Yoga can be incredibly useful for a number of reasons and for a whole variety of people. However, along with the physical and psychological benefits that yoga can give you, there are a lot of philosophical traits and teachings that are involved.
Indeed, many of these philosophies and teachings are brought out in classes, such as through various words and phrases. One of the most common words to hear in a yoga class for example is chakra.
If you’ve never looked into yogic philosophy before, you might be unfamiliar with their meanings. So, we’ve written this complete guide.
Ready to learn more? Here’s yoga for chakra poses to balance the 7 chakras! We hope you enjoy it.
What Are The 7 Chakras In Yoga?
One of the first questions you’ll likely ask yourself when you hear about chakras in yoga is – what are these chakras exactly? What does chakra even mean?
Well, chakra and the concept of chakras in general came from Hinduism and chakras are meditation focal points. In Sanskrit, chakra translates as “spinning wheel” – and while this might seem a little unrelated, the metaphor is very important.
In yogic philosophy, the belief is that the human body is not simply a vessel that is composed of bones, blood and skin. Instead, yogis believe that the body has layers upon layers of energy which helps to allow the body to operate.
Indeed, these layers of energy can flow through the body and they are responsible for your everyday movement, feelings and happiness.
Every energy channel or energy field is known as nadis and the life force that flows through the nadis is called prana.
In yogic philosophy, there are 7 areas of the body where these energy channels converge and it is these intersections that are called chakras.
These are the main energy centers for the body and the mind. These 7 chakras are:
- Muladhara Chakra (The root chakra)
- Svadhishthana Chakra (The sacral chakra)
- Mainpura Chakra (The solar plexus chakra)
- Anahata Chakra (The heart chakra)
- Vishuddhi Chakra (The throat chakra)
- Ajna Chakra (The third eye chakra)
- Sahasrara Chakra (The crown chakra)
Each one of these chakras correlates with the emotions, behaviors, values and physical bodily systems in all of us. It is believed that if one of these chakras becomes blocked due to outside influences, the body experiences energy imbalances.
These outside influences could be bad habits, poor mental health, the company you are in or environmental factors.
When such events occur and lead to a blocked chakra, you experience an energy imbalance and this can bring about physical or mental symptoms.
Therefore, we must work to unblock these chakras and we can do so through the use of yoga.
The purpose of chakra yoga is primarily for you to bring balance back to your energy and attain a sense of being, peace and harmony – becoming one with the world around you.
Of course, you will need to know much more about each of these chakras, so, next we will be diving in much deeper to each of these chakras and explore what they are, and what yoga poses you could practice to regain energy balance!
1. Muladhara Chakra (The Root Chakra)
We start by looking at the root chakra. Its color is red and it uses the earth element. The location of this chakra is said to be in the base of the spine and it is related to your body’s basic needs and overall instinct for survival.
When this chakra is balanced, you will feel more safe, comfortable and far more connected to the wellbeing of your physical body. You feel more grounded and free and generally more at one with who you are.
Conversely, if this chakra is not balanced, feelings of anxiety and insecurity creep into your life along with a complete lack of confidence and sense of belonging in your life – you literally feel as though you have no home.
When it comes to choosing the right pose to help balance this chakra, you are looking for poses that build stability in your legs – essentially you are trying to find poses that provide more grounding to you.
In order to feel more connected to the earth, some poses you should consider are warrior poses, balance poses and even seated poses, all of which can significantly improve your balance to this chakra.
Consider choices such as:
- The seated forward fold
- The chair pose
- Warrior 1 and warrior 2
- The mountain pose
- One leg tadasana
2. Svadhishthana Chakra (The Sacral Chakra)
The second chakra to examine is the sacral chakra and this is situated in the pelvis. This chakra is connected with your creativity, emotional wellbeing and your happiness or pleasure.
When this chakra is balanced, you will find it much easier to enjoy the things in life that bring you pleasure, finding the joys in your life that you might have lost over time. You will organically be able to find pleasure and your passions.
On the flip side of things, if this chakra is unbalanced, you have overwhelming feelings of numbness and you find you have a lack of connection with the things that should normally provide you happiness and pleasure.
This can cause you to have negative reactions like cravings, addictions, apathy and even sexual frustration. Luckily though, there are plenty of poses that you could try so that you can help with the balance of this chakra.
You will be looking for poses that open your hips and twist the abdominal organs deeply to improve the pelvic circulation – all of which will provide balance back to the chakra. You may decide to choose poses such as:
3. Manipura Chakra (The Solar Plexus Chakra)
Shown through its yellow color and using the element of fire, this chakra is located in your abdomen. It has a powerful connection to your sense of self, identity and your ego, along with your overall personality and even your willpower.
When this chakra is properly balanced, you feel a lot more humble, you feel strong and confident, your sense of self is much more clear and powerful, and you feel as though you can stand up to a challenge physically, mentally and emotionally.
Of course, when this chakra is not in the right balance, the total opposite effect occurs. You get a very low self-esteem, you feel much more stressed, anxious, and an inner sense of burning which won’t seem to go away.
Fear and sadness can often overwhelm you when you have not got this chakra in the right balance, so it’s important that you find some poses that can help you put this back into balance. You may decide to look for poses that are core-focussed.
As the solar plexus chakra is located in the center of your body, you need to look for poses that zone in on your abdominal and lower back muscles. The right yoga sequences will build heat through your movements and improve your breathing.
Consider unblocking this chakra by performing one of the following poses:
- Warrior 3
- The boat pose
- The high plank pose
- Downward facing dog
- The wheel pose
4. Anahata Chakra (The Heart Chakra)
Next up, we have the heart chakra, which is shown through its green color and uses the element of air. Now, despite the fact that it is called the heart chakra, it is not actually located in the heart.
It is instead located in the thoracic spine and it has a connection to your relationships with others and your own personal relationship with yourself.
When this chakra is rightly balanced, it allows you to feel a lot more compassion towards yourself and to others.
You begin to provide much more compassion and generosity to others without any psychological wishes for anything in return. As a result, you also feel a lot more respect and passion for other people and to their needs and feelings.
This can even go beyond just humans and you can feel a sense of love and compassion for animals, plants and the environment.
When this chakra is not balanced as it should be, the result is an inability to feel compassion to anybody or anything. You are unable to feel and provide love equally and unconditionally to others – which has negative effects.
You end up with a complete lack of empathy, compassion, understanding and emotion. In fact, if you feel anything at all, you might portray anger, loneliness, fear and sometimes even jealousy.
Luckily though, there are a number of poses that you can do which could help you to balance the chakra back in the right way.
An interesting point to make here is that you’re looking to rebalance the heart – which is more connected to its name rather than location.
To open the heart and its energetic channels, you will need to perform poses that allow you to backbend and lead you to an open heart for much more balance. You may decide to look at poses like:
- The baby backbend
- The camel pose
- The flipped dog pose
- The fish pose
- The locust pose
5. Vishuddhi Chakra (The Throat Chakra)
The fifth chakra has a glorious blue color and it uses the element of space. It is the throat chakra and it is much more in-line with its name than the previous addition to this guide, as it is literally located in the throat.
The things that are connected to the throat chakra are a person’s voice, inner strength, power, and your primary senses. Physically speaking, this chakra is connected to your thyroid, throat, nose, ears, metabolism and your sense of smell.
Largely, when this chakra is balanced, you benefit from much better communication which is far more open and clear than it was before. It is much more authentic and you have a better willingness to communicate with others.
On top of this, you have a stronger appreciation for the environment around you and your sustenance due to an improved group of senses.
Conversely though, if this chakra is out of balance, you begin to notice the detrimental effects. These include poor communication, specifically when speaking in public or to your romantic connections.
As a result, you may struggle to deal with day to day communication and even falter with the pursuit of a romantic relationship and friendships. You may also notice your work life coming into problems due to your poor communication.
Of course, if you want to unblock this chakra, you will be turning your attention to some of the poses which can help you. Particularly, you will be looking at poses that help to clear your throat for physical blockages.
While even the basics such as a gentle neck stretch can help this chakra to get back into balance, you may want to perform poses that bring in the shoulders, and open your airways. Therefore, you might want to perform poses like:
- The supported fish pose
- The shoulder stand
- The plow pose
- The cat/cow
- The eagle pose
6. Anja Chakra (The Third Eye Chakra)
The third eye chakra uses an indigo color and the element of light, which is perfectly aligned with the type of chakra it is.
You will find this chakra located in between your eyebrows – and like many philosophical and religious writings have suggested, this is a seat of intuition.
This chakra is related to your sense of being able to see and think clearly at times of great confusion. The chakra allows you to stop and consider what is going on around you, think much more clearly and control your body and mind.
The chakra can help you to provide your mind with self-reflection, personal growth and development. Indeed, when this chakra is in the right balance, it provides a powerful intuition and clear mind.
You should be able to see situations from both sides of the argument, whilst not falling foul of biases and personal opinions or beliefs which could alter the way in which you view them.
On top of this, you may find your work life improves due to a better personal perspective.
As you can clearly see and understand your own strengths and weaknesses, you are able to devise your own personal development plan, and this is noticed everywhere you go.
You are then able to improve in many areas and gain extra confidence and indeed, knowledge.
When this chakra is not in balance though, there are some clear problems that come to the surface. It makes you doubt yourself and second-guess everything you are doing, which makes it difficult to see things in the right way.
Due to large levels of confusion, you struggle to see the right path and are unable to focus. When you’re not sure what is true or what the right plan of action is, you develop feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness and sometimes, even depression.
Additionally, your work life might suffer as you are unable to focus on your goals and you find it difficult to devise a personal development plan, which simply embeds your errors – so you’re stuck, especially when you’re trying to climb the corporate ladder!
There are some poses that you can perform that will help to unblock this chakra though. The primary thing to do is to try to perform a pose that brings the third eye to a more grounded position and seriously stimulate the chakra.
You may therefore want to perform poses like:
- The child’s pose
- The tree pose
- The forearm stand
- The rabbit pose
- The humble warrior pose
7. Sahasrara Chakra (The Crown Chakra)
The final chakra is the crown chakra which is a violet color using the element of thought.
As you may have already guessed, this chakra is located at the crown of your head, but this particular chakra has a huge difference from the other 6 chakras we have explored.
This difference is that the chakra is actually considered an opening – meaning it is the connection to the highest form of energy, inspiration, faith, and the source of life and love.
As this is your source of life, inspiration and faith, it acts as a universal consciousness which means it is also the hub of your wisdom, passion, intuition and mindfulness.
When this chakra is balanced right, you will benefit from the feeling of peacefulness and inner calm.
This actually goes beyond situations where you expect peace, but in fact it comes with you everywhere you go, regardless of the situation you find yourself in.
You also have a sense of divinity, and a connection to a higher purpose which brings with it the feelings of love, optimism, positivity and happiness – which in turn also helps you boost your own personal confidence and grow as a person.
When you are connected to these feelings in such a way, any difficult or challenging situations become much easier to deal with, and you are able to stop and assess where you are and how you will cope with it.
However, this chakra can easily become unbalanced, so it’s important that you know how you can bring it back to balance.
Generally speaking, when the chakra is out of balance, it manifests itself with a lack of faith and a loss of spirituality.
You end up focusing far too much on the negative aspects of life, you feel paranoid, anxious and significantly depressed – which almost feels as though the world is completely working against you, if there is some kind of conspiracy.
But – there’s no need to panic as you can find poses that can help to bring back the natural balance of this chakra.
While there is no hard and fast rule for which pose is best for the crown, you will want to perform anything that helps you feel more confident and calm.
Many poses allow you to feel this way, but perhaps some of the most beneficial poses for this include:
- The puppy pose
- The supported headstand
- The tripod headstand
- Legs up the wall
Understanding The Chakras As A Beginner
Many people will already be familiar with some of the yogi philosophies, but even after knowing what these chakras are for example, it can sometimes still be a little tricky to really get to grips with what these chakras are, especially as a beginner to yoga.
The best way to think of chakras is to consider them as though they are a blueprint for your own self-care, and then think of the yoga class as the literal manifestation of bringing these blueprints to reality.
The easiest way and perhaps the most direct way to use these chakras we have mentioned is to use some of the poses we suggested which are associated with each of their individual elements.
Of course, we are referring to the elements of earth, wind, fire, air and space (ether). Sometimes, this involves looking beyond our own physical realm and looking towards other areas for the elements of cosmic energy and light.
Once you have started to fully understand what element each of these chakras is connected with, you can better work out how to properly feel that element in your body.
One of the best ways to do this is to visualize how these energies are stored in your body.
Let’s use some examples. The root chakra is connected with the earth element and when this is in balance, you feel much more grounded and strong.
The pelvic chakra is connected with the element of water, and when it is balanced – we have better creative fluidity.
As you can see here, by putting these metaphorical symbols in, we can much better understand how these chakras might work for us and how they might work in tandem with our body and soul.
Performing Poses As A Beginner
It’s all fine and good knowing how to properly visualize these chakras and how they might work for us, but as a beginner – how do you best perform the poses that we mentioned to balance the chakras?
Well, the corresponding chakras should be connected to your associated life issues, so you should perform a pose that focuses on areas within your life that require the most attention.
One of the best ways to approach the poses is first by understanding what you are looking to achieve, but then working to get the most restorative and meditative state possible for the best benefits.
To do this, close your eyes when you are seated and think of the color that is associated with the chakra, and then think of this highlighted in its location on your body. Consider repeating the sound that it is associated with and focus deeply into asana.
It’s important to note that once you have performed these poses, you will not be able to actually measure their benefits, like you might do with blood pressure or your heart rate.
Instead, you should keep a journal and note down any changes you have noticed.
Do this over a number of weeks and months, noting down any changes in your emotional, psychological and physical state – but also any changes that may have occurred as a result of your newfound feelings.
For example, have you found yourself feeling much more confident in life? Has this benefited your love life or your work life? Has this manifested itself with a new relationship or perhaps a promotion?
By noting down these things and understanding how and why these things may have happened, you are better able to know the ways to develop further and how you can help to keep the chakras in balance.
Frequently Asked Questions
We will now cover some of your most frequently asked questions. We hope we have answered all of yours!
Of course! Yoga is not just for a select group of people. Yoga is open for everyone, even if you have physical limitations. You are never too old or too young to get started either!
If you have not yet started on your yoga journey, consider speaking with someone that is already involved with yoga classes, or head to a local gym where normally you can find daily classes. It’s also worth searching online for local classes and instructors.
Yoga can be challenging at times, but as long as you understand your limitations, you should be okay. Just speak with your yoga teacher for more tailored advice.
The Bottom Line
And that is everything you need to know about balancing the chakras. We hope you have enjoyed this guide and we have answered everything you were hoping to learn. Good luck on your yoga journey!