If you’ve ever read an article headline about “balancing your chakras” and imagined some kind of difficult, single legged, stabilising challenge then here’s what it was really referring to. Chakra is a Sanskrit word that literally translates to wheel or disk. In Yoga, Ayurveda and meditation practices, a chakra refers to the wheels of energy that circulate our body. There’s seven of them.

The chakra system is an ancient, Hindu system of healing dating back to 2500BC. Chakras are typically depicted as lotus flowers and it’s thought that certain ailments in the body are caused by a corresponding chakra out of alignment.

Here’s a rundown on the seven wheels of energy:

Muladhara

The lowest in the line of chakras, it encompasses the first three vertebrae at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, bladder and colon. It’s often referred to as the root chakra and forms the basis of our spiritual development. Balancing this chakra makes for a strong, spiritual foundation. Being physical in nature, any activity that makes one more aware of the body, will strengthen this chakra.

Swadhisthana

This chakra is responsible for creativity and is located between the navel and the pubic bone. It translates as “the dwelling place of the self”. A balanced second chakra leads to feelings of wellness, abundance, pleasure and joy.

Manipura

Also known as the solar-plexus chakra, it is located behind the navel and affects clarity, wisdom, self-confidence and wellbeing. This central chakra is the energy centre for your sense of self and self esteem.

Anahata

Otherwise known as the heart chakra, it unites the lower chakras of matter to the upper chakras of spirit. This chakra is the source of love and affection. It’s also thought to be your healing centre and when this chakra is open you are not only loving to others but loving to yourself.

Vishudda

Located in the throat, this chakra is linked to verbal expression and speaking the truth. A balanced Vishuddha or fifth chakra allows for powerful communication, listening, expression and creative identity.

Ajna

Known as the “third eye chakra” it’s associated with light, higher knowledge, sight and intuition. A balanced third eye chakra allows you to see things as they are without ego or negative perception.

Sahaswara

Known as the divine chakra, it’s your connection to all that is spiritual. Awakening and opening this chakra allows us access to experiencing unity with all things and a connection with our higher selves.

All of these energy flows work together within us as a kind of life force. Yoga and meditation work to balance our energy systems to create harmony, connectedness and contentment.

Whether or not you really believe we have wheels of energy throughout our bodies, the sentiment of the chakra system remains valuable. It believes that when balanced we will feel a sense of connectedness with a higher energy, an unwavering self love and feeling of peace.