Various techniques have been presented on working with the chakras, both optimising normal chakras to allow more ch'i energy through, and helping or balancing chakras that are not functioning properly (i.e. which may be unbalanced, blocked, or malfunctioning). I would like to state at the outset that I am no expert, so please do not email me for technical advice! But from what I have read and understood it seems there are several possible techniques.
Activating the chakra through breathing, visualisation, movement, and yoga postures. This is good for all chakras, and for balancing the organism as a whole. It particularily pertains to the Tantric, seven-chakra linear scheme, rather than the Taoist circular scheme of chakras. There are many specific exercises associated with each chakra, and usually different books give different exercises, so it would take too long to go through all the books, chakras, and exercises here. All I can do is recommend that you browse through the books on this subject in a well-stocked esoteric or theosophical bookshop, find one that you feel intuitively attracted to, and go with that.
Projecting love and light into the chakra. This is also good for malfunctioning and blocked chakras, but not overactive ones, which already have enough energy going through them as it is. Imagine the area of the affected chakra as pervaded by a brilliant white, golden, or other coloured light, which is of the complete essence of love. Imagine this light healing the chakra, opening it, and restoring it to its proper functioning. If for example you have difficulty with understanding abstract mental concepts, you would visualise light and love in brow and forehead chakras, allowing them to open harmoniously, and the energy to flow through.
Talking to or meditating on the particular chakra in question. This is the technique recommended by Genevieve Lewis Paulson. Focus on the chakra in question, massage the area of the body it pertains to, and breath into it. Let the energy flow through it, and ask yourself what needs to be done about the particular psychic state in question. If for example you have an overactive heart chakra, ask yourself in what situations are you being too giving and putting the needs of others before your own.
The microcosmic orbit. The microcosmic orbit is the most powerful technique of all, because it involves and includes all the chakras, the front and rear ones as well as the lower and higher ones. It is especially good for balancing the ch'i energy in all the chakras, and restoring and maintaining equilibrium in your entire being. There is no one technique here, but actually a number of different methods. One involves simply holding one's attention on the particular chakra point, without any visualisation or breathing exercises. Alternatively (this is the main method taught by Mantak Chia), you can go through each chakra in turn, visualising the spiraling energy (24 clockwise and anticlockwise), and/or (where it is accesable to reach) moving the palm of the hand in a spiralling motion over the chakra in question. Various breathing techniques can also be used, such as breathing into each chakra in turn, and. Mantras can be employed, such as saying "chhhiii", "aaauuummmm", or any other mantra at that point. You could also or alternatively try feeling love or smiling energy in each chakra in turn, visualising white or golden or rainbow-coloured light, or doing whatever other techniques one feels comfortable with. The important thing is not to force things
Two points should be adhered to however. The first is to always begin and finish at either the Navel or the Sea of Ch'i centre. This is to be done even if you only meditate or focus on one or two other chakras. Due to the proximity of the Navel and Sea of Chi chakras with the Lower Tan Tien, the ch'i energy is balanced and grounded after each meditation
The second important point is to always progress down the front of the body, and up the back. This is the natural direction of flow of ch'i energy in the human body. I emphasise this point because it is so important yet so little known. I once attended a guided meditation where everyone was told to meditate on the chakras at the front of body from the lowest to the highest. This is the exact opposite of the true direction of flow, and it was obvious that the people running the show didn't have the faintest idea what they were doing. Such ignorance is all too widespread in the New Age movement nowadays, for the simple reason that the New Age is a movement without a strict teachings or dogmas, so people are free both to arrive at the truth unhindered, and to make blunders without any safeguards. Thus, whilst one should follow one's own truth, one should also be extremely careful to ensure that one's psycho-spiritual practices are authentic ones
For those who are interested in exporing the practice of the microcosmic orbit beyond the basic introduction provided here, I would strongly recommend a perusal of the works of Mantak Chia, especially Awaken Healing Energy of the Tao.
For opening the specifically Tantric ("primary" or archetypal) chakras, Harish Johari some time back released a cassette tape giving the correct mantric sounds for each chakra and petal. This is still available and is very powerful.
In meditating on each chakra, you may want to use some of the correspondences listed in these web pages. Alternatively, you may want to choose your own correspondences, or not use any at all. The important thing is to let oneself be guided by what intuitively feels right, rather than slavishly follow what some book or guru or teaching says. This so in all aspects of life and with all psycho-spiritual practices, not just those techniques given here. The intention of this coverage is to encourage and stimulate your own exploration in these matters, not to add one more dogma to a world that is already too full of dogmas as it is.
Chakra Music CD
Sounds of the Chakras by Harish Johari
The Inner Smile
Sounds That Heal - the Six Healing Sounds.
Awaken Healing Light: Guided Sitting Meditation
Taoist Ways to Transform Stress into Vitality : The Inner Smile Six Healing Sounds by Mantak Chia
Awaken Healing Light of the Tao by Mantak Chia and Maneewan Chia