If you are a regular practitioner of yoga or have an active interest in alternative forms of healing based on Eastern philosophies, you’ve probably stumbled upon the idea of chakras. But if you’re new to this or are researching yoga for chakra balancing, this article is for you.
What are chakras?
The word chakra means wheel or disc in Sanskrit. The first mention of the chakra system was made in the Vedas, one of the oldest texts in human history. Chakras are wheels of energy located within the body that allow for the flow of cosmic energy. These wheels are responsible for numerous aspects of the physical, spiritual and mental self.
They are seven major chakras in the body and each is represented by seven colors. They are conduits of life energy. When the chakras are working well, this energy flows smoothly in our body, maintaining a balance in our physical health as well as our mental and spiritual wellbeing.
The chakra system is said to affect many aspects of your life including:
- Sense of security
- Sense of purpose and meaning
- Self confidence and worth
- Desires, both physical and spiritual
What are chakras – Major and minor chakras
In addition to the seven major chakras mentioned above, there are many minor ones within the energetic body system. All these chakras represent different aspects of the same cosmic energy and contain both masculine and feminine forms flowing through them.
It is essential that all major and minor chakras are aligned with one another and in balance so that the energies can flow seamlessly through them and ensure your optimal wellbeing. When researching what are chakras, you’ll usually see references to the major chakras because. This is because knowing about the major chakras is enough to give you a preliminary understanding.
What are the seven chakras?
The first five chakras are directly related to our physical bodies and drive our physical desires, health and wellbeing. Knowing what are chakras will help you understand the benefits of working on them. They are:
Root Chakra (Muldhara)
It is the foundational chakra, defined by the feeling of being grounded and it connects you directly with your environment. It is also the epicenter for physical manifestation in the material world. While its location links it with sexuality, it also represents a whole lot more.
- Location: Base of the spine between the excretory organs
- Emotional aspects: Sense of security, stability and sensuality
- Physical aspects: Digestive discomfort, movement
- Body parts: Sexual organs, hips, legs and lower back
Sacral chakra (Swadhisthana)
The next chakra is related to your ability to connect with and accept all the people and experiences of your life. While its location links it with reproduction, it also guides your creativity, intuition, self-worth and joy on a deeper level.
- Location: At the tailbone
- Emotional aspects: Sexual pleasure, abundance and sense of wellbeing
- Physical aspects: Constipation, kidney problems, lower back pain and muscle spasms
- Body parts: Female sexual organs, large intestine, kidneys and bladder
Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
When in balance, this chakra allows you to be confident and feel like you have control over our life. Its location links it with digestion but it is the epicenter of power and the seating place of the ego. It thus, guides your impulses, anger, inner fire, strength and confidence.
- Location: Behind the naval
- Emotional aspects: Anger, passion, self-belief, natural urges
- Physical aspects: Liver concerns, digestive issues, nervous system fatigue
- Body parts: Liver, small intestine, stomach, gall bladder, pancreas
Heart Chakra (Anahata)
True to its name, it is located behind and represents your spiritual center i.e. your heart. It guides all that is linked with the heart which includes devotion, love and passion. Physically, it is linked with circulation. It affects your ability not love others as well as yourself and serves as the connection between mind-body and the spirit.
- Location: Heart
- Emotional aspects: Compassion, spirituality, love
- Physical aspects: Blood pressure issues, heart problems, breathing concerns and insomnia
- Body parts: Lungs, shoulders, heart, upper back and circulatory system
Throat Chakra (Vishudha)
Located at the throat, it is representative of communication and is the epicenter of sound. It also guides creativity through speech, thought and writing. Its location also makes it the center for transformation, healing and change.
- Location: Throat
- Emotional aspects: Spiritual growth, mental growth, maturity change
- Physical aspects: Skin issues, throat problems, thyroid concerns, inflammation and back pain
- Body parts: Neck, teeth, throat, ears, thyroid gland
The last two chakras do not relate to the physical body directly but connect it to the realm that lies beyond the physical. These two chakras are:
Third Eye Chakra (Anja)
It is said to be the gateway for environmental energy to enter the body. This is the chakra that allows us to understand the big picture and is also referred to as the psychic and intuition center of the body.
- Location: At the center of the eyebrows
- Emotional aspects: Wisdom, decision making, thinking, imagination
- Physical aspects: Eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision
- Body parts: Brain, eyes, lymph system, face and endocrine system
The Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
It is considered to be the focal point of enlightenment representing our spiritual energy and dynamic thought. It is indicative of detachment from the illusory nature of the world and control over it allows one to be self-aware and at one with the higher consciousness.
- Location: Top of the head
- Emotional aspects: Bliss, spirituality, inner beauty
- Physical aspects: Depression and migraine headaches
- Body parts: None
The chakras are not limited to our bodies alone; they exist on the planet as well. The Vedas and Hinduism believe in the as above, so below philosophy i.e. the microcosm is a reflection of the macrocosm and so the chakras in the body are said to mirror those on our planet.
The Earth Chakras are believed to be the primary power centres of the planet. It is said that by visiting the location of these chakras, you can align the energy frequency within your own body with that of the planet’s chakra. This allows you to resonate at that right frequency, releasing any blockages of energy and resulting in an unprecedented spiritual experience.
The chakras of the earth are very similar to whirlpools of energy. They are located where there is the greatest concentration of cosmic energy and are supercharged with the force of life energy. Many cultures believe in the same concept and have identified different spots. Some locations are highly contested but a few locations are agreed upon by almost all cultures as being significant spots of energy.
Using your chakras to improve your wellbeing
Understanding what are chakras is important but knowing how to balance them is even more important. Each chakra in your body spins at a unique and high frequency, but sometimes they may become stuck or pick up energy from an external source. This throws the chakra off-balance and creates a negative impact on our physical, emotional and spiritual health.
You can visualize the chakra system as a power line that runs from the top of the head all the way to the base of the spine, connecting all seven centers of energy. When functioning optimally, these chakras conduct cosmic energy and keep you aligned, balanced and healthy. Each chakra distributes this energy to your physical body when needed.
When these chakras are blocked, the flow of energy becomes irregular and may build up in some areas. This can be felt in symptoms like:
- Physical illness
- Sense of general discomfort
- Poor emotional health resulting in anxiety, stress and depression
- Mental misalignment resulting in fogginess or confusion
Why is it recommended to do yoga for chakra health?
Yoga for chakra health is a form of yoga that focuses on using poses, breathing and mental techniques to align the seven chakras within the body and achieve balance.
If yoga is not your thing, you don’t have to try yoga for chakra balancing. Some of these techniques are considered just as effective:
- Conscious movement
- Breathing techniques
- Positive visualization
- Emptying the mind and letting go emotionally
- Clearing out physical clutter in life
- Diet and lifestyle
If you inculcate some or all of these techniques and practices, you can help the flow of energy through the seven energy centers or chakras of your body. This can augment your physical, spiritual and emotional health.
However it is recommended to do yoga for chakra health because this is an inclusive practice that uses multiple techniques for better results. You’ll practice conscious breathing, movement, meditation and clearance of emotional and physical baggage. Through yoga for chakra, you can strengthen the energetic health and flow of the chakra system and enhance wellbeing.
What are the ideal poses in yoga for chakra?
Although yoga is generally beneficial for all chakras, there are specific poses in yoga for chakra health. These poses release blockages and allow you to maintain an optimal state of wellbeing.
Yoga for Root Chakra:
Poses in yoga for chakra balancing include grounding poses like Tree Pose, Warrior I and Warrior II
Yoga for Sacral chakra
Poses in yoga for chakra balancing include Goddess Pose and Sun Salutations.
Yoga for Solar Plexus Chakra
Poses in yoga for chakra balancing include Boat Pose and all poses that involve twisting as they help stimulate the digestive system.
Yoga for Heart Chakra
Poses in yoga for chakra balancing include Camel pose and any poses that open the heart, like backbends
Yoga for Throat Chakra
Poses in yoga for chakra balancing include supported shoulder stands like Salamba Sarvangasana and other poses that open up the throat such as Fish Pose
Yoga for Third Eye Chakra
Poses in yoga for chakra balancing include Easy Pose (Sukhasana) and all others that connect your third eye to the Earth such as Child’s pose
Yoga for Crown Chakra
Poses in yoga for chakra balancing include Corpse Pose and Headstand as it presses the chakra against to the Earth.
The benefits of yoga for chakra balancing
Yoga for chakra health leaves you feeling open, energetic and rejuvenated. Many first-timers experience a significant internal shift after the early sessions and report a feeling of fluidity and balance. It can be a great help those who have stressful schedules and need grounding or a moment of me-time. It can offer healing energy and positive feelings to anyone who has recently undergone surgery or is dealing with a serious illness.
If you would like to talk to a yoga expert, Avaana can help you find one near you.