It is believed that there are seven main chakras. Chakras are, in effect, energy wheels; vortexes of energy which link our energy field to our physical body. The three higher chakras are located in the throat, forehead/third eye and crown. They are named Vishuddha, Ajna and Sahasrara respectively. The main chakras pertain to our own endocrine system explained in Western medicine; this is the system that governs the secretion of hormones within our body.

In Indian society, however, the chakras are more than just related to the mechanical aspects of the body, they also relate to the emotional and spiritual aspects being intricately linked to our aura or energy field.

The throat and fifth chakra corresponds to the laryngeal plexus and controls the voice, hearing and throat. It is associated with acts of communication, including speaking the truth or finding creative ways for self-expression. This chakra is normally associated with the colour blue. The meaning of your own personal truth is central to this chakra. The more free-flowing the energy of this chakra, the more you are able to speak your truth without fearing the consequences — or at least without letting external forces stop you from doing it. When the throat chakra is too open, you may talk more than other people would like and may not listen closely enough.

On a different level, this chakra is also associated with personal will. When the chakra is very open, your will can be excessively strong; when it is closed, your will can seem nonexistent. However, at times when the fifth chakra is in balance, your will is aligned with divine will. During such periods, you’re likely to feel that things are going your way, rather than having to fight against the current in order to reach your goals.

When your throat chakra is not in balance, emotions can become harder to express and if these are bottled up, this can lead to frustration and tension.

Located at the point between our eyes and just above our eyebrow, the sixth chakra corresponds to the cavernous plexus and is concerned with true inner vision. Known commonly as the ‘third eye’ it is the storehouse of memories and imagination. This chakra is normally associated with the colour indigo and the sound Om. It is associated with the capacity to visualise and understand mental concepts. This includes the person’s concept of reality and the universe or how he/she sees the world and how he/she thinks the world is likely to respond to him. With therapeutic help, the person will understand and see the image clearly for what it is.

This chakra resonates with clear thinking, native intelligence, and intuition. It is from here that we develop our psychic ability, our memories of the past and visualizations for the future, and can stand unafraid to see the truth about what’s happening in our lives.

Development of true “third eye” vision, that uncommon ability to see from great distances, to know secrets about people without being told, to predict the future or to see the truth about past events, takes a willingness to face the truth without fear. Some persons appear to be born with this faculty. We can enhance our mental clarity, that sixth chakra energy, by taking the time to calm our scattered thoughts and focus on what is happening in the moment. We nourish the ability of our thinking power when we accept that there are myriad ways of thinking and living in the world, and can open ourselves to understanding without prejudice or negative judgment, knowing that hearing/seeing alternatives doesn’t mean we have to adopt them into our own lives.

When we are fully grounded and centered, developing the psychic side of our intelligence can serve us well, too. We can learn from our dreams, trust our intuition by learning to determine when it comes from inner guidance vs. when it comes from a fear-based life pattern, and when we stop being afraid to know the truth.

Imbalances in sixth chakra energy may show up physically as mental illness, poor memory, vision problems, nightmares or severe headaches as a response to stress. When this chakra is closed or blocked, you may have trouble seeing the big picture of events that are unfolding in your life. The truth of matters can be dwarfed in details, and you may become easily confused. At times like these, you can sometimes overlook the subtler forces in any situation because you’re so busy giving attention to literal details. You may also find that you have a tendency to judge people and events pretty harshly.

The seventh chakra, the Crown chakra corresponds to the pineal plexus and is located in the crown of the head, but it is connected with the entire muscular system, the skeletal system, the skin, and nervous system. Its name in Sanskrit means ‘1000 petalled lotus’ and this is a very important part of the chakra system since it is the master chakra, interpreting information from the other six. It is concerned with thinking and decision making. It is important that free communication exists between this and the other chakras so that the brain can receive the life-enriching energy that runs through the system. This chakra is normally associated with the colour Violet or white gold and the sound Om.

The seventh chakra is associated with thought and it is also known as the Guru Chakra. It signifies our relationship to all things and the unity of everything. This chakra also symbolizes self-knowledge and spiritual consciousness. It is related to the person’s connection to his spirituality and the integration of his whole being, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. It is the seat of higher wisdom and the energy that comes from it. It is thought to give access to the infinite intelligence that exists in the universe and is our key to opening the door to it. This chakra allows for self-expression on higher spiritual levels. When asking the question, “Who am I, really?” you are tapping into the energy of your seventh chakra.

When this chakra is closed or blocked, you can feel cut off from spirituality. At such times, your relationship with the divine becomes limited, and fears of the spiritual side of life can be magnified. Disruptions in your seventh chakra can also amount to the inability to gain closure on unfinished business. Such problems have the potential to end up as a real thorn in your side. Most of all, lack of flow in your seventh chakra leads to an inability to live in the present. People with blocked seventh chakra energy seem to always be either revisiting their past or looking ahead to the future.

When the chakras are blocked, illness is the result. However, the illness may not manifest itself in the physical body for some time; in fact the manifestation may appear emotionally as a disturbance in behaviour or feeling, well before any physical aspects show. To further complicate the issue, disturbed emotions of the mind can cause blockages in the chakras, causing illness also. It’s a bit like ‘the chicken and the egg’ riddle where the answer is that our body is so connected to the spirit and mind that not one thing can be put down as the ‘cause’, only that we should aim to prevent any illness developing.