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How to Pronounce Chakra: Is it “SH” or “CH?”

Curious about how to pronounce “chakra?” Is the word said “SHAH-krah,” or “CHAH-krah,” or “CHUCK-ruh,” or is there a a whole other way of saying it correctly? Well, having just written about how to pronounce Reiki, and being an energy work professional who frequently uses the word in talking with clients, I’m primed to answer this query for you!

What are Chakras?

Now, before we learn how to pronounce chakra, we need to clarify: what are “chakras” in the first place? So, the idea of chakras is that they are energy centers in the body that are each associated with a specific concept, and with distinct chakra colors. Discussion of chakras dates back to ancient times, originating from India.

Perhaps the easiest example of these energy centers to understand is the 4th Chakra or Heart Chakra, which is located at the chest, around the heart. This chakra is associated with compassionate love, and with a green aura. In Reiki, I use hand placements in this area to help unblock loving care, and sometimes tap into it for grief relief as well.

Understanding chakras is key in energy work because Reiki is all about chakra balancing through the use of strategic gentle hand placements on these energy centers. So of this work is shown in the Reiki images on this site of me at work. For example, in the photo below, my hand is placed on the back of the 4th or Heart Chakra: the Anahata, where I can feel compassionate love radiating.

How to pronounce "chakra."
How to pronounce “chakra” (illustrated by me putting my hand on the back of the 4th or Heart Chakra.

How Many Chakras Are There?

Traditionally, it is thought that there are 7 main chakras that run from the base of the spine to the crown of the head — however there are other versions of the chakra system that embrace many additional chakras (such as the Earth Star Chakra, which is located below the body, in the Earth).

Now let’s get to the question at hand: How do we even say the word “chakra?”

How to Pronounce Chakra Correctly

The word “chakra” is commonly — INCORRECTLY — pronounced in America with a “SH” sound at the start (as in “ship,” like “SHA-kruh.” In fact, the correct pronunciation of this Sanskrit word is “CHUH-kruh” with a “CHUH” sound at the start of the word, like the commencement of “chuck.”


Yes, that’s right: it turns out that most folks have been saying “chakra” wrong for years. Even though I’m a Reiki Master, I only recently realized that I was using the wrong pronunciation and started to fix it. Yikes! This now brings us to an interesting dilemma…

Which Pronunciation to Use?

Here’s my question: if everyone is used to the incorrect pronunciation of something, doesn’t it feel somewhat awkward (perhaps even pretentious or confusing) to use the correct pronunciation? If folks are used to hearing “SHA-kruh,” will it throw them off to hear “CHUH-kruh?”

Well, I’ve now seen hundreds of clients over the years since I learned the right pronunciation, and talked about chakras with nearly every one… and thus far my experience has been that using the correct (CHUH-kruh) pronunciation has been fine. No one has said anything yet about it sounding different than they’re used to, and no one has been making requests for me to stop saying it that way! Phew.

Thus, I think the moral of the story is that we should pronounce “chakra” correctly — “CHUH-kruh” — even if most people don’t. This meshes well with one of the 5 Reiki Principles: “Just for today… I will do my work honestly.”

How to Pronounce Chakra, in Sum

I hope this article on how to pronounce the word “chakra” has been helpful. I’m curious to hear from you: Have you heard this pronunciation before?

What are your thoughts upon learning about it? If you are an energy worker and have a Reiki intake form, do you ask clients about their background knowledge on the topic of chakras? Do you discuss these energy centers during sessions, and find them as powerful as I do? Do share!

Want more? Check out my articles about a yellow aura meaning, associated with the 3rd or Solar Plexus Chakra!

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