When we practice yoga we are obviously moving our physical body, but what about the subtle body? Many don’t think about how a pose affects their energy pathways, Chakras, or subconscious mind. The truth is, just like how any pose utilizes the whole body, each pose influences our subtle bodies.
Focusing on the Chakra theme, we have 7 main energy points in our body, and depending on which type of pose we are practicing can identify what Chakra we are activating. Chakras are said to be “cone-shaped”, energy enters in from the back-body and projects out from the front body. Here are 7 examples of poses and what Chakras they are associated with:
- Root Chakra: Anything that requires a “root lock” or utilizes Mula Bandha. This Chakra extends from your pelvic floor to the soles of your feet!
Root poses help ground you to reality, and help you “stay on track”. An over active root is when we worry too much about social standards and materialism.
Scale Pose– Sure this pose requires shoulder strength and limber hips, but the only way you’re going to lift your pelvic floor off the mat is to “suck it up”. To do this you would mimic a kegel, or “pulling your butt up-inside you”. Another way to describe this red-root lock is drawing your pelvic floor upwards.
Sacral Chakra: This Chakra is associated with anything hips! Hip openers, close-ers, glutes or pelvis strengthen-ers. This energy field is where we store our emotions. When we practice hip poses sometimes we feel the sudden urge to cry, yell, or emote! This orange and water-element Chakra encourages the energy from the root to travel up to the rest of the Chakras. Without this water we would be a solid red brick.
Pigeon Pose– This restful pose helps open and release the hips, one side at a time. You can lay your chest over your thighs and lay your head on your hands to introvert yourself for deep emotional private release. To build on the Mula Bandha envision tying the draw-strings of sweat pants tight to get a root lift up past your hip bones.
Solar Plexus Chakra: This here is your power center. This brilliant cog of yellow fire is where your motivation and self-perception emanates. Speaking physically; this is where you take that root-lock all the way up to your ribs & abdomen to awaken your Uddiyana Bandha.
Boat Pose– This pose becomes easier if you imagine a magnetic energy that starts at the back and pulls through the sternum and towards your thighs. Find the yellow willpower within you to hold this pose. Keep holding this pose past the shaking and until the integrity of your posture is lost.
Heart Chakra: The heart extends over your shoulders, front and back of your chest and all the way down your arms. Just as Jack Johnson says “I can change the world with my own two hands”, what you do with your hands is a reflection of your heart’s intention. Take a look at your chest posture… do your shoulders round together to protect your heart? Do your shoulder blades constantly touch from keeping your heart on your sleeve? Take notice of your posture and think about how you hold your heart.
Cat-Cow Pose– It’s good to keep your Chakras balanced, so practice a back bend like Camel Pose and a pose that pressed the spine out through the shoulder blades or round the back out like Plank pose.
Throat Chakra: The Chakra of communication! Hearing & speaking the truth is a much needed asset in life. Often times when we clear our throat, cough, or get an itch in our ear we are being reminded to speak up or listen clearly. This Chakra color is blue… anywhere from Jamaican seas to a night sky.
Fish Pose– Anything that requires movement in the neck, like Jalandhara Bandha, encourages energy movement in the throat. We can be too talkative and it would benefit to practice this chin lock. If we are shy to speak our mind choose a pose that allows your head to tilt back and open the front of your throat. Perhaps we have difficulty understanding what others are saying to us; practice Jalandhara Banddha or bring your mind to your heart.
Third Eye Chakra: Imagine a deep swirl of indigo-violet in the space between your eyebrows; this area guides you with great intuition and guidance. This Chakra is subtle and it takes a sweet gentle effort to activate; unlike the 3rd Chakra where the power is in the belly. If we quietly listen to our intuition we will be able to flow through life with assurance and ease. Our body-mind-spirit knows.
Meditation– To gently awaken this Chakra some simple meditation or easy breathing practices can help. Find a comfortable seat, crossed legs, in a chair, etc., and close your eyes or gaze into a candle. Bring your mind’s eye to the tip of your nose and focus on the breath; you can count or just listen to the ocean waves of your breathing. In yoga and meditation we allow our thoughts and feeling to circulate through our body-mind without judgement or weight. As you meditate allow the thoughts circulate and pass, no good, bad, or grey… just is for now.
Crown Chakra: The connection from our roots has traveled all the way up to the endless bright-white sky! The crown represents our spiritual connection to the universe. When we activate this Chakra we don’t magically turn into Buddha or an all-knowing wizard. We do however, open ourselves up to the ideas of love from universe and nature. These thoughts/ consciousness does not reside in our brain, but the mind beyond the physical body… our Spirit.
Savasana– To open the Spirit-mind Savasana or a restful pose is a great way to practice opening or closing the Chakra. How do you know if you need to open, close, or maintain balance? If your are sometimes considered an air-head, or spacey, envision closing the cone atop your head and draw the energy downward to your root. If you feel rigid in your schedule, or creativity is stifled, or perhaps your getting stuck in your own way, imagine opening the Crown- cone to receive energy.
Sometimes our Chakras need activation or strengthening, and sometimes they need to rest or just let the energy flow as it may. When we activate we are building and strengthening; when we are relaxed we are allowing energy be natural. As we play and practice with the physical and subtle body keep your intuition on the forefront. Listen to what your Mind-Body-Spirit are guiding you to do.