Chakra Definitions: Keys to Health & Happiness

Chakra definitions come from ancient Eastern traditions. According to these manuscripts and teachings, chakras are spiritual centers that direct the flow of energy in the human body. They are also associated with emotional and psychological patterns. To understand the origin of the chakra names, see the article Chakra Names.

The unseen world of energy flow becomes more tangible through understanding how the chakras work. Knowing where the chakras are placed also shows how the spiritual body connects to the physical body. Finally, the chakras give context for many practices that have become mainstream in the West such as yoga, acupuncture and meditation.

Table of Contents

Chakra Definitions Seated Yogi

Chakra Definitions & Symbolism

Although most sources describe seven major chakras, there may be many more energy centers in the body. For example, some systems include eight chakras. These systems add a sub-chakra for the heart. This is called the secret chamber of the heart or the cave of the heart.

Other systems include twelve chakras. This includes the seven major chakras plus chakras in the hands, feet and side. Detailed systems that relate the chakras to acupuncture meridians may include one hundred forty-four chakras or more. For the purpose of this article, we’ll cover chakra definitions for the seven main energy centers.

Chakra Definitions & Kundalini
Illustration by Rose Karlsen

All life experiences are stored in one or more chakra. Clearing the chakras of negativity is a process that can be accomplished in many ways. Tools include meditation, affirmations, mantras, yoga, dietary practices and self-examination. Chakra definitions for each chakra are outlined below. There are also links to extensive articles for each chakra and related topics.

Chakras can be defined in several ways:

  • The position of the chakras
  • The role of the chakras in the physical body
  • The impact of the chakras on the psychological level
  • The impact of the chakras on emotional levels

Root Chakra Definitions

The root chakra is at the base of the spine. The name for in Sanskrit is Muladhara. This is the chakra of safety and security. “Mula” means “root” and “adhara” means “base or support.”  In the Hindu tradition, the base chakra is depicted as a lotus flower with four petals. The four petals of the base chakra are generally viewed as mind, intellect, consciousness and ego. 

Root Chakra Symbols
Root Chakra Symbol

The root or base chakra provides the foundation upon which the other chakras rest. The root chakra can also be seen as connected with your personal and ancestral history. These are the roots that can either bind you to the earth in a negative sense or give you a strong base and presence in the world. Find more about the root chakra in our other Chakra Resources.

This chakra is associated with establishing connection and survival:

  • Connection to your physical body
  • Connection to the earth
  • Connection to the environment
  • Survival instincts for food and shelter
  • Safety, comfort and belonging

Sacral Chakra Definitions

The second or sacral chakra is known as Svadhisthana. This chakra is defined as the seat of the self and the relationship of the self with others. The organs associated with the sacral chakra are the reproductive organs, the kidneys and the bladder. The sacral chakra is said to house the unconscious. This is sometimes symbolized as the ocean. The sacral chakra is also the seat of creation, called the seat of the soul.

Sacral Chakra Definitions and Symbol
Sacral Chakra Symbol

Two of the deities associated with the sacral chakra are the goddess Parvati and the god Vishnu (an incarnation of Krishna). Parvati is the Hindu goddess of fertility, love and devotion as well as divine strength and power. She is the gentle and nurturing aspect of the goddess energy and the consort of Shiva. Learn more about Chakras and Deities. Find more about the sacral chakra in our other Chakra Resources.

Solar Plexus Chakra Definitions

The third chakra or solar plexus chakra is known as Manipura.  The name translates as the “city of jewels.” “Mani” means “gem” while “pura” means “city.” When purified, this is the chakra of inner peace. The solar plexus chakra is located at the naval, center of intuition (a gut feeling).

Solar Plexus Chakra Meaning and Symbol
Solar Plexus Chakra Symbol

The solar plexus chakra is connected to both service and desires. This is the chakra where we get a gut feeling about people, places and events. The solar plexus is symbolized as a ten-petaled lotus that resembles a sun. The fire of the sun is similar to the physical energy needed to digest and transform food. Each petal corresponds to a specific Sanskrit letter and the overcoming of a negative tendency. Learn more at Chakra Symbols. Find more about the solar plexus chakra in our other Chakra Resources.

Heart Chakra Definitions

The fourth chakra is the heart chakra or the Anahata chakra. In Sanskrit, “Anahata” means “unhurt, unstruck, unbeaten.” At the same time, Anahata means “pure” or “clean.”

Heart Chakra Definitions and Symbol
Heart Chakra Symbol

The physical organs associated with the heart chakra are the heart itself, the circulatory system and the lungs. As the seat of love and devotion, the heart expresses charity, compassion, and kindness. The heart is also a focus for beauty and culture. The heart chakra is symbolized by a twelve-petaled lotus with interlocking triangles in the center. Find more about the heart chakra in our other Chakra Resources.

Throat Chakra Definitions

The fifth chakra is the throat chakra or the Vishuddha chakra. In Sanskrit, Vishuddha means “especially pure.” The throat chakra is depicted as having sixteen petals. In the center is a triangle pointing downward and a white circle representing akashi or ether.

Throat Chakra Definitions and Symbol
Throat Chakra Symbol

Throat chakra definitions include creativity and self-expression as well as the actions of speaking and chanting. This chakra is associated with the neck, the esophagus, the teeth, the mouth and the ears. Find more about the throat chakra in our other Chakra Resources.

Third Eye Chakra Definitions

The sixth chakra is the third eye, the seat of spiritual vision. The Sanskrit term for this chakra is Ajna, which means “command” or “perceive.” The pineal gland or third eye is associated with this chakra. The third eye, usually associated with clairvoyant abilities, can be developed with yoga, meditation and the practice of chanting.

Third Eye Chakra Definitions and Symbol
Third Eye Symbol

The vibrations of chanting and singing are felt in the skull and can be consciously directed to the third eye. Other physical organs associated with the third eye are the eyes, the ears and the pituitary gland. Find more about the third eye chakra in our other Chakra Resources.

Crown Chakra Definitions

The seventh chakra is the crown chakra, the seat of enlightenment, known in Sanskrit as the Sahasrara chakra. Sahasrara means “thousand-petaled.” According to Eastern traditions, the crown chakra is related to god-consciousness (samadhi) and the transforming powers of the divine.

Crown Chakra Definitions and Symbol
Crown Chakra Symbol

On the physical level, the crown is related to the nervous system and the brain. There is also a connection to the pineal and pituitary glands (similar to the third eye) and to the hypothalamus. Find out more about the crown chakra in our other Chakra Resources.

Chakra Definitions Guide

Below is a guide to many aspects of the seven major chakras. The guide includes chakra names, chakra qualities, the purpose of each chakra, the physical organs associated with each chakra, healing stones for the chakras, essential oils for the chakras, all of the types of sounds associated with the chakras.

Download a free Chakra Chart PDF

Seven Chakra Definitions and Guide Part 1
Seven Chakras Definitions and Guide Part 2

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Author Kathleen Karlsen

Kathleen Karlsen is a musician, artist, writer and speaker. She is the author of two books (Flower Symbols and Vocal Medicine) and over 200 articles. Kathleen, her husband Andrew and their five children live in Bozeman, Montana. More about Kathleen Karlsen.


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Chakra definitions come from ancient Eastern traditions. Chakras are spiritual centers that direct the flow of energy in the human body. They are also associated with emotional and psychological patterns. Chakra definitions help to make the unseen world of energy flow more tangible. Finally, chakra definitions give context for many practices that have become mainstream in the West such as yoga, acupuncture and meditation. This article provides chakra definitions for the seven main chakras (root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown).

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