Crystals that heal chakra imbalances by simply hanging around your neck. Colour therapy that claims to ‘open’ your chakras in a few sessions. These days, much of what you hear about chakras revolves around external forces.

Although these external forces can add wonderful support to the process of chakra harmonisation, that’s not the full story. Unfortunately (because let’s face it, it would be handy!), no external person, machine or object can harmonise your chakras for you – at least not on their yogic level of functioning.

When it comes to chakras, real change can only happen from within.

Chakras as part of your yoga practice

In yoga class, you’ll often hear chakras referred to by names that reflect the physical body, such as heart chakra, crown chakra and throat chakra.

However, internally, the chakras correspond to higher states of awareness – the ‘subtle’ or energy body – and this is what the yogic approach focuses on. It’s about transformation and awakening (rather than opening or healing) to help you make sense of your individual spiritual growth and journey through life.

Again, a great yoga teacher or mentor can provide guidance and support, but, as the yogic approach to chakras is part of a process of self-knowledge, and your teacher is an ‘external force’, he or she cannot do the work for you.

Making changes through chakra meditation

It takes regular meditation to harmonise the chakras. Chakra meditation is different from mindful meditation, as it requires a single point of focus. It’s a long-term commitment rather than a ‘quick fix’. Through regular chakra meditation, you can make slow, progressive change to behaviour, thoughts and habits so that energy flows more freely in the body.

Bringing chakra work into your yoga practice

This may all sound a little intellectual – and possible unattainable – but don’t dismiss the benefit of chakra work in your yoga practice. Adding regular breath work (pranayama), creating locks in the body (bandhas) and introducing sound (through mantras) can all help cultivate the flow of prana internally, which can be directed to specific chakras. Ask your yoga teacher to help you with this.