I wasn’t very spiritual when I first started traveling several years ago. I knew what I believed was different than the society I was raised in, but I never understood that it was reflected in other cultures. Thankfully, Asia was the first part of the world that I explored, and it made all the difference.
The first time I picked up a book to read about Buddhism, I finally felt understood. The things that my old finance coworkers called me a hippie for — my disconnect with fancy things, belief that everyone is fundamentally equal, and energetic connection with nature — were not New Age beliefs, but rather older than Christianity. It all stems from Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths and before that, Hinduism.
Over the past couple of years I’ve supercharged my spiritual curiosity, learning more about meditation, Tantra, and dipping into quantum physics as well, at least, as much of it as I could understand. What I’ve learned over the years is that we are totally in control of our reality, our energy, and our life experience.
One of the best ways I’ve found to heal is to balance my chakras.
Chakras are centers of energy within the body running from the base of our spine up to above the crown of our head. The ancient Sanskrit word for chakra translates to ‘wheel’, suggesting that the energy centers in our body are wheels that move our energy upwards. They were first referenced in the Vedas text from the second millennium BCE.
All organisms give off a frequency, but what happens when our energy gets stuck? Are we able to access all of our potential in a state where we feel unsafe, unable to express ourselves, or aren’t totally open to love?
To me that means healing and loving ourselves first, because when we work on self-love, we create the capacity for all of the other forms of love to come to us. The following are some helpful chakra meditations to rebalance your energy centers, and help you feel safe, confident, and open:
Root Chakra: Masculine, Earth, Lotus
The root chakra is located at the base of your spine and symbolized by a lotus with four petals and a downward-pointing triangle at its center. The triangle symbolizes connection to the earth and the lotus is one of the most sacred symbols in Hinduism, Buddhism, and ancient Egyptian beliefs. A running theme across all of those is rebirth and spiritual awakening.
Our root chakra is our center of safety, strength, and commitment. When our root chakra is balanced we are grounded, like a warrior.
If you don’t feel fundamentally safe, how can you be open to love, much less speak your truth? That’s why nurturing our root chakra is so important. Without a balanced root chakra, we can’t balance the rest of the chakras, either.
To bring into balance, begin by finding a comfortable, quiet place where you feel safe to dive deep. For me, that’s usually in my office where it truly feels like my space, and is decorated in such a way that makes my feminine energy come alive (more on Tantra, and my reasons for nurturing feminine energy here).
Root Chakra Meditations*:
- Root Chakra Meditation: I am Here, by Leah Guy (8 minutes)
- Root Chakra Meditation by Lee Papa (12 minutes)
- Root Chakra by Elizabeth Phillips (18 minutes)
*Note: all of the meditations recommended in this post are accessible through Insight Timer. They are totally free and I only recommend them because I personally love them. You’ll need to download the app to get the full version.
Sacral Chakra: Feminine, Water, Flower + Moon
The sacral chakra is symbolized by a crescent moon at the center of a flower with six petals. Its color is orange and its element is water. Makes sense, since tides depend on the moon, and like emotions, both are ever-changing.
Depending on the tradition, the sacral chakra is located at the center of your lower belly, or in the genital area. The latter is where I was taught it’s located. Exact location doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we keep it in balance to steady our emotions, our expression of sexuality, relationships, and creativity.
Sacral Chakra Meditations:
- Sacral Chakra Activation by Miriam Katz (8 minutes)
- Healing our Sacral Chakra by Aeoliah (19 minutes)
- Sacral Chakra Tibetan Singing Bowl by Sonic Yogi (31 minutes)
Solar Plexus Chakra: Masculine, Fire, 10-Petaled Flower
The solar plexus is the house of our soul. It is located in the upper part of the belly, where your diaphragm rests. It has a connection to the sun, heat, and most importantly, power.
Balancing the solar plexus chakra does not mean bringing about the ability to lord power over others, but rather taking charge of our own personal power, making decisions, and building self-confidence.
When in balance we are connected to our higher purpose, live in integrity, and keep our promises to ourselves. It also corresponds to the gut, which has the second highest concentration of neurons after the brain.
Solar Plexus Chakra Meditations:
- Solar Plexus Meditation by Sarah Jane Chapman (5 minutes)
- Solar Plexus Tibetan Singing Bowls by Sonic Yogi (25 minutes)
If you can balance this chakra, I believe you’re already far ahead of most people in the world by expanding your consciousness and asking yourself what is true for you, and staying strong in your beliefs. Most people never really get past the root chakra, a feeling of safety, which allows us to open up to the rest. But if you’re here, that means you’re ready to open up to one of the most beautiful, the heart chakra.
Heart Chakra: Feminine, Air, Six-Pointed Star with 12 Petals
The heart chakra is located in the center of our chest – more towards the center than our actual heart. The intersecting triangles symbolize the union of opposing forces, creating harmony.
When our heart is open, we feel the connectedness with others. We are in a place where we feel compassion and empathy, and can easily forgive and accept. We realize that people are much more alike than they are different, and fundamentally we all feel the same things. When out of balance we can feel closed off, fearful of others, jealous, and unable to forgive.
The heart chakra is associated with air, signifying lightness of being. One of the best ways to bring this into balance is through breath work.
Heart Chakra Meditations:
- Pranayama Breathing: Breathe in slowly through the nose, hold the breath at the top, breathe out more slowly than you breathed in, and hold for several seconds with empty lungs. Repeat. Examples here.
- Heart Opening Meditation by Somananda Tantra School (20 minutes)
- Heart Chakra Tibetan Singing Bowls with Ocean Sounds by Sonic Yogi (33 minutes)
Throat Chakra: Masculine, Sound, Sixteen-Petaled Flower
Is it any surprise that as we move upwards, the amount of petals, and growth, increases? The throat chakra is light blue in color and is located at, surprise, the throat. Personally, whenever I do chakra work, this is my most activated.
Our fifth chakra is where we deal with our expression, particularly speaking our truth. It also has to do with our inner truth, and our creativity. This is where we create and express without needing approval, but rather for the sake of truth itself.
When out of balance, we’re unable to keep our word, unable to listen to others, and fear speaking. We also may lack of connection with our purpose in life. This is why opening the throat chakra is so important.
Throat Chakra Meditations:
- Throat Chakra Binaural Beats by Rick Batyr (10 minutes)
- Throat Chakra Activation by Miriam Katz (10 minutes)
- Throat Chakra Tibetan Singing Bowls with Ocean Sounds by Sonic Yogi (33 minutes)
Third Eye Chakra: Feminine, Light, Upside Down Triangle and Lotus Flower
The third eye chakra is characterized by a dark blue color, or indigo, and is located in the center of our forehead. The triangular symbol represents channeling information to the seed from which wisdom blossoms. This is our gateway to higher consciousness.
When in balance, we’re able to think critically, create our own reality, and manifest what we choose. Basically, whatever we choose to see is what we will experience. The mantra of the third eye chakra is “om”, the most sacred mantra in Buddhism and Hinduism, and an ode to our highest guidance.
When out of balance, we’re disconnected from our intuition, and our mind is filled with unnecessary info. This is why stillness and meditation are so important. With so many alarming headlines and rage-based political writing, think about what information comes into your mind each day. What will you choose to fill it with, and are the thoughts that occupy your mind really your own?
Third Eye Chakra Meditations:
- Just a Thought by Tom Evans (14 minutes)
- Third Eye Awakening by StressFit (35 minutes)
- Receive Messages from Spirit Guides by Pura Rasa (44 minutes)
Crown Chakra: Masculine, Thought, Circle with One Thousand Petals
The crown chakra, located above the crown of our head and symbolized by the color purple, is our connection to spirit, universal consciousness, enlightenment, and wisdom. Only when the rest of our chakras are in balance can we tap into this incredible loving power.
Are you open to seeing signs and finding meaning in seemingly random things? This is where we can tap into our connection with the cosmos. Personally, in addition to meditation, I find research into quantum physics and our interconnection with all things helps me understand this one better.
Crown Chakra Meditations:
- Crown Chakra Meditation by Sarah Jane Chapman (5 minutes)
- Crown Chakra by Sonic Yogi (22 minutes)
- Opening the Crown Chakra by Shai Tubali (30 minutes)
In my travels around the world, I’ve searched for different healing modalities from various cultures. It’s so interesting to me that so many beliefs essentially overlap and the majority of spirituality comes back to love.
While I realize this is a slight deviation from my mostly travel-related writings, I think it’s an important aspect of the inner journey of traveling the world, and my feeling that traveling is nothing without spirituality.
Additionally, the Earth has chakra centers where the power of each chakra can be felt with even more potency, bringing it all full-circle. If you’ve experienced the beauty of traveling and understanding the spirituality of different cultures, I’m sure you know what I mean.
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