The seven major chakras, which means wheel in sanskrit, are energy centers within the body. There are said to be hundreds of chakras, but we tend to focus on these major seven: muladhara (root), svadisthana (spleen or sacral), manipura (solar plexus), anahata (heart), visuddha (throat), ajna (third eye), and sahasrara (crown). They can be visualized as spinning wheels of energy that can become slow, sluggish or blocked. The ability for energy to flow freely within the chakra affects us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We can learn to sense blockages by creating awareness of our own energy, physical sensations, and emotional states.

Intentional Chakra Targeted Asana Practice

Most asanas stimulate one or more chakras. By tuning into which areas of your body are used and the locations of each chakra, we can understand which asanas to use when attempting to balance specific chakras.

Muladhara:

This chakra is connected to our root and therefore asanas that allow us to ground will help us to balance this chakra. This includes asanas such as: malasana (yoga squat), padmasana (lotus), and standing asanas, like tadasana (learn more in Ground Into Tadasana to Connect With Your Root Chakra.)

Svadisthana:

Asana that stimulate the sacral and pelvic area help to balance this chakra. Some asana include bhujangasana (cobra) and dhanurasana (bow).

Manipura:

Asana that stimulate, twist, and strengthen the abdomen are helpful in balancing the manipura chakra. This can include paschimottanasana (seated forward fold), and ardha matsyendrasana (seated spinal twist)

Anahata:

To balance the anahata chakra we can perform asana that opens our hearts. These can include matsyasana (fish), chakrasana (wheel), and ustrasana (camel).

Visuddha:

We can balance visuddha by focusing on our throat. A great asana to tune this chakra is sarvangasana (shoulder stand) or halasana (plow) as they stimulate the throat and thyroid gland. Any asana that can include a slight throat lock or that engage the jalandhara bandha are great for balancing vishuddha.

Ajna and Sahasrara:

These chakras have many of the same asana as the intention is to stimulate the head. Sirsasana (headstand) is considered the “king of all asana” and is very helpful for balancing these chakras as well as the entire physical and energetic system.

Balancing Each Chakra

Balancing each chakra can be done many ways including: meditation, affirmations, color therapy, mantra repetition, and asana practice. Color therapy can include eating colored foods, wearing colored clothes, working with colored stones, crystals or lights, as well as visualizing the color in meditation.