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When you think about meditation, see it as an exercise for your mind. Like physical exercise, there are many ways to do it. One way is called chakra meditation.
Chakra meditation is a meditation practice that involves so-called chakras. While it has not been studied in depth by Western medicine, those who practice and study it have reported anecdotal evidence for improvement in their well-being and mind and body connection (Wisneski, 2005).
Here’s what you need to know about chakra meditation, including techniques for how to do it, and the possible benefits of chakra meditation.
What is chakra meditation?
Chakra meditation is a meditation practice that involves imagining certain chakras waking up, activating, or becoming unblocked to achieve a balanced state of “energy” in the body (in this context, the term “energy” is referred to spiritually, not scientifically or medically).
Through breathing exercises, meditative yoga poses, and even posture corrections such as sitting up straight to lengthen the spine, those who believe in chakra meditation state that it can align chakras for an improved sense of health and wellness (Wisneski, 2005).
What are chakras?
According to Eastern spiritual philosophies, chakras are specific energies that run along the spine. Each chakra is believed to be connected to an individual’s emotional, mental, and physical health. When these chakras are balanced, Eastern philosophers argue that a person achieves an optimal sense of wellness (Schneider, 2019).
According to Eastern philosophy, there are as many as 114 chakras in the human body, but the seven main chakras run from the base of the head down to the base of the spine. The focus is on these chakras during chakra meditation (Schneider, 2019).
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What are the seven chakras?
The seven chakras are (Chase, 2018):
- The root chakra: located at the base of the spine
- Sacral chakra: located at the pelvis
- Solar plexus chakra: located at the belly button
- Heart chakra: located at the center of the chest
- Throat chakra: located at the base of the throat
- Brow chakra: located on the forehead, between the eyes
- Crown chakra: located at the top of the head
Each chakra is said to be responsible for attracting or repelling “energy” out of its specific place in the body to stay in total harmony. While there is no scientific way to measure these chakras or the energy, those who practice chakra meditation claim they are still present, and chakra alignment is an important piece of their health (Cogan, 2018).
Benefits of chakra meditation
While there is not much data on the proven benefits of chakra meditation, those who practice it claim its benefits are similar to the benefits of general meditation and include decreased stress, a positive attitude, and improvements to their self-esteem and well-being.
Since it’s difficult to collect concrete data on chakra meditation, some believe that these benefits might be a result of a placebo effect from chakra meditation. Chakra meditation has no connection to the scientific findings of how the human body works. Those who practice chakra meditation tend to do so as part of their spiritual beliefs. Instead of substituting chakra meditation for other scientifically proven ways to improve health, chakra meditation can be used to complement other healthy living measures (Cogan, 2018).
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Techniques for chakra meditation
Whether you want to try chakra meditation to find balance, deal more effectively with stress, or practice mindfulness, there are few tips that have been found to be helpful when practicing.
If you’ve practiced meditation in the past, you can use a similar framework for chakra meditation. Sit in a comfortable position with feet flat on the floor and your spine straight. Make sure to do your research ahead of time and figure out which specific chakra you want to focus on. The heart, brow, and crown chakras are most focused on during chakra meditation due to the corresponding parts of the body those who practice believe they are tied to (Deekshitulu, 2017).
Focusing on the chakra you’re trying to open, use a mix of visualization (many believers picture chakras like a lotus flower, opening and closing) and mantra meditation (the phrases “vam” or “yam” are commonly used). Focus the mind and direct your energy toward the chakra you’d like to improve or be more mindful about. You can also use meditation music if you find it helpful (Deekshitulu, 2017).
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As research into chakra meditation and its effects on the human body expands, it’s important to keep in mind that if chakra meditation helps your mental health, then it’s a practice worth continuing.
- Chase, C. R. (2018). The Geometry of Emotions: Using chakra acupuncture and 5-phase theory to describe personality archetypes for clinical use. Medical Acupuncture, 30(4): 167-178. doi: 10.1089/acu.2018.1288. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6106753/
- Cogan, S. (2019). Chakras. The Psychology of Extraordinary Beliefs. Retrieved from https://u.osu.edu/vanzandt/2018/04/18/chakras/
- Deekshitulu, B. (2017). Meditation and positive mental health. Journal of Psychiatry and Cognitive Behavior, 2, 108. doi: 10.29011/2574-7762.000008. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8957/a7674af67c583f102fd813eaa0c9f2f0b88f.pdf
- Lim, S. & Lee, H. (2020). Self-exploration on anxiety in chakra meditation experienced people – the mediation effect of emotional health state perception. International Journal Of Social Welfare Promotion And Management, 7(1), 15-24. doi: 10.21742/ijswpm.2020.7.1.03. Retrieved from https://gvpress.com/journals/IJSWPM/vol7_no1/vol7_no1_2020_03.html
- Schneider, A. & Cooper, N.J. (2019). A Brief History of the Chakras in Human Body. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.17372.00646. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342562977_A_Brief_History_of_the_Chakras_in_Human_Body/
- Wisneski, L. & Anderson, L. (2005). The scientific basis of integrative medicine. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2(2), 257–259. doi: 10.1093/ecam/neh079. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1142191/
Felix Gussone is a physician, health journalist and a Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.