I’ll bet you thought Chakras were only about energy.
They actually have a very practical purpose when it comes to yoga and how to align your body for a safe, stable, and effective practice.
By mindfully giving each of these areas of your body gentle focus and attention in each asana, you will:
- improve your balance
- increase your focus
- receive greater benefits in each pose
- improve strength and flexibility
- enjoy a deeper understanding of the poses
- develop a deeper connection with your body
- feel a new sense of harmony
When all of these points are focussed, activated, and gently tightened up, we ignite power and stability and from there, everything our body does is beneficial and safe.
Root Chakra - Pelvic Floor / Mula Bandha
To connect physically with this point, just imagine you are holding in a tiny fart. Gently contract that point and it will connect with the deep muscles in your pelvis. To feel this, lie down and contract and release a few times with your hands on your abdominals. You will feel the deep abdominal muscles (mainly Transverse Abdominus) in your pelvis and abdomen contracting at the same time. It's subtle but powerful and it might take some time to practice and feel the connection.
Sacral Chakra - Lower Abs
To connect with this point, simply draw in your lower abs – gently pull the area between your navel and pubic bone into your pelvis and back toward your spine.
Solar Plexus Chakra - Rib Cage
To activate this area, gently tuck the lower part of your ribcage inward and toward your navel.
Heart Chakra - Shoulder Blades
For this one, we focus on the back – between the shoulder blades. Gently draw them together and downward. Resist the urge to allow your shoulders to hunch up, especially when your body is under stress. While executing this move, front of the ribs (the point you drew in for the Solar Plexus) will want to release. Be mindful to do both of these naturally opposing actions in unison.
Throat Chakra - Breathing
This one is very simple. Always be mindful of keeping your breathing rhythmic and consistent - avoid ever holding your breath. Depending on the asana, and the type of class, your teacher should be guiding the cadence of breath throughout the class.
Visual Focus – Third Eye Chakra
Another simple (but not easy) one: Keep your visual focus stable. This can be looking at a point on the horizon, a point on a wall, in your third eye, or a hazy Drishti. Be aware if your eyes are wandering or "ping-ponging" around the room.
Mental Focus – Crown Chakra
This is the simplest and most difficult of all - keep your thoughts calm. Avoiding "monkey brain" is the hardest thing to do in during a yoga class. The 2 steps are 1) Be aware of the content of your thoughts. 2) Make space to allow your thoughts to gently dissipate and dull.
Now that you have these practical chakra points down pat, gently run through them in each asana. They need to be actively realigned on a continual basis and won't likely ever be automatic. But, if you do manage to get to the point where they are, please let me know and tell me how to do it. :)
H :) xo
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