The seven mystical spinning wheels of radiant energy within the human body, known as chakras, have captivated spiritual seekers and yoga practitioners for centuries. These are believed to be key centers of energy that influence our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Each center is associated with a specific symbol, representing its unique qualities and powers. Exploring the shapes, meanings, and powers of these chakra symbols can unlock a deeper understanding of ourselves and our connection to the universe.
What are chakras?
The Sanskrit word “chakra” translates to “wheel” or “disk.” In tantra yoga, the chakras are major energy centers along the spine that are responsible for the flow of prana (vital life force energy), throughout the body. They are commonly depicted as vibrant, spinning wheels of energy and light. Yogis believe they play a vital role in maintaining balance and harmony within the body, mind, and spirit.
Each chakra is associated with unique symbols, shapes, and colors. These symbols are visual representations of the chakra’s characteristics and can be used as tools to understand their qualities and functions in a more tangible way.
Number of chakras
There are seven major chakras in the body, each corresponding to different aspects of our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. These seven energy centers are located along the central axis of the body, from the base of the spine to the crown of the head.
Function and significance
The ancient yogis discovered how the proper balance and function of these energy centers influence the physiological and neurological systems of the body, as well as our mental and emotional states. When our chakras are in balance and flowing freely, we experience overall health and a sense of well-being. However, if there is an imbalance or blockage in any of these energy centers, it can lead to physical ailments, emotional distress, and a feeling of being disconnected from our true selves.
The 7 chakra symbols and their meanings
1. Root Chakra
- Color: Red
- Symbol: Four-petaled lotus
- Other Symbols: Square and an downward triangle
- Represents: Stability, security, and basic needs
The Root Chakra or Muladhara Chakra is the first or primary chakra, located at the base of the spine. Its color is red, which is associated with vitality, strength, and courage. The Muladhara symbols represent the earth element and our physical identity. The four-petaled lotus symbolizes the four areas of human consciousness: Manas (mind), Buddhi (intellect), Chitta (consciousness), and Ahamkara (ego).
The square inside the lotus represents stability, groundedness, and a strong container. It signifies our connection to the physical world and our ability to manifest our desires in a safe, secure, and tangible way. The inverted triangle at the center symbolizes the downward flow of energy and the element of earth.
When this chakra is balanced, we feel a deep sense of stability, security, safety, courage, and connection to the physical world. We have a strong foundation and feel grounded in our lives. We are able to meet our basic needs for survival and feel a sense of belonging. When it becomes imbalanced, you may experience feelings of insecurity, fear, anxiety, and instability. Physical issues such as lower back pain, constipation, or problems with the legs and feet may also arise.
2. Sacral Chakra
- Color: Orange
- Symbol: Six-petaled lotus flower
- Other Symbols: Circles and crescent moon shape
- Represents: Creativity, sexuality, and emotions
Situated just below the navel, the Sacral Chakra or Svadhishthana is associated with the water element, emotional identity, and aspects of self-gratification. It is associated with the color orange, which symbolizes warmth, passion, and vitality.
This chakra’s shape is a six-petaled lotus flower, which signifies balance and harmony. The six petals represent the primal qualities one must overcome to balance and purify Svadhishthana, like anger, pride, jealousy, cruelty, hatred, and desire. The circles and crescent moon shapes found in this center symbolize the ebb and flow of the moon, the emotions, and the cycles of creativity and life.
Yogis associate a balanced Svadhishthana to joy, passion, creative power, and emotional well-being. However, if unbalanced, it may lead to emotional instability or creative blockages. Physical symptoms may include lower back pain and urinary problems.
3. Solar Plexus Chakra
- Color: Yellow
- Symbol: Ten-petaled lotus flower
- Other Symbols: Downward-pointing triangle
- Represents: Personal power, self-confidence
The Solar Plexus Chakra or Manipura is the hub of personal power and self-confidence. It governs our sense of self-worth, self-esteem, and personal identity. Located in the area between the navel and the sternum, this energy center is associated with the element of fire. It radiates a vibrant yellow color, symbolizing warmth, energy, and vitality.
The Solar Plexus Chakra symbol is a ten-petaled lotus flower, representing the ten pranas or vital energies that flow through this energy center. Each petal represents different qualities associated with this center, such as willpower, motivation, assertiveness, personal transformation, and self-discipline. The lotus flower itself signifies the blossoming and awakening of our personal power and inner strength.
The upside-down triangle within the lotus flower symbolizes the connection between the spiritual and physical realms. It represents the balance between our higher self and our earthly existence. This symbol reminds us to ground ourselves and find stability as we navigate the difficulties of life while still maintaining a connection to our higher purpose.
The Solar Plexus Chakra holds immense power and influence over our emotional and mental well-being. When it is balanced, we feel confident, motivated, and able to take control of our lives. We have a strong sense of self-worth and can assert ourselves with ease and clarity. We radiate positive energy and attract success and abundance into our lives.
However, an imbalanced Manipura can lead to feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem, and a lack of motivation. We may struggle to make decisions, feel powerless, and be easily influenced by others. Physical symptoms of imbalance can manifest as digestive issues, stomach ulcers, or adrenal fatigue.
4. Heart Chakra
- Color: Green
- Symbol: Twelve-petaled lotus flower
- Other Symbols: Hexagram
- Represents: Love, compassion, and connection
The Heart Chakra or Anahata in the chest serves as the energy center for love, emotional well-being, and human connection. Located in the center of the chest, it acts as a bridge or gateway between the lower and upper chakras, harmonizing their divergent energies. Its associated color is green, symbolizing growth, healing, and renewal. It is associated with the element of air, which represents communication and the power of breath.
The Heart Chakra symbol is a twelve-petaled lotus flower, which signifies openness, purity, and balance. Each petal represents one of the twelve qualities associated with this chakra, including love, compassion, joy, harmony, forgiveness, and acceptance. The lotus flower symbolizes the blooming of the heart, as it opens up to love and allows compassion to flow freely.
Within the lotus is a hexagram—a six-pointed star that represents the union between the divine and the earthly, and the balance between masculine and feminine energies. It symbolizes the harmonious integration of opposites, such as love and fear, giving and receiving, and the physical and the spiritual.
When it is balanced and open, we experience deep connections with others and ourselves. It allows us to love unconditionally, fostering compassion, empathy, and forgiveness. It is the seat of emotions, enabling us to express and receive love freely. A balanced heart chakra promotes a sense of inner peace, joy, and harmony.
If this energy center is blocked or imbalanced, it can manifest in various emotional and physical symptoms. Emotional symptoms may include feelings of loneliness, resentment, jealousy, or an inability to trust and form healthy relationships. Physically, imbalances in this chakra can manifest as heart-related issues, respiratory problems, or high blood pressure.
5. Throat Chakra
- Color: Blue
- Symbol: Sixteen-petaled lotus flower
- Other Symbols: Inverted triangle and circle
- Represents: Communication, expression, and truth
The Vishuddha or Throat Chakra is the energy center for communication, self-expression, and authenticity. It is associated with the color blue, which represents calmness, clarity, and serenity. Located at the base of the throat, it regulates the communication between our thoughts, emotions, and physical body.
The Throat Chakra symbol is a sixteen-petaled lotus flower. This intricate design represents the blossoming of our true voice and the expansion of our self-expression. Each petal signifies a different aspect of communication, such as listening, speaking, writing, understanding, and non-verbal forms of expression. The 16 lotus petals also symbolize the 16 vowels of the Sanskrit alphabet, emphasizing the importance of clear and articulate communication.
An inverted triangle and a circle appear at the center of this symbol. The inverted triangle symbolizes the upward flow of energy from the lower chakras towards higher consciousness. It represents the transformation of our primal instincts into higher forms of communication and expression. The circle symbolizes unity, wholeness, and the infinite nature of the universe. It reminds us that our words and actions have a ripple effect that can impact the collective consciousness.
The Throat Chakra is responsible for our ability to express ourselves authentically and communicate our thoughts, feelings, and ideas with clarity and confidence. When it is balanced and aligned, we can speak our truth, listen attentively, and express ourselves creatively, without fear of judgment or rejection.
When it is blocked or imbalanced, we may experience difficulty in expressing ourselves, fear of judgment, or a lack of confidence in our own voice. This can manifest as communication issues, such as speaking too much or too little, speaking without thinking, or having difficulty in finding the right words. Physical symptoms may also arise, such as throat soreness, thyroid problems, or neck and shoulder tension.
6. Third Eye Chakra
- Color: Indigo or Purple
- Symbol: Two-petaled lotus
- Other Symbols: Om Symbol and downward-facing triangle
- Represents: Intuition, foresight, and a sense of purpose
The Ajna Chakra or Third Eye is the energy center associated with intuition, foresight, spiritual awareness and purpose. Located in the middle of the forehead, between the eyebrows, the Third Eye Chakra is represented by the color indigo or purple, which symbolizes wisdom and deep spiritual connection.
Its symbol is a two-petaled lotus which represents the opening of the mind’s eye, allowing us to tap into our intuition and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. The two petals signify the duality of our perception – the ability to cultivate and awareness of both the physical and spiritual realms. The inverted triangle within the lotus symbolizes the transformation and balance of our inner and outer worlds. It signifies the ability to bring our spiritual insights into the physical world, turning our visions and dreams into reality. The Om symbol at the center of this image represents the primordial sound of the universe that connects us to higher realms of consciousness.
When this chakra is balanced and flowing harmoniously, we experience clarity of thought, heightened intuition, and a deep sense of purpose. We are able to trust our instincts and make decisions that align with our highest good. Our spiritual awareness expands, and we gain a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of all things. However, if it becomes blocked or imbalanced, it can result in feelings of confusion, lack of direction, and a disconnection from our intuition. We may struggle to trust our instincts and make decisions that align with our true purpose.
When balanced, the Third Eye Chakra boosts psychic abilities, promotes clarity of thought, and enhances intuition. Imbalances can manifest as a lack of focus, confusion, and skepticism toward spiritual realities. Physically, it is said to cause headaches, eyestrain, or sleep problems.
7. Crown Chakra
- Color: White or Violet
- Symbol: Thousand-petaled lotus
- Other Symbols: Halo
- Represents: Enlightenment, spiritual connection, and cosmic consciousness
Located at the top of the head, the Sahasrara or Crown Chakra is responsible for our spiritual health and connection to universal or divine consciousness. It is associated with the element of light and the color indigo or violet, representing purity and spiritual awakening.
The thousand-petaled lotus symbolizes the infinite possibilities and potential that lie within us. Just as the lotus flower emerges from the muddy waters to bloom in all its radiant glory, this radiant flower reminds us that even amidst life’s challenges, we have the power to rise above and reach higher states of consciousness. Each flower petal represents a different aspect of our being, and as we awaken, these petals unfold, allowing us to tap into the limitless wisdom and guidance of our divine connection.
The power of the Crown Chakra lies in its ability to transcend the limitations of the physical world and access the infinite wisdom of the universe. When this chakra is open and balanced, you feel a deep sense of peace and oneness with the universe. It provides access to universal wisdom, guidance and inspiration, the ability to experience profound spiritual insights, and guides us to live in alignment with our true purpose. Through this subtle and ethereal center, you can feel a deep sense of peace and oneness with the universe and tap into a greater understanding of your purpose in life.
When the Crown Chakra is blocked or imbalanced, you may experience feelings of disconnection, confusion, and a lack of purpose. You may struggle to find meaning in life and feel a sense of spiritual emptiness. Physical symptoms can manifest as headaches, migraines, and issues with the nervous system.