“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” - The Bhagavad Gita
The number of people practising yoga is increasing. While most yogis are in their 30s and 40s, an increasing number of over 50s are also taking it up.
Chakras are said to be energy point situated along the spinal column and while there are tonnes of them, there are seven main ones. They are fed by life force energy and can either be too closed or too open, leading to emotional, psychological, and physical blockages.
In this article, we're going to look at the main principles behind chakras, why you should use yoga to rebalance your chakras, how you can open them through yoga, and the best yoga poses for sorting out your chakras.
The Main Principles of Chakras
According to traditional Indian medicine, there are 88,000 chakras, energy centres that influence our physical and mental health. Opening your chakras isn’t the only thing you have to do as sometimes they can be too open.
These energy centres are represented by lotus flowers and are associated with a given colour, vibration, stone, element, or organ.
- The root chakra (Muladhara), is located at the coccyx. It’s associated with the element of earth, the colour red, the seed mantra Lam, the note C, and the bladder and colon.
- The sacral chakra (Svadhishthana) is just below the height of your bellybutton on your back. It’s associated with the element of water, the colour orange, the seed mantra Vam, the note D, emotions, and the testes and ovaries.
- The solar plexus chakra (Manipura) is located a couple of fingers above your belly button. It’s associated with the element of fire, the colour yellow, the seed mantra Ram, the note E, and the digestive system.
- The heart chakra (Anahata), is located by your heart. It’s associated with the element of air, the colour green, the seed mantra Yam, the note F, and feelings of love.
- The throat chakra (Vishuddha) is located by the throat. It’s associated with the element of aether (akasha), the colour sky blue, the seed mantra Ham, the note G, and the thyroid.
- The guru chakra (Ajna) or third-eye chakra is located between your eyebrows. It’s associated with decision-making, the psyche, the colour indigo, the seed mantra Om, and the note A.
- The crown chakra (Sahasrara) is located on the top of your head. It’s associated with vibration, the colour purple, the seed mantra Ham, and the note B.
All the energy points are associated with Nadi (flow). There are three main ones through which life force energy flows: Sushumna, Ida, and Pingala. Finally, Kundalini is the divine energy or life force. Kundalini is mainly used to achieve a heightened state of mind.
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Why Should You Balance Your Chakras through Yoga?
Attending yoga classes is a great way to improve your general wellbeing, feel more relaxed, and manage a stressful personal and professional life.
Balancing your chakras through yoga allows you to unwind and alleviate emotional and physical pain. It’s said that when you feel physical pain, fatigue, or frustration, it’s through an unbalanced chakra.
Each chakra is associated with certain organs and states of mind:
- The root chakra: when this chakra isn’t balanced, you can have digestive problems and pains in the lower part of your body (legs, feet, back). Psychologically, it can cause a feeling of anxiety or insecurity.
- The sacral chakra: this is associated with carnal desires and reproductive organs. Balancing this chakra will help you feel better in pleasurable activities. When it’s unbalanced, you’ll have a reduced libido.
- The solar plexus chakra: this is associated with the digestive system and is the centre of your self-confidence. Balancing this chakra will allow you to rid yourself of digestive problems and regain your confidence.
- The heart chakra: this is associated with feelings of love and empathy. Balancing the heart chakra will cleanse your relationships with others, be them amorous or otherwise.
- The throat chakra: this is associated with the expression of your emotions. When it’s unbalanced, you’ll talk a lot, not listen to others, or be unable to express yourself. Rebalancing it will allow you to express yourself clearly.
- The third-eye chakra: this is associated with making decisions and balancing it will allow you to listen to your intuition without letting it run your life.
- The crown chakra: this is the energy centre and the most complicated chakra to open. It is nearly always underdeveloped. When it’s balanced, it allows you to be in complete harmony with your subconscious, without any fear of death or physical pain.
Chakras may become unbalanced following a shock or during your childhood. Rebalancing them can take a lot of time and effort.
Most people practise yoga to reduce stress.
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How Can You Open Your Chakras through Yoga?
However, the most effective way to balance your chakras is through yoga. It can be difficult to think about chakras as it’s an abstract notion that requires an open mind. You can work on them without even knowing it.
Even if you don’t believe in them, you’ll still probably feel better after a session of yoga dedicated to a particular one.
- Vibrations in yoga allow organs associated with a particular note and chakra to resonate. This is why Tibetan singing bowls are often used in yoga classes.
- The mantras associated with each chakra can also improve the well-being of certain organs.
Sound yoga concentrates on the vocal cords, breathing, and alleviating tension.
- Breathing exercises (Pranayama) allows you to relax and remove tension. Each yoga pose needs to be done while controlling your breathing (one part is done while inhaling, another while exhaling). The advantage is that these breathing exercises can be done anywhere if you’re feeling stressed. Before going on stage, you can practise your breathing. It’s an effective way to lower your heart rate and relax.
- Meditation is also useful for working on your chakras, removing tension, and opening your mind. A short guided meditation is usually done at the end of a yoga session and you can even find guided meditation sessions on YouTube dedicated to opening your chakras.
Yoga sessions are built around harmonising a chakra. It’s more effective if you concentrate on a single chakra throughout a session and find its equilibrium.
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The Best Yoga Poses for Balancing Your Chakras
Hatha yoga is particularly good for balancing your chakras. Slowly and gently working on different poses allows you to correctly circulate your life force energy.
Some yoga poses (asanas) are associated with opening certain chakras:
- The first chakra: chair pose, seated forward bend, tree pose, child’s pose.
- The second chakra: throne pose, cobra pose, boat pose, cow face pose.
- The third chakra: warrior 1 and 2 poses, locust pose, sun salutation, chair pose.
- The fourth chakra: bridge pose, camel pose, fish pose, cobra pose.
- The fifth chakra: lion pose, shoulder stand, half-bridge pose.
- The sixth chakra: child’s pose, cat pose, shoulder stand, dancer pose, seated forward bend.
- The seventh chakra: corpse pose, headstand.
Now you know what you need to do to open or rebalance each of your main chakras.
If you need extra help, you can also get yoga tutorials and you should always seek assistance from a professional before doing any yoga pose.
There are plenty of talented private tutors available on Superprof to help you with meditation and yoga. There are different types of tutorial available and it's up to you to choose the best tutor and best type of tutorials for you and your budget.
Face-to-face tutorials are the most costly type of private tutorials available but they're often the most cost-effective thanks to having your own dedicated tutor to plan your sessions and guide you through them.
There are also online tutorials available. This is when the tutor teaches the tutorial using video conferencing software such as Skype and isn't there in the room with you. While this type of tutorial is usually better for academic subjects, you can get yoga and meditation tutorials over webcam too!
Finally, there are group tutorials. These tend to be cheaper than the other types since several students are sharing the cost of the tutor's time. However, this does mean you get less one-on-one time with your tutor.