What are the Chakras?

The word chakra means ‘wheel’ or ‘circle’. Chakras are whirlpools of pranic energy and here the pranic circulation is being controlled. Activation of chakras open areas of the brain. It is an expansion of energy.

The chakras are symbolically shown as lotus flowers. This represents the stages from ignorance to illumination.

A bija mantra also helps to manifest the psychic energy connected to the chakras. The bija mantra is a sound from the sanskrit alphabet. The term comes from the Sanskrit, bija, meaning “seed,” man, meaning “to think” and tra meaning “tool”.

A yantra is a picture that represents aspects of our consiousness. The translation of Yantra from Sanskrit is ‘device for holding’. It’s a diagram, or any object used as help to meditate.

Mooladhara
Mool means ‘root’ and Adhara means ‘place’

Yantra
Imagine a red lotus flower with four petals. In the center there is a yellow square, this is the yantra of the earth element. In the middle of the square see the bija mantra LAM. In the yellow square there is a red triangle pointed downward. This is the symbol of shakti or the creative energy. In the triangle a smokey colored linga symbolizing the astral body. The triangle is supported by an elephant with seven trunks symbolizing the stability of earth.

Location
This chakra is located at the base of the spine. Here lies the force that binds engery into matter. That creates the firmness that we experience as the pshyical world. For our long journey upward the chakras we need deep roots. The roots are our support and here we come to honor our pshyical body. It is the centre of physical energy, grounding and basic suvival instinct. This Chakra is associated with the feet, legs, hips and back.

It is believed that the energy of the Godess Shakti is coiled as a snake around the base chakra holding matters together. When aroused this energy also called kundalini, moves up and awakens each chakra. Shakti is seeking her divine partner Shiva. He resides in pure awareness at the crown chakra.

Balance
When balanced you feel grounded, secure, present and you don’t distrust people without reasons. You feel connected to your physical body. When this chakra is under active you will feel fearful, nervous and unwelcome.
When over active, a person would be materialistic, greedy, resisting change to hold on the the feeling of secruity.

Swadhisthana
Swa means ‘self’ and Sthan means ‘dwelling place’.

Yantra
Imagine a six petal orange lotus and in the center a white crescent moon symbolizing the water element. See the bija mantra VAM. The moon and the mantra are riding on a crocodile symbolizing the movement of karmas.

Location
Two fingers width above Mooladhara. The energy of this chakra is located around the sacrum, hips and pelvic. The chakra is associated with the reproductive organs, creativity, movement, sensation, pleasure, desire, sexuality and emotion. It is the place of the most primitive human instincts.

Balance
When balanced you are open to intimacy and you can be passionate. You overcome fear and enjoy sensations. If under active you are stiff, unemotional and reserved towards people. When over active you are over emotional, quickly feeling attached to people. Activation of this chakra may manifest as overwhelming physical desires and cravings.

Manipura
Mani means ‘gem’ and Pura meaning ‘city’

Yantra
Imagine a yellow lotus with ten petals. Within the lotus a red triangle, the yantra of the fire element. In the middle the bija mantra RAM is shown. A male goat is pictured to symbolize confidence and energy.

Balance
When balanced you feel confident and in control. If under active you feel passive, indecisiveness, laziness, depression and constipation. When over active you are likely to become too dominat, aggressive and use other people to gain personal power and satisfy your own needs.

Location
Behind the navel you find the center of fire radiating with energy. It is the chakra of dominance, willpower and ambition. This chakra is associated with the stomach, upper intestines, upper back, the gastric glands, pancreas, gall bladder and many other organs associated with the process of digestion and absorbtion of nutrients. Here you feel the drive to nurture yourself. Manipura also governs the adrenal glands which produce adrenalin which makes the mind fast, the heart beat faster and the body is prepared for an intense level of activity. Here the divine consiousness ignites the fire of our will to burn through difficulties and digest our life.

Anahata
Means ‘unstruck’

When awakened the heart sends out love to all our relations to ourself, others, cultures, the planet and the universe. This chakra is associated with giving and recieving. Listen to yourself and do things that fulfill you. Sometimes we forget that we are love. Love can get overshadowed by the drama of everyday life, the material, the daily routine and we miss observing the magic that exsists in everything like experiences and people.

Yantra
Imagine a green lotus with twelve petals. In the center a hexagon, the yantra of the air element and the bija mantra YAM. A black antelope symbolizies alertness for this chakra. There’s a small flame in the middle.

Location
The sound coming from beyond this material world is called ‘Anahad nada’ meaning the unstruck sound. The heart center is where this sound manifests. In the spine at level with the heart. This chakra is associated with the heart and lungs. Also associated with this chakra is the thymus Gland located above the heart and it produces cells vital to the body’s immune system. This explains the healing felt from this chakra.

The kundalini carries us upwards with love and ask the heart to open. Expand into the element of air with every breath. At this chakra we enter the mystery of relationships and love. As we let go of ego, a journey with other people begin. The heart is a soft place of compassion and connection.

Balance
When this chakra is balanced you feel compassionate and friendly. You work towards relationships with hamony. If under active you may feel cold and distant. When over active you are suffocating people with your love and your love might have selfish reasons. It can lead to emotions of jealousy.

Vishuddhi
Shuddhi means ‘purification’ and the word Vi in front increase this quality.

This chakra invites us to open our voices to speak the truth in life. From vibration, to sound, to language, to communication, to expression of creativity. We share music, knowledge and poetry.

Yantra
Imagine a blue lotus with sixteen petals. In the center a white circle, the yantra of the space element, and the bija mantra HAM. A white elephant is pictured symbolizing knowledge.

Location
At the back of the neck, behind the throat. This is the center of purification. This chakra is associated with the ears, throat, mouth, vocal cord and the thyroid gland. It is the centre of communication, speech and writing.

At the throat lies the place where a nectar called ‘Amrita’ falls down. It is the elixir of immortality and is produced at the top of the back of the head. It falls down to Vishuddhi to be purified and then used thoughout the body.

Balance
When this chakra is balanced you are self expressive and creative. When under active, introverted and shy. Not speaking the truth may be in the way of activating this chakra. When overactive a person would be talking too much.

Ajna
Ajna means ‘command’.

Yantra
Imagine a indigo colored lotus with two petals, representing the sun and moon, pingala the positive and ida the negative force. The two petals also represent duality brought to a single pointed focus at the third eye. The bija mantra is OM.

Location
In the midbrain behind the eyebrow center. In deeper stages of meditation, guidance is recieved from a guru, from the divine or higher self. This explains the meaning of the word Ajna. Ida and pingala, these two pranic flows are responsible for the experience of duality which meets at sushumna, the central energy channel.
At this chakra wisdom and intuition develop. The ajna chakra is similar to the pineal gland. Which is slowly becoming less effective in adults due to neglect. This chakra is responsible for mental and psychic forces like telepathy. A tought is a very light form of energy. When Ajna is awakend it is possible to send and recieve thoughts. It is the place of awareness. It develops good memory, intelligence and concentration. It is associated with the pineal gland, skull, eyes, brain, nervous system, the senses and the pituitary gland (which releases hormones having influence on body chemistry). Here the kundalini uncoil from our meditation to open our third eye, the center of vision, insight and immgination. Seek your guidance to see the vision within the stillness of our inner world. Find your path.

Balance
When balanced you feel intuitive. The mind becomes strong.
If under active then you depend on others, get confused and follow beliefs easily. When over active a person is likely to live in a world of fantasy and hallucinations are possible.

Sahasrara
Sahasrara means ‘one thousand’

Yantra
Imagine a shining violet lotus with a thousand petals. In the center of the lotus is a jyotirlinga which is the symbol of light and pure consiousness. Jyoti means ‘radiance’ and lingam ‘sign’. It is the symbol of Shiva.

Location
On top of the head. Here lies the highest consiousness. When the kundalini awakens it rises through all chakras to Sahasrara and this is where Shakti unites with Shiva. This means fusion of matter and energy with pure consiousness. The induvidual soul unites with the universal soul.
This chakra is associated with the central nervous system and pineal gland which is located in the brain and produces melatonin. Melotonin affects the other glands in the endocrine system and this mirrors this chakras relationship with the other chakras. Sahasrara is associated with the top of the spinal cord, brain stem, pain centre and nerves. This chakra is the centre of enlightenment, oneness and consiousness coming from within. You are consiousness. Conscious, aware, divine, having endless possibilities.

Balance
When activated you feel aware of the self, have spiritual wisdom and have the feeling of being one with the world. If under active a person is not aware spiritually. If over active you do not have a flexible mind, likely to be addicted to spirituality and could be ignoring bodily needs.

Poses for the Chakras

The list below shows poses which will bring awareness to a specific chakra or energy center in your body.
You will find both the English and Sanskrit name of the asana.

Mooladhara chakra
Palm Tree Pose – Tadasana
Tip Toe Pose – Pada Angushthasana
Eagle Pose – Garudasana
Raised Hand To Big Toe Pose – Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana
Hanumanasana – Split
Swaying Palmtree Pose – Tiryaka Tadasana

Swadhisthana chakra
One foot Pose or Warrior lll – Eka Padasana
Hand To Foot Pose – Padhastasana
Half Lotus Forward Bending – Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana
Seated Forward Fold – Paschimottanasana
Cat Stretch Pose (cat&cow) – Marjariasana
Striking Cobra Pose – Shashank Bhujangasana
Tiger Pose – Vyaghrasana
Cobra – Bhujangasana
Sleeping Thunderbolt – Supta Vajrasana
Half Moon – Ardha Chandrasana
Camel – Ustrasana

Manipura chakra
One Foot Pose or Warrior lll – Eka Padasana
Triangle – Trikonasana
Bow Pose – Dhanurasana
Revolving Triangle – Parvritta Trikonasana
Vajrasana – Thunderbolt
Swaying Palmtree Pose – Tiryaka Tadasana
Wheel Pose – Chakrasana
Plough – Halasana
Fish – Matsyasana
Setu Asana – Bridge Pose (Upward Plank)
Universal spinal twist

Anahata chakra
Bow Pose – Dhanurasana
Fish – Matsyasana
Sleeping Thunderbolt – Supta Vajrasana
Cows Face Pose – Gomukhasana
Shoulder Pose – Kandharasana
Right Angle Pose – Samakonasana
Half Camel – Ardha Ushstrasana
Eka Pada Pranamasana – One legged Prayer Pose / Tree Pose
Hidden Lotus Pose – Gupta Padmasana

Vishuddhi Chakra
Bow Pose – Dhanurasana
Sleeping Thunderbolt – Supta Vajrasana
Shoulder Pose – Kandharasana
Half Locust – Ardha Shalabhasana
Locust Pose – Shalabhasana
Plough – Halasana
Half Camel – Ardha Ushstrasana
Camel – Ustrasana
Shoulder Stand – Sarvanghasana
Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
Roaring Lion Pose – Simhagarjanasana

Ajna chakra
Lord Shiva’s Pose – Natarajasana
Cows Face Pose – Gomukhasana
Roaring Lion Pose – Simhagarjanasana
Corpse – Savasana
Palm Tree Pose – Tadasana
Eka Pada Pranamasana – One legged Prayer Pose / Tree Pose

Sahasrara chakra
Headstand – Sirshasana
Crown-based Pose – Moordhasana

The Meridian Clock

Maximize Qi (Prana, life force) with information and knowledge about the dominant 2 hour period for each meridian (energy channel). This meridian clock shows the recommended activity, the associated organ and function of this organ. Location of the meridian is also shown and the associated element according to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).

To go deeper into Yin Yoga and Meridians, join the certified course Hatha Yoga World offers. Below you will find more details about Yin Yoga and the meridian clock.

The key element of the TCM system is the meridians which are channels that connect different parts of the body and allow Qi to flow properly, just like the concept of Nadis and Prana in Traditional Hatha Yoga. Each organ has different channels with different effects on the body. By stimulating these points, we can balance the energy and heal the body and mind.

Meridians are not visible but are important for our existence. Yin Yoga targets parts of the body through asanas, to stress and stimulate the fascia to open the energy channels. Meridians work as a way for transportation of Qi throughout the body.

Practicing Yin Yoga with focus on a specific meridian helps to balance the five elements by stretching different energy channels. This practice brings harmony and has profound physical, emotional and energetic benefits.

The Meridian Clock Each organ has a two-hour period where its energy dominates the body. Within this period, it is thought to be the best time to do certain activities that make the most sense according to the functioning of the organ. If health issues happen at the same time daily, looking at the meridian clock can help us find an answer to what might be happening on a Qi level inside the body. This guidance may be able to help a person deal with the issue.

Nadis & the Breath, Brain, Body connection

There are 72.000 Nadis in our body. The most often mentioned are the Ida, Pingala and Sushumna Nadi. You will learn about these Nadis and chakras during a 100, 200 or 300 hour Teacher Training at Hatha Yoga World.

Nadis are channels where energy flows. The meaning of the word Nadi is literally flow. Vital energy flows in our Nadis to every part of our body.  

Sushumna is the central energy channel flowing though the center of the spine. Here seven chakras are located from base to crown.  

Ida is representing the moon, and Pingala the sun. These two pranic flows are responsible for the experience of duality which meets at Sushumna Nadi, the central energy channel. The current of energy in Ida and Pingala Nadi flows from below and upwards in a criss-cross, making the chakras spin.   

Ida and Pingala controls the body alternately. If you notice the air passing through your nostrils, you will find that in one side the air is flowing more freely.  

When the left nostril is open, it’s the lunar energy, Ida Nadi and the right-side brain which is in function. When the right nostril is more open, the solar energy, Pingala Nadi and the left part of the brain is activated. This affects our whole body and daily life.  

When the Ida and Pingala energy flow are balanced, then the energy flows through the Sushumna Nadi. This leads to a feeling of peace and bliss. This higher level of consciousness is what can be experienced through yogic practices like meditation, asana and pranayama which is all a part of our offered yoga teacher training courses in India, Rishikesh.