Everything becomes more harmonious when we focus on aligning chakras
You’ve likely heard of the chakras but might not know much about them or how they relate to yoga and your life. Aligning chakras can deepen your yoga practice because once you know which chakras are out of whack, you can do postures, breath work, mudras, and meditations that focus on bringing everything back into balance. But first, let’s begin to understand the chakra system.
What are Chakras?
Chakras are energy centers or intersections of two main energy “channels” that run through the body, weaving in and out of the central channels, called Ida and Pingala. This central channel is called the Sushumna and runs from the base of our body, near the perineum, all the way up to the crown of the head. There are seven main chakras that we typically study, but there are smaller ones throughout our physical and energetic bodies as well.
The seven main chakras
- Muladhara (root chakra) is located near the base of the spine. The color associated with this chakra is red and its main function is helping us feel grounded, connected, stable, and rooted and inspires our survival. It’s important to balance this chakra first so we have a grounded energy moving up throughout the higher chakras. Aligning chakras only works if we begin with our foundation and provide the necessary sense of security and safety we crave.
- Svadisthana (sacral chakra) is about three inches below the navel. It’s associated with the principle of pleasure, including sexual pleasure, creativity, emotions, and fantasy. Its element is water and the color is orange. Passion ignites in the 2nd chakra.
- Manipura (solar plexus chakra) is located about four fingers above the belly button and below the diaphragm. Its color is yellow and the element is fire. Some of the most important physical areas affected by this chakra are the adrenals, liver, and digestive system. Aligning chakras to manifest their power results in a balanced system. In Manipura, balance is indicated by willpower, positive energy, developed intellect, and the ability to take personal responsibility.
- Anahata (heart chakra) is the 4th chakra located in the center of the chest. Its color is green and the element is air. Anahata translates to ‘unstuck’ and this chakra’s primary functions are to offer compassion, empathy, love, and receptivity.
- Vishuddha (throat chakra) manages the ability to speak your truth as well as having the ability to truly listen. Vishuddha is our communication center and our ability to express ourselves honestly. It relates to the areas of the throat, ears, thyroid, and mouth but can also affect the shoulders and neck. Its color is blue and the element represented is sound.
- Ajna (third eye chakra) is where we can gain clarity and develop a connection to our “sixth sense” or an inner knowing. The color is indigo and all of the elements are combined in this chakra. It’s located in the center of the forehead and its development assists us in not only being able to see things clearly but to profoundly understand what we see.
- Sahasrara (crown chakra) This is where we have our connection to Source, to something greater than our own physical, emotional and spiritual bodies. The color is violet and physically can show imbalances in the pineal gland and the nervous system. There is no element represented here, but this is where thoughts reach a higher plane and enlightenment happens.
Aligning chakras with meditation
Bring balance to each chakra by meditating on its corresponding color and area of the body. See the color as an energy that fills the entire location site of the chakra. As you inhale, watch the energy expand. As you exhale, feel the energy contract. Visualize healing and balance within the chakra as you breathe deeply with your eyes closed while sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position. You can even incorporate your senses for an immersive experience by using essential oils specifically crafted to align your chakras, either by dabbing a drop on each chakra or diffusing the entire room with an aromatic diffuser (our editor and whole staff uses this diffuser, we love that it’s extra large and diffuses up to 20 hours with auto-shutoff — yes please!).
Yoga Poses for Each Chakra
Try these yoga postures to stimulate and bring balance to the specific chakra you’re aiming to align.
- Root chakra – grounding poses such as Malasana (deep squat), Warrior 1 and 2, and Mountain Pose.
- Sacral chakra – hip-opening postures like Fire Log Pose, Pigeon, and Lizard.
- Solar plexus chakra – twists, including Revolved Chair Pose, seated twists, and Revolved Half Moon.
- Heart chakra – heart openers such as Wheel and Bridge Pose,
- Throat chakra – throat opening poses, Camel and Fish Pose both work well to assist us in bringing both an openness and balance to this chakra.
- Third Eye chakra – any posture where you’re stimulating this area, such as Child’s Pose with the head resting on your mat or on a block, and Downward Facing Dog Pose also works well to bring energy to the third eye.
- Crown chakra – like the third eye, with the crown chakra, we work on stimulating this area and sending energy here via poses such as Headstand, Dolphin Pose, Forearm Stand and Shoulder Stand.
Balancing chakras off your mat
In general, aligning chakras by focusing on the designated color helps. For example, when choosing nourishment for the root chakra you’d eat foods grown in the ground. For the heart chakra, green food is best. You can visually focus on a chakra color or wear the color of the chakra you desire more balance. Crystals and jewelry such as the popular chakra bracelet that’s even been spotted on celebrities can assist as well. Mantras are also a really powerful way to bring balance and energy. Below is a list of foods, activities, and mantras to get you started on your path towards aligning chakras and feeling an overall sense of balance and contentment.
- Root vegetables such as carrots, beets, potatoes, and turnips
- Beans and healthy protein
- Walking in nature barefoot
- “I am grounded, safe, and stable”
- Nuts, seeds, coconut
- Spending time near water
- Allowing yourself to feel your emotions
- “I love my body”, “I enjoy my body”
- Whole grains, lentils, and turmeric
- Spending time in the sun or in the heat
- “I love and accept myself”
- Herbs and green superfoods
- Spending time with loved ones and participating in activities you enjoy
- Practicing forgiveness
- “I forgive myself and others”
- Blueberries and fruits that grow on trees
- Practice speaking up for yourself or quieting your constant need to speak
- Singing or chanting
- “My voice matters”
Third Eye Chakra
- Quality dark chocolate, omega-3 rich foods
- Tapping into your intuition
- Trusting your intuition
- “I trust my inner guidance”
- Light nourishing foods
- Connecting through meditation and other quiet activities that calm the mind
- “I am worthy of divine love”
Enjoy the process of finding a stronger sense of balance by aligning chakras and tapping into their power, wisdom, and beauty. It’s a life-changing endeavor and will continue to offer you solace, comfort, and a deeper understanding and connection to yourself, others, and the world around you.