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Wednesday
Feb272013

Chackras for Dummies (and Beginners)

So you’ve probably heard of the 7 energy centers of the body; the chackras. Your yoga teacher might tell you to focus on your heart chackra or gaze at your Ajna Chackra. But what are the chackras really? Here’s a short crash course for beginners.

The chakras are the energy centers in our body in which energy – what we in yoga call Prana -  flows through. If the chackras are blocked it can lead to lead to disease in the body.

Here's a quick run through of the 7 chakras from the bottom (literally) and up and the asana (yoga poses) you can use to balance them.

1) Muladahra. The Root Chackra

Muladhara represents our foundation and feeling of being grounded. It’s responsible for the fight-or-flight response when we’re threatened and is related to instinct, security and survival. Physically, Muladhara governs sexuality, mentally it governs stability, emotionally it governs sensuality, and spiritually it governs a sense of security.

Location: Base of the spine

Colour: red

Sound: Lam

Asana that Balance Muladahra: Grounding into feet poses like Tadasana (mountain), Parsvakonasana and Virabhadrasana (warrier).

2) Swadhisthana. The Sacral Chackra

Swadisthana is related to the genitourinary system and the adrenals. The key issues involving Swadisthana are relationships, violence, addictions, basic emotional needs, and pleasure. Physically, Swadisthana governs reproduction, mentally it governs creativity, emotionally it governs joy, and spiritually it governs enthusiasm.

Colour: Orange

Sound: Vam

Asana that Balance Swadistana: Hip opening poses like Prasarita Padottanasana (standing wide forward bend) and Baddha Konasana.

 3) Manipura. The Solar Plexus Chackra

Manipura is connected to our ability to be confident and in-control of our lives. It’s related to the metabolic and digestive systems and to issues of personal power, fear, anxiety, opinion-formation, introversion, and transition. Physically, Manipura governs digestion, mentally it governs personal power, emotionally it governs expansiveness, and spiritually, all matters of growth.

Location: Solar plexus

Sound: Ram

Asana that Balance Manipura: Sun Salutations and Virabhadrasana (warrier), backbends and Navasana.

4) Anahatta: The Heart Chackra

The heart chackra is naturally connected to our ability to love. Anahata involves emotions, compassion, tenderness, unconditional love, rejection and well-being. Physically Anahata governs circulation, emotionally it governs unconditional love for the self and others, mentally it governs passion, and spiritually it governs devotion.

Location: in the middle of the chest

Colour: green

Sound: Yam

Asana that Balance Anahata: Chest openers like Ustrasana (camel), cobra and Matsyasana. Also Pranayama like Kapalabati.

 5) Vishudda: The Throat Chackra

Vishudda is connected to our ability to communicate, to self-expression of feelings and to the truth. Physically, Vishuddha governs communication, emotionally it governs independence, mentally it governs fluent thought, and spiritually, it governs a sense of security.

Location: at the throat

Colour: blue

Sound: Ham

Asana that Balance Vishudda: Matysasana (fish), Sarvangasana (shoulder stand), Ustrasana (camel), and Halasana (plow).

6) Ajna: The Third Eye Chackra

The Ajna chackra is connected to our ability to focus and see the big picture and to our intuition. It is in charge of balancing the higher and lower selves. Mentally, Ajna deals with visual consciousness. Emotionally, Ajna is connected to clarity on an intuitive level.

Location: Between the eyebrows

Colour: Purple

Sound: Om

Asana that Balance Ajna Chakra: Meditation and sense withdrawal (pratyahara), yoga mudra and balasana (child’s pose).

7) Sahasrara: The Crown Chackra

Sahasrara is the highest chackra and deals with wisdom and the death of the body. It is in charge of our ability to be fully connected spiritually. Sahasrara is connected to the release of karma, meditation, and universal consciousness and unity.

Location: either at the crown of the head, or above the crown of the head

Colour: white

Sound: no sound

Asana that Balance Sahasrara: Balancing poses that bring awareness to the body and the consciousness like three or eagle, also sitting in Yoga Mudra.

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