A chakra is a spinning wheel, or vortex, of energy.
Chakras are centers in the body through which life force energy flows. Blocked energy can often lead to illness, so it’s important to understand what each chakra represents and what we can do to keep this energy flowing freely.
Where did the chakra system come from?
The chakra system originated in India at the same time as yoga. It’s first mention was in the Vedas, a series of hymns that are the oldest written tradition in India. The chakra system actually came from tantric tradition. Tantra is largely associated with sexual practices in the West, though the sexuality aspect is actually only a small portion of what it’s all about. It does involve sexual practices as it considers the body a sacred temple that houses the inner consciousness and spirit, viewing sexual energy as life force energy that propels us into the higher states of consciousness and growth that we desire as humans. But this is only a sliver of what it’s all about. Hatha and Kundalini yoga are big parts of tantric tradition as well as the worshiping of Hindu deities (especially Hindu goddesses), and the merging of universal forces within (chiefly the interplay of dualistic forces such as dark and light, Heaven and Earth, birth and death, etc).
There are seven main chakras in the human body. This “Rainbow Bridge” connects our outer and inner worlds – our bodies to our inner temple, the house of our consciousness.
The chakras are vortexes of energy existing in the subtle body that overlays our physical body. They are not actually in our body. You can think of them like gateways, or portals to our inner world, that receive, assimilate and transmit life force energy. We are constantly in energy exchange all day long with everything: food, people, our environment, and ourselves.
Yoga and the chakras go hand in hand, so understanding where the chakras come into play within each yoga pose is vital in bringing a new layer of depth and awareness to your yoga practice.
How to bring balance and opening to your first two chakras using yoga:
Root Chakra (survival and groundedness): The base of every pose. Grounding, stability, foundation. Feeling your feet in the ground. Rooted and connected to the Earth at all times. Feeling the strength of your legs that carry you confidently through life. Being courageous enough to slow down and be at home in your body.
Other ways to balance and open your root: Spending time outside in nature, walking barefoot in the grass, resting, eating slowly and mindfully, cooking and cleaning in the home.
Sacral Chakra (emotions, sexuality and creativity): Creative movement and playfulness within your practice. Pleasure and enjoyment of feeling your breath and body move and flow together. Practice embracing all feelings that arise on your mat. Dance with them. Let them flow through you. Hip openers.
Other ways to balance and open your sacral: Dancing, self pleasure, being in or near water (shower, bath, swimming, ocean), drinking plenty of water, practicing emotional release.
Remember, anything you do with INTENTION shifts the energy of your action. When you DIRECT your energy with INTENTION you invite things to MANIFEST in your life. Dance with the INTENTION to relax your hips and feel your emotions flow through you. Walk barefoot outside with the INTENTION to connect deeper to the Earth and bring more grounding into your life.
Read my post titled “Getting To Know Your Chakras” for an overview of the whole chakra system.