What is a Chakra System?
Chakras are energy centers in the body which must be opened and flowing freely in order to maintain health and vigor. These energy centers can function improperly due to a myriad of variables. Important to note – Each Chakra is directly correlated to a specific gland in your body. Glands secrete hormones. Hormones control how we perceive reality. Hormones can also have an extremely negative impact on the physical state of our bodies. Hormone imbalance breeds disease. HORMONE IMBALANCE BREEDS DISEASE! A lack of physical movement is a great way to block your chakras and throw our bodies delicate hormonal balance out of whack. Also, emotional trauma is stored in the cells of our body. Over time, when we do not work through these emotional events, they block our natural state of flow. Let’s explore the chakra system.
1. Root Chakra (Muladhara)
The first chakra, located at the base of your spine is the Root Chakra. Issues associated with a blocked root chakra have to do with basic security, satisfying your basic needs for survival and also a sense of feeling at home within one’s body. Anxiety is a telltale sign of a root chakra out of balance. Some great root chakra asanas are: Mountain Pose, Warrior Pose and Corpse Pose.
2. Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana)
Located below the belly button, the sacral chakra has to deal with your relationship to yourself and others. Some ailments associated with the sacral chakra are chronic low back pain and also complications with the kidneys and/or the bladder. Sacral poses have to do with opening up the hips and pelvis. Butterfly pose is great for this. Also extended triangle pose aids in the opening of the hips.
3. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
The Solar Plexus Chakra – Where there is a will there is a way. This energy center correlates to adrenal function, digestion and nutrient absorption. It is also the core of the ego. Self-esteem, will power, self-discipline are all choices. It is is the solar plexus that we choose. Poses for the solar plexus? Boat and Bow are great!
4. Heart Chakra (Anahata)
The Heart Chakra is – you guessed it- associated with the heart! Some ailments of the blocked heart chakra can include blood pressure irregularities and poor circulation. To open the heart chakra also means to live with compassion to the world around you. Poses for opening the heart include Camel Pose, Cobra Pose and also Forward Folding. Directions and further explanations can be found here.
5. Throat Chakra (Visuddha)
The fifth chakra is located in the throat and is associated with the thyroid. Also neck, shoulder and jaw pain seem common when this area is blocked. Poor communication skills and an inability to express oneself fully develop when this area is not tended to. A great pose for the throat chakra is Fish Pose. Using props to avoid injury, this is a wonderful restorative yoga pose.
6. Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)
The third eye chakra is located in the center of the brain. It is the pituitary gland. Cultivating this chakra ensures the communication between both hemispheres of the brain. This leads to more mental clarity and an ability to become an observer rather than always the participant. Thunderbolt Pose does wonders for the third eye.
7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
This is where we connect to spirit. The enlightenment that we speak of comes from cultivating the crown. The crown chakra is the ever so underestimated Pineal Gland. In various yoga texts, the head stand pose is taught to be a great way to interact with the pineal gland. I am here to tell you that you do not want to try a head stand pose until you are positive you are ready to endure such a feat. I would start rather with poses that are not inverted to avoid a possible injury. Start with corpse pose instead.