I’ve been thinking about Chakras lately. As you may recall the last blog was about Kundalini Yoga. In order to write that blog, I had to do some research, attend classes and begin the conversation with you about the basics of this unique yoga. Since then I have deepened my own yoga practice hoping to energize my body, mind and spirit.
What are Chakras, why do we need to understand them and how do they affect our practice, our life and our very being? Technically the word itself means wheel and the ancient yogis used it to describe the energy of pranic vibration. Prana simply means vital force and that is what our spine is, a life force of energy that carries information to our limbs, muscles, organs, glands and brain. The seven chakras, pronounced “chak-rah”, are located at various points on the spine and correspond to specific organs and functions of our body. Think of it as a vibrational energy that is either active and working for you or dormant and not giving you much in the way of vitality. In the Ayurvedic and Yoga way of thinking, our chakras are in continuous motion as they collect direction from our own personal prana. Each chakra has its own wave length and vibrational energy. The experts say that our prana is like an electromagnetic field that contains our emotions, childhood memories, and the treasures of our soul. So, you can see that the Chakras and Your Prana work as a team.
First Chakra: It is located at the base of your spine and is associated with being grounded in a primitive and a modern world! We need this chakra to be safe so that we can be whole. This chakra vibrates with the very essence of walking upright as humans. You know how Carla says get more grounded or she might say root down before you rise up? This all relates to this first chakra and in layman’s terms, that is what we call it, The Root Chakra. The color associated with it is red and a great pose to open this channel of vibration is Malasana, a basic squatting pose with your hands at the heart.
Second Chakra: The next one in the lineup is the Sacral Chakra. The color is orange and this chakra is associated with our reproductive organs. No wonder this is the well house for creativity. This chakra is all about feelings and if this part of you is open and vibrant then you are connected to The Creator, to a deep sense of emotional wellbeing and to a state of trust. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, or Bridge Pose is excellent for activating this chakra.
Third Chakra: This is our Solar Plexus Chakra. It is all about power and perseverance. This chakra is associated with the sun and of course its color is yellow. We consider this a ball of energy and we need that fire to digest, not just food but life, trauma, emotions…… It is said that this chakra ignites all the others and gives us vitality and confidence. Plank pose is a great way to activate this chakra.
Fourth Chakra: “The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller
The color for the heart chakra is green. I know, we think red when it comes to the heart but think about it, green is the color for all things new. You get the green light to move forward in life and that is what this chakra does for you. The Heart Chakra is about miracles, compassion, vulnerability and we need to keep the heart and our emotions healthy. This is also considered the middle chakra. The first three ground us and sustain us. This chakra opens us up to new possibilities. When I teach, one of my favorite cues is – open your heart! Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose is a fantastic heart opener. The arch in the upper back releases the chest muscles allowing the heart to have more space to do its job.
Fifth Chakra: This one corresponds with your voice, with your truth. As we vibrate with sound, we tell our story; we express what is in our heart. If this is blocked then we shut down the experience of who we are. The color is blue and there is more to the Throat Chakra than sound. Our thyroid is in the soft place at the front of the neck. This gland secretes hormones which influence our metabolism. A great pose for opening up this chakra is Ustrasana or Camel. This can be modified in several ways to make it possible for any yogi.
Sixth Chakra: This is where wisdom resides. It is our intuition that guides us through the day and throughout life. If this chakra is blocked we become confused and lack purpose. This is known as the Third Eye Charka and it corresponds with the point between the eyebrows. No more spine connection but oh what a power house this is. This chakra is associated with Pituitary Gland, which controls just about everything! When our vision is clear, when our hormones are working in synchronicity, we see the path and we have a light from within to guide each step. The color is indigo and a pose that works well to open this path is Balasana, or Child’s Pose. In this asana we take the head lower than the heart and place our being in a position of trust.
Seventh Chakra: The chakra is about awareness and connecting to the spiritual realm. We call this the Crown Chakra and it vibrates at the top of our head. More than anything I want to communicate that this is where wisdom and your consciousness merge. As we meditate, stimulate and activate this area we bring about peace that helps to alleviate the chaos of a very modern world. This chakra controls the Pineal Gland which regulates our sleep. The color is violet but you can also associate it with a crown, a tiara, of pure white light or the soft white of a lotus flower.
As you’ve read this blog hopefully you have visualized the rainbow of colors associated with each chakra, thought about your heart and something has sparked your awareness. There are numerous books and articles on the subject if you care to dig deeper. Also, please think about attending Janet Jiron’s workshop, Balancing the Chakras on November 10th, at the Premier studio. Janet will give an in depth look at how balancing the chakras can translate into a feeling of well-being, relaxation, centeredness, increased vitality and so much more!
Grace and Peace,