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seven chakras

Yoga and the seven chakras

Yoga and the seven chakras. It almost sounds like a fairytale movie: Snow White and the seven dwarfs. I’ve been interested in chakras for a few years now and think they are fascinating. Often I work in my yoga classes with the chakras as well. Creating a class to balance one of them or all of them.

I have to admit: I come a long way. The first time chakras ‘came into my life’ I was 22 years old. My (by now ex) girlfriend talked a lot about them. I declared here crazy. Things you can’t see, don’t exist. And now: I’m studying them….

So what are they? Chakras are energy centers in our body. According to the yogis when we breath we don’t only breath in air, but also life energy: prana. This prana is distributed throughout the body. Our chakras play an important role in this distribution process.

We have a great amount of chakras: bigger and smaller ones. But – according to yogic philosophy – there are seven main chakras. The energy we breath in first goes to these seven main chakras, from here on it gets distributed to the rest of the body. Every chakra is connected with different body parts, muscles, organs and emotions. Our life energy is distributed through our nadis. We have 72.000 nadis within our body. The nadis are the same as the meridians, acupuncturists work with.

The seven chakras

1 – Muladhara chakra – root chakra

  • Element: earth
  • Place: between the anus and the genitals
  • Working area: pelvis, thighs, heels, bones, nails, hair
  • Muscles: muscles of the upper legs (tensor fascia lata and hamstrings)
  • Organs: descending part of the colon, rectum and anus
  • Senses: nose/smell
  • Physical qualities: health, power, vitality
  • Mental qualities: cellulaire wisdom, stability, joy for life, safety, survival instinct, feeling comfortable within your body

2 – Svadisthana – sacral chakra

  • Element: water
  • Place: sacrum, lowest part of the belly
  • Working area: kidneys, bladder, ankles, wrists, ball of the foot, liquid within the body
  • Muscles: muscles in and around the pelvis (gluteus) and the muscles that connect the pelvis with the legs, muscles on the inside of the legs (adductors)
  • Organs: genitals
  • Senses: tongue/taste
  • Physical qualities: flexibility, alignment of the pelvis
  • Mental qualities: making contact, friendship, enjoying life (food, art, sexuality), phantasy

3 – Manipura – solar plexus chakra

  • Element: fire
  • Place: between the navel and sternum
  • Working area: solar plexus, digestive organs, knees, lower legs, feet, elbows, shoulders, jawbones
  • Muscles: muscles of the shoulders and upper back, calve muscles
  • Organs: stomach, small intestine, ascending part en vertical part of the colon, gall bladder, liver, spleen
  • Senses: sight/eyes
  • Physical qualities: digestion
  • Mental qualities: power of the ego, self-awareness, being able to choose, functionality

4 – Anahata – heart chakra

  • Element: air
  • Place: behind the sternum at heart level
  • Working area: lungs and skin
  • Muscles: diaphragm, heart muscle, muscles of the shoulder girdle
  • Organs: hands; especially tops of the fingers
  • Senses: sense of touch/skin
  • Physical qualities: breath, hart, immunity
  • Mental qualities: harmony, love and kindness, gratitude, humor, transformation from animalistic behaviour to human behaviour

5- Vishuddha – throat chakra

  • Element: space
  • Place:throat
  • Working area: throat, neck vertebras, organs of balance, thyroid gland
  • Muscles: descending part of the trapezius
  • Organs: tongue
  • Senses: hearing/ears
  • Physical qualities: voice, articulation
  • Mental qualities: capacity to listen en communicate, detachment, self control, power of creation

6 – Ajna – third eye

  • Element: –
  • Place: in the center of the head; at the level and in the middle of the eyebrows
  • Working area: two highest neck vertebras, left and right side of the brain, sinuses, pituitary gland and pineal
  • Muscles: –
  • Organs: pituitary and pineal
  • Senses: –
  • Physical qualities: biorhythm, endocrine function, movement of the head
  • Mental qualities: comprehension, intellect, judgement

7 – Sahastrara – crown chakra

  • Element: –
  • Place: crown of the head
  • Working area: –
  • Muscles: –
  • Organs: –
  • Senses: –
  • Physical qualities: –
  • Mental qualities: sense of oneness, bliss

We develop the qualities that belong with a chakra in six (girls) or seven (guys; sorry, we are a bit slow) years time. So the qualities related to the first chakra we develop in the first six/seven years of our lives. The qualities related to the second chakra we develop when we are six/seven years old up until twelve/fourteen years and so on. Other qualities are developed as well, but not as strong.

If you feel certain mental or physical qualities are undeveloped you can focus on that chakra by meditating on it or by choosing a yoga series that strengthens and balances that chakra. We want all our chakras to be open and functioning well, so our energy is equally and well balanced distributed throughout our body; keeping our body healthy.  

Sources: MindBodyGreen, Yoga doen, chakra's ervaren (book), Chakras.info, Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha (book) 

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