Welcome back, Yoga enthusiasts! For those who have read the previous blog, we discussed the chakras and their contribution to maintaining good health. Our newer readers may CLICK HERE and find out everything you need to know on chakras.
Now, let us discuss the role of Yoga in opening and aligning the chakras to ensure perfect harmony and coordination between all physiological functions of the human body.
Yoga and Chakras
Chakras are a significant part of Yogic teachings. Ancient literature on Yoga confirms the presence of powerful channels that allow the flow of the unseen and potent life force through every organ and body tissue. The powerful channels are known as chakras and play a significant role in balancing a person’s mental, spiritual, and physical health.
Yoga postures and meditation help to open up all the chakras and activate their powers. Yoga scholars have short-listed several Yoga postures that open up the various chakras and help them stay aligned with one another.
Not only physical Yoga postures but meditation also improve the functioning and efficiency of the chakras.
Seven Yoga Postures For The Seven Chakras
Chakras should be open and receptive to the uninterrupted flow of the life force through the body at all times. Inevitable obstacles like mental stress, debilitating physical illnesses, infections, or side effects of medicines may hamper the day-to-day activities of the chakras. One may resort to Yoga to balance all planes of their health and bring harmony between all physiological functions. Several Yoga postures correspond to each of the seven chakras, thereby activating, opening, and aligning the latter.
Here are seven Yoga postures, each corresponding to one body chakra.
Vrikshasana, or the tree pose, is a standing Yoga pose that balances the various planes of your health. A tree is a symbol of being rooted yet robust, of simplicity, and of humbleness. The Tree Pose rightfully corresponds to the root chakra, which plays a significant role in keeping a person grounded.
Steps Of Vriskshasana
- Stand on a firm and even surface with your legs spread slightly apart.
- Remain ramrod straight without hunching your shoulders or bending forward.
- Your arms may rest at the side of your trunk.
- Bend your right knee and press your right foot against the inner side of your left thigh, slightly above the left knee,
- You may take support using a chair or a wall to balance your body on one leg.
- Join your hands in prayer, and place them close to your chest.
- Continue normal breathing and stay in the Vriskshasana pose for as long as you find it comfortable.
Vrikshasana opens your root chakra by stimulating the flow of vital energies through the pelvic organs. Regular practice of Vrikshasana reinforces a sense of stability and a feeling of being grounded. Those who feel lost or have a sense of loss of one’s identity may revert to a more robust state of mind with the regular practice of Vrikshasana.
Devi is an Indian word to denote a female religious deity or a Goddess. Hindu sacred texts and scriptures describe female deities as presenting themselves in a royal and graceful posture. Deviasana is named so due to the resemblance the pose has to the elegant posture of Hindu Goddesses.
Steps of Deviasana
- Stand on a flat, firm surface without hunching your shoulders while keeping a straight back.
- Keep your feet roughly shoulder width apart, and relax your arms at the side of your body.
- Take a deep breath and rotate both feet, so the toes point outward.
- Gradually squat down while exhaling till your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Elevate your heels, balancing your body weight only on your toes.
- Raise your arms at the side to the level of your shoulders with your palms facing the ground.
- Join the tip of both index fingers to the respective thumbs, or you may spread out your fingers and open your palms.
- Bend both elbows to bring the palms closer to the shoulders till your forearms are perpendicular to the ground.
- Keep your hips and tailbone slightly taut to avoid throwing your buttocks outward.
Remain in Deviasana for 30-60 seconds before relaxing your body. Deviasana opens your sacral chakra and aligns its vibrations with the other chakras. Deviasana is highly beneficial to maintaining and improving a healthy sexual life. The asana strengthens and tones the muscles of the thighs, calves, and hamstrings. Deviasana opens the sacral chakra and allows the human brain to strike a balance between surrendering and standing up for oneself.
Naukasana is the boat pose, during which one bends the body to resemble the shape of a boat. Naukasana is associated with the third chakra, the solar plexus chakra or the Manipura.
Steps of Naukasana
- Lie down and relax your limbs.
- Breathe deeply for a few counts while you prepare to perform Naukasana.
- Gradually elevate your upper body and your limbs until they are at the same level.
- You may balance your body weight on your buttocks.
- Raise your arms in front of you till they point towards your toes.
- Your head, arms, and feet should be at one level during the final posture of Naukasana.
- Continue normal breathing throughout your Yoga posture.
Naukasana is effective in toning the abdominal muscles and improving the functions of the abdominal organs. Naukasana opens and aligns the solar plexus chakra, allowing you to handle stress better. Incorporating the practice of Naukasana into daily routine elevates one’s self-confidence and reduces feelings of uncertainty and frustration.
Ustrasana, or the camel pose, is one of the best backward bends of Yoga. The camel pose activates, balances, and aligns the heart chakra.
Steps of Ustrasana
- Lower your body till your shin and knees touch the floor.
- Spread your thighs so that your knees are hip-width apart from one another.
- It is advisable to keep a straight back without slouching.
- Inhale deeply and begin bending backward from your hips.
- Tilt your pelvis forward and throw your chest outward to enhance the stretch of your body muscles.
- Drop your elbows backward till you can touch your feet. You may push your shoulders towards one another and press your palms against your feet to increase the efficacy of Ustrasana.
- Continue normal breathing, and try to remain in Ustrasana for as long as you feel comfortable.
Regular practice of Ustrasana maintains your cardiovascular system in good health and improves blood circulation. Ustrasana is a highly effective Yoga posture than enables emotional cleansing, elevates a person’s feelings of love and care, and makes them feel unburdened of all the emotional baggage they are carrying.
Halasana, or the plow pose, requires you to position your body like a plow used in farming. Halasana is a lying down Yoga posture that stimulates several physiological systems of the human body.
Steps of Halasana
- Lie down with your back touching a flat and firm surface, and relax your limbs.
- Align your neck to keep some space between the floor and the nape of your neck.
- Keep your legs straight and raise them till your feet are pointing towards the ceiling.
- Lower both legs to the ground to bring your feet closer to your head. Your thighs are now touching your abdomen, and your knees are close to your chest.
- Elevate your hips and buttocks off the ground to take your feet further behind. The tips of your toes are now touching the ground.
- You may support your body by pressing your palms firmly against the ground.
- Continue regular breathing throughout Halasana. You may remain in the asana for as long as is comfortable for you.
- Beginners are advised to support the hips with their hands.
Halasana is one of the difficult Yoga postures to perform, and one must tread cautiously. Everyone is advised to perform Halasana at their own pace and comfort.
Halasana stimulates the organs in the throat, including the thyroid gland, esophagus, and trachea. Halasana aligns and opens the throat chakra, which is responsible for clear communication and self-expression.
6. Prasarita Padottanasana
Prasarita Padottanasana is a standing Yoga posture that stretches all the muscles on the back side of the body. The Yoga posture includes forward bending and activates the third-eye chakra.
Steps of Prasarita Padottanasana
- Stand on a flat, firm surface with a distance of 3-4 feet between your legs.
- Place your hands firmly on your hips and look straight ahead.
- Bring your upper body toward the floor by bending forward from your hips. Avoid bending or slouching your back while performing Prasarita Padottanasana.
- Touch your palms to the ground at a distance of a shoulder’s width from one another.
- Once settled in this position, bring your head closer to the ground by bending forward slightly more.
- Tighten your thigh muscles, and press your feet firmly against the ground to balance your body weight adequately.
- Lengthen your spine maximally to experience the full benefits of Prasarita Padottanasana.
Prasarita Padottanasana stimulates the blood supply to your brain and activates the third eye chakra. Regular practice of Prasita Padottanasana enhances your intuition and heightens your powers of imagination.
Savasana translates to ‘corpse pose’ because one lies down like a corpse during the posture. Savasana is the most relaxing Yoga posture, making it perfect for cooling down the body after a particularly exhausting yoga session.
Steps of Savasana
- Seat yourselves with your knees bent and close to your chest. Press your feet lightly against the floor.
- Lean backward gently till your forearms are touching the floor.
- Now straighten your legs gradually and place them a foot apart, with the toes pointing outward.
- Lower your chest, shoulders, neck, and head on the floor in that order.
- You may tilt your neck slightly upward using both hands to create some space between the back of the neck and the floor.
- Elevate your arms till they are perpendicular to the floor and sway your body gently from side to side without turning it completely. This action allows the shoulder blades and spine to relax.
- You may adjust your pelvis slightly to touch your tailbone to the ground.
- Lie in Savasana for at least five minutes to cool your body effectively.
- Do not rush to get into a sitting position after completing Savasana.
- Turn to lie on one side of your body and fold your knees. Press the opposite palm firmly on the floor and lift your body gradually off the ground.
- Remain seated for a few breath counts before you stand up after performing Savasana.
Savasana does not stretch or strengthen any muscles of your body, for it is intended only to relax and rejuvenate your body. Savasana stimulates the brain’s blood flow and adequately opens up the crown chakra. Savasana brings one closer to realizing their spiritual energies and capacity and pushes them towards the path of enlightenment.
Meditation and Chakras
Physical postures are but a part of Yoga, for the ocean of Yoga is much deeper and more vast than only physical exercises. Meditation forms an integral part of Yoga and is immensely beneficial in opening and aligning the seven chakras of the human body.
Chakra meditation uses the power of hymns, Beej mantras, and sound waves to stimulate, open, and align the seven chakras.