Taking time for yourself in the yoga studio provides a much-needed escape from life’s daily stresses. Whether it is work-related stress, concerns about finances, or relationship issues infiltrating your mind, the right yoga class can leave you feeling lighter, brighter, and inspired.
Of course, physical movement gives you a chance to let loose and work out your anxieties too, but there are other effects at play. As far back as 2000 years ago, yoga practitioners believed that certain poses and breathwork could unblock stagnant energy found in the subtle body’s seven chakras.
When those points of energy get stuck, you can feel like you’re carrying a heavy spiritual burden that is impossible to shake. But when addressed through the practice of yoga, prana (life force) starts to flow freely through your body once again, leaving you feeling refreshed and able to approach life’s challenges with a clear mind.
What are Chakras?
Chakras, literally meaning “the spinning wheels,” are the energy centers of the human body which reside in the astral body, along the spine starting from its base and reaching up to the crown of your head.
Although the astral body is a part of your physical body, it is an energy body, not visible or touchable to the human eye. This is one of the reasons why we cannot physically detect chakras. We can only feel their presence through different radiations of color and energy which correlate to each chakra.
Each chakra is related to a specific gland in the physical body and this unique combination provides spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical benefits to our being.
That is why if any of these chakras become blocked or malfunction due to some external or internal factors, you may end up facing physical, psychological, and emotional issues in life.
Thus, it is highly important for us to become conscious about our energy centers and try to be in balance with them so that we can experience good health and well-being. Asana practice in yoga is one way to stimulate and balance the chakras in turn creating a peaceful state of being.
How many Chakras do we have in our body?
There are seven chakras that run from the base of your spine to just above the top of your head.
Element: Space or Ether
Mantra: Ham or Hum
Element: Cosmic Energy
Mantra: OM or AUM
Activating, Cleansing, or Balancing Your Chakras
Taking the time to tune in to your feelings and restore balance in your chakras can be life-changing. It’s not just a matter of figuring out which chakra requires stimulation; you also need to find the right poses to counteract any imbalance.
For example, if you’re feeling low on energy, you can focus on the navel chakra by practicing poses that are designed to rekindle your inner fire. Or if being anxious is making it hard for you to stay grounded, you can target the root chakra with poses that will help you feel more settled.
If speaking your truth is a struggle, then asanas that stimulate the throat chakra are likely to bring about some courage. To take a more restorative, meditative approach, start off by closing your eyes and picturing the related color radiating from its location as you repeat its sound. To further focus on each pose, try repeating the associated sound while practicing.
Opening your mind’s eye to the subtle body isn’t easy as it doesn’t function in the same way as your regular organs. You have to trust yourself and be mindful of what you feel during the practice in order to recognize its positive effects.
Kapila Sharma, a renowned vinyasa yoga teacher, suggests dedicating four weeks to chakra-based poses and creating a journal where you can write down your experiences afterward.
It doesn’t need to be complex – one sentence should do it. Anything from “made me feel relaxed” or “increased my self-awareness”. You’re building a recall of how each pose affects you and in the process, it is likely you gain more than just physical benefits.
By paying close attention to how your energy shifts, you discover what happens when you focus on each chakra. An exercise such as that can help you comprehend the power of yoga and the impact of minor modifications.
Prana is Sanskrit for energy and it is believed to flow through and around us. There are seven major energy centers (chakras) located in our bodies that can become blocked, preventing prana from flowing freely which can lead to physical, mental, or emotional problems.
The chakras work together synergistically so any imbalance in one may affect the entire system. Through a combination of yoga poses, meditation, and pranayama (breathing techniques), you can help keep your chakras balanced and open, allowing prana to flow freely throughout your body, your mind, and your spirit.
This can have beneficial effects as you feel stronger, healthier, and more connected to yourself and the world around you!