Most people think of the chakras — the seven energy centers running along the spine — in terms of healing old wounds or woo-woo spirals of energy that must flow in order to prevent disease. That’s if you think of the chakras at all.

But these centers provide a meaningful framework for not only understanding ourselves more deeply but also organizing life in such a way that self-actualization becomes inevitable.

Yes, inevitable.

That’s because your life purpose, your destiny, is who you are. As long as you’re showing up every day, tuning within, and making the necessary changes, your destiny will have no choice but to flow to you.

Each chakra relates to a theme in ourselves and our lives. It also relates to a specific emotion. By taking time to understand our emotions and see them as signals that something is out of whack, we can make powerful changes that make life work better.

This doesn’t mean that no work is necessary. It absolutely is. It’s a beautiful sunny day, and I’m sitting here writing this article to chase my dreams. We must show up.

Part of the work is also tuning into ourselves and seeking to understand our internal signals, but not from the framework that emotional pain means something is wrong with us. From the framework that emotional pain signals an opportunity to learn a lesson or make a change.

Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in.

Chakra 1: The Root

The root chakra, at the base of the spine, relates to our foundation, both from the Earth and our family. It also relates to manifestation, which in less woo-woo terms, means making real.

This chakra also relates to structure and limitation. Limitation is an essential component of making our dreams real because, without some constraint, we lack the focus necessary to make things happen.

Structure is also key. Think about how many famous writers say they write every single day, often at a specific time, and in that regularity the muse understands when to visit.

The person who is too free-flowing, and writes only when inspiration hits, never condenses energy enough to create anything meaningful. A sense of flow, which is the second chakra, is essential for creativity, but this flow must rest on a solid foundation.

As another quick analogy, it’s like going surfing. The surfer melds completely into the ocean, searching for those momentary blips of bliss when the board, his attention, and the wave become one, and nothing exists except for the present moment.

That sense of flow, of merging, would never be possible if it weren’t for his solid footing on the foundation of the board. And even deeper, it wouldn’t be possible without the consistency and structure of daily practice.

How to know when this chakra is out of balance

Overwhelm and anxiety signal that this chakra is unbalanced, as does fear.

All of these emotions signal that we have detached from our foundation, perhaps overloaded in the amount of work we’ve assigned ourselves and lost our focus on what truly matters. Fear can indicate that we’ve lost trust in our life’s path and are trying to control the uncontrollable.

These emotions invite us to return to the body, the breath, spend time in nature, and remember that you are here on this Earth to fulfill an important purpose. The Earth supports you in actualizing this purpose, just as it produces the food you eat and the water you drink.

Overwhelm, anxiety, and fear are invitations to return to the present moment, examine the structures we’ve created in our lives, and see if there’s any potential for improvement.

Chakra 2: The Sacral

This chakra relates to emotions, creativity, sexual energy, and flow. This energy center, located at the sacrum, rests on a solid foundation and invites us to embrace the fluidity of life.

How quickly can you change plans or adopt flexibility while achieving your goals? How open to pleasure are you? Do you feel worthy of joy? Are you closing yourself off to the pain you feel, which also numbs you to the joy?

People who tend to deny or repress their emotions may experience stiff hips or an awkward gait.

Closing off our sense of fluidity from fear or excessive attachment to structure denies the natural human desire (another second chakra trait) to ride that pulsating wave of life, to embrace its many ebbs and flows, and to organize your schedule to accommodate for the shifting cycles of life.

The second chakra invites us to balance the solidity of the first chakra with fluidity. Do you build times in your schedule to relax and do nothing? To recharge creatively and emotionally?

Can you embrace your emotions as they come without judging yourself or others who feel?

How to know when this chakra is out of balance

Life has lost its pleasure. It feels dull and lifeless. Your body feels heavy or sluggish. Or, you feel too emotional, the ups and downs are preventing you from finding that stable point in the flow.

Balance this chakra through movement, by spending time near water or taking baths. Feel your feelings. Embrace pleasure and allow yourself to receive without guilt. Move, dance, or hit the gym to get your blood flowing.

Chakra 3: The Navel

Navel power energy at the belly is our willpower. It’s our ability to get things done, to set boundaries and show up in this world strong and empowered.

The third chakra invites us to contemplate our relationship with power, ego, and confidence. Are you power hungry? Where does this come from? Is it an overcompensation for feeling powerless?

Or are you demure in how you show up to the world? Are you too flexible and avoid asking for what you want and need?

The third chakra invites us to consider how energized we feel in our day to day lives, how we want to influence the world and meet the challenges that arise.

Because this center is our inner fire, it’s an opportunity to stay mindful. Are we keeping ourselves and others warm with our presence? Are we burning those who come too close? Or are we showing up as cold, dispassionate and ineffectual?

True power comes from within, from our connection to ourselves or a spiritual relationship of your own understanding. To cultivate this power, build a strong body, create healthy boundaries and take time to feed your inner fire through rest, proper nutrition and whatever else makes you feel good.

How to know when this chakra is out of balance

Due to this chakra’s emphasis on boundaries, anger is a sign that it’s out of balance. Anger signals that we feel powerless, or that we’ve given up our power in some way. It’s a call to erect stronger boundaries, which protect an open heart, the fourth chakra.

Keep in mind that never feeling angry isn’t always a positive thing. It can indicate that you have such a small sense of self that you’re not even acknowledging your boundaries or staking your claim to exert your influence.

Chakra 4: The heart

The heart center, protected by the firm boundaries in Chakra 3, is the place where we first feel love for ourselves, and then allow that love to flow outward.

Unconditional love is the energy we tap into to find and follow our passions, ride out life’s inevitable challenges and disappointments, and discover the wisdom of life’s lessons.

Personal development must rest on a solid foundation of self-love. If we move forward on this path from a sense that we’re not good enough, any changes will result in more pain. If we don’t start as enough, we’ll never be enough.

Instead, it’s important to improve ourselves because we love ourselves and want the best for ourselves. We need to make healthy choices from love, and not fear or hate, or feeling like, “when I make more money or have a hotter body or achieve success, I’ll be worthy.”

Self-actualization at the core is a journey of self-understanding: learning how to maximize our natural impulses and work with our true nature in a way that operates in harmony with the outer world.

Coming to this journey from a place of love, for ourselves and others, not only makes this journey more powerful and transformative but a lot more fun.

Connecting to the love in our hearts isn’t weak, but actually, the strongest thing we can do. It’s all too easy to change from fear. The truly strong find the love in all situations and use any challenges to do and be better.

How to know when this chakra is out of balance

Ongoing sadness is a call from your heart for more love. First, you must find the love in your own heart, your love for yourself, and find ways to heal and release the sadness.

Sadness can also signal that you’re out of alignment with your authentic self – doing things that other people want for you, but don’t interest you.

Often sadness will arise when working to achieve goals other people have set for us and not using our full potential. The natural tendency is to judge ourselves for feeling this way instead of tuning in and asking ourselves what our souls are calling out for us to do.

How can you show up in a way that honors your true wishes and desires? Or, depending on the season of life you’re in, how can you more fully accept the conditions of your life so that you may find the unseen openings?

Chakra 5: The throat

This chakra relates to our ability to speak our truth. It invites us to consider how we can speak kindly, with love, but also authentically. Sometimes that involves saying things that other people don’t necessarily want to hear but are necessary for the evolution of the relationship or the world. Or, maybe these things are just important to you.

The throat center also relates to self-expression. How easily are you able to express what you truly think and feel? If you have problems here, it may help to tune back into the heart and find the love for yourself so that you can move away from the fear of losing external love.

When you know you’ll always love yourself it can help you to express your truth with more bravery.

Comparison also shuts this chakra down, which is all too easy in our world where everything is possible, and all the people seem to do all the things.

It can help to put blinders on and focus on developing your innate talents and gifts without looking around to see what other people are doing. When you focus on others’ accomplishments, you’re giving them your precious life force energy, leaving you with less to follow your dreams.

While jealousy can be helpful in showing us what we truly want by illuminating repressed desire, it’s most helpful to stay focused on how we can best express our authentic selves in a way that feels right.

How to know when this chakra is out of balance

You have trouble expressing yourself in words or writing, or you end up talking too much. You compare yourself a lot to other people. You’re overly shy and tend to isolate yourself.

To balance this chakra, loosen your grip on your voice and allow yourself to sing, speak or even yell, perhaps in the safety of an empty home or car. Journal your thoughts and feelings and sit with the discomfort of this self-expression, which will ultimately help you gain more confidence.

Chakra 6: The third eye

The third eye, in between the physical eyes, is truly the seat of intuition. It’s how we know without knowing. While our logical, rational minds are necessary for planning, analyzing data and figuring out which things should work, it’s also important to give our intuition the credit it deserves for steering us toward fulfilling lives.

The more intuitively we can make decisions, the more in alignment with our true selves our lives become.

Our journey up the chakras, creating that strong foundation and doing the practical work of setting boundaries, has prepared us for this moment, when we drop all logic and tune into the heavens to understand its plans for us, which often transcend logic.

This chakra invites us to pay attention to our hunches, honor when something feels like it isn’t working, and instead of forcing it to fit or judging ourselves as failures, ask the question — “How can I shift this, so it feels better?”

The option is always available to us. After all life’s pain, sometimes the hardest part is opening up to the possibility that life can flow and feel really good.

How to know when this chakra is out of balance

You’re indecisive, unsure of which way to go in life. You ask everyone around you for their opinion, drowning out your own inner voice.

Strengthen this chakra by asking your intuition simple questions: “What should I eat for lunch, read next or wear today?” Try asking yourself questions in a journal and see what comes up.

Whenever we ask ourselves a question, the answer always arises. What defines our experience is whether we credit ourselves with the depth of this understanding or write it off as a flaky hunch.

Chakra 7: The crown

The crown chakra at the top of the head is our connection to the universe. On the self-actualization journey, this chakra relates to our life purpose and the reason why we’re here, which always has something to do with using our innate gifts to serve others and make the world a better place.

This chakra invites us to create space for stillness to connect to something greater than you or at the very least, your higher self.

It invites us to consider our thoughts and beliefs related to the unseen and develop a spiritual relationship of our own understanding.

This chakra asks us to trust in our life’s purpose and path, and show up with love every step of the way because it all has meaning. We’re invited to view our life’s difficulties through a different lens, a lens of opportunity and wisdom.

Through a higher viewpoint, we can see that the times of greatest grief have carefully prepared us to live our destiny, and although painful, were the turning points that carved us into who we’re meant to be.

This chakra invites us to ask for help navigating our life’s troubles, and find the love and wisdom so that we may give those qualities to the world.

How to know when this chakra is out of balance

You have no spiritual relationship. You’re nervous to access your own inner quiet and stillness. You doubt your purpose on Earth and don’t believe in any intelligence greater than you.

To connect with this part of yourself, remember to meditate, pray, journal, ask for guidance, and strive to show up every day as connected as possible. Recognize that each moment is a new opportunity to actualize your potential and live your destiny — even in those moments where it may seem far away.


  • Michael (A.A)
    • Michael (A.A)
    • November 22, 2019 at 8:47 am

    This is a late post, but this is more for the people still around listening to the older podcast than this specific individual I’m replying to.

    Arguments against chakras :

    Argument # 1 : It’s unscientific.
    Response : There are actually multiple experiments on scientific journals shown online that actually point to being able to measure chakras through electrical impulses. Scott Jeffrey’s blog post on Standing Meditation or Zhan Zhuang for example, mentions an experiment like this. It won’t also be too hard to find online anywhere else if you look.

    Argument # 2 : Well, they have to repeat the experiment.
    Response : You can say the same exact thing to all kinds of conventional and unconventional experiments in science if you ask me. Be more specific. How would you like to repeat it if you really want to be a good skeptic? Don’t just say, “Because this person says so it has to be repeated.” So much of suspicion against parapsychology, mind you, or paranormal science is often just armchair philosophy without any want to actually do any deeper experiments on it. Take Robert Monroe’s astral projection research or Dolores Cannon’s research on past life regression. You can just look up how to astral project online or listen to a guided past life regression on Youtube, but so often skeptics answer, “Why would I waste my time experimenting with something unscientific?” which loops back into armchair philosophy with the basic assumption similarly said by religious conservatives, “Because this holy text says so.”

    Argument 3 : It’s the placebo effect.
    Response : The placebo effect is the phenomenon where medicine seems to work better due to a person’s belief that it will work. This is because a happier mental state takes less pressure on the adrenal glands that create too much stress gets moved to more energy for the immune system. That’s the thing though. We might disagree on the causes of why it works, but we both still agree it works. Even conventional medicine sees a lot of scientific benefits you can look up online on chakra emphasized energy exercises such as yoga, tai chi. or qigong, without actually believing that it has to do with chakras but more on the physical component to it. Hell, you can go search online on Youtube for chakra music (Choose the one you want help on) and try to see it yourself if it works on that area. Placebo effect or not, doesn’t it still work? If you want to go the extra mile, you don’t have to do armchair philosophy again and actually start with yoga exercises made for certain chakras on the yogajournal site. But waittt, it’s not scientific because that’s what you’ve been told all your life. “God hates gays because I’ve always been told that.” Notice similar reasonings? Think about it.

  • Antonia Dodge
    • Antonia Dodge
    • October 5, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    I would add that the models we use aren’t considered ‘unscientific’. There are no instruments at this time to measure them, so they fall into the realm of philosophy. We did a PHQ podcast on this topic when it comes to Myers-Briggs:


  • Charis Branson
    • Charis Branson
    • October 5, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Thanks for the comment, Summerisle. Fortunately, we don’t limit ourselves by what is considered scientific or unscientific. We are more interested in tools that help people grow, heal, achieve and transcend. As a matter of fact, most of the maps and models we use are not considered scientific. But if someone finds a model useful to their personal growth, we don’t judge it or them. We are here to facilitate growth, and although you may find this tool unworthy, you will notice by the comments above that there are people who have benefited from this philosophy. We will continue to publish subjects on multiple maps and models in an effort to reach the needs of our diverse audience. If scientific validity is your only determiner of worth, that’s cool. I’m sure there is no lack of scientific resources available on the internet. Have you had a chance to listen to Antonia and Joel’s podcast on the Chakras?

  • Summerisle
    • Summerisle
    • October 4, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Aside from the placebo effect and the general benefits of managing stress…is there any credible scientific evidence for these claims of “energy circles”? Articles like this make me doubt the evidence underpinning the other personality models used on this site

  • Suzanne Heyn
    • Suzanne Heyn
    • September 28, 2017 at 12:54 am

    Hi David,

    That’s awesome to hear! Thank you for sharing!

    All the best,

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.