Winter Retreat Day 6: Lighting the Chakras

Today’s reading comes to us from Melissa Freeman of Mountain Zen Candles in Nederland, Colorado. Melissa’s hand-made chakra candles correspond to seven energetic centers in our spiritual bodies, with the associated color, vibration, sound, and scent. Her candles are on sale at the Homestead Market. And you can learn more about Melissa and her handcrafted candles at

What are Chakras?

Chakras are spinning orbs of prana (energy) in our body. The western view of chakras assigns 7 energy centers in our body—which I’ll describe in detail later. This idea of chakras comes from Indian Vedic texts that date back several thousand years. It may be of interest to note, that the Vedas form the framework for Modern Hinduism. Through a healthy dose of cultural exchange that honors the integrity of ancient wisdom surrounding Chakras, non-Hindi meditation practitioners can also learn to access energy centers in the body—thereby tuning into inner wisdom, recognizing imbalances, and understanding the healing that we may need to do in order to live our fullest joy.

Photo by Lucas Pezeta on

I first came to meditating with chakras absentmindedly. I had chanted Om in yoga classes and eventually learned to identify its visual representation ॐ. I loved the way imagining it at a 90 degree angle counter clockwise because it seemed to spell out OM in English. I was also in my late 20s and looking forward to my ॐ decade of life. I learned that the symbol and sound represents both the third eye chakra and the crown chakra. And if you are unacquainted like I was, you’re probably wondering, “What the heck does that mean?”

To explain what I’ve learned, I’ll start with the root of it all. The seven chakras, as canonized in Western practice, begin with the root chakra located at the very base of our spine. Next is the sacral chakra, which many identify as being the lower abdomen chakra if that makes it easier to visualize its location. Next is the solar plexus, which is a nerve bundle located in the upper abdomen near the pit of your stomach. From here, it gets easier to intuitively know where to find the upper chakras. Your heart. Your third eye, between your eyebrows. And finally your crown, which is actually above your head where one might wear a physical crown. Each chakra has a color, sound, multiple scents, symbol, and energetic functions associated.

Photo by Eternal Happiness on

When our chakras are fully open and aligned, energy flows from the root of the body out through the crown. When energy is flowing out of the crown, this is called Kundalini energy. The idea is that in order to fully access the energy from the throat chakra, all of the lower chakras must be open and in balance. I explain in detail in this guide different energetic associations with each of the chakras.

A simple example of how a lower level chakra imbalance can affect our ability to utilize higher chakra energy is to look at an imbalance between the abdomen and the solar plexus. While it has several associations, the abdomen chakra is about valuing one’s body and feeling safe in one’s sexuality. I’m going to briefly mention some things that might be emotionally triggering of trauma for some readers—feel welcome to skip to the next paragraph as needed. Negativity stemming from an abdomen imbalance might include low self-esteem, spiraling into fears about sexual predators, and eating disorders. The solar plexus chakra represents our ability to be confident, proud of our achievements, and in control of our lives. It may be immediately obvious that suffering from low self-esteem is at odds with confidence. Having fears about predators does not make one feel in control of their life. While one might generally feel pride in their achievements and the architect of their own life—without dealing with the abdomen imbalance, the solar plexus isn’t fully energetically open.

Photo by Kamille Sampaio on

Like many others, I generally feel blocked in my abdomen chakra. However, if I am facing an interpersonal conflict or a challenge and I evaluate how I am relating to each chakra function, I may find that I am open all the way up to the throat where I feel blocked to express my personal truth and feelings. Once I recognize that block, I can sit with it in meditation and do work. When I get stuck in an unwanted feedback loop and lose my footing, there is nothing that helps me more than meditating with the root chakra to find grounding and stability.

Chakra Meditation:

There are many different ways to sit in meditation with chakra work in mind. One of my personal favorite meditation tools is to light a chakra candle from Mountain Zen Candles, available through the Holistic Homestead. Mountain Zen Candles serve as olfactory reminders to gently guide our thoughts back to the chakra that we are working with whenever they inevitably drift or being telling an elaborate story. Popular meditation techniques relating to the chakras involve imagining colorful energy radiating from that chakra out in a massive orb that progressively encompasses everything from your body to the planet, verbally chanting the sound associated with the chakra while steadying your thoughts on that location in your body, repeating an associated affirmation in your head, and setting a meditation timer to go off in intervals on your phone and switch thought between a breath focus and a pre-decided question relating to a chakra where you allow answers to bubble up.

Keep an eye on Mountain Zen Candles’ website as I plan to release instructions to detailed meditation techniques in the future. In the meanwhile, please like and follow Mountain Zen Candles on Facebook and Instagram to receive daily meditation inspiration. If you like the content that you are receiving, please invite your friends list to do the same.

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