The Power in Unlocking the Chakras
Chakras represent the main energy centers of the body. They are essentially the container that holds your body’s energy (prana.) Our behaviors, from what we eat to what we say to what we watch, can directly influence the health and liveliness of this intricate system. There are seven chakras, with the first housed at the base of your spine. Then, moving upward along the spine and from front to back and along the sides of the body to the top of your head, ending with the crown chakra. If you learn better with visualization, imagine different colored wheels of energy spinning in circles (chakra is actually a Sanskrit word that translates to “wheel.”) While pragmatists may scoff at these spinning wheels of energy for they cannot be seen by the human eye, the energy can be felt and sensed via our intuition. Moreover, these colorful vessels of energy facilitate the process of untapping stagnant and blocked energy in our subtle bodies, allowing the prana to move fluidly between chakras and vibrate with clarity and strength.
How does one tap into this vital energy?
One can experience these centers of consciousness through various healing and alternative modalities, such as meditation, visualization, Reiki, and the combination of yoga and chakras. During my years as a graduate student in a clinical psychology Ph.D. program, I often felt exhausted and overwhelmed as I was serving others, but not taking the time to nurture and care for myself. I started doing Reiki to support my emotional and physical health and healing. It was primarily through this modality that I learned about the instrumental role of chakras in health and wellness. Subsequently, I began to incorporate poses for your chakras with my yoga practice.
Why do we care about keeping our chakras open and moving?
The chakras are containers of recent and past emotions, memories, and traumas. The lower three are associated with Earth and grounding: survival, sex, power. The top three are associated with inner knowing: truth, divine power, intuition. The bridge between the lower and upper realms is the heart chakra: love, compassion, and empathy. If there is a blockage in any one container, the flow of energy through that respective area of the body can affect your overall system, leaving you feeling depleted and stuck. Chakra power yoga, with the combination of asana and intentional chakra healing, works to unlock stuck energy in the orbiting wheels of light!
Balancing the chakras: how does it work?
When balancing these wheels of energy, it’s best to start with the first chakra, located at the base of your spine, to explore areas of safety, finances, family, and nourishment. Root yoga poses for chakras encourage your connection with Mother Earth. Think mountain pose and all three warrior poses. The vibrancy of the upper three chakras is dependent upon the health of the lower chakras. It’s like that analogy of building a house. Once a strong foundation is intact with the root chakra, you move up to the sacral chakra, and so forth.
Without grounding and stability, working with the crown chakra can feel discombobulating. In between the lower and upper three wheels is the fourth chakra. This spinning wheel is rooted in our experience of love (as both the giver and the receiver), joy, and inner peace. The heart chakra ignites the heart center, via poses such as cobra, camel, and bridge.
Common blockages often reside in the root and heart centers, along with the fifth chakra, our storehouse for communication. If you ever find yourself with clear and strong speech after doing plow, fish, and supported shoulder stand—all of which support the throat chakra—now you know why!
Moving upward from the center of our communication, we arrive at the infamous crown chakra (the top of the head) and the pinnacle of these swirling energy centers. Practicing corpse, lotus and headstand are a surefire way to align you with Mother Earth and drop you into universal consciousness, hence that feeling of all-encompassing peace and oneness after rolling out of savasana at the end of your practice.
Chakra balancing by way of asana practice is transformational on an emotional, psychological and physical level. To learn more about this approach, check out our chakra balancing series.
I hope this serves you on your path to health and healing.