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How the chakras correspond to different yoga poses and practices

Perhaps, like me, you often find yourself overwhelmed by the different yoga options that are out there. There are tons of teachers and styles, and it can be difficult to know by the name of the class which one is right for you.

Yoga classes look very different based on the style and lineage being taught. There are classes that are solely breathing exercises, classes that take place completely on a chair, and many classes that are only focused on the physical poses.

The yoga classes I teach are themed based on the physical as well as the energetic benefits I’m hoping to share. Specifically, I look to the Chakras to determine what is or isn’t included in each practice.

What are the chakras?

The chakras are physical and energetic centers in the body that rule specific parts of your life. The first chakra, for example, is located at the base of the tailbone and relates to your sense of family, safety, and material welfare, while the fourth chakra is located at the heart and relates to your relationships, courage, and connection to community.

All of my classes follow an arc that moves through the 7 chakras, so you’ll feel well-balanced, grounded, and energized when you leave class. Based on what lessons are key to the yoga class I’m going to teach, I’ll incorporate specific physical, breath, and energetic practices that relate to that lesson’s corresponding chakra.

This makes for a unique energetic experience that helps direct your mind and body in a specific direction or towards a defined goal. It also can help you determine which practices are particularly useful for you at a given time. (By the way – if you’re a member of my Patreon community, you’ll have noticed that each yoga class is tagged with a specific chakra to help direct your search for classes!).

I have seen tremendous benefit from connecting my intentions (and movements) with the chakras. In crafting my yoga practices in relationship to the chakras, I move and breathe in a way that creates more balance, rather than throwing me further off course.

 

If I’m feeling ungrounded or unsafe, I’ll do a 1st chakra practice.

If my confidence is waning, I’ll do a 3rd chakra practice.

Need to give a big workshop or presentation? I’ll do a 5th chakra practice.

 

That’s why today, I wanted to share how I use each chakra to shape the yoga practices that I design. I hope that it can help you:
1. Choose a yoga practice that is balancing for your energy.
2. Adjust your practice accordingly when a teacher is suggesting something that isn’t balancing for your energy on that day.

I hope you come to see and feel the power of intention, particularly around the chakras, with your yoga practices.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about the chakras, consider my chakra balancing meditation offered for free on Insight Timer. Or, you can head over to Patreon and do a yoga practice designed to clear and balance the energy of the 7 chakras.

 

First Chakra – Muladhara – Legs, Glutes, and Grounding

Mula means root and muladhara chakra is all about finding our roots and our foundation. Expect these classes to have a slow, steady, and deliberate pace. We’ll focus our poses on the legs, lower body, and pelvis, so that you can feel stable and strong in your body. You’ll also see balancing postures and low-to-the-ground stabilizers.

First Chakra Balancing Shapes:

-Lunges
-Warrior poses
-Tree pose
-Crocodile
-Pigeon Pose

First Chakra Balancing Breathwork:

-Nadi Shodhana
-Diaphragmatic Breathing
-Box breath (breath retention on the inhale and exhale)

First Chakra Balancing Visualization/Mudra/Mantra:

-Bhumsiparsha Mudra
-The color red
-Earth
-The sound “lam”
-Mantras for Ganesh

 

Second Chakra – Svadhisthana – Open hips, Flow, and Fun

Svadhistana chakra is ruled by the element of water, so we’ll definitely be flowing and moving through these practices. This chakra is located right below the navel, and we’ll activate it by doing more hip-opening postures. You’ll still feel grounding and stability in these classes while we tap into creativity and joy.

 

Second Chakra Balancing Shapes:

-Tree pose
-Sun Salutations
-Warrior 2
-Pigeon and Double Pigeon
-Open hipped postures

Second Chakra Balancing Breathwork:

-Nadi Shodhana
-Shitali

Second Chakra Balancing Visualization/Mudra/Mantra:

-Mantras for Lakshmi
-Orange
-Waterfalls and water flowing
-Chanting “Yam”

 

Third Chakra – Manipura – Core, Twists, and Power

Located right above the navel center at the solar plexus, Manipura is responsible for our self-confidence, healthy ego, and personal power. Expect a strong, energetic flow that builds core and back strength. You’ll also see lots of twists as we tap into this solar energy at the center of the body. These classes will pump up your energy and leave you feeling strong and powerful.

Third Chakra Balancing Shapes:

-Lunges
-Twisted Lunge
-Revolved Triangle Pose
-Revolved Half Moon
-Navasana / Core Work
-Sun Salutations

Third Chakra Balancing Breathwork:

-Khapalabhati
-Bastrika

Third Chakra Balancing Visualization/Mudra/Mantra:

-Yellow
-Sun visualizations
-Chanting “Ram”

 

Fourth Chakra – Anahata – Backbends, Shoulders, and Love

Our fourth chakra is also known as the heart chakra, so you’ll see themes related to community and interpersonal relationships. Our shapes will focus on opening the chest and upper back, as well as arm, wrist, and hand strength and flexibility. Expect to see backbends and connection to our hearts.

 

Fourth Chakra Balancing Shapes:

-Wheel
-Flipped hands to expose the inner wrist in table top poses
-Eagle
-Bow
-Natarajasana
-Backbends

Fourth Chakra Balancing Breathwork:

-Nadi Shodhana

Fourth Chakra Balancing Visualization/Mudra/Mantra:

-Green
-Mantras for Hanuman
-Visualizing the aura
-Anjali Mudra
-Lotus Mudra

 

Fifth Chakra – Vishuddha – Throat, Breath, and Voice

The fifth chakra is located at the throat and relates to our capacity to speak our truth. These classes will use breath and sound to support the opening and sharing of our voices. You’ll see backbends, shoulder opening, and lots of cues to relax tension in the throat and neck. These classes will brighten your energy and make you feel joyful and ready to connect with others.

Fifth Chakra Balancing Shapes:

-Chin stand
-Shoulderstand
-Neck stretches
-Jalandhara Bandha
-Forward bends

Fifth Chakra Balancing Breathwork:

-Brahmari Breath
-Ujjayi

Fifth Chakra Balancing Visualization/Mudra/Mantra:

-Blue
-All chanting
-Humming (Brahmari Breath)
-Chanting “Ham”
-Shankh Mudra

 

Sixth Chakra – Ajna – Sight, Insight, and Intuition

The sixth chakra is also known as our third eye and is located right at the center of the forehead. Ajna relates to our insight, intuition, and intellect. Classes that focus on the sixth chakra help us stop over-thinking and instead tap into a deeper knowing and understanding. Expect to see a lighter, more flowing practice that asks us to release preconceived ideas.

Sixth Chakra Balancing Shapes:

-Meditation
-Turn of the gaze
-Baddhokonasana
-Paschimottanasana
-All forward bends

Sixth Chakra Balancing Breathwork:

-So Ham Breaths

Sixth Chakra Balancing Visualization/Mudra/Mantra:

-Hakini Mudra
-Chanting “Ohm”
-Focus on gaze/drishti
-Purple

 

Seventh Chakra – Sahasrara – Trust, Connection, and Meditation

The seventh chakra is our connection to the divine (however you conceive of it) and to the global community. It relates to our trust in the universe. Classes that focus on the seventh chakra will have more breathing practices, meditations, and visualizations to support this connection.

Seventh Chakra Balancing Shapes:

-Savasana
-Headstand

Seventh Chakra Balancing Breathwork:

-Silent, smooth, even breaths
-Sama vritti

Seventh Chakra Balancing Visualization/Mudra/Mantra:

-Silence
-White
-Inner Self Mudra
-Jnana Mudra

 

Classes with multiple chakras

All of my classes are sequenced to include elements of all 7 chakras so that you have a balanced practice. If you see that more than one chakra is tagged in the description, that means the class particularly combines elements of those two chakras. If, for example, there’s the 3rd and 4th chakra tagged, expect to see twists and backbending, maybe even in the same pose!

 

If you’re interested in learning more about the chakras, consider my chakra balancing meditation offered for free on Insight Timer. Or, you can head over to Patreon and do a yoga practice designed to clear and balance the energy of the 7 chakras.

 

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   Sam

 

 

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