The ancient art of chakra bathing
Okay, I have to admit—it took me a while to get on board with my chakras. First of all, they don’t teach us about our energy systems in science class. Second, we can’t see them, so they’re not obvious parts of our bodies like, say, our hands.
But the more I learned about chakras, and the more I got in tune with my body, the more I realized you can feel them.
Sometimes it can feel like a cool breeze, a subtle vibration or a warm tingling sensation somewhere along your spine. You can sense it, but it’s not necessarily triggered by something in your physical reality.
One must be clear-of-thought and fully present in order to notice these built in connectors to your cosmic self.
This elevated state of awareness is a key part of the practice I am about to share with you.
First off, what is a chakra?
“The chakra is a doorway. These are doorways that lead you into other dimensions. But you have to focus on them to the exclusion of everything else.”
The ancient mystics of India often illustrated the chakra system as seven brightly colored circles along the spine arranged in spectrum order with Sanskrit symbols in their centers. Chakra literally means “wheel” or “disk”, and these power centers in the body are believed to receive and radiate energy.
It is said that there lies, at the base of the spine, an abundance of dormant energy that is just waiting to be tapped into – this is often represented in the Kundalini tradition as a sleeping snake. By activating each chakra, we allow this life-force to travel up our body, awakening new abilities and transforming us as it goes.
All too often, however, energy can become sort of stuck—usually in one of the major chakras. This can be caused by stress, tension, lack of exercise, toxins in our diet, poor sleep and air pollution – to name a few.
Thankfully, our ancestors left us powerful tools and techniques to clear out these blockages. Today, we’re going to delve into one them!
I was recently introduced to the concept of “giving my chakras a bath,” to help cleanse any stagnant energies and keep them open. Your chakras don’t literally get dirty, but much like our minds and bodily systems, stuff can accumulate in these invisible centers, and every so often we need to give them attention so they can shine brightly.
I want to invite you to take the next seven days to give something back to yourself with the following ritual. If you don’t have access to a bath, you could also use these elements and practices in a shower, or even during your meditation while seated.
The point of this ritual is to explore these energy centers within you and strengthen your mind-body-spirit connection.
Here are some simple steps and suggestions to create your chakra-cleansing rituals.
1. Choose your chakra. Have a chakra in mind as you set your intentions and prepare your space. Either follow along and each day choose one beginning from root to crown, or if you are in tune enough to know where you need to focus, select that chakra for the day.
*We’ve created a chakra guide (see bottom of post) that outlines each of your 7 chakras – including where they’re located and how to work with them.
2. Create a sacred space. Run a warm bath (or shower), preferably in a freshly clean tub. Clear away any extraneous products and clutter. Make it simple yet beautiful. Dim the lights, and light a candle.
3. Add Epsom salts to your bath. (Recommended: 1-2 cups). The salts are full of nurturing, cleansing minerals, and help the body to relax.
4. Add healing elements. These can include essential oils, herbs, crystals, or items of the same color associated with the chakra.
(We’ve include ideas below.)
5. Relax. Settle into your sacred space, take some easy breaths and continue with the following steps of the ritual.
6. Activate your chakra. On the chakra guide below, locate the sound that is associated with the particular chakra you are working on and begin saying it, softly or loudly, to yourself. The ancients believed that these one-syllable sounds, also known as “bija mantras,” could be used to purify and balance the body and mind. Bija means “seed,” and you are literally planting a seed of thought in your body-mind to wake up that particular energy center of your body.
7. Meditate. Focus on the chakra. Visualize where it’s located within your own body. See if you can sense it. Bathe it, not only in water and sound, but also your own loving, nurturing energy. Using the affirmations we’ve included in the guide below, feel the vibrations of these “thought energies”—how the idea of it makes you feel—and repeat until you feel it deeply resonating in each center.
8. Finish. Don’t hurry through this ritual. Take as much time as you need. But when you are finished, try to take your time while drying off and resuming your day or evening. Be gentle with yourself.
Ready to get started? Great! Now, let’s take a deeper look into each chakra and learn how you can connect to each one.
The root is associated with basic needs and survival, belonging, and tribe. When imbalanced, you may experience insecurity, eating disorders (over- or undereating), paranoia, aggression, depression, lethargy, negativity, cynicism, greed, slipping back into “survival mode”—even when surrounded by abundance. Located at the very base of the spine, the root chakra corresponds with the perineum, along the first three vertebrae, at the pelvic plexus. This is perhaps the most important to keep clear, as it is the foundation on which we build our life and impacts our entire sense of being.
Related organs: Kidney, bladder, adrenals, hips, vertebral column
Mantra: LAM. (pronounced laam)
Affirmation: “I am balanced and safe. I trust myself and am grounded.”
Essential oils and herbs: Patchouli, cinnamon, lavender and bergamot.
Crystals: Garnet, black tourmaline, onyx, smoky quartz.
Residing just above the genitals, the sacral chakra helps us to connect to the physical world and enjoy its pleasures in all forms. This is the center of creativity, self-love, and sensuality, and when out of balance, can lead to greed, addiction, frustration, compulsion, sexual repression, depression, self-deprivation, and apathy.
Related organs: Sex organs, uterus, prostate, large bowels.
Mantra: VAM (pronounced vaam)
Affirmation: “My feelings are healthy. I am strong and creative. I love myself.”
Essential oils and herbs: Jasmine, sandalwood, orange, and ylang-ylang.
Crystals: Carnelian, orange fire agate
Solar Plexus Chakra
This energy center is all about action. Located just above your navel, this is the power center, and when energy gets stuck here, people can experience loss or abuse of their power. When in balance, you’ll feel a strong sense of motivation and direction, and will have a greater ability to trust your “gut feelings.” An imbalance here can lead to sarcasm, pessimism, subjectivity, bossiness, overly analytical or dictatorial personality, abuse of authority, abrasiveness, naïve passiveness, being wishy-washy, fatigue, becoming oblivious, and feeling inferior.
Related organs: Liver, stomach, spleen, small intestine.
Mantra: RAM (pronounced raam)
Affirmation: “I accept myself completely and am receptive to divine energy. I accept my responsibilities and am guided and receptive to divine will at all times.”
Essential oils and herbs: Rosemary, lemon, and cypress.
It’s where we hold the vibration of love, compassion, tenderness, patience, connection, forgiveness, generosity, and kindness. This energy center is located right in the center of your heart. When out of balance, we experience the opposites of these vibrations, such as impatience, bitterness, resentment, cruelty, loneliness and isolation, jealousy, possessiveness, and suspicion. This fourth chakra is a sort of transition between your lower and higher chakras, between survival and “thrival.”
Related organs: Heart.
Mantra: YAM (pronounced yaam)
Affirmation: “I am loved. I love myself. Everything I do, I do with love. I am receptive and open to receiving love. I forgive others and forgive myself. May the abundance of the universe to pour divine love into my heart.”
Essential oils and herbs: Geranium, bergamot, and neroli.
Crystals: Green tourmaline, green garnet, rose quartz.
Located in your throat, near that place where people sometimes feel a “lump in their throat,” when they get choked up. While not directly adjacent to the power center in your solar plexus, this is often where power is expressed. Perhaps you’re beginning to see how these systems work together, and when one area becomes imbalanced, it can lead to imbalances up the energy chain. Through our speaking, by passing these vibrations through our throat chakras, we are calling things into being. We are creating our world—so if our sacral chakras are imbalanced and we’re creating with an over- or underactive throat chakra, we can be manifesting exactly what we don’t want. An imbalance here could lead someone to experience self-righteousness, infidelity, negative self-talk, repression of self-expression, being overly critical, destruction with words, confusion, and disorientation.
Color: Turquoise Blue
Related organs: Thyroid, lungs, upper digestive tract.
Mantra: HAM (pronounced haam)
Affirmation: “I am learning and growing. I receive and express clear communication.”
Essential oils and herbs: Lavender, Roman chamomile, and peppermint.
Crystals: Aquamarine, turquoise, sodalite, lapis lazuli, angelite
The sixth chakra is the center of intuition and intellectual enlightenment, located right between your eyebrows. When in balance, you experience peace regardless of the world around you. When imbalanced, people can experience narrow-mindedness, self-absorption, lack of imagination, insensitivity, headaches, a scattered mind, and impaired vision.
Related organs: Eyes, sinuses, lower head.
Mantra: OM (pronounced aaum or ohm)
Affirmation: “I am wise. I see.”
Essential oils and herbs: Lavender, clary sage, and marjoram.
Crystals: Amethyst, quartz
Once you’ve nurtured your other six chakras and the energy is flowing, you are likely feeling a great sense of peace, purpose, and flow. The crown chakra is located at the crown/top of your head, and is the center for your spiritual awakening, wisdom, and enlightenment. When out of balance, people can experience depression, schizophrenia, feelings of superiority, lack of contact with reality, lack of concern for others.
Related organs: Brain, pineal gland
Mantra: OM (pronounced aaum or ohm)
Affirmation: “I am filled with greatness and am connected to the divine wisdom of the universe. I trust my higher self.”
Essential oils and herbs: frankincense, myrhh, and cedarwood.
In conclusion, I hope you receive exactly what you need from this time-honored practice.