A Beginner’s Guide to Chakra Meditation
We have so many different options when it comes to meditation: each different style, approach, and lineage has its own philosophies, tools, and goals. Whether it’s for relaxation or clarity, whether it’s guided or unguided, whether it uses a specific technique or just aims to create stillness – there are many ways and reasons to meditate. But there’s one approach that focuses on the subtle body and aims to create balance: chakra meditation.
The Chakra System
Before you can practice chakra meditation, it’s important to understand the chakra system and how it works. Chakras are part of the subtle body, also called the esoteric body, and are energetic centers. Chakra is the Sanskrit word for wheel or disc, which comes from the idea that the chakras are spinning wheels of energy. While there are over a hundred chakras in the body, the seven key chakras are situated along the spinal column, running in a line from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Each of these chakras is associated with a color, following the pattern of the rainbow; the first chakra at the base of the spine is red, and the seventh chakra at the crown of the head is violet.
When a person’s chakra system is perfectly balanced, the right amount of energy flows to each part of the body. But most of the time, one or more of the chakras are imbalanced, causing specific negative effects. There are many different practices to target the chakras, either individually or as a whole system, and one of the simplest is meditation.
Preparing for Chakra Meditation
You’ll prepare for a chakra meditation much like you would any other meditation. It is most often practiced sitting cross-legged on the ground, but can also be done sitting on the knees or even in a chair if that’s more accessible. Just be sure to find a stable position you’ll be able to maintain, and that allows you to feel your spine straight, stacking vertebrae on vertebrae.
Regardless of how you choose to sit, make sure you’re sitting up as tall as possible, but still keeping the shoulders relaxed. Imagine roots growing out of the base of your spine and reaching deep into the earth, while at the same time reaching the crown of your head toward the sky. These actions will help elongate the spine and keep it – and your chakras – in alignment.
Beginning Your Meditation
With your eyes closed, start your meditation by bringing your attention to your breath. Notice each inhale send air down into the belly and chest, and each exhale move air from the belly, through the chest, and out the nose. After you’ve taken several centering breaths, start to visualize yourself breathing in energy, taking in warm, clear, light energy on every inhale. Use a few breaths to picture yourself breathing that energy all the way up and down your spine.
Meditating on the Chakras
When you’re ready to shift your meditation to focus on the chakras, take one chakra at a time, giving it your full attention. Start with the root chakra at the base of the spine, and work your way up the body, one by one, until you reach the crown chakra at the top of your head.
To begin, simply start to focus on the first chakra. Turn your attention to the corresponding part of the body, and notice any physical sensations you feel in that part of the body. Notice the feeling of your clothing or the air on that body part, and any pain, tension, or discomfort. Then, let your focus drop beneath the physical layer of the body, and start to visualize the chakra. See the chakra as a wheel of energy spinning clockwise, painted in its corresponding color. As you breathe in and out, imagine sending energy to that chakra, strengthening and nurturing it. If other unrelated thoughts enter your mind, simply let them go, and return your focus to that colorful, spinning wheel of energy.
In this meditation, plan to spend at least a few minutes on each of the seven chakras. Once you’ve completed the exercise for each chakra, see if you can repeat it one last time, focusing on all seven chakras at once. Visualize the wheels of energy at each location along the spinal column, seeing the whole body light up with color. Hold this image for several breaths, and then gently let it go.
As the image dissipates, bring your attention back to your breathing, returning to the steady breath you started with. In your last few moments of meditation, feel your body perform all the hundreds of effortless functions that keep energy running through your body and keep you alive.
Be careful to come out of this meditation slowly and mindfully, opening your eyes and taking a moment to stretch. Notice any changes, seeing if you feel more centered or balanced, and reflect on whether your meditation on any one of the chakras felt easier or more difficult than the others.