If you’ve been around the old yoga block, you’ve likely heard of Chakras and maybe, considered learning how to balance them. We asked Crystal Borrelli, our go-to Chakra expert all about what Chakras are and how to start incorporating them into our yoga practice.
Crystal is hosting a practice-based workshop on February 24th, called The Chakra System. This workshop will focus on the activation of the Chakras through movement, Pranayama, Mantra, Asana and meditation; with information on when they are imbalanced and how to balance them. Find out more HERE.
Ok, first thing’s first. What are Chakras?
The Chakras are part of an energy system in the body that effects our physical, mental and spiritual well being. The Sanskrit word Chakra means “Wheel” “Circle” & “Vortex.” There are seven major Chakras in the body, with 114 total. Once in harmony with each other they pierce through three Granthis (knots) and the Chakras to find union at the third eye, allowing a clear pathway for Kundalini (coiled) energy to rise to our higher consciousness. By understanding these energy centers, we are creating a powerful control center which helps us navigate our emotions and overall mental and physical well being.
Rising to our higher consciousness? Yes please. Tell us how!
The Chakra System is an energy system that the yogis use to heal and manage the energy in the body. They are a foundation for our emotion, our creativity, our self worth, love, speaking our truth and connection to our higher self. Each Chakra is a center in our bodies in which energy flows through. Blocked Chakras can lead to emotional, physical, and mental responses, so it’s important for us to allow the energy to flow freely.
Here is a quick summary of each of the Chakras as well as specific yoga poses that you can incorporate into your practice when you're feeling out of balance:
security, stability, confidence, your Dharma & survival
Location: Root, base of spine
When Muladhara is out of balance, aggression, anger, violence and jealousy are present. When in balance, you feel grounded and supported, confidence in your job, at home and in decisions.
Poses & practices to help balance this Chakra are: Grounding & balancing poses; Utkatasana (chair), Balasana (child), Nokasana/Navasana (boat), Gomukhasana (cow), Garudasana (eagle).
determination, lower will, creativity, desire, pleasure & reproduction health
Location: Sacred bowl, lower abdomen
The Svadhisthana is connected to knowing ourselves and that we are enough, knowing that you deserve the life you say you want; your well being, good health and disdain in suffering.
Poses & practices to help balance this Chakra are: Surya Namaskar (sun salutations), Dhanurasana (bow), Garudasana (eagle), Gomukhasana (cow), Bhujangasana (cobra), Shashankasana (hare), and fluid movement as the element is water.
governs assertiveness, vitality, calming anger, jealousy, strengthening passion, purpose
Location: Solar Plexus, upper abdomen and stomach.
The Manipura connects us to our sense of self worth, our confidence, power, clear choices for selfhood (identity). It can teach us human and divine love.
Poses & practices to help balance this Chakra are: Ustrasana (camel), Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold), Abdominal breathing, Marjariasana (cat/cow), Pavanmuktasana (reclined knees in chest) twists, that squeeze the abdomen and organs.
love, compassion, to give & receive, to trust
Anahata energy allows us to be capable of love and compassion for self and others, while knowing what and who makes your heart sing. Through Anahata energy we develop an open and accepting heart to all beings.
Poses & practices to help balance this Chakra are: Ustrasana (camel), Matsyasana (fish), Katichakrasana (standing wide arm rotating twists), Dhanurasana (bow), Bhramaree pranayama (honey bee breath), opening the shoulders & chest, associated with the heart.
communication, speaking your truth, speech, expression
Vishuddha energy is all about releasing feelings through expressing yourself. This includes crying, shouting, laughing, and saying that you are not happy, comfortable or pleased. Free flowing Visuddha means expressing our divine will, and living our highest truth.
Poses & practices to help balance this Chakra are: Halasana (plow), Supta Vajrasana (reclined saddle), Bhujangasana (cobra), Matsyasana (fish), Chanting Mantra (singing).
seeing, intuition, to know, to dream, insights and connection to the higher self
Location: Third Eye, forehead between the eyes
The Ajna Chakra focuses on giving yourself permission to experience your feelings, however they show up, choosing when it is appropriate to express how you feel. It gives you the opportunity to develop understanding for your own limitations and those of others, while cultivating forgiveness and gratitude.
Poses & Practices to help balance this Chakra are: Shashaungasana (hare), Simha Mudra (lion's breath), Trataka (candle gazing or moon gazing), Anuloma Viloma (alternate nostril breathing), Shambhavi mudra (third eye gazing), using a still (Drishti) point of focus to build steadiness of the mind.
understanding, experiencing bliss, knowing
Location: crown, top of head
As the highest Chakra, Sahasrara represents our greatest spiritual connection. It allows us to cultivate bliss and surrender to what is, giving us the opportunity to be at one with our highest source of power.
Poses & practices to help balance this Chakra are: Padmasana (lotus), Sirsasana (headstand), Chakrasana (Wheel) Meditation on crown opening.
Want to learn more?
Crystal's hosting a working called The Chakra System on Sunday, February 24th at YYOGA Northshore Elements. Come to find out more about balancing Chakras and how to incorporate them into your daily life.