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What Are Chakras?

According to ancient Hindu scriptures, chakras are unified energy centers that run from the base of the spine to the crown of the head.

In Sanskrit, the word "chakra" means "wheel" and each chakra spins in a circular rhythm at its own speed, funneling energies from the universe into the body's energetic system.

In the same way, as anatomy books explain the architecture of the body through the skeletal, muscular, or nervous system, the chakra system describes the composition of the soul through seven subtle energy centers.

Each chakra has a different effect on our lives based on whether it is in balance or out of balance. Meditation and yoga are some of the best ways that can help you to achieve this balance.

Chakra Yoga Benefits

Physical postures and breathing techniques, known as Pranayama in yoga, can aid in the relaxation of accumulated stress in the body and the alignment of the chakras.

Through the practice of physical yoga poses (asanas), you will restore the healthy rhythm of your seven chakras and bring more peace to your mind, body, and spirit.

Adding yoga to your everyday routine is a perfect way to loosen up and align all seven chakras of your body.

There are many yoga poses, which can be used for individual chakras, but ultimately they will all provide many benefits for your subtle body as a whole. 

Chakra Yoga Poses

Many, if not most, yoga postures listed in this article affect several chakras at the same time.

Other postures affect one or more chakras based on the interpretation of the pose. Postures for one chakra can help to open another. As a result, some of the asanas might show up in more than one chakra.

We are going to start our yoga journey from the bottom of the chakra system (root chakra) and move all the way up to the crown chakra.

  • Color: Red

  • Element: Earth

  • Location: Perineum

  • Sanskrit Name: Muladhara

  • Meaning: Root Support

  • Seed Sound, Mantra: LAM

  • Affirmation: I Am

Positioned at the base of your spine, the root chakra houses the primal energy of the life force known as Kundalini.

The first chakra, or Muladhara in Sanskrit, rules all aspects of your survival, security, and it allows you to feel grounded in your physical body. When your first chakra is open and healthy, you feel calm and safe.

Let's have a look at the chart with yoga poses for the root chakra:

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The best yoga asanas (poses) which work on stimulating and releasing energy from the root chakra come from hatha yoga. Hatha yoga practice is an old system of yoga, also known as conscious relaxation.

This particular style of yoga is great for the root chakra because it involves grounding and relaxing each part of the body through the practice of asanas (body poses) as well as breathing exercises (pranayama).

How long to hold each hatha posture?
It is recommended to hold Hatha yoga postures 45 to 60 seconds or for about 10-12 deep breaths.

Try some of the following poses to stimulate your root chakra:

  • Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

  • Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana)

  • Garland Pose (Malasana)

  • Staff Pose (Dandasana)

  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

  • Bridge Pose (Setu Bhandasana)

  • Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II)

  • Knee-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana)

  • Head-to-Knee Pose (Janus Sirasana)

 

Some of these asanas are described in more detail in the Root Chakra Yoga

 

 

2 

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  • Color: Orange

  • Element: Water

  • Location: Sacrum

  • Sanskrit Name: Svadhishthana

  • Meaning: Sweetness

  • Seed Sound, Mantra: VAM

  • Affirmation: I Feel

 

The sacral chakra helps you to express your emotions in a healthy way. The second chakra, or Svadhisthana in Sanskrit, rules all aspects of your sexuality, sensuality, relationships, and emotional intelligence. Its color is orange, and it is located in the lower abdomen.

When your second chakra is open and healthy, you feel joyful, happy, and passionate about life. You also give yourself full permission to enjoy all pleasures of life.

Let's have a look at the chart with yoga poses for the sacral chakra:

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The sacral chakra is your main emotional center. Repressed emotions and feelings are very often trapped inside your physical body, and exercise is one of the best ways of releasing and letting go of them.

Balancing sacral chakra with yoga involves building strength and flexibility in your hips and all the muscles surrounding your pelvis. A yoga practice that emphasizes opening the hips will help you to relax and regain your emotional equilibrium.

Try some of the following poses to stimulate your root chakra:

  • Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

  • Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

  • Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)

  • Crescent Pose (Anjaneyasana)

  • Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

  • Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)

  • Reclined Thunderbolt Pose (Supta Vajrasana)

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  • Color: Yellow

  • Element: Fire

  • Location: Navel

  • Sanskrit Name: Manipura

  • Meaning: Lustrous Gem

  • Seed Sound, Mantra: RAM

  • Affirmation: I Do

Healthy solar plexus chakra allows you to be strong, confident, and move towards your goals with full determination. The third chakra, or Manipura in Sanskrit, rules all aspects of your personality, ego, and personal power. Its color is yellow, and it is located in the stomach area.

When your solar plexus chakra is open and balanced, you will be able to manifest all of your dreams into reality and won't be afraid of any challenges life throws at you. When your solar plexus chakra is healthy, your ego is strong and balanced at the same time. Overcoming difficulties in life and cultivating your personal power will increase your self-esteem and confidence. 

Let's have a look at the chart with yoga poses for the solar plexus chakra:

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Balancing solar plexus chakra with yoga asanas involves building strength and flexibility in your core and all of the muscles surrounding your stomach. 

Many experienced yogis believe that having a strong core is the foundation of yoga. Strength developed through doing yoga asanas can be utilized beyond the mat in your daily life.

Try some of the following poses to stimulate your solar plexus chakra:

  • Crescent Pose (Anjaneyasana)

  • Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

  • Knees-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana)

  • Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  • Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

  • Boat Pose (Paripura Navasana)

  • Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)

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  • Color: Green

  • Element: Air

  • Location: Middle of the chest

  • Sanskrit Name: Anahata

  • Meaning: Unstruct

  • Seed Sound, Mantra: YAM

  • Affirmation: I Love

The heart chakra helps you to grow a loving connection to yourself and others. The fourth chakra, or Anahata in Sanskrit, radiates the energy of unconditional love, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, and kindness. Its color is green, and it is located in the middle of the chest.

When your heart chakra is open and healthy, you have a sense of oneness and transcend the duality of the physical world. The heart center acts as a bridge between the ego (3 lower chakras) and a spirit (3 upper chakras).

Let's have a look at the chart with yoga poses for the heart chakra:

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  • Color: Light Blue

  • Element: Ether, Space

  • Location: Throat

  • Sanskrit Name: Vishuddha

  • Meaning: Purification

  • Seed Sound, Mantra: HAM

  • Affirmation: I Speak

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The throat chakra is your center of communication, which allows you to shape your reality by expressing your ideas and desires. The fifth chakra, or Vishuddha in Sanskrit, gives you the ability to speak the truth from the place of integrity and authenticity. Its color is light blue (tuquoise), and it is located in the middle of the throat.

When your throat chakra is open and healthy, you begin to live an authentic life, stand by your word with integrity, and say what you feel.

Let's have a look at the chart with yoga poses for the throat chakra:

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Yoga is a great way to work with your throat chakra, as certain physical poses (asanas) will allow you to open up your shoulders and release the tension from your neck. 

Yoga also improves the oxygen circulation in your body, as most of the yoga exercises involve working with your breath. 

Try some of the following poses to stimulate your heart chakra:

  • Bridge Pose (Setu Bhandasana)

  • Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)

  • Lion Pose (Simhasana)

  • Plow Pose (Halasana)

  • Cat Pose (Marjariasana)

  • Cow Pose (Bitilasana)

  • Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

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  • Color: Dark Blue, Indigo

  • Element: Light

  • Location: Forehead

  • Sanskrit Name: Ajna

  • Meaning: To Perceive

  • Seed Sound, Mantra: OM

  • Affirmation: I See

The third eye chakra is your center of intuition and the seat of the sixth sense. The brow chakra, or Ajna in Sanskrit, is your primary manifestation center as it allows you to visualize and imagine the possibilities and take full command of your reality. Its color is dark blue or indigo, and it is located in the middle of the forehead.

When your third eye chakra is open and healthy, you begin to trust your intuition and utilize the power of the mind to transform your life. Gifts of lucid dreaming, astral projection and inner sight (clairvoyance) are granted to people with highly developed third eye chakras.

Let's have a look at the chart with yoga poses for the third eye chakra:

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Yoga is a great way to work with your third eye chakra, as certain physical poses (asanas) will allow you to improve the flow of energy in your body and allow you to put more pressure on your forehead area. Yoga also improves the oxygen circulation to your brain, as most of the yoga postures involve working with your breath.

Try some of the following poses to stimulate your third eye chakra:

  • Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana)

  • Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

  • Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  • Lotus Pose (Padmasana)

  • Cow Face Pose (Anuvittasana)

  • Head-to-Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)

  • Extended Child's Pose (Utthita Balasana)

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  • Color: Violet, White

  • Element: Thought

  • Location: Top of Head

  • Sanskrit Name: Sahasrara

  • Meaning: Thousandfold

  • Seed Sound, Mantra: OM

  • Affirmation: I Know

In the whole chakra system, the crown chakra is the highest energy source, and it combines the individual attributes of all 7 chakras. The energy of your crown chakra allows you to feel eternal love and peace with all living beings and everything around you. The crown chakra, or Sahasrara in Sanskrit, keeps you connected with the Divine and your Higher Self, giving you a sense of knowing that there is a higher purpose and order in life. Its color is violet, and it is located at the top of your head.

The main purpose of the crown chakra is to bind you through spirituality, self-realization, wisdom, and enlightenment with the divine force and the infinite source of healing energy. Your crown chakra serves as a clear, energetic channel to your Higher Self. 

Let's have a look at the chart with yoga poses for the third eye chakra:

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Some of the most effective yoga poses for crown chakra are postures that stimulate the energy and blood flow to your head. Supported Headstand is one of my personal favorite yoga poses for the crown chakra, and I have been practicing it for many years.

However, if you suffer from a back or neck injury, I wouldn’t recommend it. You can substitute it for the Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose), which is probably the second-best pose for your crown chakra.

Try some of the following poses to stimulate your crown chakra:

  • Headstand (Sirsasana)

  • Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

  • Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

  • Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana)

  • Lotus Pose (Padmasana)

  • Backbend (Anuvittasana) 

  • Rabbit Pose (Sasakasana)

  • Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Deeper Meaning of Yoga & Chakras

Yoga's original intent was to bind one's consciousness to the Divine consciousness by mastery of one's body, mind, and emotions. Good health and well-being are merely side effects of this effort. 

Yoga's origins and the first mention of chakras can be traced back to the Vedas, and the Indus-Sarasvati civilization living in Northern India 5,000 years ago.

The Vedas is a compilation of ancient texts containing songs, mantras, and rituals for the Vedic priests, known as Brahmans and Rishis. 

These mystics created a huge library of 200 scriptures, known as Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gîtâ is the most famous Yogic text from this collection.

Nowadays, Yoga is often associated only with a system of physical postures and meditation. However, in its original form, Yoga has a profound mystical meaning that has been forgotten in today's body-centered society.

If you ever wanted to go much deeper into your spiritual practice keep in mind that Yoga is a concept derived from ancient texts, and it is something more than the set of health-promoting physical activities you might be acquainted with.

It is a comprehensive guide to living a meaningful life, and the values of yoga have been closely tied to chakra knowledge and understanding.

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