YOGA 101: Lights on CHAKRAS

As you may have seen in my last post, starting the 1st of March, we will initiate the 7-Day Yoga & Chakra Program (If you haven’t subscribed to it yet, do it quickly! 🙂 ).  For all of you, who are not yet familiar with the idea and system of chakras, here is a quick guide into it!

The Origin – Energy systems

Let’s start with the original meaning of the word “chakra”. It comes from the Sanskrit

Chakras_map.svg
Seven energy centres or “chakras”

word , चक्र, cakra, which means “wheel, spinning, circle”. Not really helpful to start with, isn’t it? Well, in many eastern belief systems there is more to our body then just the physical. Depending on where you look, you can stumble on terms like “yin and yang”, “divine feminine and masculine”, “kundalini”, “ki/chi/qi”, “prana” and so on. All of them have in common that they want to convey the concept of energies in our body, which help maintaining the harmony inside us. Chakras can be placed into the same league. They are energy centres located in seven different areas of our body and play each a different role.

For us westerners, who are very science-bound in our beliefs, it might seem really hard to grasp, since it is nothing you can directly measure or see with your eyes. I will not take myself out of that, that I was at first not at all convinced about chakras, energies and all that “shoo-shoo”. As being a scientist myself, I struggled to accept this concept on my path of yoga. The turning point came, when I started to throw all prejudice aside and just researched on that topic, since I wanted to understand what they’re all talking about! Step by step I started to understand that chakras are placed in different parts of our body and resonate with different emotions. By now it even has arrived in conventional medicine that emotions can accumulate in the body in different muscle groups or organs and cause problems.

  • Anger usually in the belly region
  • Stress in the lower back/hips
  • Depression in the chest, just to name a few…

When we start to work with these seven energetic centres, we can also help our mind to cope with problems or blockages. I could go on and on about the science of energetic concepts but let’s turn now to the seven chakras in greater detail!

1st Chakra Muladhara – Stability

muladharaThe first chakra is located at the base of the spine, at your pelvic floor. It stands for stability and the feeling of being grounded. It comprises our most basic instincts to survive and all connected to that: feeling safe and secure, having a home, a peaceful environment.

Imbalances: When you feel quite nervous and insecure, unable to get rest even when nothing is happening, it can be because of an imbalanced Muladhara chakra. Lower back pain can occur.

Possible help: Surround yourself with the color red. Go out into nature and walk around bare feet to ground yourself. Look back on what you have achieved so far and start to write down, what you are grateful in your life. A home, family or friends, …

2nd Chakra Svadhisthana – Creativity

svadhistanaThe second chakra can be found a few inches below the navel in the hip region, where your reproductive organs are. With a stable foundations (1st chakra) the next important thing is to be creative and productive. What do you want to do with your life after having ensured that you don’t starve and freeze? 🙂

Imbalances: Feeling volatile and jumpy? Or you cannot really focus on doing one thing because you want to do it ALL? Or the other way round: you cannot motivate yourself to do anything because you don’t find purpose?

Possible help: Orange is the color of Svadhisthana. Hip openers and leg stretches can also help to remove possible blockages.

3rd Chakra Manipura – Self-Empowerment

manipuraThe Manipura chakra is where your solar plexus is. It is our driving engine. The decision making centre. With a strong and balanced Manipura chakra, you know what you want and you are brave enough to pursue your goals!

Imbalances: Stomach aches or indigestion, as well as heart burn can resonate with the 3rd chakra. Maybe you get irritated pretty easily or are to critical towards yourself and others. Or you simply feel like every decision is overwhelming you and are afraid to make a wrong decision.

Possible help: The solar plexus has already the “sun” in its name. Imagine the fiery heat and light, the sun is emitting, in your belly. You can trust into yourself and have the strength of a lion to go your way no matter the cost! Moreover some core-work can do real magic 🙂

4th Chakra Anahata – Heart and Emotion

anahataAnahata chakra is very important for all of us. It connects the three basic chakras 1-3 with the three higher ones 5-7 for the mind. It is the center of our heart and actually THE PLACE, where we are emotionally home. When Anahata is in balance, we are usually very open-hearted towards ourself and others. We feel content and satisfied.

Imbalances: Depression and heartache are connected to a blocked 4th chakra. Upper back pain and tensed shoulders/neck could occur.

Possible help: Surround yourself with the color green. Go out for a walk in nature. Heart-openers and shoulder stretches like camel-pose or wheel can work wonders. Laugh a lot.

5th Chakra Vishuddha – Expression and Truth

vishuddhaLocated at the throat, Vishuddha is the centre for expression and truthful speech. When it’s strong and in balance, we communicate well with our outside world. Moreover we don’t deny ourselves and listen to our mental talk, accepting even the craziest ideas with loving-kindness.

Imbalances: Lying because of fear of feeling exposed. Sore throat and coughs. The feeling of having a tight throat. Problems with breathing

Possible help: Breathing exercises can help to remove any obstacles with the 5th chakra. Journaling and writing down difficult emotions, which you are afraid of to speak out loud are a first step to retrieve your power.

6th Chakra Ajna – Intuition

ajnaThe so-called “Third Eye” is Ajna. It is located between your eyebrows a few inches to the inside. It’s the center for your inner wisdom and guidance. With a strong Ajna chakra you simply KNOW what is right for you. It’s like you have a sixth sense for things to occur and also for people.

Imbalances: Feeling lost and unsure of yourself. Having headaches regularly can also be caused by a blocked or overactive Ajna. Too much day-dreaming and fantasying.

Possible help: Meditation and journaling can help to balance your third eye. Write down what is going on in your head, all the thoughts which are popping up and soon you will start to see the patterns you are trapped in and which are hindering you to see clearly.

7th Chakra Sahasrara – Higher Self

sahasraraThe last chakra is the most difficult to describe. It is located at the crown of your head and actually the culmination of all the chakras below. When they all work properly and play in harmony you get into a sense of inner peace and knowing. You get into the state of your true self.

It is difficult to write any quick fixes for possible imbalances, since there are so many symptoms and the main thing to do is usually bringing back harmony into the other chakras. 🙂

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chakras_map.svg

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