Chakras: Yoga Wisdom for Managing Energy Centers

Chakras: Yoga Wisdom for Managing Energy Centers

In the yoga tradition, your body bases its fulfilling your healing and wellness maintenance needs on the use of a conceptual framework called chakras. Chakras have a long history within Hinduism and Buddhism with varying degrees of similarity to what is commonly understood of chakras in modernity. Chakras can be understood today in integrative medicine as metaphors for the energetic centers of the healthy body that can flow through well-regulated human systems as pathways.

The human body includes the nervous, lymphatic, muscular, skeletal, circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, and integumentary (i.e., skin, hair, nails, etc.) systems. Unfortunately, when chakras are out of balance we get emotionally and physically unwell. On the other hand, we can focus on each of these areas through a variety of behavioral interventions to restore order to the energetic centers.

Since chakras manage and maintain the energetic systems of the body, their alignment (and misalignment) has a cascading effect. In a healthy body, chakras start at the top and energy flows down from the crown of the head to the base of the spine. If part of that flow is disrupted negatively, chakra-based philosophy tells us that disease and illness follow.

There are seven major chakras of the body. In this installment of the blog, we detail the seven chakras and simple ways through yoga poses and other simple interventions, so you can manage your wellness.

“I know…” | Crown (Sahasrara) Chakra

The Crown (Sahasrara) Chakra is, as you might guess, located at the top of the head and is known for containing the energy of divine knowledge, inspiration, and spiritual understanding. You may think of this chakra as responsible for, on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid, connecting your Esteem and Self-Actualization, the highest two tiers. When you need to focus on your crown chakra, you can do the asana (yoga pose) headstand. Each chakra is associated with a color(s), and the crown chakra is paired with white and violet, so anything with those two colors is helpful in restoring it. If you are so inclined, you can use:

  • essential oils, such as lavender, jasmine, and cedarwood to help; and
  • stones/crystals: amethyst, lavender, clear quartz, herkimer diamond, and diamonds.

Unique from the rest of the chakras, the crown chakra is not associated with a specific food(s), but is the chakra that requires fasting when it is in need of care.

“I see…” | Third eye (Ajna) Chakra

Next, we come to the Third Eye (Ajna) Chakra situated usually above, inside and between the two eyes. The ajna chakra is the ruler of intuition and self-awareness. If you need to focus on the third eye chakra, do the following asanas: fish pose, shoulder stand, and child pose. This chakra’s color is indigo, so anything with that deep coloring can be helpful here. If you are interested, you can source:

  • essential oils: frankincense, sandalwood, patchouli, and rosemary;
  • crystals/stones: lapis lazuli, and celestite; and,
  • foods: blueberries, eggplant, purple grapes, purple potatoes and sweet potatoes.

“I speak…” | Throat (Vishuddha) Chakra

Below the ajna chakra, we find the Throat (Vishuddha) Chakra which includes the throat and sinus areas of the body. The vishuddha chakra manages your communication, so when you feel that you’re having troubles with communicating with others, you want to try some of these interventions to remedy that. First, you can try the asanas, lion pose, shoulder stand, plow, fish pose, to move your body to balance your throat chakra. Further, its color is blue and so all things blue are also very healing to the throat chakra. You can use:

  • essential oils: basil, cypress, peppermint, and spearmint; and,
  • stone: labradorite stone.

If you want to eat to regain strength in your communications, a wonderful supplement is blue green algae (cyanobacteria), which can be found at local health food stores.

“I love…” | Heart (Anahata) Chakra

Following the vishuddha chakra is the Heart (Anahata) Chakra, located in the heart area of the body. This chakra is associated with love, trust and compassion, naturally, and its colors are green and pink. The asanas to perform for all things related to the anahata chakra are bow pose and camel pose. Use these in your spaces or apply/wear for the heart chakra:

  • Essential oils: bergamot, jasmine, geranium, and cypress; and,
  • stones/crystals: aventurine, green jade, emerald, and malachite.

Eat greens (e.g., kale, broccoli, and other chlorophyll-based foods) to excite the heart chakra.

“I can…” | Solar Plexus (Manipura) Chakra

Continuing down the chakras is the Solar Plexus (Manipura) Chakra. In charge of stomach issues and upper digestive area, the manipura chakra is the holder of personality, identity, and ego. It responds well to the asanas: boat pose, bow pose, lion pose, and seated spinal twist. Seek out all things colored yellow, and these items to balance out your solar plexus chakra:

  • essential oils: cedarwood, lavender, rosemary, and clary sage; and,
  • stone/crystals: citrine point and sulfur crystal.

Eat yellow foods (such as yellow zucchini, lemons and yellow curries), and starches, for your manipura chakra.

“I feel…” | Sacral (Swadhisthana) Chakra

The penultimate Sacral (Swadhisthana) Chakra is your “social” chakra, involved in emotions, reproduction and pleasure-seeking. Swadhisthana chakra is the fluid area of the body and encompasses the lower back, groin, and the area of your trunk below your waist. To enhance your sacral chakra look to these asanas: warrior II, goddess pose, and pigeon pose. You can use these essential oils and crystals/stones for assistance:

  • essential oils: sandalwood, orange, rose and ylang ylang; and,
  • crystals/stones: citrine and amber.

As you can tell, orange is the color of the swadhisthana chakra so eating orange-colored foods help here.

“I have…” | Root (Muladhara) Chakra

Last but certainly not least is Root (Muladhara) Chakra located at the base of the spine, handling the important basic survival instincts. Some asanas that help with your muladhara chakra are lotus, child pose, triangle pose and garland pose. As red is the color of the root chakra, all things red help you with feeling grounded and self-preservation, including:

  • essential oils: patchouli, frankincense and cedarwood; and,
  • crystals/stones: garnet, ruby and red stone.

Find red foods, including red meat, onions, radishes, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, and beans, for the root chakra to build up strength.

There are matching chakra chants for meditating to resonate each chakra, if you would like to explore using chanting meditation for balancing your chakras.

Understanding and using these methods for bringing your chakras into balance with your unique doshas, which we discussed in the last article about Ayurveda, as well. Do you tend toward an imbalance in a specific chakra, similar to your doshas? Let us know in the comments!

Mara Benner helps individuals tap into their innate abilities to heal. She guides them to connect intuitively with body, mind, emotions and spirit — it’s all interconnected! Through the use of ancient healing approaches such as Reiki, reflexology, meditation, mindfulness, guided imagery, chakra healing, health coaching, intuitive spiritual coaching, energy healing and more, Mara partners with her clients for overall health and wellbeing. She does this through Four Directions Wellness, affiliated with the GW Center for Integrative Medicine, and located in Alexandria, Virginia. Begin your journey today.

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