Chakra Balancing Yoga Class Sequence
Chakra balancing yoga class sequence plans are commonly taught, although all yoga teachers have their own expression of this beautiful and important theme. Today we are going to explore the seven major chakras and how we can customize our yoga classes to help bring the seven major chakras into balance.
What Are Chakras?
Chakras are elements of spiritual and physical energy recognized within many practices, primarily within the traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as in various practices. The word "chakra" is derived from Sanskrit, meaning "wheel" or "circle". These "wheels" are perceived as spinning vortexes of energy that run along the central channel of the human body, from the base of the spine to the top of the head.
There are seven major chakras, each associated with a different set of characteristics:
Root Chakra (Muladhara): Located at the base of the spine, it's associated with feelings of safety, grounding, and physical identity. Its color is red.
Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana): Located just below the navel, it's associated with emotions, creativity, and sexual energy. Its color is orange.
Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura): Located in the stomach area, it's associated with personal power, self-esteem, and decision-making abilities. Its color is yellow.
Heart Chakra (Anahata): Located at the heart level, it's associated with love, compassion, and emotional balance. Its color is green.
Throat Chakra (Vishuddha): Located at the throat, it's associated with communication, self-expression, and truth. Its color is blue.
Third Eye Chakra (Ajna): Located in the middle of the forehead, it's associated with intuition, insight, and mental capabilities. Its color is indigo.
Crown Chakra (Sahasrara): Located at the top of the head, it's associated with spirituality, consciousness, and connection to the divine. Its color is violet or white.
These seven major chakras are believed to influence our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. In many practices, it's believed that the blockage or imbalance of energy in any chakra can lead to health issues, while balanced chakras can contribute to well-being. Practices like yoga, meditation, and reiki are often used to balance and cleanse the chakras.
How is Yoga Connected to the Seven Major Chakras?
The concept of chakras, an integral part of various mind-body practices, particularly stems from the spiritual traditions of India. These chakras, or energy centers, are located at various points along the spine and are viewed as a key part of the subtle body, an aspect of the self that's not physical, but which impacts our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Yoga and other mind-body practices such as meditation, Reiki, and Ayurveda actively involve the concept of chakras in their practices.
The seven main chakras, starting from the base of the spine and moving upward to the crown of the head, are: Muladhara (Root Chakra), Svadhisthana (Sacral Chakra), Manipura (Solar Plexus Chakra), Anahata (Heart Chakra), Vishuddha (Throat Chakra), Ajna (Third Eye Chakra), and Sahasrara (Crown Chakra). Each chakra is associated with different physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of our existence.
The connection of these chakras to yoga is quite profound. The word "yoga" itself means "union," a merging of the individual self with the universal self. This union is often achieved by harnessing and balancing the energy flow through the chakras. Specific yoga asanas (postures) and pranayama (breath control) techniques are utilized to open, align, and balance these energy centers. For instance, the Warrior pose helps to balance the Root Chakra, and the Camel pose is associated with the Heart Chakra. The ultimate goal of these practices is to awaken Kundalini, the divine cosmic energy that resides at the base of the spine (the Root Chakra) and leads to spiritual enlightenment upon reaching the Crown Chakra.
Apart from yoga, other mind-body practices such as meditation and Reiki also utilize the concept of chakras. In meditation, focusing on each chakra in progression from the root to the crown is often used as a means of promoting mindfulness, relaxation, and self-awareness. This "chakra meditation" helps to cleanse, balance, and open the chakras, enabling a smooth flow of energy and creating an overall sense of well-being.
Reiki, a form of energy healing, is another mind-body practice closely linked to chakras. Practitioners channel healing energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient's body and restore physical and emotional well-being. During Reiki sessions, practitioners often work with the chakras, using their hands to sense and balance the energy flow. An imbalance in a chakra is viewed as the root cause of illness or emotional discomfort and the Reiki practitioner aims to balance this energy to restore wellness.
Ayurveda, the traditional Hindu system of medicine, also deals extensively with the chakras. Ayurveda prescribes diet, herbal remedies, lifestyle adjustments, and more, depending on the state of one's chakras. It works on the principle that the balance or imbalance of the chakras influences the doshas – the three fundamental energies (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) that govern physiological activity.
We see that our chakras are integral to various mind-body practices, connecting them in a profound way. Yoga, meditation, Reiki, and Ayurveda, among others, recognize that our physical, mental, and spiritual health is influenced by the state of our chakras. By practicing these disciplines, we can tune into our subtle energy body, balance our chakras, and achieve a heightened state of awareness and well-being. Understanding this interconnectedness allows us to better appreciate these ancient practices and their enduring relevance to our modern lives.
Yoga Sequence for Balancing Chakras
Our physical well-being is closely tied to our energetic health, and the practice of yoga offers a holistic approach to maintaining this equilibrium. In yoga philosophy, our energy system is comprised of seven main chakras, or wheels, located along the spine. Each chakra corresponds to specific emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of our life, and a balanced chakra system leads to harmony and vitality. The following yoga sequence aims to stimulate and balance each chakra, promoting overall well-being.
Yoga for Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra Yoga)
Located at the base of the spine, the root chakra symbolizes our foundation and the feeling of being grounded.
Pose: Mountain Pose (Tadasana) Begin by standing tall, feet hip-width apart, with your arms at your sides. Spread your toes wide and press them into the mat. Feel your connection with the Earth. Take deep, slow breaths, focusing your attention on the base of your spine, picturing a vibrant red glow. Stay in this pose for 1-2 minutes.
Yoga for Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana Chakra Yoga)
This chakra is located in the lower abdomen and is associated with emotions, creativity, and sexual energy.
Pose: Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) From Mountain Pose, step your feet about 4 feet apart. Extend your arms at shoulder height, then lean to the right, bringing your right hand towards your right ankle. Extend your left arm to the sky. This pose opens the hips and stimulates the sacral chakra. Imagine an orange light glowing in your lower abdomen. Hold for 1 minute, then switch sides.
Yoga for Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura Chakra Yoga)
Located in the stomach area, this chakra is associated with personal power, self-esteem, and decisiveness.
Pose: Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) From Triangle Pose, bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle. Turn your torso to face right, extending your arms parallel to the floor. Gaze forward over your right fingertips. Visualize a bright yellow light in your stomach area, symbolizing your inner strength. Hold for 1 minute, then switch sides.
Yoga for Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra Yoga)
Located in the chest area, the heart chakra is related to love, compassion, and healing.
Pose: Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) Lower yourself to the floor from Warrior II. Place your palms under your shoulders, and as you inhale, lift your chest and heart from the floor, engaging your back muscles. Envision a green light radiating from your heart center, extending love and compassion in all directions. Hold for 1 minute.
Yoga for Throat Chakra (Vishuddha Chakra Yoga)
Located in the throat, this chakra is associated with communication, truth, and self-expression.
Pose: Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana) From Cobra Pose, flip over onto your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the mat, hip-width apart. Press your palms down beside your body and lift your hips toward the ceiling, opening the throat. Visualize a blue light glowing in your throat, enabling open and clear communication. Hold for 1 minute.
Yoga for Third Eye Chakra (Ajna Chakra Yoga)
Located between the eyebrows, this chakra represents intuition, wisdom, and the ability to see the bigger picture.
Pose: Child's Pose (Balasana) From Bridge Pose, turn over and come to your knees. Sit back on your heels and then fold forward, stretching your arms in front of you. Rest your forehead on the mat, bringing your attention to the space between your eyebrows. Picture an indigo light illuminating your third eye, enhancing your intuitive powers. Stay in this pose for 2-3 minutes.
Yoga for Crown Chakra (Sahasrara Chakra Yoga)
Located at the top of the head, the crown chakra represents spiritual connection and enlightenment.
Pose: Savasana (Corpse Pose) From Child's Pose, come to lie on your back. Spread your arms and legs slightly, palms facing up. Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths, allowing your body to relax entirely. Visualize a violet or white light emanating from the crown of your head, connecting you with the universe. Stay in Savasana for 5-10 minutes, allowing your chakra system to integrate the energy from your practice.
This chakra-balancing yoga sequence is designed to realign your energy and promote physical, emotional, and spiritual balance. Like any practice, consistency is key. Regularly performing this sequence will help maintain the balance of your chakras and, in turn, enhance overall well-being. It is always recommended to follow this practice under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor. Remember, yoga is not a competition; listen to your body and honor your limits.
May this practice guide you on your journey to holistic health and harmony, nurturing the profound connection between your body, mind, and spirit.
You can always learn more about the chakras in our 200 hour yoga teacher training online.