What Are Chakras and Why is Everyone Talking About Them?

Ardas Kaur - Chakra Flow Yoga

The chakras are a wonderful way to better understand and experience our own energy system.  Chakra literally means “wheel” or “circles” in Sanskrit.  Think of these wheels as distribution centers for prana(life-force energy), or spinning vortexes of energy that provide us insight into our true selves.   Each one resonates with a particular color, element, area of the body and inner state.  Energy flows though the entire body from the chakras and these energy centers interact with and influence our thoughts, moods, and health.

There are 7 major chakras in the body and one that encompasses them all, totaling 8.  Each chakra has an important function to perform for us and we need all of them.  The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd are often referred to as the “lower triangle” but they are just as important as the “upper triangle” or higher centers. The first three deal  mainly with the physical needs of the body and basic needs of life.  The last five work within the spiritual realms and are rooted in universal consciousness.  We practice yoga in order to balance and coordinate the functions of our lower chakras and to experience the realms of our higher centers. From the base of the spinal chord to the top of the head here is a glimpse at each chakra:

First Chakra1st Chakra, Muladhara

The 1st Chakra, Muladhara, is located at the rectum or base of the spine. This center resonates with color red and is connected to the earth element.  It relates to our instinctual nature and our drive to fulfill our most primitive needs of safety and survival. It is the foundation of our entire system.

2nd Chakra2nd Chakra, Svadhistana

The 2nd Chakra, Svadhistana, is located at the sexual organs. This center resonates with the color orange, and the element of water.  It relates to our focus on procreation and creativity.  Here we begin to establish our relationship with others and experience a passion and joy for life.

3rd Chakra3rd Chakra, Muladhara

The 3rd Chakra, Muladhara, is located at the navel center including the solar plexus area.  It is the principal storehouse of energy, where all 72,000 nerve endings meet.  This center resonates with the color yellow and is considered the seat of our personal power, health, and vitality.  Here we begin to develop our fire in the belly, confidence, and personal growth.

4th Chakra4th Chakra, Anahata

The 4th Chakra, Anahata, is  located at the heart center in the area of the sternum. This center resonates with the color green and the element of air.  Often referred to as the “bridge to the higher centers” this is where we develop the capacity to experience and express love and compassion for ourselves and others.

5th Yoga Chakra5th Chakra, Vishudha

The 5th Chakra, Vishudha, is located at the throat.  It relates to our ability to communicate effectively and resonates with the color of light blue.  It s here that we learn how to speak with authenticity, kindness, and grace.  This center also helps us to listen more actively and intuitively.

6th Yoga Chakra6th Chakra, Ajna

The 6th Chakra, Ajna is located at the 3rd eye, or brow point and is stimulated by the color of indigo or dark blue.  This is our center of intuition and wisdom.  It is our center of discovery and gives us the ability to interpret life events clearly.

7th Chakra7th Chakra, Sahashrara

The 7th Chakra, Sahashrara is located at the crown of the head.  This is the highest center in our body and resonates with light itself.  It is here that we begin to experience a sense of boundlessness and a connection to all things.  Meditation becomes effortless.

8th Chakra, Aura or Magnetic Field

The 8th Chakra, Aura or Magnetic Field is located up to 9 feet around the physical body.  This field of energy works as a protective shield for the 7 chakras within the body as well as from illness and disease.  It attracts and propels energy and enables us to project our authentic self out into the world.

8 Ways to Keep Your Liver Happy

Lemon Water Helps Your Liver

Your liver is one of your largest organs in the body and works extremely hard to remove harmful toxins from the body.  Keeping it healthy is vital to your overall well being.  As we practice yoga we are constantly learning more about ourselves and our body but there is always more to learn.  Do you know if your liver is in need of some love and attention?

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Spring is the season of the liver.  Imagine spring as a sort of “awakening” for the liver, a time when it becomes more active, working hard to clean out a winter’s worth of congestion.

Today I want to focus on giving it some extra support and love.  I’ve pulled together 8 simple tips to help keep your liver healthy …and happy.   I hope you will give it some extra support by trying a few of these practices:

  1.  Start your morning off with warm water and the juice of a half a fresh lemon-this contributes to the alkalinity of your body’s system.
  2. Try oil pulling in the morning before brushing your teeth (I like to use organic coconut oil) and swoosh about a tablespoon in your mouth for 10-20 minutes and then discard in the trash.  (hint: never discard oil in the sink as it will eventually harden and ruin your drain)
  3. Get out there and sweat!  Exercise or sit in a sauna as sweating releases and liberates toxins.
  4. Practice a breathing technique, often used in Kundalini Yoga, called Breath of Fire.  This not only expands the capacity of the lungs to breathe deeper and more effeciantly but it also quickly oxygenates your blood.  Within just 3 minutes of breath of fire, the body begins to detoxify itself and removes waste more effectively.
  5. Practice yoga poses that invite you to twist the torso.   You can do gentle seated twists or more active poses such as twisted chair ( pavrita ukhatasana) but always remember to lengthen the spine on the inhale and twist on the exhale.
  6. Enjoy green veggie juices and get enough fiber-rich foods to bind up toxins in the gut and help promote elimination.
  7. Have some curry!  The turmeric in curry powder is anti-inflammatory and contribute to the production of glutathione, a potent liver-protectvie antioxidant.  Avocados are also a rich source of glutathione.
  8. Take an Epsom salt bath before bed.  Not only will magnesium-rich epsom salts help you sleep, they also draw toxins out of the body.

 

An Easy Kundalini Warmup

Yoga mantra in bed

We all have busy lives and it isn’t easy to always find time for the yoga which we love. This week I’m sharing one of my best and easiest Kundalini warmups. Even if you only have a small window of time it is a great way to refresh and re-energize yourself no matter where you are.

Start by finding a quiet space where you can take up to 20 minutes to do the warmup. The ideal time is 20 minutes but even if you only have 10 minutes this warmup can help shift your energy and get your day back on track.