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One interesting method of practicing spiritual wellness involves working with one’s seven chakras.

Spiritual wellness and the seven chakras

Spiritual wellness involves developing a personal, inner connection and harmony between yourself and the wonder, majesty, and mystery of the universe. It is important for everyone to explore what they believe is their own sense of meaning and purpose, and there are many different ways to do so.

Activities that nurture spiritual wellness include but are not limited to meditation, general mindfulness, yoga, prayer, affirmations, or other specific spiritual practices that support a connection to a higher power or belief system.

One interesting method of practicing spiritual wellness involves working with one’s seven chakras. Many of us have come across this term before, but what exactly are chakras? In meditation and yoga, chakras are known as wheels of energy located throughout the body. There are believed to be seven main chakras that align the spine, starting from the tailbone and working their way up to the crown of the head. To find out how open or closed each of your chakras are take this free test.

Working with our chakras is believed to have significant physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual benefits. A common way of working with chakra energies is through the exercise of meditation. Below are brief explanations of the seven chakras, how they affect us, and how to balance them through simple meditations:

Root Chakra — Represents our foundation and feeling of being grounded
Location: Base of spine in tailbone area.
Under-active effects: You may tend to feel fearful, nervous, or easily unwelcome.
Over-active effects: You may be more materialistic or greedy and are prone to resist change.
Root chakra meditation: Let the tips of your thumb and index finger touch.
Concentrate on the Root chakra at the base of the tailbone.
Chant the sound LAM (“L-ah-ng”)
Mudra for opening root chakra

 

Sacral Chakra — Our connection or ability to accept others and new experiences
Location:
Lower abdomen, about two inches below the navel and two inches in.
Under-active effects: You may tend to be unemotional or not very open to other people.
Over-active effects: You may tend to feel more emotionally attached to others.
Sacral chakra meditation: Put your hands in your lap, palms up, on top of each other. Left hand underneath, its palm touching the back of the fingers of the right hand. The tips of the thumbs touch gently. Concentrate on the Sacral chakra on the lower back.
Chant the sound VAM (“V-ah-ng”)
Mudra for opening sacral chakra

 

Navel / Solar Plexus Chakra — Our ability to be confident and in control of our lives
Location: Upper abdomen in the stomach area.
Under-active effects: You may tend to be passive, indecisive, and timid.
Over-active effects: You may be more domineering, potentially aggressive.
Navel chakra meditation: Put your hands before your stomach, slightly below your solar plexus. Let the fingers join at the tops, all pointing away from you. Cross the thumbs. It is important to straighten the fingers. Concentrate on the Navel chakra located on the spine, a bit above the level of the navel.
Chant the sound RAM (“R-ah-ng”)
Mudra for opening solar plexus chakra

 

Heart Chakra — Our ability to love
Location: Center of chest just above the heart.
Under-active effects: You may be cold and distant.
Over-active effects: You may be overbearing with your love and affection towards others, with likely more selfish reasons.
Heart chakra meditation: Sit cross-legged. Let the tips of your index finger and thumb touch. Put your left hand on your left knee and your right hand in front of the lower part of your breast bone (so a bit above the solar plexus). Concentrate on the Heart chakra at the spine, level with the heart.
Chant the sound YAM (“Y-ah-ng”)
mudra for opening heart chakra

 

Throat Chakra — Our ability to communicate
Location: Throat.
Under-active effects: You may tend to be shy, introverted, and may not speak up as much.
Over-active effects: You may tend to be a bad listener and speak too much, often to domineer and keep people at a distance.
Throat chakra mediation: Cross your fingers on the inside of your hands, without the thumbs. Let the thumbs touch at the tops, and pull them slightly up. Concentrate on the Throat chakra at the base of the throat.
Chant the sound HAM (“H-ah-ng”)
Mudra for opening throat chakhra

 

Third Eye Chakra — Our ability to focus on and see the big picture
Location: Forehead between the eyes (also called the Brow Chakra).
Under-active effects: You may not be the best at thinking for yourself, relying on others to make decisions for you.
Over-active effects: You may have an overactive imagination, often daydreaming or living in a world of fantasy.
Third eye chakra meditation: Put your hands before the lower part of your breast. The middle fingers are straight and touch at the tops, pointing forward. The other fingers are bended and touch at the upper two phalanges. The thumbs point towards you and touch at the tops.
Concentrate on the Third Eye chakra slightly above the point between the eyebrows.
Chant the sound OM or AUM (“Au-ng”)
Mudra for opening third eye chakra


Crown Chakra
— The highest chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually
Location: The very top of the head.
Under-active effects: You may not be very spiritually aware or have a very rigid way of thinking.
Over-active effects: You may intellectualize things too much, over-committing to spiritually and possibly ignoring bodily needs.
Crown chakra meditation: Put your hands before your stomach. Let the ring fingers point up, touching at their tops. Cross the rest of your fingers, with the left thumb underneath the right.
Concentrate on the Crown chakra at the top of your head.
Chant the sound NG.
Note:Don’t use this meditation for the Crown chakra while you don’t have a strong Root chakra (you need a strong foundation first).
Mudra for opening crown chakra

(Sources: Eclectic Energies, MindBodyGreen)

Additional resources

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Challenge yourself to make YOU a priority! SEVEN is a free program from Health Promotion and Wellness for students, faculty, and staff that focuses on the importance of the seven dimensions of wellness: emotionalenvironmentintellectualphysical,socialspiritual, and vocational. SEVEN runs from September to the end of April, and you can join at any time. Log your wellness activities to earn points toward monthly prize drawings. Participants also receive SEVEN newsletters and information on campus wellness events.

For more information, visit Wellness.IllinoisState.edu/Seven.

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