Chakras & Everyday Life
Have you ever fantasized about cloning yourself so you could get more done? Well, in Yoga philosophy you have not one, but three bodies. The physical, is pretty much what it sounds like: your flesh and bones self. The subtle body: sum of parts unseen, such as energy, intellect and intuition. The third, is the astral: where the Yogi's believe you accumulate your karma and life impressions. And if you practice Yoga and meditation, you most likely know that the chakras are 7 energetic centers, located within the subtle body; each a vividly colored aura, linked to an earth element. Discovery of the chakras dates back to the age old Hindu texts, the Vedas and Upanishads.
When these main energetic centers function in harmony, prana (life force energy) flows. Although when you're blocked in certain areas, these internal disturbances manifest outward. Therefore, working with the chakras is another way to bring mind/body alignment. According to incensed psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, and author of “Awakening from Anxiety,” Rev. Connie Habash, “Just as you have emotions, or a sense of personal power (related to the 2nd and 3rd chakras), the chakras reflect what may be happening in that area of your life. Likewise, by consciously “tuning up” each of the 7 major chakras, you can improve those aspects of yourself.”
Do a Chakra Check
How do you know if you have a chakra blockage or imbalance? This is where your intuition and imagination come into play. According to Connie there are different ways to attune to your chakras, “Some people can visualize how each chakra appears; others may need to rely on an experience of energy or even physical sensations.” Whether subtle or obvious, always listen to the signals your body offers. “With some practice, you can learn to check in with each chakra readily,” says Connie.
Accessing your senses is vital. There are various ways to connect with the color aspect of a chakra: during meditation, focus on the energetic center of your body associated with a specific chakra, and its color. Then notice how you feel. Another option is wear that color. Decorate with it. Use it in a creative project, painting or drawing. Objects, such as stones and crystals are another way to link to specific chakras. Scent is powerful too. For a breakdown of essential oils that connect to various chakras, check out this list from Healthcare In America.
Yoga to the Rescue
Yoga practice is a beautiful resource for linking with chakras on numerous levels. You might wonder, if specific asanas balance different Chakras. Or is it more about attuning to them while you practice? Connie says, “There are definitely certain poses associated with each of the chakras. They may connect to the physical area of the body the chakra is located in, or to the element associated with the chakra.” Not surprisingly one asana may be effective for many chakras. Connie says, “Many poses, awaken several chakras. Warrior II is a good example – standing in stability to bolster 1st chakra’s earth element, opening through the pelvic area for 2nd chakra, feeling your strength and power at 3rd chakra, and expanding through the heart and arms at the 4th.”
Additionally, Connie says, “You can learn Yoga poses that balance every chakra, as well as sound.” How does it work? “Each chakra has a “seed” sound; a short, one-word mantra that activates that chakra. You can learn to chant all 7 seed sounds in sequence (the 7th chakra actually is either silence or all the sounds) to awaken your energy all the way up the spine to the crown of the head,” says Connie.
For a mini Breakdown of the chakras, read on...
Crown (7th) White/Lavender (Pure Light) – top of the head. This space governs higher consciousness, such as dreams and spirituality, along with the bliss-state and enlightenment. This is the white light, where you experience a connection to your true self. Linked to the brain and nervous system, the crown chakra is the space where pettiness falls away, and you are left with complete understanding, and serenity.
Third Eye (6th) Indigo/Deep Blue (Light) – the area between your eyebrows. It is your source of inspiration. When you are feeling stuck or blocked, try a mini massage to help awaken your third eye. This space signifies intuition, intellect, creativity, openness as well as the magical realm. Meditation and working to deepen your powers of concentration are especially meaningful for this chakra; as is self study, and delving into higher learning for personal development and emotional growth. All types of mindfulness practices serve to nurture your third eye chakra.
Throat (5th) - Blue/Turquoise (Ether) – the throat. Your voice houses self-expression and openness. This is where you speak your truth. So naturally, it reverberates through sound. For this reason, using your vocal power to chant, sing, or speak, is a lovely way to flex your 5th chakra. Connie says, “Notice, what you feel in your throat. You may feel choked up, or perhaps expansive, and what you feel there can indicate an imbalance. If there’s a sense of being stuck in the 5th, then you’re probably holding back something that needs to be communicated.”
Heart - (4th) Green (Air ) – middle of the chest. This reflects how you give and receive love and intimacy, also your ability to experience compassion and self-love. In Hatha Yoga, Connie says the heart chakra logically corresponds to heart-opening asanas, “So backbends are perfect, but also child’s pose, which releases the back of the spine in that area. The arms are an extension of the heart, so awareness of opening out from the heart through the arms in poses like Warrior II (which also increases courage, a quality of heart chakra) will awaken heart chakra.” Additionally, Connie explains that because this chakra's element is air, it also connects to breath and movement, “expanding your chest with your breath and flowing movements, especially using the arms, will also activate the heart chakra.”
Solar Plexus - (3rd) Yellow (Fire) – a couple of inches above the navel. That old expression, “the Fire in the belly,” might've been intuitively written about the 3rd chakra. Connie says, “it's a great chakra to get to know, as it relates to your sense of who you are, personal empowerment, and confidence. If you have an uneasy gut feeling, then chances are, it’s letting you know that the circumstance isn’t in alignment with you, and you either need to consider a change or shift your perspective on it.” So how can you harmonize this chakra? “By focusing on that area, visualizing yellow, using a yellow-colored stone like citrine, and chanting the seed sound (Rahm), the 3rd chakra will glow and grow in strength. Working in this manner will help you gain inner resolve and confidence, radiating from within,” says Connie.
Sacral – (2nd) Orange (Water) – lower abdomen. The sacral energy controls emotional and also the liquidity of your physical body. It also governs your gut/digestive fire, and how your digestive system converts food into usable energy. So your eating habits can strongly influence your sacral chakra. When in harmony, you feel nutritionally balanced, are easily adaptable to change, and comfortable with your sensuality. Creativity is part of your everyday life. Although, if you feel creatively stuck and unable to accept change, you may be imbalanced in this area.
Root – (1st) Red (Earth) – base of the spine. In charge of grounding, it links you to your physical body and is powerful for releasing negative emotions. Associated with your olfactory sense, aromatherapy can be especially beneficial to awaken the root chakra. When you are balanced in this energy you feel nurtured and secure, able to let go with ease. Mountain Pose, Tadasana, can help balance your root chakra, as well as taking long mindful walks.
Like Yoga and meditation, chakras are yet another tool for mind/body awareness. Connie says, “From the 1st chakra, that supports physical well-being, through emotions, creativity, and sexuality at the 2nd, personal empowerment at the 3rd, on up through transcendence at the 7th, you can touch on every major aspect of who you are.” So each day along with your usual mindfulness practices, allow time to observe what's occurring with your chakras, by mentally scanning them. Connie call's this process, '“your own personal energetic “hygiene” – keeping yourself balanced and optimal. If you have a strong connection with the chakras, they will let you know, through the sensations, images, and your increased intuition, when an area of your life needs more attention.”