• Bren

Yoga Poses To Balance Each Chakra

The chakra system in yoga tradition is a part of the subtle energy body. There are 7 chakras (some traditions have additional chakras). I have found this helpful diagram for your reference, thanks to Yogapedia for the image below.

I've been asked by students what to do when one chakra is out of balance, how to bring it back into balance, and how to discern between them.


Well, the answer is years of self-discovery.

Curiosity and self-awareness.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. This is subtle energy.


Often when we discuss a chakra imbalance, we are talking about deficiency. Know that it is of course possible to be excessive in one particular chakra as well.


I have compiled from my self discovery and research some tips and clues for you, below. I specialize in Yin Yoga as well as Hatha Yoga, which each use a different set of postures. I will provide recommendations for both.


*A note on balance: 'Achieving life balance' does not happen. Ever. You will never arrive at a time or place in which everything is balanced. Balance is a constant juggling act. If you would like to be balanced, you will need to put in constant effort and attention. Achieving balance is an ongoing activity that will never be perfected.

I say this so that you are not disappointed when you think you have arrived at balance. The work doesn't end (so learn to enjoy it).

 

Muladhara (Root) Chakra

Themes: grounding, safety, abundance.

Out of balance feels like: fight/flight/freeze constantly, jumpiness, edginess, feeling unsafe, lethargy.


Hatha Yoga Asanas to rebalance this chakra:

Virabhadrasana 2 +arm variations - try moving through warrior 2/exalted warrior/extended side angle in which the legs stay put and the torso and arms flow. Feel grounded through the soles of the feet.

Setu Bandhasana - bridge pose. Notice the points of contact between the body and the mat. When you lift up into your bridge, think about spreading the collarbones rather than just lifting the hips. Gaze stays up towards the ceiling.

Dandasana - staff pose, or the starting point of a seated forward fold. Try holding some dorsiflexion in the feet, sitting up really tall, and maybe fingertips touch down beside each hip. Bonus tip: use Bhu Mudra: extend just the index and middle finger of each hand, all other digits curled into the palm. 'Plug in' to the earth with these two fingers touching down on the mat/floor.



Yin Yoga poses to help rebalance:

Squat - classic upright or can be done with feet on the wall for a nice grounding feeling in the back of the torso.

Swan - use a prop under the hips if not grounded. You want the root chakra at the base of the spine to be resting down for this purpose, not floating

Sphinx - the entire front body is grounded. Find some comfort for the neck by either letting the forhead rest on a prop or holding the chin in the hands.



Try a grounding visualization meditation, such as picturing roots growing down into the earth from your body.

 


Svadisthana (Sacral) Chakra

Themes: creativity, sexuality.

Out of balance feels like: boredom, low or no libido, writer's block.


Hatha Yoga Asanas to rebalance this chakra:

Parivritta Janu Sirsasana (both sides!) - Revolved head-to-knee pose

Dhanurasana or Ardha Dhanurasana - Bow or Half Bow Pose

Garudasana (both sides) - Eagle standing balance. Keep a steady breath and use a still gaze point to help your balance.


Yin Yoga poses to help rebalance:

Reclined Butterfly - use a bolster under the spine when reclining, props under the knees if knees are high

Dragon Twist - place the forearm on a block if it doesn't reach the floor and find comfort for the neck

Supported Bridge - place a block or bolster directly under the sacrum - not the low back!


One might try some stream-of-consciousness journalling to help release emotions and get creativity flowing. Dancing is also a big help here.

 


Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra

Themes: strength of all kinds, confidence, self-esteem, willpower

Out of balance feels like: meek, no self-importance, putting others first to a fault OR narcissistic, big ego, overly self-important.


Hatha Yoga Asanas to rebalance this chakra:

Utkatasana - Chair Pose - fire up the core and hold steady!

Vasisthasana - Side Plank - use any variation that suits you here. Engage all sides of the core.

Navasana - Boat Pose - again, use any variation that works for you. Core all around, and especially abdomen, are engaged. Keep the lumbar curve in the spine, balancing up on the sitz bones

Ardha Matsyendrasana - Half Lord of the Fishes - an upright seated twist. Feel the twist happening right in the solar plexus area. Remember to practice both sides!


Yin Yoga poses to help rebalance:

Half Butterfly Twist - turn to face the extended leg, with an option to fold forward over the leg

Snail - maybe a prop catches your feet. Feel the compression in the abdomen as you breath steady

Cat Pulling It's Tail - you might use a strap to help you stay here for time or you could substitute another reclined spinal twist




 

Anahata (Heart) Chakra

Themes: compassion, generosity, love, forgiveness

Out of balance feels like: Unwilling to accept help, give too much, hold grudges


Hatha Yoga Asanas to rebalance this chakra:

Gomukhasana - Cow Face Pose - use a strap to help connect the hands if needed

Parsvakonasana - Extended Side Angle - invite the bicep of the extended arm to hover by the ear

Dancer's Pose - again, use a strap to reach the foot as needed


Yin Yoga poses to help rebalance:

Ustrasana - Camel pose - use blocks to rest the hands on, and find comfort for the neck.

Supported Fish - a block or bolster at the base of the shoulder blades

Dragonfly - place a bolster under the front of the torso if it doesn't touch down on the floor between the legs - we want the heart to rest down in this case




 

Vishuddhi (Throat) Chakra

Themes: communication, listening, speaking your truth

Out of balance feels like: holding back, difficulty communicating feelings with words, hearing problems.


Hatha Yoga Asanas to rebalance this chakra:

Sarvangasana - Shoulderstand - compression of the throat here is very stimulating. Use a blanket under the shoulders to allow for space in the neck

Parsvottonasana - Pyramid Pose - use blocks for longer arms, keep the spine long

Bhujangasana - Cobra pose - look slightly up and also widen the collarbones


Yin Yoga poses to help rebalance:

Supported Fish - use a bolster under the thoracic spine

Open Wing - find the variation that works for you - caution folks that have dislocated a shoulder before

Melting Heart - the variation that rests the chin on the mat (rather than the forehead) will be particularly beneficial




 

Ajna (Third Eye) Chakra

Themes: intuition, wisdom, knowing

Out of balance feels like: reactive, always trying to catch up, difficulty thinking, headaches.


Hatha Yoga Asanas to rebalance this chakra:

Balasana - Child's Pose - rest the forehead down on the mat. If it doesn't reach, use the hands to close the gap and let the head rest heavy.

Sirsasana - Headstand - keep the eyes open and see things from a different perspective while maintaining focus on the physical body

Prasarita Padottonasana - soften the gaze and turn the head to look left and right



Yin Yoga poses to help rebalance:

Child's Pose - the forehead touches down, rest heavy here

Butterfly Fold - reach the arms out in front of you and keep the gaze down

Toe Stand - eyes might be closed here and breath deeply! It's okay to hold this pose for a shorter period of time - maybe only one or two minutes



 

I'll leave it at that for now, of course we could talk about this topic for weeks and weeks.

Please let me know any questions you have or which areas you would like to dive deeper into!

All the best for your everlasting journey towards balance ;)

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