There are thousands of ways (or more) to “heal” your chakras. Meditation and visualization are both very popular choices, sound is another good method sight is yet another (using yantras or mandalas), and smell works really well too (it’s called aromatherapy). Hatha yoga is great as well.
But do each of these modalities work equally well? The answer is yes, and no. Or the proverbial, “it depends.”
First of all, I think it’s important to realize that each modality is actually more closely associated with one of the chakras than another modality. This means that one method may work better for a particular chakra than another.
Let me explain.
The 6th and 7th chakras balance well with visualization and meditation and pure energy work, because they are in the higher frequency realm. The seventh chakra isn’t even truly “physical” – it’s our spiritual connection to everything. It resides off the body, above the crown of our head.
The sixth chakra is at the third eye – in the middle of the forehead – and it is the least “physical” of the sixth bodily-related chakras.
Think of your bodily chakras stacked up like a sort of pyramid – with the lowest one, your first chakra creating the wide and heavy base of the pyramid, and the highest one in your body, your sixth chakra, representing the highest tip of the pyramid. It’s light and airy and easily mutable, while the first chakra is dense and heavy and more difficult to change (in fact, the first chakra represents and strengthens stability (the opposite of change).
Each chakra also relates to a sense and an element, like this:
First chakra = smell/earth
Second chakra = taste/water
Third chakra = sight/fire
Fourth chakra = touch/air
Fifth chakra = hearing/sound
Sixth chakra = “sixth sense”/light
Seventh chakra is off the body and unrelated to the sensory world – it’s purely spiritual in nature.
So, for the first chakra, the best (long-term) healing comes from very physical activities – like hatha yoga. because the first chakra is the most dense and most related to the physical body. Smell-oriented treatments, like aromatherapy, work well too because this chakra is related to your sense of smell.
For the second chakra – which is still very dense and physical – hatha yoga is good – especially tantrically-oriented yoga that plays with intimacy and apparent duality (the realm of the second chakra). Healing with chakra foods is good for this chakra since it’s related to taste. And doing aquatic bodywork – like watsu – is really good too, because the second chakra is related to the water element.
For the third chakra – hatha yoga is still good (it works well with all the chakras, but particularly the three lower that represent the manifest world). Visual therapy like working with yantras is very good here, as are affirmations and Byron Katie’s “The Work,” because our conscious, mental reasoning ability and our self-image are both associated with the third chakra. Sun bathing is good, because the third chakra is related to the fire element, and it’s located in the solar plexus. Finally, if you’re up for it, fire walking will stoke this chakra in a major way!
For the fourth chakra – the bridge between the lower (more “physical” chakras) and the upper (more “spiritual” chakras), touch is good. Studies show that babies thrive when nurses and nanny’s hold them, and so do adults. Humans need hugging. Hugging –even self-hugging (do it now!) is one of the simplest ways to boost and balance heart chakra energy. EFT – the process of tapping (based on touch) is great for this chakra too, as is breath work because we breath in and out of our heart chakra and the element is air.
For the fifth chakra – sound healing takes the cake. You can use this technique two simple ways – putting sound out, in the form of mantras, chanting, and seed sounds (or even just singing a favorite song that makes you feel good) and taking sound in, in the form of crystal bowls, mantras or again, a favorite song.
The seed sounds (shortest mantras) for each of the chakras are:
1st – Lam
2nd – Vam
3rd – Ram
4th – Yam
5th – Ham
6th – Om
7th – Silence (again, pure consciousness
For the sixth chakra – visualization is the best tool, since our third eye is ground zero for all our dreams and visualizations. This is the place where we spin our visions.
For the seventh chakra, meditation – pure, silent, thoughtless openness is the best. Just opening to the space that we are, with nothing added.
Now, this is not to say that meditating won’t help the first chakra, it can. But we’re talking about a super subtle technique being used on a super dense chakra (kind of like “hammering” a nail with a pencil).
It may cause a shift in the energy field of the first chakra, but for it to stay for good, lots of repetition and consistency (both qualities of the first chakra) are needed. Getting into the actual body – tissues and bones – works much better for creating long-term, positive, first chakra shifts.
And conversely, for the sixth or seventh chakras to be greatly affected by something as physical as hatha yoga, you need to make sure you’re paying equal attention to your subtle energies while doing your practice.
It’s a trade off.
My general suggestion is this: try lots of different modalities so all your chakras can be affected positively in their most compatible modality.
Be aware that you will tend to avoid the modality you need the most (man, the Universe has a sense of humor!).
Here’s why: if you need more first chakra energy (more earth energy), then you tend to “live” more in your upper chakras, which means you are NOT deeply inhabiting your body. It also means that you like to float around, not being consistent, and not committing to things.
Unfortunately, the way to balance and “heal” such an issue is to do what you don’t want to do – go into the body with yoga or conscious bodywork — and commit to going in there consistently.
So another rule of thumb is don’t just do what you like to do. More of the same does not create change. If you want things to change, you need to change the things you do.
And our final rule of thumb is: Use meditative techniques to affect the upper chakras, and do physical techniques like hatha yoga, strong breathing practices, watsu, tapping, etc. to best effect the lower chakras.