Beginners Guide to Chakras: Understand Chakras and its Uses.
Chakras are intangible. In yoga, chakras are a part of you that you can’t see or touch. It’s where your energy flows. Chakra literally means “spinning wheel.” The chakras are thought to be spinning disks of energy that should stay “open” and aligned for optimal emotional and physical well-being. The concept of Chakra mentions that our body is not only made of bones, muscles, organs, and skin. Rather, the human body is made up of various layers of energy fields surrounding the physical body. These layers are said to form the so-called subtle body, which is also called the energy body. ‘Subtle’ in this context means ‘that what is most delicate’, ‘that what is most refined’. According to yogic beliefs, the human body has seven Chakras, which are thought of as intersections of different energy channels. The life force, called Prana, travels through these channels or Nadis. There are seven chakras in total and five of these chakras represent the elements of nature (air, water, fire, air and earth) and seven colors of rainbow. The last two chakras belong to a world beyond the earthly realm (light and cosmic energy). If energy is blocked in one of the Chakras – this can result in emotional, mental, or even physical imbalances. This is where a good yogic practice comes handy to know the type of poses that we can do to balance our chakras. Before we delve deeper into the yoga poses for each chakra, let's understand the seven type of chakras and why its important to balance them. To understand, which chakra you need to balance, try to understand, how you are feeling at present, are you feeling anxious and long to feel more grounded, choose poses for the earthy root chakra. Muladhara (Root Chakra) Element: Earth Color: Red Affirmation: I am safe The Root Chakra is located at the base of the spine and forms the basis of your energy system. When this chakra is out of balance, you feel anxious, insecure, you become more needy and self-destructive. Any yoga pose that build grounding or balancing poses are useful to balance this chakra. Yoga poses such as mountain pose, all warrior poses, tree pose will help to balance Root chakra and thereby provide you with a feeling of calm, secure and confident. Shown here in the picture is the Tree Pose (Vrikshasana). The mudra that helps Muladhara is Ganesha Mudra. Ganesha Mudra is named after the Hindu deity who removes obstacles. Use it relieve stress and tension and lift your spirits. As you keep practicing this mudra, reflect on your life, its challenges and what's holding you back. Clear your mind of any doubts and insecurities. Svadhishthana (Pelvic Chakra) Element: Water Color: Orange Affirmation: I am creative. This chakra is held in our sacrum. It corresponds with your reproductive and sexual organs, and represents fluidity, creativity, and fertility. If this Chakra is blocked, you may experience attachment as well as all kinds of cravings and even addictions. You may thus feel sexually and emotionally frustrated and lack the motivation to find a passion in life. Twisting yoga poses such as Reclined Triangle pose stimulate the abdominal organs to improve circulation within the pelvic area. Hip-opening asanas and squats such as Malasana, Lizard, Twisted Monkey, or Reclined Bound Angle Pose help you bring your awareness to this center. Shown here is Malasana. Yoni Mudra is a perfect means to connect to the second Chakra. It’s intended to nourish your sense of creativity. While practicing this mudra, think of what you want to create in your life or where you feel stuck. Manipura (Navel Chakra) Element: Fire Color: Yellow Affirmation: I am strong. Located at the navel, this chakra is associated with the digestive system, locomotion and eyesight. It is the element of fire, and individual power and purpose. Think of this chakra as the firehouse of your body. It’s the core of your identity, ego, and personality, and helps you establish your sense of willpower and determination. An unbalanced Manipura Chakra can result in low self-confidence and increased stress. Since this Chakra is located in the belly, yoga poses that strengthen this area are perfect for igniting the core and the internal fire. These include all abdominal strengthening poses such as Boat pose, all twisting poses and the good old Sun Salutations. Use Kali Mudra to access the energy of your 3rd Chakra. This will ignite your strength and energy from the soles of your feet all the way up to the index fingers. The pose above strengthens the abdominal muscle, one of the Warrior pose along with holding the Kali Mudra. Anahata (Heart Chakra) Element: Air
Color: Green Affirmation: I am loved. The heart chakra is in the center of your chest- located in the thoracic spine near the heart and the lungs. It is the very “seat of the soul.” Associated with the air element, it determines your sense of touch and enables you to connect with others and to feel compassion, generosity, and respect. When the heart chakra is blocked, you become possessive and codependent, and may form dysfunctional relationships. You may also stay isolated for fear of rejection. Heart and chest opening yoga poses open the energetic centers of the heart. These include backbends such as Cobra pose (Bhujangasana) and Camel pose (Ustrasana), but also fierce poses like Wild Thing (Camatkarasana) and Eagle pose (Garudasana). Padma Mudra, or Lotus Mudra, is used to balance your Heart Chakra. Since the Lotus is all about compassion and love, it’s the perfect hand gesture to tune into your 4th Chakra. It’s best practiced sitting on your heels Vishuddha (Throat Chakra) Element: Space
Color: Blue Affirmation: I am expressive. This chakra governs the energies of speech and hearing, and the endocrine glands that control metabolism. On a spiritual level, this chakra is all about expanding our relationship to the Divine. Blockages of energy in this Chakra can impair communication. You may even experience ear, nose, and throat problems and a block of creativity. If this chakra is balanced, you feel confident to express your creativity and manifest your life in a positive way. Yoga poses that target the throat such as Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana), Bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Plow pose (Halasana), and Fish pose (Matsyasana) help you balance and purify the Throat Chakra. Gyana Mudra is the mudra of internal wisdom and can help you connect to the 5th Chakra. Anja (Third-Eye Chakra) Element: Light
Color: Indigo Affirmation: I am connected. This chakra is is located eyebrow level mid-brain and is associated with your intuition, or sixth sense. It governs how the rest of the chakras function. Its the meeting point for you mind and body. Imbalance of Ajna Chakra may result in confusion and symptoms such as headache, migraine, and dizziness. It may also lead to difficulties in following and trusting your intuition. When this Chakra is in balance, you’re able to see things clearly, you start trusting your insights, your gut feeling. Opening this chakra helps you to receive wisdom that is otherwise blocked from you to experience or receive any guidance. Yoga poses to balance Third-Eye Chakra include Dolphin pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana) as it increases circulation to the face and brain, stimulating the Third Eye, as well as restorative poses like Child’s pose (Balasana) and Cat & Cow. Perfect for your Third-Eye Chakra is Hakini Mudra, which is about focus and concentration. Close your eyes and try to feel the balance between your left and right side of the body and the left and right side of your brain and plug into your inner wisdom. Practice the Pranayama alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana) to balance out the right and left sides of your brain. This helps you bring everything in toward the middle and feel your sense of alignment. Sahasrara (Crown Chakra) Element: Cosmic Energy
Color: Violet or White Affirmation: I am Divine. The seventh of the chakras, the crown chakra, connects to beauty itself and the spiritual realm. It helps you to understand who you are beyond your physical self—that you are a spiritual being having a human experience. Situated at the top of the scalp. It’s considered the gateway to pure consciousness and the source of all Chakras. Sahasrara Chakra is the center of faith, dedication, and inspiration. When this Chakra is out of balance, you may feel negative about life in general, and disconnected from spiritual trust. Bringing the Crown Chakra back into balance allows you to experience peace and tranquility and a positive attitude toward your life. Shown here is the Butterfly pose. Use the Crown Mudra to balance Crown Chakra. Hold the crown mudra above your head, keeping the shoulders soft. Feel the energy that you’ve cultivated from the base of your spine to the crown of your head. Go through all 7 Chakras while maintaining this mudra. Bringing chakra practice along with your daily Yoga practice is a fun way to improve your focus, determination and bring positivity and calmness in your life. Chakras are important for our well-being as it brings into balance that which is unseen. Combined with yoga, the right chakras will surely bring a positive change in your life that you want to keep practicing more and more. Each of these chakras are distinct but when done together in a proper sequence, they work together as a whole.