If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, chances are you’ve already heard of the connection between yoga and Chakras. But what are Chakras and how many Chakras are there in yoga? Well, let’s find out!
All you need to know about chakra yoga:
- 1. What is Chakra Yoga?
- 2. The 7 Chakras and Their Meaning
- 2.1. Root Chakra (Muladhara) – Groundation
- 2.2. Pelvic Chakra (Svadhishthana) – Liquid Movement
- 2.3. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura) – Fire Center
- 2.4. Heart Chakra (Anahata) – Shine On
- 2.5. Throat Chakra (Vishuddhi) – Sacred Language
- 2.6. Third-Eye Chakra (Ajna) – I See
- 2.7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara) – Quiet Spaces
- 3. Summary [+ Free Chakra Yoga Class]
1. What is Chakra Yoga?
The concept of Chakras is rooted in ancient traditions of Hinduism but is also found in Buddhism and has made its way into spiritual traditions such as yoga.
According to the concept, the physical human body does not only consist of bones, muscles, organs, and skin. It’s rather made up of various layers of energy fields surrounding the physical body. These layers are said to form the so-called subtle body, which is also called the energy body. ‘Subtle’ in this context means ‘that what is most delicate’, ‘that what is most refined’.
The word Chakra is an old Sanskrit word and can be translated as ‘spinning wheel’. According to yogic beliefs, the human body has seven Chakras, which can be thought of as intersections of different energy channels. The life force, called Prana, travels through these channels or Nadis.
The mind is projected in these wheels, which allegedly determines the way you experience reality based on your emotions and fears, desires and aversions. It’s also said to manifest physical symptoms, which we will explore below.
Consequently, each Chakra is responsible for different behaviors and values in life, such as security, communication, compassion, and love. They’re also said to regulate various bodily systems and senses. Every Chakra is also associated with one of the Five Elements of Nature and represented by a color of the rainbow.
If energy is blocked in one of the Chakras – due to bad habits or inhibiting environmental factors – this can result in emotional, mental, or even physical imbalances. These, in turn, may even become apparent in symptoms like anxiety, lethargy, digestive or other health issues.
This is where yoga comes into play: A well-rounded Chakra yoga practice is specifically aimed at unblocking the Chakras so that the energy, i.e. your prana, can move freely through the body. This practice can include specific asanas, Pranayama, mudra, and meditation practices to purify and balance either all the Nadis and Chakras or only those that need to be restored.
An example for such a well-rounded and all-encompassing Chakra yoga practice is Faith Hunter‘s 10-video workshop Chakra Awakening Body and Soul, which also inspired this article. You’ll find a detailed explanation of each Chakra along with the best yoga poses, mudras and breathing techniques to balance the relevant energy center.
So, what are the 7 Chakras in yoga?
2. The 7 Chakras and Their Meaning
2.1. Root Chakra (Muladhara) – Groundation
“I am safe.”
The Root Chakra is located at the base of the spine and forms the basis of your energy system. It’s the foundation of your existence and physical well-being and helps you feel safe, connected and catered for. It also determines your instincts like hunger, sex, and sleep as well as your survival instinct.
Apart from that, the Muladhara Chakra is associated with the element of earth, supporting its grounding characteristics, and with the color red.
The Root Chakra being out of balance expresses itself in imbalances in the physical body and anxiety, and diminishes your sense of security and belonging. When balanced, on the other hand, you feel confident, safe, and grounded.
Yoga poses that help balance the first Chakra include asanas that build grounding and stability through the legs such as Mountain pose, all Warrior poses, Balancing poses. They enable you to connect to the earth’s energy through the four corners of the feet and send that energy upward to nourish the entire body.
The relevant mudra that helps balance the Root Chakra is Ganesha Mudra as it brings a grounding and connecting energy. Ganesha is a Hindu deity and also referred to as the remover of obstacles. This is why this mudra is perfect to initiate your Chakra yoga practice as it invites you to remove any obstacles on your way through the Chakras, clearing the path for a powerful connection to yourself and your personal essence.
To form Ganesha Mudra, bring the left hand in front of your heart with the palm facing forward. Bring the right hand in front and clasp the fingers of both hands. As you breathe in, pull in and tighten the clasp and soften the grip with the exhale.
As you keep practicing this mudra, think about the challenges in your life and what’s holding you back from feeling stabilized, rooted, and grounded – both on a physical and emotional level. Clear the way of things that are no longer serving you.
Target your Root Chakra with Faith Hunter’s 1st Chakra Yoga Practice – Groundation on TINT.
2.2. Pelvic Chakra (Svadhishthana) – Liquid Movement
“I am creative.”
The second Chakra, called Svadhishthana Chakra, is located in the pelvic area. It’s your creative center of self-expression, emotions, and pleasure. It governs your desires and pleasures and affects reproduction and your joy of living.
As the Pelvic Chakra is associated with the water element, it shares the same fluid and flowing features. The relevant color of the rainbow spectrum is orange.
If this Chakra is blocked, you may experience attachment as well as all kinds of cravings and even addictions. You may thus feel sexually and emotionally frustrated and lack the motivation to find a passion in life. If the second Chakra is in balance, we’re able to easily connect with others and find joy in life.
When it comes to Chakra yoga, twisting yoga poses such as Reclined Triangle pose stimulate the abdominal organs to improve circulation within the pelvic area. Apart from that, hip-opening asanas and squats such as Malasana, Lizard, Twisted Monkey, or Reclined Bound Angle Pose help you bring your awareness to this center.
Yoni Mudra is a perfect means to connect to the second Chakra and is formed by putting the index fingers and thumbs of both hands together. It’s intended to nourish your sense of creativity. While practicing this mudra, think of what you want to create in your life or where you feel stuck.
Whenever you feel trapped, a Chakra yoga practice aimed at the Pelvic Chakra will create a sense of fluidity and stimulate creation. Faith Hunter’s 2nd Chakra Yoga Practice – Liquid Movement is perfect for that!
2.3. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura) – Fire Center
“I am strong.”
The third Chakra, called Manipura Chakra, is situated at the navel and shines in bright yellow. It’s the core of your identity, ego, and personality, and helps you establish your sense of willpower and determination. On a physical level, the Solar Plexus regulates your digestive system, eyesight, and locomotion.
It’s also considered the pranic center of the body and as such associated with the element of fire, having the same transformative and heat-creating qualities.
An unbalanced Manipura Chakra can result in low self-confidence and increased stress. When the Solar Plexus Chakra is balanced, you feel more confident and capable.
Since this Chakra is located in the belly, yoga poses that strengthen this area are perfect for activating the core and the internal fire to help remove energy blocks or imbalances. These include all abdominal strengthening poses such as Boat pose, but also twisting asanas. And, of course, what could be a better practice to awaken the heat in your body than Sun Salutations?
You can use Kali Mudra to access the energy of your 3rd Chakra, which is formed by pressing the index fingers together and extending them while all the other fingers are interlaced. This will ignite your strength and energy from the soles of your feet all the way up to the index fingers.
To activate your Solar Plexus Chakra energy, practice the Pranayama of Bhastrika. This breathing exercise accentuates the exhale. You inhale through the nose and exhale sharply and forcefully through the mouth. Stand with the feet hip-width apart and create fists with your hands at the level of your ribs. On the inhale, extend the arms out in front of you, and on the exhale, draw the arms back into your ribcage. This is a really powerful exercise, bringing all the energy into your belly.
Activate your Fire Center to burn away all the things that no longer serve you and ignite the things that will keep you shiny, bright, and brilliant with Faith Hunter’s 3rd Chakra Yoga Practice on TINT!
2.4. Heart Chakra (Anahata) – Shine On
“I am loved.”
The fourth energy center is located in the thoracic spine near the heart and the lungs and called Anahata Chakra. It’s represented by the color green and is the seat of the self. Associated with the air element, it determines your sense of touch and enables you to connect with others and to feel compassion, generosity, and respect.
A balanced Heart Chakra allows you to give and receive love and to develop your spirituality. It enables you to experience love for yourself and others and to engage in intimate relationships. It’s your gateway to invite love into your life. Imbalance in this chakra may result in losing your sense of connection with others and can cause feelings of anger and emotional numbness.
Heart and chest opening yoga poses can bring more light into Anahata Chakra and open the energetic centers of the heart. These include backbends such as Cobra pose (Bhujangasana) and Camel pose (Ustrasana), but also fierce poses like Wild Thing (Camatkarasana) and Eagle pose (Garudasana).
Use Padma Mudra, or Lotus Mudra, to balance your Heart Chakra. Since the Lotus is all about compassion and love, it’s the perfect hand gesture to tune into your 4th Chakra. It’s best practiced sitting on your heels. Bring the palms of the hands together in front of your heart and spread all ten fingers. Keep the base of the hands, the thumbs and the pinky fingers touching while the other fingers spread apart just like the petals of a Lotus flower. Bring the thumbs directly to your heart center and then close your eyes and use your Ujjayi breath to tune into yourself. Let go of any negative thoughts and forgive yourself in order to create compassion and love toward your own being.
Breath of Joy is a powerful breathing exercise that you can use to access your Anahata Chakra. Start standing with your feet about hip-width apart and tune into your natural breathing. Bring all your thoughts and intentions into your heart center, which is all about love and compassion. We’re usually just giving and giving, but this practice is really intended for you to take care of yourself and nurture your own heart.
This Pranayama consists of three inhalations followed by one powerful exhalation. You move your arms with every inhalation: on the first inhale, move the arms to the front, on the second to the sides, and on the third one, lift the arms up. On the exhale – feel free to exhale through the mouth – you let the arms and the upper body drop down and bend over your knees.
After a few rounds of this breathing exercise, you’ll definitely feel more energized and may even be smiling.
Let your Heart Chakra shine with Fait Hunter’s 4th Chakra Yoga Practice – Shine on!
2.5. Throat Chakra (Vishuddhi) – Sacred Language
“I am expressive.”
The fifth Chakra has its place in the throat and as such governs voice, speech, and hearing. Colored in blue, Vishuddhi Chakra is associated with the element of space and is said to govern your endocrine glands, regulating your metabolism.
The Throat Chakra is your creative expression and helps you speak and communicate genuinely with yourself and others. It can therefore significantly impact your originality and well as your confidence to speak your truth and to speak in public in general.
Blockages of energy in this Chakra can impair authentic expression and lead to problems with communication and the ability to take in nourishment of all kinds. You may even experience ear, nose, and throat problems and a block of creativity.
If, on the other hand, Vishuddhi Chakra is balanced, you feel confident to express your creativity and the life-affirming aspects of yourself.
Yoga poses that target the throat such as Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana), Bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Plow pose (Halasana), and Fish pose (Matsyasana) help you balance and purify the Throat Chakra.
Gyana Mudra is the mudra of internal wisdom and can help you connect to the 5th Chakra. Practice it in a cross-legged position and bring the hands onto your knees with the palms facing up. Bring the index finger and thumb of both hands together and relax the other fingers. Tune into your breath and simply observe and notice any sensations, thoughts and whatever shows up in your mind.
While scanning your body from the tips of the toes to the crown of the head, keep your breath steady and even. Make every inhale and exhale the same length. Maybe you even want to count to 5 on every inhale and exhale.
As the Throat Chakra is the place of communication, you might think that it’s all about talking. But actually, listening is more important. Experience the Sacred Language of listening to your own inner voice and observing all of who you are with Faith Hunter on TINT.
2.6. Third-Eye Chakra (Ajna) – I See
“I am connected.”
The sixth Chakra, called Ajna Chakra, is situated at the center point between the eyebrows, which is also referred to as the Third Eye – your point of intuition. It’s the access to clear thoughts and self-reflection and provides you inner guidance on your life path. The relevant color of the rainbow associated with the Third-Eye Chakra is indigo.
It’s the control center and the seat of the mind, and the connection between body and mind. As such, it has a great spiritual significance as it’s said to unite the two major pranic forces in the body to open up the mind to inner stillness, divine sight and intuition. Without that integration, you stay trapped in the consciousness of ordinary reality and the realm of the senses.
A misaligned Ajna Chakra may result in confusion and express itself in physical symptoms such as headache, migraine, and dizziness. It may also lead to difficulties in following and trusting your intuition.
When this Chakra is in balance, you’re able to see things clearly without them being distorted by your ego or your opinions and experiences.
Yoga poses that help re-align the Third-Eye Chakra include Dolphin pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana) as it increases circulation to the face and brain, stimulating the Third Eye, as well as restorative poses like Child’s pose (Balasana) and Cat & Cow.
Perfect for your Third-Eye Chakra is Hakini Mudra, which is about focus and concentration. Bring the tips of the thumbs and all the other fingers together in front of your heart center. Close your eyes and try to feel the balance between your left and right side of the body and the left and right side of your brain and plug into your inner wisdom.
To heal and purify this center, you can practice the Pranayama alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana) to balance out the right and left sides of your brain. This helps you bring everything in toward the middle and feel your sense of alignment.
You can practice this Pranayama together with Faith Hunter on TINT in her 6th Chakra Yoga Practice, followed by a restorative yoga practice to find stillness and tune into your Third Eye.
2.7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara) – Quiet Spaces
“I am Divine.”
The last Chakra is the Crown Chakra, called Sahasrara, and is situated at the top of the scalp. It’s considered the gateway to pure consciousness and the source of all Chakras. It’s represented by the color violet and is different from the other Chakras in that it’s not an intersection of energies, but, as it is the highest energy center, rather an opening.
Sahasrara Chakra is the center of faith, dedication, and inspiration and connects you to the infinite and limitless.
When this Chakra is out of balance, you may feel somewhat negative about life in general, and disconnected from spiritual trust as well as from your body, the world around you and your Higher Self.
Bringing the Crown Chakra back into balance allows you to experience peace and tranquillity and a positive attitude toward your life.
In terms of Chakra yoga, poses such as Balancing Butterfly pose, Headstand (Sirsasana) and (Half) Lotus promote concentration, peace, and balance and are, thus, perfect for re-aligning the Crown Chakra.
To enter into your consciousness, use the Crown Mudra. Bring the thumbs and index fingers to touch and spread the other fingers out to the sides. Lift that about one hand above your head, keeping the shoulders soft. Feel the energy that you’ve cultivated from the base of your spine to the crown of your head. Go through all 7 Chakras while maintaining this mudra.
For a seated meditation to experience your transcendentalness, let Faith Hunter guide you in her 7th Chakra Yoga Practice – Quiet Spaces.
The Chakra system can serve as a description of the totality of the human body: the physical, mental, and emotional body. Chakra yoga is the practical application of this model intended to boost health, promote self-awareness, and lead to spiritual wisdom. It’s said to correct any physical, emotional, and mental imbalances you may experience in your body and to direct awareness to the more refined levels of consciousness, thereby removing any obstacles on the way to self-realization.
Practicing Chakra yoga can be a fun and exciting way to spice up your yoga practice and feel more grounded. In addition, yoga and meditation, accompanied by other practices such as Pranayama and mudra, help you find balance in body, mind, and spirit.
Regardless of whether you believe that this enables you to purify your energy centers, a regular yoga practice of any kind will certainly boost your health and wellbeing as it provides you a powerful tool to cope with life’s pressure and struggles.
In addition, Chakra yoga strengthens the connection to your body and thus enables you to identify whether you need more focus, grounding, or determination, and to choose your yoga practice according to your needs in order to find balance and harmony in your life.
Got hooked? Start your journey through all 7 Chakras with Faith Hunter’s 1st Chakra Yoga Practice – Groundation on TINT. From there, you can make your way through the remaining Chakras in separate classes and finish up with 3 all-encompassing practices.
The workshop is designed to ignite the physical body, stimulate the mental realm, and awaken the soul by honoring the natural flow of energy inspired by the Chakras. The dynamic flows, soothing and meditative practices will generate a powerful surge of energy charged by breath, movement, mudras, mantras and intention. You will connect to your natural way of aligning while feeling rooted, strengthen and nourished in both body and soul!
Follow the flow of these practices or select the one the suits your current mood each day.
Header picture by Yongsubi