Yoga for the chakras or chakras sounds esoteric at first. What is that supposed to be anyway? This article explains everything about a more modern understanding of Chakra Yoga and how you can use this model for yourself.
Yoga – way and goal
Yoga is the path of experience that can only be covered through practice. To practice yoga means to make the mind independent of external influences and thus to find and maintain a stable inner peace. That is the real goal of yoga. So it goes far beyond the purely physical yoga as we know it in the West.
Everyone who starts yoga – for whatever reason – knows the feeling of happiness that suddenly arises after a yoga class. Yoga works, that is clear and has now also been scientifically proven according to Western standards.
What does Chakra Yoga bring you?
Chakra yoga is often put in the esoteric corner. This is probably a result of the New Age movement. We can also understand chakra yoga in a very modern and everyday way that can expand your yoga practice. Because when we balance our chakra energy, it is as if an orchestra is playing harmoniously: we can indulge in the flow of the music. We just feel good and in harmony with ourselves. From this inner feeling we are much better able to step outside. How often do we try to increase our satisfaction in the opposite way and think that we are happy in everyday life when the external circumstances are right. But if we are internally free, the way to a relaxed outside is paved and inside we encounter a fascinating world of energy,
What is a chakra?
First of all, it must be noted that the system of chakras and the work with it is based on the tradition of transmission from teacher to student and is passed on differently depending on the experience of the teacher. It is therefore always about the subjective experience, which is why there are so many opinions and traditions around the chakras today. Therefore it cannot be assumed that this topic has been dealt with incorrectly, correctly or even completely.
Whether chakras are one color, open upwards, forwards or downwards, whether they rotate or stand still – who can say for sure? Chakras cannot be exposed, seen or dissected, but can be perceived on the energetic level.
The word chakra means disc, circle or ball. Our chakras are part of a finely networked system of energetic connections – similar to our vegetative nervous system. There are an infinite number of chakras, we usually work with the 7 main chakras. They are located in our upper body, in front of the spine, and build up from the pelvic floor from the bottom up to the crown of the head. When our chakra energy flows in a balanced way, all chakras are connected, supplied and full of energy. We feel good, are satisfied, free, grounded, creative and connected with ourselves and others. This state can also arise without chakra yoga – that much is certain. But if we feel unbalanced, it can be very helpful
Chakra yoga aims to harmonize our energy system and uses yoga techniques that allow us to experience the more subtle level of energy.
Chakra yoga, my personal understanding
Some people feel their chakras, can control them specifically, work with them and thus balance them. Others, in turn, need tangible access. For me the beginning was the connection of the chakras to the topics of life. I can orientate myself very well on what I am missing in life or what is too much. A certain topic area is assigned to each chakra, which is of course connected with emotions and thus also contains energetic information. From the combination of these three aspects, I have developed a specific tool with Chakra Yoga that can help us in everyday life.
I would like to give you an overview of the 7 chakras and tell you more about chakra yoga. Before that, however, a brief note on our own behalf:
Chakras and feelings
Each chakra has a theme. If we look at the following questions from each chakra, we can quickly see which life issues are in harmony with us and which are not. After that I have written the chakra for you with its name commonly used in the West and the original Sanskrit name. For the first chakra, I wrote you in more detail what chakra yoga with the root chakra can mean.
1. Root Chakra (Muladhara)
The basic question of the root chakra is: What gives us security?
If we take a look at the example of the root chakra, then we will deal with the topic of grounding, stability, stability, security and our origins, our roots: A balanced root chakra gives us the feeling of being safe. We usually have no problem with vital issues such as: enough to eat, a roof over our heads, a resilient network of friends and family and a good / secure job. We feel that we are in good hands and do not question our existence as such.
But if, for example, we keep changing jobs or losing, have financial problems, our friendly, family and partnership relationships are difficult and we do not have a good basis in life as a result, it is worth working with the energy of the root chakra.
We certainly do not solve these difficult problems with chakra yoga directly, but we can support and motivate ourselves to change something in our life, to become finer in our perception, to recognize connections and perhaps to find an approach here to help us further to develop.
Yoga for the chakras is one of the many ways to work with and on yourself. The following is a brief overview of the other chakras.
2. Sacral Chakra (Savdhisthana)
The question of the sacral chakra is: What makes us happy and allows us to develop our creative potential?
The sacral chakra is about a hand’s breadth below the navel in the middle of the body. A healthy sacral chakra is expressed in creativity, fun, pleasurable sex and pleasure in general, or simply in a radiant smile. In short: in everything we enjoy.\
3rd navel chakra (Manipura)
The question here is: what helps us to assert ourselves and be strong?
The navel chakra lies roughly between the navel and the breastbone. A balanced navel chakra is expressed in skills such as willpower, assertiveness, courage and strength. These principles are illustrated by the symbol of Manipura, the “Peaceful Warrior”. A peaceful warrior is clear about who he is, what he wants and what seems valuable to him and he is actively committed to it. You can use all of these properties to do good.
4th heart chakra (anahata)
How do we develop more self-love and thereby compassion for ourselves and others?
The heart chakra (anahata chakra) is located in the middle of the chest. A strong heart chakra is expressed through the ability to empathize with others and oneself, through sensitivity, selflessness and joy. We make the best decisions with the heart.
5th throat chakra (Vishuddha)
In what form do we express ourselves?
The throat chakra is in the middle of the throat. A balanced throat chakra shows itself in the ability to express oneself well, be it through language or other forms of expression and it is also about the ability to listen. In short: it’s about communication in both directions.
6. Forehead Chakra or Third Eye (Ajna)
How clearly and freely do you think?
The forehead chakra is roughly in the middle of the head. Thematically, Ajna is about clarity, knowledge, intuition and vision.
7th Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
How do you relate to higher things? Or how connected do you feel to the world around you?
Whether you designate the “higher” as God, universal energy, nature or otherwise is of course entirely up to you. Sahasrara lies on top of the center of the head. Thematically, it is about connectedness and the realization that we cannot all exist alone, but are part of a larger whole.
Working with these topics is based on the corresponding chakras, so that we can orientate ourselves and, like in an analysis process, find out which energy in our body and mind requires balance.
However, there is no quick and easy solution to issues that repeat themselves persistently and protractedly in our lives. It is not that we only have to work a little with our root chakra to feel grounded and secure and, for example, to stop having financial problems. Nor do I want to give the impression that chakra yoga can replace therapy. If you have serious problems with one of the above topics, then a coach or therapist is the right place to go. Chakra yoga can then wonderfully support and complement this work.
Chakra yoga has the effect that we also send out the energy that we focus on ourselves, and so it has an effect on ourselves. So if, for example, you need more security in life, deal with the root chakra, do appropriate physical yoga exercises, work with your breath, meditate, you do a lot for your energy balance in terms of stability, safety, and grounding.
Some people can be assigned the quality of a certain chakra. Artists, for example, have great creative energy, are playful and curious. An indication that your 2nd chakra is balanced. One could also say that power-oriented people have a lot of energy in the 3rd chakra, which is focused on willpower and assertiveness. We are more likely to find such people in politics or business, for example.
When we begin to deal with the topics of the chakras, we begin to perceive ourselves and others in a new way. What is important is that we recognize that no chakra is worth more or less than another. In order to achieve a peaceful inner state, it is necessary to balance ALL chakras.
Too much, too little or balanced
Anyone who begins to deal with chakras quickly comes across the phrase: “blocked chakra”. This means that the flow of energy is slowed down or interrupted at a certain point. We could now go into it either spatially or in terms of content: where is the energy accumulating or which topic is affected by it. But there is also the state of overflowing, overflowing energy. Both too little and too much mean that our energy system is out of balance.
An example may make this clearer: If the energy in the navel chakra (Manipura) is balanced, this is expressed through a healthy dose of self-confidence, courage and assertiveness. If, on the other hand, it is exaggerated, it can result in recklessness or the type of power man who walks over corpses just to achieve his goal. If, on the other hand, too little energy flows in the navel chakra, this can lead to severe shyness or even feelings of fear.
Working with the chakras always strives for the state of balance as an ideal state. Whereby we should be aware that everything that flows can never remain, therefore not even in balance. Chakra yoga is therefore to be understood as a continuous process.
In the case of energetic blockages, we would do well to target the respective blocked chakras via yoga postures and our breath and to charge them so that they become permeable again. But if we have too much energy in one chakra, it helps to motivate the two (or one) neighboring chakras so that the energy can flow away more evenly.
In summary, in the fine perception of the chakra energy, we are always in an interplay of too much and too little, whereby we strive for a balance and, most importantly, should work with all chakras in order to cultivate real harmony.
How does Chakra Yoga work
Chakra Yoga works with classic yoga postures and targeted breathing to the places in our body where our chakras are located. In Anusara Yoga, we also bring the topics of the chakras into our announcements, so that a comprehensive body feeling arises on a certain topic and the associated energy. Chakra yoga includes the aspects of grounding, creativity, willpower, compassion, expression, vision, connectedness. Depending on the topic we are working with, certain yoga postures and breathing techniques are suitable. Standing positions are helpful for grounding the root chakra. Hip openers and twists go with creativity, core stability with willpower. Shoulder openers and backbends are good for compassion, chanting mantras for expression, Inversion positions for vision and finally, meditation is the appropriate “asana” for the crown chakra on the subject of connectedness. In this way, the energies of the chakras can be addressed on a physical level and distributed more finely through the breath.
Again, however, the same applies here: Yoga asanas can be perceived very differently from yogi to yogi. In my online program : “Chakra Yoga – Balance on all levels” I show yoga sequences that activate the energy in the individual chakras as I feel. Just give these sequences a try.
To look at it from the tantric philosophical perspective: we carry our entire potential within us – we are perfect, we are optimal and we can learn to perceive ourselves that way. This basic attitude is of great importance for Chakra Yoga because otherwise, it can become a constant attempt at self-optimization, which can easily happen if you approach the matter out of a lack of awareness.
So try to make it clear to yourself again and again: everything you need is already there in you. Often it only takes a small shift in your perception. Understood in this way, working with the chakras gives us orientation and help to perceive our inner potential and to be able to draw from it. Without any esotericism and without the claim to be enlightened. It’s just about feeling good and being able to live in harmony with ourselves and others.
Representation of the chakras
Googling chakras is interesting. Most of the time you end up with representations of figures drawn while sitting, on whose upper body there are colorful mandalas: symbols that represent and transmit a certain energy. In addition there are the colors of the rainbow, i.e. the refraction of light: From the lowest chakra in dark red to the uppermost chakra in light purple or white. So there is not only a location for each chakra, but also a symbol and a color.
In Kundalini Yoga, the Kundalini energy resting in the root chakra (Muladhara) is activated in a very targeted manner, which moves upwards from a curled up position like a snake. In this way, she connects the chakras and brings her energy to flow. Those who have awakened Kundalini energy have come at least a little closer to enlightenment.
At this point I would like to point out again that these are all just representations and concepts. If you have an active second chakra, i.e. the sacral chakra (Svadhisthana), which stands for creativity and enjoyment of life, then the colorful world of chakra pictures can be great fun for you.
But never forget that in the end it depends on your personal experience and not on the visual representation.
If you’ve always wanted to know exactly where the chakras come from, which traditions and different understandings there are of yoga with chakras, then I recommend the text of my very esteemed colleague Stephanie Schönberger, who is herself co-author of a book about chakras and who has buried himself deeply in the old literature about chakras for you in order to clear up common misconceptions about chakras. Click here for the Chakra Guide.
Article Reference- Yogamehome