What is Chakras and Yoga?
In yoga, vital energy (also known as “prana”) travels through the subtle body in a series of channels, called “nadis.” These nadis intersect at points of heightened energy, called “chakras.” A Sanskrit word for “wheel”, the chakras are vortexes of energy that spin in the subtle body that correspond to various glands along the spine and within the skull. According to the philosophy of yoga, the human body has seven main chakras that will be explored further in the later sections of this guide.
Each chakra governs specific behaviors and values in our lives, such as material security, communication, and love. They also regulate various body systems, such as the skeletal system. Each chakra also corresponds to an element, a “mantra” (a “repeating syllable”), and a specific color along the spectrum of the rainbow.
When the nadis are blocked due to bad habits and old patterns, the chakras become stagnant. This slows down the life force, which can lead to depleted physical, mental and emotional health.
Yoga practice purifies and revitalizes the nadis and chakras and allows the prana to flow freely again.
This is where yoga comes in: a full Chakra Yoga practice is specifically aimed at unlocking the Chakras so that energy, that is, your prana, can move freely through the body. This practice can include specific asanas, pranayama, mudra, and meditation practices to purify and balance all the Nadis and Chakras or just those that need to be restored.
Your vision will clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, wakes up.
Yoga for the Chakras
Yoga is one of the most basic ways to balance each chakra because it creates an alignment in the physical body. Balancing and stabilizing your physical body through the practice of asanas (yoga posture) also rebalances your subtle body. This realigns the chakras, which regulate specific behaviors, and makes it easier to overcome obsolete patterns, beliefs, and habits.
Below is a description of the seven main chakras, along with yoga poses that will help stimulate and balance each one.
1. Root Chakra – Muladhara Chakra
- Location: base of column
- System: skeletal
- Gland: gonads
- Associations: safety, survival, security, money, physical vitality
- Color: red
- Element: Earth
- Mantra: Lam
Root chakra yoga pose: mountain pose
- Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Press your weight evenly on the balls and arches of your feet. Breathe steadily and rhythmically. If you are having trouble balancing, stand with your feet six inches (or more) apart.
- Straighten your legs, lower your heels, and put your feet firmly on the ground. Draw the tops of your thighs up and back.
- Bend your tailbone slightly, but don’t round your lower back. Keep your hips level with the center line of your body.
- As you inhale, stretch through your torso. Exhale and release your shoulder blades away from your head towards the back of your waist.
- Extend your collarbone, keeping your shoulders aligned with the sides of your body.
- Press your shoulder blades toward your back ribs, but don’t squeeze them. Keep your arms straight, your fingers extended, and your triceps firm.
- Lengthen your neck. Keep your breathing smooth and even. Relax your gaze. Hold for up to a minute.
2. Belly Chakra – Svadhishthana Chakra
- Location : Pelvic Basin
- System : Reproductive
- Gland : adrenals
- Associations : Sexuality, appetite, creative powers, desires, sensations
- Color : orange
- Element : water
- Mantra : for you
Belly Chakra Yoga Posture: Warrior II
- Stand with your feet wide apart. Point your right foot toward the top of the mat and turn your left foot slightly inward.
- Raise your arms parallel to the ground, actively extending them from the tip of one finger to the tip of the fingers.
- Bend your front knee to 90 degrees, making sure to keep your knee above your ankle. Press back through the outside edge of your left foot.
- Keep your torso perpendicular to the floor, lengthening the space between your shoulder blades, widening your collarbones.
- Draw the tailbone slightly down and look through your right middle finger. Hold for up to a minute. Repeat on the other side.
3. Solar Plexus Chakra – Manipura Chakra
- Location : solar plexus and navel
- System : muscular and digestive
- Gland : pancreas
- Associations : power, determination, self-control, intellect, introversion / extroversion
- Color : yellow
- Element : fire
- Mantra : ram
Solar Plexus Chakra Yoga Pose: Plank Pose
- Start on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly below your shoulders.
- Spread your fingers and press down through your forearms and hands. Don’t let your chest collapse.
- Look down, lengthening the back of your neck and bringing your abdominal muscles toward your spine.
- Tuck in your toes and step back with your feet, positioning your body and head in a straight line.
- Keep your thighs lifted and be careful not to let your hips sink too far. If your butt is lifted into the air, realign your body so that your shoulders are directly over your wrists.
- Bring your pelvic floor muscles toward your spine while contracting your abdominal muscles.
- To deepen the pose, try lifting one leg at a time.
- Hold five breaths and then slowly lower your entire body to the ground and rest.
4. Heart Chakra – Anahata Chakra
- Location : Heart
- System : circulatory, respiratory, immune
- Gland : thymus
- Associations : compassion, love, acceptance, emotional openness, relating, giving
- Color : green
- Element : air
- Mantra : yam
Heart chakra yoga pose: camel pose
- Begin by kneeling upright with your knees hip-width apart. Turn your thighs inward and press your shins and the tops of your feet against the floor. Rest your hands on the back of your pelvis, fingers pointing to the floor.
- Lean back and hold each heel. Support the outside of each foot with your thumbs. Rotate your arms outward without squeezing your shoulder blades. Keep your head in a neutral position or drop it back.
- Hold for up to a minute. To release, bring your hands back to your front hips. Inhale, lead with your heart, and lift your torso by pushing your hips toward the ground. Your head should come out last.
5. Throat Chakra – Vishuddha Chakra
- Location : Throat
- System : metabolism
- Gland : thyroid
- Associations : Expression, abundance, manifestation, intuition, communication.
- Color : blue
- Element : Ether
- Mantra : Ham
Throat chakra yoga pose: bridge pose
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.
- Press your feet and arms against the floor as you lift your hips toward the ceiling. Keep your thighs and feet parallel.
- Roll your shoulders back and under your body, clasp your hands, and extend your arms along the floor below your hips.
- Hold for up to a minute. To loosen up, slowly roll your spine across the floor, one vertebra at a time.
6. Third Eye Chakra – Ajna Chakra
- Location : between the eyebrows (third eye)
- System : endocrine
- Gland : pituitary
- Associations : Insight, Wisdom, Self Awareness, Spiritual Awareness, Self Realization.
- Color : purple
- Element : Light
- Mantra : Om
Third eye chakra yoga pose: tree pose
- Start in Tadasana. Shift your weight slightly toward your left foot. Bend your right knee, stretch, and squeeze your right ankle. Use your hand to draw your right foot along your inner left thigh. Do not rest the foot against the knee, only above or below it.
- Rest your hands on your hips and lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Fix your gaze gently in front of you. Press your right foot on your left thigh.
- For a deeper pose, extend your arms above your head, fingertips toward the sky. To deepen your pose, try closing your eyes.
- Hold for up to a minute. Return to Tadasana, then repeat on the opposite side.
7. Crown Chakra – Sahasrara Chakra
- Location : Head Crown
- System : nervous
- Gland : pineal
- Associations : Universal consciousness, intuition, connection with the divine, peace of mind.
- Color : white
- Element : None, beyond the elements.
- Mantra : None
Crown chakra yoga pose: corpse pose
- Lie on your back and close your eyes. You may want to cover your body with a blanket.
- Allow your body to feel heavy on the floor. Let your legs and arms spread out.
- Working from the soles of the feet to the crown of the head, release every part of the body, every organ, and every cell. Let your eyes close heavily. Invite deep peace and silence to your mind, body and soul.
- Stay in Savasana for 5-15 minutes. Then deepen your breath, returning smooth movement and awareness to your body. Roll onto your right side. With an inhale, press gently into a comfortable sitting position. Carry this peace you have created with you for the rest of the day.
A good balance
Practicing chakras and yoga regularly is a fun and easy way to align your chakras. Through yoga and meditation, you can find balance in your body, mind, and spirit. Purifying your energy centers allows your health and well-being to flourish.