I feel like there are a few words and phrases from the yoga/Eastern philosophical rhetoric that take a lot of abuse from us Westerners. Words like “aura,” “Zen,” “qi,” “prana,” and of course, “Chakra”. These words are often thrown around in a joking manner (i.e. “Boy are my Chakras off kilter today,” “Her aura is just so negative”), and not coincidentally, these words are all related to the energetic body and aren’t always acknowledged in Western science or medicine.
For the months of May and June, I’ve been teaching the seven main Chakras and sequencing the class around poses that help strengthen and open them. In the tradition of yoga and Ayurveda, the Chakras are considered to be circular centers, little wheels of energy spinning at the speed of light, that align along the length of the spine, from the tip of the tailbone to the crown of the head. We want to “open” these centers of energy to utilize the best qualities of each: from Muladhara (Root) Chakra, we seek to feel grounded, connected to the earth, strong, safe. When Anahata (Heart) Chakra is open, we access our ability to be compassionate and to give and receive love. Vishuddha (Throat) Chakra allows for our self-expression through truth. Each Chakra is associated with an element (earth, fire, water, etc.) and a healing color. At our best, when our Chakras are harmoniously aligned, we are able to see, hear, act, speak, and live as expressions of our highest Self.
Certain asana (yoga poses) can be practiced to strengthen the Chakras that may be weaker or less developed. It’s an interesting practice to observe where your mind goes or how your energy changes while holding the pose, helping reveal some deeper truths about yourself. Practice the poses below and note what happens, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Muladhara (Root) Chakra: Vrksasana
Svadhishthana (Navel) Chakra: Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra: Virabhadrasana II
Anahata (Heart) Chakra: Ustrasana
Vishuddha (Throat) Chakra: Matsyasana
Ajna (Third Eye) Chakra: Padmasana
Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra: Sirsasana A