appetite and body temperature.

The pituitary gland is often referred to as the ‘master gland’ as many of the hormones it secretes directly affect other glands around the body.

The anterior pituitary secretes 7 hormones:

  • growth hormone
  • prolactin – triggers and maintains lactation
  • thyroid stimulating hormone
  • adrenocorticotropic hormone – stimulates the growth and development of the cortex of the adrenal gland
  • follicle stimulating hormone – in females this stimulates the growth and development of egg follicles in the ovaries and in males it stimulates the development of spermatozoa
  • luteinising hormone – completes the process of follicle development in the female and plays a role in testosterone production in the male
  • melanocyte stimulating hormone – associated with control of colour changes in pigment cells

The posterior pituitary stores 2 hormones made in the hypothalamus:

  • antidiuretic hormone, which helps the body conserve water
  • oxytocin which plays a role in aiding sperm to travel to connect with the egg after sex, and also in the delivery of the foetus and placenta at birth. In addition it has an effect on the mammary glands during lactation.

The body parts influenced by this chakra are

  • scalp
  • cerebral cortex
  • central nervous system

The colour of this chakra is violet to white;

its sense is the sense of ‘knowing’;

its element is thought;

its function is understanding.

It is associated with fasting.

If this chakra is balanced it allows us to appreciate inner and outer beauty.  It gives us our connection to spirituality and the experience of pure bliss.  It allows you to feel immense gratitude for teh universal love and appreciation you feel towards yourself and others.

When it is out of balance it can result in depression, alienation, confusion, boredom, apathy and an inability to learn.  You might feel unworthy of spiritual help and angry that your higher power has abandoned you.  You might experience migraines and tension headaches.

This chakra is related to pure consciousness.  Energy from this level gradually becomes more dense as it travels down towards the base which is how thought becomes translated into matter in manifestation.  Travelling in the opposite direction our energies grow and develop through our lives leading us from solid matter to connecting with consciousness and the Divine.


Our energies can fluctuate during the day, and our chakras can be more or less open in any given situation depending on what ‘pushes our buttons’.

Why not take some time to pay attention to how you’re feeling — whereabouts in your body do you feel tension / pain / ease / lightness?

Are there repeating patterns in your life?  Do they serve you or do they leave you feeling stuck?

If any of this has resonated for you I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a comment or contact me if you’d like to ask any questions or discuss things further:

07980 669303


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