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Even though sleeping is one of my favorite things to do, I often find the act of falling asleep to be…a struggle. I’ve tried melatonin gummies, relaxing playlists—you name it. Then, one night about a year ago, desperate for sweet slumber, I turned to YouTube, hoping to find a guided meditation that would lull me to sleep. A simple search for “sleep meditation” yielded a bunch of results for chakra meditations, all of which had millions of views. This has to work, I thought-slash-hoped. And reader, it did. While I don’t do it every night—and fully recognize and appreciate chakra meditation’s centuries-old roots in India—it’s become a valuable part of my ‘I need to chill out right now’ toolbox. Here’s what you need to know about chakra meditation.

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chakra meditation cat
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What Are Chakras?

The word “chakra” comes from Sanskrit and translates to “wheel” or “disk,” referring to the shape of these whirling energy centers that unite mind, body and spirit. “Everyone has seven main centers of energy, also known as chakras, throughout the body, beginning at the top of the head and going straight down to the bottom of your spine,” spa director Sharla Martin tells us. And each one of these energy centers has a specific function.

What Are the Seven Chakras?

Here’s where each of the chakras is located—and what it’s responsible for—per Yoga International.

1. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)

Located at the top of the head, this chakra helps us function in a more enlightened way, cultivate self-mastery and find a sense of connection with all.

2. Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)

Located on your forehead in between your eyes, this chakra’s energetic function is to help us learn to know ourselves emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

3. Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)

Located at the base of your throat, this chakra’s energetic function is to help us find authentic self-expression

4. Heart Chakra (Anahata)

Located at the center of your chest, this chakra’s energetic function is to help us tap into unconditional love.

5. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)

Located at your belly button, this chakra gives us the confidence we need to process and eliminate what does not serve us, and to let it go.

6. Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana)

Located at your pelvis, this chakra’s energetic function is to help us regulate our emotions and desires, so as not to be driven by them.

7. Root Chakra (Muladhara)

Located at the base of your spine, this chakra’s energetic function is to help us maintain a sense of groundedness and inner stability.

Why Are Chakras Important?

“Chakras process and distribute energy that is needed for our health, well-being and vitality,” healing practitioner Jissel Ravelo of Vibra Wellness explains. And according to yoga tradition, when your chakras are open, energy flows effortlessly throughout your body. But when your chakras are blocked, internal energy builds up, which throws the mind, body and spirit connection into disharmony.

What Is Chakra Meditation?

Chakra meditation is a blanket term for any type of meditation that seeks to clear blocked chakras and harness the power of these energy centers located throughout the body. They can be used for everything from promoting calm and relaxation to encouraging spiritual awakening (note that those meditations devoted to spiritual awakening should be guided by a certified teacher—not a YouTube video). Basically, if your goal is to feel more balanced or relaxed, or even just to have an easier time falling asleep, a self-monitored practice should suffice. If your intentions are a little deeper, your best bet is to learn from the pros.

The types of guided chakra meditations you can do yourself at home are often meant to promote a sense of contentment, peace and a greater connection to your sense of self (including these chakra meditations from Chopra). If you try a guided chakra meditation for sleep, like I did, it goes something like this: A soothing voice will tell you to lie down in a comfortable position on your back with your eyes closed. The voice will then walk you through each of your chakras, detailing how to focus on and harness the power of each one.

Regardless of the type of chakra meditation you try, the goal is ultimately to ensure that your chakras are wide open, allowing energy to flow freely throughout your body and allow for a strong connection between your mind and body.

5 Guided Chakra Meditations to Try

1. “Unblock All 7 Chakras” 8 Hour Deep Sleep Meditation: Aura Cleansing & Balancing Chakra

2. Aura Cleansing Sleep Meditation: 7 Chakras Cleansing Meditation Music, Sleep Meditation

3. 10 Minute Chakra Balance Guided Meditation for Positive Energy

4. Before Sleep | Beginners Spoken Guided Meditation | Chakra Alignment |How to Chakra Balance

5. Open Third Eye Chakra: Sleep Chakra Meditation Balancing & Healing, Calm Sleep Meditation Music

RELATED: 5 Expert Tips That Will Help You Create a Meditation Practice That Sticks

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