Yoga poses and the associated controlled breathing help to open, cleanse and balance the chakras in our bodies. Our chakras are our energy centers, feeding the different areas and systems that keep our bodies functioning at top speed. When they are out of balance or closed, the energy doesn’t flow freely or flows too much, and we can become ill. Unbalanced chakras can lead to both mental and physical issues. Keeping these centers of energy balanced and functional is key to keeping ourselves healthy and happy. Here are some tips for practicing chakra yoga.
Different Chakra Yoga Poses
There are seven chakras and each of them benefit from different poses that help to open our body, improve oxygen flow to that chakra and bring new energy. Because the first chakra is located at the base of our spine, the best yoga pose is Crow Pose. This pose involves keeping the feet about three feet apart and squatting slowly, keeping the feet flat on the ground while the palms are pressed together in front of the heart. Keep your elbows inside your knees and your spine straight. Breathe deeply, hold it for a few seconds, then let all of it out while maintaining the pose for at least thirty seconds but not more than three minutes. When you are finished, slowly let yourself roll onto your back and relax.
Second Chakra – Pelvic Lifts
Our second chakra is found in the lower spine and is best opened using pelvic lifts. Feel free to adjust this pose until you are comfortable but otherwise lie down with your spine flat against the ground and your knees bent. Keeping your feet flat, bring them as close to your buttocks as you can while keeping your knees pointed up. Lay your arms along the ground with the palms pressing into the earth, then slowly inhale and begin to raise your pelvis as high as possible. As you exhale, return the spine, one vertebrae at a time, back to the floor. Complete at least three but no more than twenty-six of these. Once you have practiced this and gotten comfortable with it, lift the pelvis and do three breath cycles before lowering again. When you are ready to stop, lay flat with your palms facing up and take long, slow breaths as your energy works through the body again.
Third Chakra – Front Platform
The third chakra is found in the navel and is the key to our ‘gut reaction’ to situations. The best chakra yoga pose for the third chakra is the front platform where you lie on your stomach with your toes pointed and your elbows bent so your palms are against the floor next to your rib cage. As you inhale, push your chest up off the floor and then bring your body up till you are supported by the tops of your feet and your arms. Look at the floor as you breath and hold the position for at least thirty seconds but not longer than three minutes. When finished bring yourself into a ball and breathe.
Fourth Chakra – Hum a Mantra
Our heart chakra, the fourth chakra, is found in the center of the chest at the same level as our heart. The yoga pose for this chakra also comes with a mantra. Kneel so that you’re sitting on your heels and extend your arms straight out to the sides at shoulder height. Close your eyes and bend the elbows, bringing the tips of your middle fingers together at your heart and quietly hum the mantra Hum-ee, Hum, Bra-hum, Hum. When you are through, bring the arms back to their starting position. Repeat these steps for at least three minutes and no more than eleven minutes.
Fifth Chakra – Camel Pose
The throat chakra is opened with camel pose, opening the throat and allowing us to communicate effectively. Kneel with your legs hip width apart and place your hands on the backs of your hips. Slowly breathe in and left your heart up while pressing your hips forward. Breathe deeply again and tilt your head back. Breathe again and lower your hands to your ankles while allowing your head to drop back to where it is comfortable. Relax your throat and as you exhale hum softly and hold the pose for one to three minutes.
Sixth Chakra – Bend and Stretch
The third-eye chakra begins kneeling with your buttocks on your heels. As you breathe deeply, straighten your spine and spread your knees as you slowly bend at the lower spine and stretch out across the floor with your hands, palms together, stretching out in front of you. Stretch all the other chakras, opening them so that the energy can flow through and between the whole line as you gently press your forehead into the floor. Hold the position for at least three minutes, but not more than eleven. When you are through, bring yourself up vertebrae by vertebrae from your root chakra, ending with your third-eye chakra.
Seventh Chakra – Stretch and Meditate
The seventh chakra pulls all the energy into line, smoothing it and settling it so that it flows easily through the body. Kneel, sitting on your heels with your spine tall. Cup your hands into a bowl shape as you breathe, was though you are waiting to accept the blessings of the universe. Meditate while holding this pose for at least three minutes.