By Gail Allen
Do you remember the first time you heard the word Chakra? Maybe you're reading it for the first time right now. Despite living in Asheville, NC (let's face it … the complementary medicine capital of the East Coast) and learning a lot about alternative healing, I'll never forget the first time I heard it! I had fractured my hip in a horse riding accident and a friend finally talked me into trying acupuncture after months of pain. I have a huge fear of needles (as evidenced by my lack of tattoos and piercings), so this was huge!
I remember lying in the dark room, trying very hard to breathe and trying to be completely still so not to impale myself… And suddenly, my body relaxed. My breathing slowed. My eyes closed before I realized it and I slipped into that twilight between wake and sleep. And then … I started seeing balls of color! Different colors bouncing, tumbling, filling the line of vision of my mind's eye! When the doctor came back in, I told her about my experience and she nonchalantly said, "Oh good, your Chakras were aligning." 🤔🤔🤔
My whos are doing what now??? I had to have her write down the word for me because I had no idea what she was even saying! But there was no denying that something had happened because I felt better than I had in months!
I started Googling the next day. I couldn't read enough about it!! I didn't really understand what I was reading, but I was fascinated. I told a friend all about my experience and asked her if she knew anything about Chakras. After thinking a moment, she said, "Is that the lady with the spots on her?" She pulled out her phone and showed me. That was my ah-ha moment and it all started making sense.
At that time, my small town only had one yoga instructor and I was way too intimidated to walk into a class. This was before the days of YouTube, so I had to do research. I finally found an old website that obviously wasn't updated frequently, and an older yogi was explaining step by step how to do different yoga poses to balance each Chakra.
I printed them off and at night I worked through her poses on my front porch while listening to a Chakra balancing CD. I was hooked and sold… And the rest … As they say, is history!
So Gail, you may be asking, what is a Chakra??? In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it's the belief that there are energy centers in our bodies that connect our physical bodies to our spiritual and emotional selves. There are hundreds of minor Chakras, but seven major ones that run the length of our spine and slightly beyond.
When these Chakras are aligned and balanced, life is peachy. However, when life happens, a trauma or unpleasant experience happens and we don't deal with it… Our Chakras hold that energy and memory of the trauma in it. If we let those experiences build up, the energy stops flowing and our bodies remind us with physical pain or maladies. It's as though they're saying, "Oh your foot hurts? Oh good, remember how you felt in that car accident? Cool, let's deal with that now." So if we just use "bandaids"... a medication, surgery, or distraction to feel better … Which is what most of us raised with Western Medicine only know … the emotional and spiritual stuff doesn't necessarily get dealt with.
Of course, if we don't deal with our emotional and spiritual traumas, the energy continues to stagnate. It's like a bad traffic jam where suddenly there's a complete gridlock and we're at a standstill. Each Chakra depends on the ones below it flowing freely and in balance, starting with our Root Chakra all the way up to our Crown Chakra!
In addition to yoga, there are other tools we can use to balance and align these energy centers, such as coaching for the emotional and spiritual aspects, Reiki, essential oils, crystals, and meditation. There are colors, mudras, symbols, mantras, and vibrational frequencies (think sound) associated with each Chakra, so some cultures encourage the use of these for specific balance of each Chakra, as well!
So what happens when these Chakras are aligned? What has happened to me since the start of my own Chakra Journey? Well, a lot for me, personally! Most people report feeling a life of freedom and flow … And I can't disagree! I now realize the more that I work towards alignment, the more life of authenticity, joy, and gratitude I have! (But I haven't gotten back on a horse, yet, either!)
Gail Allen and Danielle Schwartz are both 500-RYT yoga professionals trained in Hatha and Kundalini Yoga. They specialize in Chakra Healing, Curvy Yoga, 8 Limbs of Recovery (yoga for recovering addicts), Reiki Healing, Aromatherapy, and other modalities of healing.