Yoga and the Chakras
What is Chakra
The term chakra is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning wheel or circle and refers to seven energy centers, which also have physical correlations in the body. These markers provide us with a roadmap to contemplate our ability to access key life qualities like stability, sensuality, personal power, love, communication, and intuition as well as each quality’s interconnected nature.
While it is of benefit to be in touch with all of these various facets, there are particular times when we might want to focus more on one versus another. For example, if you are moving departments or housing, it could benefit you to explore rituals for stability, foundation, and safety. If you are just out of a relationship and feel like you’ve lost your sense of self, the practices might lean towards personal power. If you feel like your whole life is solely being lead from your head, your exploration might reside in reclaiming your intuition.
It is important to note that although these centers are represented individually, in reality they are tethered to one another and each one supports the other. In addition, while there is benefit to exploring the chakras in a systematic sequential fashion, once you are familiar with their specific qualities it is easier (and encouraged) to focus on the one that is most out of balance here and now.
To recalibrate these areas of our lives, we can utilize small practices that include movements, sounds, colors, journaling, and even foods that correlate and bolster each specific energy center.
The first chakra resides at the base of the spine and is all about physical stability, safety, grounding, and foundation. It is related to primal preservation, our survival instinct, ability to remain centered, an experience of home, and the health of the physical body.
This center reminds us that if our basic needs are not being met (shelter, food, water, emotional safety, body care, etc.) it is much harder to move into other parts of our lives and thrive. This area of stability correlates to the element of earth, is represented by the color red, and relates to navigating fears that show up on our path.
When this wheel is out of balance, one might experience feelings of spaciness, aloofness, anxiousness, panic, an inability to take clear action, and an overall disconnection from the body. Physiologically there might be challenges such as arthritis, osteoporosis, allergies, autoimmunity, and frequent illness due to a low functioning immune system
The second chakra resides in the sacrum and is all about our emotional experience, sensuality, raw feelings, fluidity, and sexuality. It is related to our ability to go with the flow, stay adaptable, and not take life too seriously all of the time. While physical intimacy is a part of this exploration, it is important to note there are many other areas in life which bring forth pleasure and sensuality.
This center reminds us that if we become overly stagnant, fearful of feeling, numb, or rigid, the nectar of life begins to dry up and we are left with a very repetitive and bland daily experience. This area of fluidity correlates to the element of water, is represented by the color orange, and relates to navigating guilt that shows up in our life.
When this wheel is out of balance there might be an experience of emotional disconnect, fear of vulnerability, rigidity in thought, guilt, or an inability to adapt to change. Physiologically there might be challenges with the bladder, kidneys, reproductive organs, large intestines, constipation, as well as hip, pelvic, and low back pain.
The third chakra resides in the solar plexus and is all about our individual power, self-actualization, vitality, purpose and self-esteem. It involves our ability to take up space, remember that we matter and value what we bring forth and share with the world.
This center reminds us that if we spend too much time in self-blame and negativity towards our unique offerings, we are actually doing a disservice to ourselves and others by not stepping into our power. This area of empowerment correlates to the element of fire, is represented by the color yellow, and relates to navigating past and present experiences of shame.
When this wheel is out of balance there might be an experience of low self-worth, passive aggressive behavior and critical self-condemnation. Physiologically there might be challenges with digestion, muscle weakness and dys
The fourth chakra resides in the heart center and is all about love, acceptance, self-compassion, forgiveness, and authentic relationships. It involves our ability to stay open, make connections, and balance self-care with care for others.
This center reminds us that if we neglect engaging in self-appreciation and in the cultivation of strong relationships, we miss a vast part of the human journey. This area of the heart correlates to the element of air, is represented by the color green, and relates to navigating personal and collective grief.
When this wheel is out of balance, there might be an experience of isolation, bitterness, or lack of relatedness and empathy. Physiologically there might be challenges with the heart and lungs, pain the upper back and shoulders, and tension in arms and wrists.
The fifth chakra resides at the throat center and is all about communication, creative expression, and speaking truth. It involves our ability to listen, speak with intent, and connect to the ways that we express and share our passions with the world.
This center reminds us that if we ignore what it is we truly desire or sweep under the rug the ways in which others have impacted us negatively, we end up living from a less authentic and expressive place. This area of the throat correlates to ether, is represented by a light blue color, and relates to navigating deception both from ourselves and from others.
When this wheel is out of balance, practitioners might experience reduced creativity, fear of speaking and an inability to confront and state what isn’t working. Physiologically, there might be dysfunction with the thyroid, soreness in the throat, and pain particularly in the neck and jaw.
The sixth chakra resides in the spot right above the center of the eyebrows and is all about intuition, inner sensitivity, perception, and reflection. It involves our ability to sense what lies beneath the tangible surface and lead some portions of our daily life from the inside out, instead of just the outside in.
This center reminds us that if we ignore the guidance of our inner knowing we might end up living in regret for overlooking our personal intuitive inclinations. This area of the throat correlates to light, is represented by the color indigo, and relates to navigating a more contracted or limited point-of-view.
When this wheel is out of balance, there might be an experience of being overly external, never taking personal alone time, and difficulty seeing internal and external patterns. Physiologically there might be eye strain, vision problems, headaches, and insomnia.
The seventh chakra resides at the crown of the head and is all about connection, recognition, and being a part of something greater. It involves our ability to remember that we are a part of a larger collective and are interwoven into the web of life. It also invites us into living mindfully throughout our daily interactions with self, others, and community/nature.
This center reminds us that if we only live for ourselves or forget that we belong to something more universal, we lose a certain aspect or our meaning and purpose. This area of the head correlates to thought vibration, is multicolored and relates to navigating a feeling of separation.
When this wheel is out of balance there might be an experience of being overly individualistic, a poor relationship with the natural world, and rigid beliefs. Physiologically there might be depression, confusion, apathy and migraines.
One Thought on “Yoga and the Chakras”
On October 27, 2021 at 10:33 AM, Michael R Hernandez said:
I’ve so much to say on the modern misunderstanding of yoga and Cartesian duality to fit in one reply. The entire modern misconception of prana & yama isn’t in alignment with the voltional intention of the subtle body’s center channel.
There is far too much conceptual superimposition that can get in the way of actualizing authentic practice
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