Many students come to yoga for its energizing and stress-relieving benefits. Learning about the chakras, which are your body’s energy centers, can help you fine tune the benefits you want to get from your practice.
Picture the chakras as seven vortexes of energy located along your spine. We are susceptible to stress, illness and feelings of imbalance when one or more of these centers become blocked. Targeting blockages with specific yoga poses revives our energy flow and balance and can improve mood, sleep and digestion and overall physical and mental health.
The seven chakras are:
Root chakra: located at the base of your spine and associated with physical survival
and feelings of being grounded. When balanced, you feel confident and strong. When unbalanced, you experience fear, low self esteem and procrastination. Tree pose can be helpful.
Sacral chakra: located between the base of your spine and the navel and associated with emotion, pleasure and creativity. When balanced, you feel positive and creative. When unbalanced, you can feel guilt and experience emotional problems and compulsive behavior. Try goddess pose to target this chakra.
Navel chakra: located above the naval in the solar plexus and associated with emotional health and productivity. When balanced you feel capable and energetic. When unbalanced, you can feel frustrated and directionless. Focus on this chakra with boat pose.
Heart chakra: located within your heart and associated with love and peace. When balanced, you feel compassionate, loving and forgiving. When unbalanced, you may feel possessive, jealous and isolated. Camel pose can release blockages here.
Throat chakra: located within the throat and associated with communication. When balanced, you feel truthful and able to listen better. When unbalanced, you feel unable to communicate or judgmental. Supported shoulder stand is an excellent pose to target this area.
Third-Eye chakra: located in the center of your forehead and associated with intuition and wisdom. When balanced, you have insight and perspective. When unbalanced, you experience cynicism and close-mindedness. Easy pose can help you to focus on this chakra.
Crown chakra: located at the top of your head and associated with spiritualism. When balanced, you feel accepting and blissful. When unbalanced, you can feel overly attached to material things and general unhappiness. Corpse pose is the key here.
Chakras correspond to our emotional and spiritual highs and lows. Our physical and mental problems can often be traced back to blockages and alleviated with a targeted asana practice.