In the summer of 2022, my husband and I traveled to the wilderness of Newfoundland. The place is poetically beautiful, sandwiched between the mountains and the roaring Atlantic Ocean. We hiked ten miles every day and felt cleansed by our surroundings.
However, after a week, the quietude and isolation got to me. Urban living is my comfort zone. I can hear fifty different languages just outside my NYC apartment. It didn’t help that Newfoundland has severe food paucity, which makes it difficult to find anything healthy on the menu. Some towns don’t even have grocery stores. The locals mostly eat fried seafood or meat, which limited my options at mealtime until we reached an AirBnB and had access to nutritious meals. I was basically hiking on an empty stomach while my Pitta was getting vitiated, and the feeling of captivity was triggering me. I felt old wounds open.
The more trapped I felt, the more I found myself focusing on my root chakra, Muladhara, and second chakra (sacral chakra), Svadhisthana. When Muladhara chakra is in balance, we feel safe, fearless, and grounded. When Svadhisthana chakra is working optimally, it supports our creative expression. The more I chanted the bija or “seed” mantras associated with those two chakras, the stronger my senses of safety and creativity became—I wrote a dozen essays in less than two weeks.
What Are Chakras?
The word “chakra” from Sanskrit translates to “wheel” or “disk” and refers to energy points in your body. The sciences of Ayurveda and yoga teach us that there are seven main chakras that can be activated through mantras and meditation. These chakras align along the spine, starting at the base and ending at the crown of the head.
Though these whirling vortices of energy cannot be seen, they can be felt and sensed with intuition and practice. The invisible healing energy that flows through the chakras, called prana, keeps us vibrant, healthy, and alive. The fourth chakra, the heart chakra, connects the top three chakras (which are concerned with intuition, purpose, and higher consciousness) with the lower three (which support survival, progeny, and power).
The Seven Chakras and Their Mantras
When we chant bija mantras, we generate sound vibrations that are in tune with the chakras. These mantras have incredible power to unlock growth and healing, especially when accompanied by Ayurvedic diet and specific yoga asanas.
The Root Chakra (Muladhara)
This first chakra is associated with the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae. Think about your root chakra as the foundation of your being. When in balance, it provides us stability, security, support, and a sense of survival. This chakra is also connected with basic needs such as food, water, and shelter, as well the emotional need for safety. Chant LAM for the root chakra.
The Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana)
This is the second chakra right above the pubic bone and below the navel. Consider the second chakra home to our emotions, passions, and pleasures. This chakra is related to sexuality, sensuality, and desire. It’s responsible for stoking the creative and sexual energy of the body. When the sacral chakra is aligned, you expereince joy, abundance, pleasure, contentedness, and creativity. The bija mantra for Svadhisthana is VAM.
The Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
This chakra is located behind your belly button and governs all matters metabolic and digestive. Manipura chakra said to be the source of our individual power, self-confidence, inner strength, and will. When it’s blocked, you can suffer from low self-esteem, overreactivity, difficulty making decisions, and even anger or control issues. Digestive distress is also a sign of an imbalanced Manipura chakra. The bija mantra for Manipura is RAM.
The Heart Chakra (Anahata)
In the center of the chest and right next to the heart rests the fourth chakra. This chakra is all about love, acceptance, compassion, and understanding, and helps us awaken to the qualities of spiritual awareness, forgiveness, and service. The bija mantra for Anahata is YAM.
The Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)
Also known as the fifth chakra, Vishuddha chakra is associated with the thyroid, parathyroid, jaw, neck, mouth, tongue, and larynx. This chakra is all about owning your voice and speaking your inner truth. When balanced, this chakra helps us communicate our thoughts and desires effectively. The bija mantra for Vishuddha is HAM, and chanting it can release stagnant energy from the throat and release fears around self-expression.
The Third-Eye Chakra (Ajna)
The third-eye chakra governs our intuition and is physically located between the eyebrows, at the center of your forehead. If this chakra is blocked, you may experience mental distress and an excessively judgmental attitude. However, having a wide-open third eye can lead to an overactive imagination and a mind that can’t focus. The third-eye chakra is the chakra that allows us to separate ourselves from illusion and drama and see life clearly, so it’s important to keep it balanced. The bija mantra for Ajna is OM, which brings a deep sense of clarity when you chant it.
The Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
Last but not the least is the seventh chakra, located at the top of the head. The Sanskrit name of this chakra, Sahasrara, translates to “thousand-petaled lotus.” This chakra is associated with the center of enlightenment, higher consciousness, connection to our higher selves, and, ultimately, the divine. The bija mantra for Sahasrara is a silent OM.
The Best Way to Practice Chakra Mantra Meditation
To practice chanting bija mantras for each chakra, repeat them while focusing on the part of the body where the chakra is located. You can choose to focus on one chakra on a given day or chant all seven in one sitting. You can chant these mantras either silently or aloud, but know that sound has deep healing benefits.
“Opening your chakras and allowing cosmic energies to flow through your body will ultimately refresh your spirit and empower your life.” —Barbara Marciniak
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional. If you are looking for advice from a trained Ayurvedic coach, contact Sweta Vikram here.