When I first heard the term chakra, I had only a vague idea of what it meant, and I knew nothing at all about yoga for the chakras. The chakras are energy centers of the body. There are seven main chakras—think of them as hubs—that channel energy through the body. They run from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Each chakra has a specific purpose.
One of my favorite yoga workshops was called “Yoga for the Chakras.” It included a discussion of how each chakra functions in the body and specific yoga poses that can be done to balance energy and help it flow more freely.
Here’s an overview of each chakra and an example of how you can use yoga for the chakras with a specific pose for each one.
First Chakra: The Root Chakra
The first chakra is the energy center that keeps us grounded. Located at the base of the spine, it helps us feel rooted. When the first chakra is out of balance, we may have trouble with basic creature comforts such as money, housing, or having enough food.
Pose: Warrior 1. This grounding pose connects you to the earth.
Second Chakra: The Sacral Chakra
Located about two inches below the naval, the sacral chakra is the center of connection and acceptance. When our second chakra is blocked, we may feel alienated or alone, but when energy flows freely there, we feel content.
Pose: Cobra. Root the pelvis into the earth to strengthen the lower back and balance the sacral chakra.
Third Chakra: The Solar Plexus
The third chakra is your core. It represents self-confidence, self-worth, and a feeling of being in control. When there is a third chakra imbalance, you may have trouble feeling worthy or valuable.
Pose: Plank. This pose works the core and helps us develop a center of confidence and self-worth.
Fourth Chakra: The Heart Chakra
As you might guess the heart chakra is about love. This energy center is located in the center of the chest near the heart. It is also the center of joy and inner peace.
Pose: Camel. Like all backbends, camel pose is a heart-opener, so it’s great for the fourth chakra.
Fifth Chakra: The Throat Chakra
As its location at the throat suggests, the fifth throat chakra is our center of communication. When energy flows freely through the fifth chakra, we’re able to express ourselves well and speak our truth. When energy is blocked here, we get locked in disagreements with others or afraid to speak up at all.
Pose: Shoulder stand. This pose is great for the throat and neck. Make sure to follow with the counter pose, with is usually fish pose.
Sixth Chakra: The Third Eye Chakra
If it’s possible to have a favorite chakra, this is mine. The third eye is located between our two physical eyes, and it represents intuition, insight, and wisdom. When our third eye is open, we can make decisions and act without overthinking.
Pose: Child’s pose. In this pose, your third eye is connected to earth.
Seventh Chakra: The Crown Chakra
The seventh chakra, at the crown of the head, enables our connection to spirit. When it’s open, we feel spiritually alive and connected to something greater than ourselves.
Pose: Headstand. You probably guessed this one. Any inversion in which the crown of the head connects with the earth will help to open the seventh chakra.
Learning more about the connection between yoga and the chakras can help you get more in tune with your body. Why not try a workshop or class that focuses on chakra balancing and see for yourself!