Have you wondered how chakras and yoga relate to each other? Here is a primer on the seven chakras – how they reflect your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing and how to balance your chakras with yoga poses, mantras and affirmations.
Have you ever walked out of a yoga class feeling like your body and mind are more in tune? That your breath is smoother? That even your Om at the end of class sounds different and clearer than your Om at the beginning of class?
Yes, it could be due to the physical (and maybe sweaty?) practice you just finished on your mat. But it’s more likely due to subtle changes inside your body that you can’t touch or measure including how energy flows through your body.
And the key energetic points in the body? Those are your chakras.
What are chakras?
The Sanskrit word chakra means wheel and are vital centers formed at intersecting lines of energy along and on either side of the mid-line of the body. You can imagine energy flowing through the chakras and spin them like wheels.
Each of the seven chakras is associated with certain aspects of our psychological make-up. Blocks in our chakras can result in illness or other imbalances. In other words, chakras are a way to look inward at what’s going on with you physically, emotionally and psychologically.
What do chakras have to do with yoga?
Yoga is one way to access and activate your chakras. When you feel imbalanced in one area, you can use the physical yoga practice to help restore balance in those areas. In this way, chakras and yoga can be a powerful duo to stimulate and help energy move freely within the body.
Primer on chakras and yoga
Each chakra is associated with a specific element, color and mantra as well as mental and emotional states. There are also yoga poses that help stimulate the chakra and help it become unblocked. Here’s a basic primer on chakras and yoga.
1. Red – Root Chakra or Muladhara Chakra
- The Muladhara Charka is related to our survival needs (meeting our basic needs), developing a feeling of being grounded and secure, and taking care of your body.
- It’s associated with the Earth element and the base of the spine, legs, feet, and the large intestine.
- If it is open, you feel present and connected to your physical body – literally rooted and grounded like you can stand on your own two feet.
- If it is under-active, you may feel fearful or nervous or experience low self-esteem.
- If it is over-active, you may be greedy and materialistic.
- Mantra: I am
- Example Pose: Vrksasana or Tree Pose
2. Orange: Sacral Chakra or Svadhisthana Chakra
- The Svadhisthana Chakra is related to our feelings, desire for connection, pleasure and sexuality. It represents creativity and fertility.
- It’s associated with the water element and the lower abdomen below the navel, womb, kidneys and circulatory system.
- If it is open, you express feelings freely, open to intimacy and passionate. You may feel positive and creative.
- If it is under-active, you may be unemotional and/or not very open to other people.
- If it is over-active, you may overly-emotional.
- Mantra: I feel
- Example yoga pose: Deviasana or Goddess pose
3. Yellow: Solar Plexus Chakra or Manipura Chakra
- Manipura Chakra is related to our sense of self-worth, self-confidence and power. It’s literally the fire in your belly!
- It’s associated with the fire element and the upper abdomen and solar plexus (which is behind your stomach and just below the diaphragm), digestive system, stomach, liver and muscular system. Breathe is an important aspect to bring balance to this chakra.
- If it is open, you may be confident, alive and ready to take action.
- If it is under-active, you may be anxiety, fear, indecision and self-doubt.
- If it is over-active, you may be aggressive.
- Mantra: I can
- Example yoga pose: Navasana or Boat pose
4. Green: Heart Chakra or Anahata Chakra
- Anahata Chakra is related to our sense of love, compassion and kindness as well as our spiritual center. Love is experienced as a state of being and comes from within as opposed to the second chakra which is related to something external. The heart chakra also connects the three lower chakras to the three upper chakras – its the literal center or heart of the chakras.
- It’s associated with the air element and the heart and lungs.
- If it is open, you may be compassionate, open and friendly.
- If it is under-active, you may be distant and cold.
- Mantra: I love
- Example yoga pose: Urdhva Dhanurasana or Wheel Pose
5. Blue: Throat Chakra or Vishudda Chakra
- Vishudda Chakra is related to our sense of self-expression and communication.
- It’s associated with the sound element and the throat, neck, thyroid (which control metabolism).
- If it is open, you communicate and express yourself easily.
- If it is under-active, you may be introverted and shy.
- If it is over-active, you may be overly expressive.
- Mantra: I speak
- Example yoga pose: Ustrasana or Camel pose.
6. Purple: Third Eye Chakra or Ajna Chakra
- Ajna Chakra is related to intuition and wisdom, and our ability to visualize and see the big picture. It also governs the other chakras.
- It’s associated with the forehead between the eyes.
- If it is open, you have good intuition and imagination.
- If it is under-active, you may too reliant on others and belief systems. You may be close-minded.
- If it is over-active, you may be overly imaginative.
- Mantra: I see
- Example yoga pose: Sukhasana or Easy pose
7. White: Crown Chakra or Sahasrara Chakra
- Sahasrara Chakra is related to awareness of our mind and our ability to fully connect spiritually and pure bliss.
- It’s associated with the element of thought and the very top of the head, central nervous system and cerebral cortex.
- If it is open, you well aware of the world.
- If it is under-active, you may be not aware of the world at all.
- If it is over-active, you may be overly reliant on spirituality and not connected to your physical body.
- Mantra: Silence
- Example yoga pose: Savasana
Kind of cool, right?
I kind of love learning more about this and how it relates to me, my body and my psychology. It brings me a different understanding of my yoga practice too.
Are you familiar with chakras? Have you experienced a chakra-based yoga practice?
This post is part of the Ask a Yogini series. Each month, I’ll answer a question about yoga – anything that you’re curious about. Chances are, if you have the question, someone else does too! Leave any questions you may have in the comments below!
More Ways to Follow Love, Life, Surf
Twitter -> @cyu888
Instagram -> cyu888
Facebook -> Love, Life, Surf
Pinterest -> LoveLifeSurf
Periscope -> @cyu888
Google+ -> Christine Yu
Email or in Reader -> Subscribe here
Bloglovin’ -> Love, Life, Surf