Chakra

CHAKRAS

“Wheels”

7th SAHASRARA
CROWN CHAKRA

6TH AJNA
THIRD EYE CHAKRA

5TH VISHUDDA
THROAT CHAKRA

4TH ANAHATA
HEART CHAKRA

3RD MANIPURA
SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA

2ND SVADHISHTHANA
PELVIC CHAKRA

1ST MULADHARA
ROOT CHAKRA

According to the ancient yogis, there are 72,000 “Nadis” or energy channels within the human physical body. These are the same as the “chi” lines in Thai Chi and the “meridians” in Chinese medicine. These energy channels are a part of the “subtle” body. The channels cross at various places through out the body. There are 7 main places along the spine where the nadis cross. These main energy centers are called Chakras, or literally “wheels”- “Wheels of Energy”; Wheels of Light.”

Chakras are the centers of vital energy in the body that are responsible for balancing all levels of being-physical, psychological, and spiritual. Thus the Mind, Body, Breath connection that we often hear about. This is what makes yoga different from a regular exercise program.

The Chakras regulate the flow of subtle energy within the body.

Each Chakra resonates at a different frequency, a different refraction of Infinite Light. Red has a slower vibration, bends the least and is associated with the Root Chakra-the 1st and closest to the Earth. Violet is refracted the most, vibrates at the highest frequency and therefore corresponds to the Crown Chakra, the highest Chakra.

Yoga postures evolved as a means for opening and balancing the Chakras.

Auras are considered the visible expressions of the Chakras.

Yogis believe the chakras hold the fullest potential of each and every person and are the key to health.

MULADHARA CHAKRA

“Root Support”

The 1st Chakra, or root chakra is the foundation of our system. It relates to the Earth, our feeling of being grounded and our sense of security. It is the building block of all the other chakras-built from the bottom or “foundation” up. The root chakra controls how you deal with family, money, basic needs, and survival.

PHYSICAL LOCATION: the perineum, at the base of the spine between the coccyx, pubic bone and sitting bone

ELEMENT: Earth COLOR: Red SENSE: Smell FORCE: Gravity
AREAS OF THE BODY: Bones; Feet; Legs; Elimination system; Immune system
MUDRA: Earth BANDHA: Mula MANTRA: “I am safe.”

WHEN UNBALANCED/ BLOCKED
CAN MANIFEST IN:

Additive behavior
Intimacy avoidance
Self Centeredness
Distrustful, fearful
Workaholsim, driven by lack of
self worth
Health issues: constipation, hemorrhoids, obesity, sciatica, low back pain, bulimia
Feeling: out of control, unable to make decisions, financial irresponsibility, family problems

WHEN BALANCED/NOT BLOCKED
CAN MANIFEST IN:

Valuing oneself
Self confidence/able to trust
Not afraid of change
Able to be in the present moment
Able to trust in the universe
Able to learn from adversity
Feel secure
Feel grounded

ASANA EXAMPLES THAT BALANCE THE ROOT CHAKRA:

Mountain pose
Bridge pose
Sun Salutations
Hero pose
Hindi Squat
Seated Forward Fold
Cobblers pose
Child pose
Chair pose
Cow Face pose
Staff pose
Boat pose
Wind Release Pose
Splits
Swan Pose

SVADHISTHANA CHAKRA

“Water Chakra”

The 2nd Chakra, or water chakra literally means “one’s own dwelling place”. It is regarded as the basis of all human existence. Without water, nothing could exist. This chakra brings movement to the other elements and mixes them together to create life. It is about fluidity, the flow of life and dealing with change. Like the ebb and flow of the tides, this chakra holds tremendous power that if harnessed and channeled correctly can help one overcome the patterns of the unconscious mind and find great fulfillment in life.

PHYSICAL LOCATION: the sacral spine, approximately 4 fingers below the navel
ELEMENT: Water COLOR: Orange SENSE: Touch FORCE: Magnetism
AREAS OF THE BODY: Hips, inner thighs, bladder, kidneys, sexual organs,

MUDRA: Apana MANTRA: “I flow with the rhythm of life.”

WHEN UNBALANCED/ BLOCKED
CAN MANIFEST IN:

Never having enough; tries to buy happiness
Trying to “keep up with the Jones”
Shallow Relationships
Shame of sexuality/body or exhibitionism
Health issues: frigidity, impotence low back pain, urinary problems

Feelings: possessiveness, seek satisfaction through senses, food, material possessions, status, craves stimulation; inadequacy

WHEN BALANCED/NOT BLOCKED
CAN MANIFEST IN:

Creativity
Empathy for others
Able to have genuine intimacy
Able to “Go with the Flow”
Able to have passion for life
Able to truly enjoy
Able to share knowledge
Able to give generously

ASANA EXAMPLES THAT BALANCE THE WATER CHAKRA:

Hip openers
Fish pose
Short flows
Wide leg forward folds
Supine Cobblers pose
Chair pose
Reverse Table
Cobra
Warrior II
Cat pose
Scales pose
Bow pose

MANIPURA CHAKRA

“Navel Center”

The 3rd Chakra, literally means “city of the jewel”. Fire is the element and with it comes choice, action, vitality and will. This chakra has been compared to the power of the sun as it warms, moves and activates us. Because of the intensity of the pranic energy contained in this chakra, it also refers to “tapas”, the fire in the belly that brings forth transformation. With the right balance, this chakra gives you your “glow, burns your ego and illuminates your mind. Without it, you would have no life, no energy.

PHYSICAL LOCATION: the solar plexus; just above the naval
ELEMENT: Fire COLOR: Yellow SENSE: Sight FORCE: Combustion
AREAS OF THE BODY: stomach, liver, small intestine, middle spine
MUDRA: Naga BANDHA: Uddiana MANTRA: “I stand in my personal power.”

WHEN UNBALANCED/ BLOCKED
CAN MANIFEST IN:

Too little: insecure, oversensitivity,
need external validation, fear rejection, dogmatic conformity, allow people to walk over you /or take advantage, can become introverted and/or depressed
Too much: controlling, think you are always right, self centered, everything is me,me,me greedy, power hungry, blind to own faults
Health issues: diabetes, hepatitis, ulcers indigestion, more digestion in general

WHEN BALANCED/NOT BLOCKED
CAN MANIFEST IN:

Sense of self worth: Practical
Control over actions
Have will power
Can handle crises, generate action
Develop strength through courage/ able to stand in own truth
Have transformative power

ASANA EXAMPLES THAT BALANCE THE NAVEL CHAKRA:

Twists
Lateral bends
Back bends
Triangle
Warrior poses
Downward Dog
Seated Forward Fold
Plank
Camel
Pyramid
Wheel
Bow pose

ANAHATA CKAKRA

“Heart Center”

The 4th Chakra is the halfway point between the 3 lower chakras and the 3 higher chakras, balancing the physical plane-Mother Earth with the spiritual plane-Father Sky. It literally means “unstuck sound” and is where we begin to tune into the subtle sound of the pulse of life. It is associated with the element of air and relates to our emotional thoughts, ideas and inspirations. Balancing the Anahata chakra allows us to release our emotional pain through unconditional love. The ancient Yogis believed that your “jiva atman” –personal spirit(soul)- resides in the heart chakra. It is where we begin to move beyond our material self to the divine self, connecting ourselves to the universe. As the heart center expands our seed of inner peace and harmony is able to open and grow.

PHYSICAL LOCATION: center of the chest
ELEMENT: Air COLOR: Green SENSE: Touch FORCE: Equilibrium
AREAS OF THE BODY: heart, lungs, shoulders, arms
MUDRA: Lotus @ heart BANDHA: Maha MANTRA: “I open my heart to——.”

WHEN UNBALANCED/ BLOCKED
CAN MANIFEST IN:

Too little: loneliness, jealousy, bitterness inability to forgive, pessimism, alienation, attachment, passive aggression, inability to love, judgmental, lack empathy
Too much: emotional flamboyance,
overly dramatic, smothering behavior
Health issues: asthma, heart problems, circulatory system, respiratory system

WHEN BALANCED/NOT BLOCKED
CAN MANIFEST IN:

Unconditional love
Harmony with nature
Positive neutrality
Harmonious relationships
Nonjudgmental of self or others
Compassionate
Peaceful

ASANA EXAMPLES THAT BALANCE THE HEART CHAKRA:

Heart openers
Lateral bends
Back bends
Triangle
Crescent Warrior
Downward Dog
Dolphin
Upward Plank
Camel
Chest expansion
Wheel
Bow pose

VISHUDDHA CHAKRA

“Throat Chakra”

Where, the first 3 chakras represent the lower earth plane and the 4th is where we balance the lower and higher planes, the 5th Chakra is where we begin to focus on the higher(spiritual) plane. Moving to rhythm, the vibration of sound, communication through writing and speaking are all functions of the Vishuddha Chakra. Literally “deep or extreme purification”, this chakra brings together the “Jiva,” individual consciousness with the “Atman,” universal consciousness, allowing us to tap into our creativity and intention to bring about an underlying vibrational harmony to our entire being. It is like the brain of all the chakras as it controls all of the elements and allows them to work in unison. When the Anahata (Heart) Chakra, is balanced, the Vishuddha Chakra automatically communicates from the higher plane and unconditional love unfolds.

PHYSICAL LOCATION: throat
ELEMENT: Space COLOR: Blue SENSE: Sound FORCE: Vibration
AREAS OF THE BODY: throat, mouth, neck, shoulders
MUDRA: Shunya(Heaven) BANDHA: Jalandhara MANTRA: “I speak and follow my truth.”

WHEN UNBALANCED/ BLOCKED
CAN MANIFEST IN:

Too little: have difficulty finding the right words; fear of speaking; secretive; shy; can’t find your own voice; are overshadowed by other’s truths; unable to reach full potential
Too much: loud; talk too much; aggressive; lie without lying-; gossip; very critical; unable to listen Health issues: ear, nose, throat problems; stiff neck; TMJ-teeth grinding, jaw problems; thyroid problems

WHEN BALANCED/NOT BLOCKED
CAN MANIFEST IN:

Being in tune with surroundings
Coinciding principle working
Communications are clear
Able to speak own truth
Can see yourself clearly & able to
listen to and follow the Universe
Live in harmony
Hearing what has not been said

ASANA EXAMPLES THAT BALANCE THE THROAT CHAKRA:

Neck Postures
Forward bends
Back bends
Shoulder Stand
Shoulder Postures
Yoga Mudra
Reverse Table
Fish
Chanting/singing
Upward Plank
Camel
Downward Dog
Chest expansion
Bridge/Wheel
Plow
Rabbit

AJNA CHAKRA

“The Third Eye”

The Ajna Chakra is the highest of the psychic centers in man. Ajna literally means “command” and oversees all of the elements and the chakras. Where the Vishuddha Chakra is the music that brings the elements and chakras together facilitating the making of beautiful music; Ajna is the conductor of the orchestra. Ajna is the window of the soul and when open, psychic abilities are said to unfold. It is considered the seat of intuition, where wisdom and knowledge unfold. Reference to the Ajna chakra can be found in many different religious texts (including the Bible) and cultures; even Plato wrote of the “eye of the soul that can be awakened by the correct means.” When the mind is still (Yogash Chitta Vritti Nirodah), and the lower Chakras balanced, Ajna Chakra opens to communicate with the higher plane to bring inspiration, creativity, clarity of thought and healing.

PHYSICAL LOCATION: center of forehead between eye brows
ELEMENT: Space/light COLOR: Indigo SENSE: Intuition FORCE: Psychic
AREAS OF THE BODY: eye, head, sinuses, the senses
MUDRA: Hakini Mudra BANDHA: Maha MANTRA: “I see.” “I follow the path of truth.”

WHEN CLOSED/ BLOCKED
CAN MANIFEST IN:

Overactive: inability to look within and see ourselves as we are; confusion as to what is real; difficulty concentrating; headaches; hallucinations; nightmares
Lacking: poor memory; lack of clarity about life-where we are going; unable to find our true path; can’t see alternatives; skeptical; inability to focus
Health issues: sense related(eye or ear problems); sinuses, headaches

WHEN OPEN/NOT BLOCKED
CAN MANIFEST IN:

Clear perception
Reliable intuition
Able to feel underlying vibration
Able to follow own truth
Able to see your path
Have gift of insight

ASANA EXAMPLES THAT OPEN THE AJNA CHAKRA:

Balances
Eye Movements
Child
Head to Knee
Inversions
Yoga Mudra
Seated Wide Leg Fold
Fish
Chanting/singing
Tree
Standing Fold
Downward Dog
Gate
Bridge
Plow
Rabbit
Shoulder Stand
Hand Stand
Sunbird
Runners Lunge

SAHASRARA CHAKRA

“The Crown”

Considered the 7th Chakra, Sahasrara literally means “one thousand” and is often depicted as a 1000 petal lotus flower in full bloom at the crown of the head. As the lotus flower is a symbol of enlightenment to the Yogi’s, Sahasrara is all about Knowing. Sahasrara is not like the other chakras as it is everything and nothing all at once. It isn’t really opened or balanced; one could say more like “reached”-it just is. Any way we define it would actually be incorrect because we would then limit it and Sahasrara is that which cannot be limited. It is said to be infinite, but even that would be incorrect because that would be categorizing it. Sahasrara is form without form. The experience, the experienced and the experiencer; the seeing, the seer and the seen are all one in the same. The lower chakras are the switches and the Sahasrara is the power. It vibrates to the sound of silence-the sound before sound. It is pure Bilss.

PHYSICAL LOCATION: top of head; projecting up from the anterior fontenelle
ELEMENT: beyond elements-thought COLOR: Crystal light/violet SENSE: Divine FORCE: Consciousness
AREAS OF THE BODY: brain; nervous system
MUDRA: Lotus BANDHA: All MANTRA: “I know.” “I accept.”

WHEN CLOSED/ BLOCKED
CAN MANIFEST IN:

Closed mindedness
Live in head
Several emotional difficulties
Spiritual elitism/extremism
Abuse of “lower” life forms

WHEN “REACHED”
CAN MANIFEST IN:

Open mindedness
Acceptance of all
Inner wisdom-where you just know
At peace with oneself
Bliss/Samadhi/Nirvana

ASANA EXAMPLES THAT ALLOW ONE TO REACH SAHASRARA:

Meditation Inversions Lotus Handstand Headstand

All of the lower chakras must be balanced in order to reach Sahasrara

REFERENCES:

ASHTANGA YOGA PRIMER — BABA HARI DASS

CHAKRA YOGA—ALAN FINGER

GUIDING YOGA’S LIGHT — NANCY GERSTIEN

HATHA YOGA PRADIPIKA — SWAMI MUKTIBODHANANDA

THE KUNDALINI YOGA EXPERIENCE — GURU DHARAM S. KHALSA & DARRYL O’KEEFFE

MUDRAS, YOGA IN YOUR HANDS — GERTRUD HIRSCHI

NAMASTE YOGA WORKSHOP — KATE POTTER

YOGA AND KRIYA — SWAMI SATYANANDA SARASWATI

YOGA BEYOND BELIEF — GANGA WHITE

YOGA TEACHERS’ TOOLBOX — JOSEPH & LILIAN LEPAGE

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