Working with your chakras during your yoga practice may provide additional benefits – as described in this chakra-cleansing yoga sequence…
It’s a good idea to clear out your emotional baggage every so often – just like we need to periodically clean and purge our physical space of items we no longer need or use. Yoga is a great way to do this, especially when you combine yoga with chakra work.
If you aren’t familiar with your chakras, everyone has them, and they are known in Eastern traditions of healing and energy medicine as the seven main energy centers in the body. You can learn more about the 7 chakras here, and stay tuned as we will provide a chakra-centered yoga class for each of the 7 chakras over the next few weeks!
While you don’t have to know anything at all about the chakras to benefit from doing yoga, focusing on your chakras during your yoga practice may provide additional benefits to you – especially when you intentionally choose poses that impact specific chakras. See, for example, the 3 poses below, which may help you to resolve lingering negativity or emotional issues, and find a more happy, positive outlook on life.
If you are dealing with a specific issue, you can focus on the pose for that chakra, or simply work through all the chakras in sequence for a full spiritual and emotional cleansing. Here are the first 3:
Translation: “Root place”
Location: Base of your spine, or the coccyx
Related organs: Adrenal glands
Karmic relationship: Mother, father, family, environment, home, workplace, money, job, career
Bija Mantra: LAM
Why: “How your beginnings began determines how you operate in the world,” says instructor Mari. “Working with this chakra can help you see if you are you always in survival mode or on guard—and help you move into a more peaceful, balanced state.”
Ask: Did you have stability when you were growing up? What was your financial situation? When you think of your childhood, what comes up?
Pose: Warrior Pose II (Virabhadrasana II)
Stand on your mat with your feet 3 to 4 feet apart, your back foot turned in about 45 degrees and your front heel in line with your back arch. Raise your arms to shoulder height as you bend the front leg toward a 90-degree angle. As you stretch your hands away from your midline, feel the stability in your legs and feet. Stay here for 8 to 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Translation: “Her favorite standing place”
Location: Below the naval, the sacrum
Related organs: Reproductive organs
Karmic relationship: Romantic, sexual, or creative partners, spouses, partners, children
Bija Mantra: VAM
Why: “This area of the body relates to any creative endeavor or partnership, including your sexual relationships,” says Mari. “Forward bends and hip openers offer deep release, which can be particularly helpful when dealing with the resentment, anger, and blame that have a tendency to surface when we work with this chakra.”
Ask: Is there anyone—a current or former sexual partner, or business associate—toward whom you harbor great resentment, anger, or blame? Is there anything inhibiting your ability to be creative?
Pose: Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you in Dandasana (Staff Pose). Inhale, and keeping your torso long, lean forward from your hip joints, lengthening your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis. Hold onto the sides of your feet with your hands, elbows fully extended; if this isn’t possible, loop a strap around your feet. With each inhalation, slightly lift and lengthen your torso; with each exhalation, release a little more fully into the forward bend. Stay in this pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes.
Translation: “Jewel in the city”
Location: Solar plexus region, above the navel
Related organs: Stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas, intestines
Karmic relationship: Others you have hurt
Bija Mantra: RAM
Why: An imbalaced solar plexus chakra can manifest as fear, lack of self-confidence and disempowerment. Who do you disempower in order to feel powerful? The ultimate goal? To feel comfortable with your own inherent power, fully stepping into the ways you as an individual can positively impact the collective without harming others.
Ask: Are there areas of your life in which you feel powerless? If so, how does this manifest? Who do you disempower in order to feel more powerful yourself?
Pose: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, variation (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you in Staff Pose. Bend your right leg and place your right foot outside your left hip. Press the right hand against the floor just behind your right sitting bone, and set your left elbow on the outside of your right thigh near the knee. On an exhale, twist toward the inside of the right thigh. Press the inner right foot into the mat as you lengthen your torso. With every inhalation, lift a little more through the sternum; with every exhalation, twist a little deeper. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release with an exhalation, return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side.