Yoga to Bring Balance: From Root to Crown -- An Energetic View of Health
What are Chakras?
Chakra (meaning spinning wheel of light) is the term used to refer to the energy centres located along the level of the subtle spine from the tailbone through to the top of the head. Most people agree that we have seven of these energy centres, starting with the Base chakra (Muladhara) and finishing with the Crown chakra (Sahasrara). Some people suggest that there are other chakras located above and below the body too.
What do Chakras do?
Chakras are part of an overall system of energetic health. Each chakra is responsible for various emotional, physical and mental functions. When they are in balance and our energy is flowing smoothly we are in perfect health. Most chakras are associated with a colour, an element and a sound. For example, the solar plexus chakra (Manipura) is associated with the colour yellow, the fire element and the 'seed' sound RAM. It rules physical functions such as the metabolic and digestive system, as well as emotional and mental functions relating to our sense of personal power and self esteem.
What happens when Chakras are out of Balance?
Unfortunately chakras can become imbalanced relatively easily if they are a 'weak' area for us. A weak area is often developed quite early on in life when our needs relating to this area were unable to be met for some reason. We all know people (or perhaps are people) who have continued, repeated problems in a certain area of the body or emotions/mind and this can often be an example of a weak area that was created a long time ago.
Chakra imbalances can be experienced in different ways. One way of understanding these imbalances is by thinking about whether the energy centre is underactive or overactive:
~An underactive solar plexus chakra may cause someone to feel unable to stand up for themselves, they may experience low self esteem, a lack of drive or energy and feel that they constantly need to look after others, finding it hard to place value in themselves. They may suffer from anxiety and find it hard to express their needs openly, as a consequence they may resort to passive aggressiveness when feeling angry.
~Conversely, an overactive solar plexus chakra may create an overbearing attitude with a sense of entitlement, often inappropriate to a situation. Anger may flare up frequently and temper may feel difficult to keep under control. There may be a need to 'use' exercise and constantly be active just to keep things in balance. Even when not feeling angry people may mistakenly perceive anger in them and 'take them the wrong way' because of the energetic imbalance.
Using yoga to bring balance:
Yoga is just one of the many ways we can help bring balance to our chakras and therefore greater balance and wellbeing into our lives. Yoga poses (Asanas) are used to help create different energetic effects in the body. To bring balance to the solar plexus chakra we can use yoga poses such as Boat pose, Warrior III, Seated Forward Bend and Cobra pose amongst others. Cobra pose (shown below) opens and stretches the centre of the body creating movement of energy through the solar plexus centre.
Other yogic practices to bring balance to the chakras include Pranayama (such as Breath of Fire) and Mudras (such as Matangi Mudra) as well as the use of sound, affirmations, meditations and visualisations. We can also wear clothing associated with the colour of the chakra and eat certain foods that of the same colour or element as a chakra.
By bringing our awareness and loving attention to the chakra centres it is possible to re-connect to that energy and work through whatever blockages have caused the imbalance. Sometimes, this working through may also need to be supported verbally and not just energetically since we may find we need to give voice to any repressed feelings or difficult experiences and be truly heard to help bring balance to our chakras. As a yoga teacher and counsellor I find that the balance of the two works very well together.
This September/October I will be running short 7 week chakra yoga courses running in Oxted. There are classes suitable for different levels of practice, including yoga beginners and people with injuries and/or chronic pain. Please contact via the website if you'd like to book onto a course or just find out more information. The first 'Base Chakra' day starts this coming Saturday 2nd September.
* 7 week chakra classes running from early Sept...see usual class times on website.
Yoga Instructor, Counsellor and Founder of Yoga2Talk Therapy