The more I study the energy channels in our body, or chakras, the more I realize there is still so much for me to learn about them. The influence they have over our physical and mental well-being is profound and ever-changing. I have spent a lot of time developing my understanding of them in the past and decided now would be a good time to refresh my knowledge of the basics. Using this knowledge I can formulate exercises and meals to better serve the balance of my chakras. Yoga is an excellent resource for balancing and purifying our energy channels, for this reason I have listed examples of poses below suited for each chakra. I will begin at the base and work my way up through the seven energy points.
• Root Chakra – Muladhara [LAM]
This chakra is located at the base of the spine and is associated with the earth element based on it’s grounded and stable nature when in balance. When this chakra is out of balance an unsettled feeling can lead to challenges with finding boundaries in domestic and financial realms. Physical issues can arise in the legs and feet when unbalanced and trust of self and others is compromised. The right of this chakra is to find stability within the chaos of life and trust your higher self and your physical body in nature with your surroundings.
Grounding Yoga Poses: Janu Sirsasana, Tadasana, Malasana, and Uttanasana.
• Sacral Chakra – Svadhishthana [VAM]
Centered in the lower abdomen right below the naval is the sacral chakra, responsible for our desires and needs both sexually and emotionally. It is also tied to our sense of creativity and ability to feel deep pleasure. When in balance we experience strong sensuality and enjoyment of sexual activities. If unbalanced, there is little to no sexual drive and our ability to feel or enjoy deeply is inhibited. In addition, issues may arise involving our reproductive organs. The water element is represented in the fluid nature of this chakra when in balance, a ‘go with the flow’ mentality. The right of this chakra is to feel all the glorious sensations available to us on a very profound level.
Hip-Opening Yoga Poses: Baddha Konasana, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, and Virabhadrasana II.
• Solar Plexus Chakra – Manipura [RAM]
Deep within the center of our being is the solar plexus chakra, tied inherently to our sense of self, or ego. Our inner fire is represented within this region and translates outwardly as our unique personality and how we are perceived in the world around us. Confidence, self-esteem, and willpower are all compromised when this chakra is out of balance and our digestive system can suffer. When in balance we have a clear sense of who we are and our confidence is high. The right of this chakra is to be your unique self and honor your capabilities, leading to an increased internal fire which can burn through any hesitations or fears.
Abdominal/Twisting Yoga Poses: Navasana, Dhanurasana, Urdva Dhanurasana, and Ardha Matsyendrasana.
• Heart Chakra – Anahata [YAM]
Deep in our heart’s center lies the anahata chakra, allowing us to feel true love for ourselves and others. It is considered to be the bridge between the lower three physical chakras, and the upper spiritual chakras. When we are open to giving and receiving this honest form of love, we are at peace and in balance with the world. Disturbances within the heart chakra translate as a lack of compassion and inability to give or receive unconditional love. This imbalance often leads to depression and isolation, and physically it can cause issues with the circulatory system and heart itself. The right of this chakra is to love deeply and know that you are worthy of the love you receive. Air is the corresponding element to the heart chakra because, like air, love is all around us. It dwells in silence, but it’s presence can always be felt.
Heart-Opening Yoga Poses: Ustrasana, Bhujangasana, Urdva Dhanurasana, and Gomukhasana Arms.
• Throat Chakra – Vishudda [HAM]
Our means of communication with others is highly dependent upon the balance of our throat chakra. When in balance our communications are open and clear and our true intentions are understood. When an imbalance or blockage is present these channels become unclear or untruthful and we withdraw ourselves. The throat chakra identifies with the sound element and an imbalance can translate as complications in the lungs, throat, and sinuses. It is in this chakra’s right to express oneself soundly and truthfully from a place of clear intention.
Throat-Opening Yoga Poses: Halasana, Salamba Sarvangasana, and Matsyasana.
• Third Eye Chakra – Ajna [OM]
Seated in the space between our eyebrows is the center of our intuition, our third eye chakra. This region defines the relationship we have to our higher self and leads to clear intentions and decision-making. When a blockage exists here we experience a ‘lost’ feeling and an inability to make decisions regarding our life. Dreams and imagination may become dull as we lose sight of our guiding intuition, and our eyes and ears can suffer physical ailments. It is the right of this chakra to manifest your own vision into reality and have faith in our own unique journey. Anahata chakra is defined by the element of light, which is present in each of us and is guided by our own unique perceptions. As we begin to realize this divine light within, we are able to ‘see’ everything more clearly.
Gaze-Focused/Third Eye Supported Yoga Poses: Balasana, Garudasana, Vrkasana, and any forward fold with a block supporting third eye.
• Crown Chakra – Sahasrara
Our cerebral cortex is the home of the seventh chakra and it deals with spiritual connectivity. Blockages within this chakra can lead to varying sorts of duality, negativity, and a lack of oneness. A present connection to the divine and awareness that the world around can serve as your teacher constitutes a clear sahasrara chakra. Utilizing the surrounding world as a mechanism for growth means being accepting of new ideas, experiences, and individuals. Ether, or space, is the element present within this chakra as it opens us up to our right to learn, grow, and be guided by our own wisdom. This deep connection to our higher self brings with it a lifetime of discovery and astonishment.
Meditative Yoga Poses: Padmasana. Sirsasana, and Savasana.