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May 8, 2017
By Yogalife

Poses to Open and Activate your Chakras

Activate your Chakras with Karen Mattar

“Chakras are circular (or flower petal shaped) vortexes of energy lying across seven different points on our spinal column. The seven chakras are connected to different glands and organs in the body and are responsible for uniform distribution of life energy through them. When there is a disruption in this life energy or a blockage in any one or more Chakras, the individual may suffer from health or mental issues. Thus, the Chakras form the energy ecosystem of every individual.
A deficiency in this ecosystem can wreak havoc in the different areas of life. The chakras affect our perceptions, feelings and choices. Opening and balancing the Chakras opens the senses, and integrates them into a responsive network that is connected to the life force within us and around us. Thus creating good health, balance, harmony and grounding. There are many asanas that will open up your chakras. We present two poses for each chakra, for best results it is advised to do poses for all seven chakras. Each pose should be held for atleast one minute and longer if possible. In order to fully appreciate the depth and significance of the chakras, its best to work with an experienced kundalini yoga teacher. After years of practice it is possible to experience a Kundalini Awakening. As a short practice hold each pose for 1 minute and you will complete all 14 poses with in 21 minutes.”

“Each of the seven chakras are governed by spiritual laws, principles of conciousness that we can use to cultivate greater harmony, happiness and wellbeing in our lives and in the world.” ~ Deepak Chopra

First Chakra – Courage

Root Chakra/Muladhara

The Root Chakra  is the energy center at the base of our spine and connects to our sense of groundedness as well as instincts of survival. When off balance, it makes us feel low in energy, alienated – from ourselves and others – and easily angered.When in balance, it makes us feel secure, stable, full of health, energy and vitality.

Pose: Warrior II

Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), standing with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms at your sides. Exhale as you step your feet wide apart, about 4 to 5 feet. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees, so your toes are pointing to the top of the mat. Pivot your left foot slightly inwards. Repeat on other side.

Pose: Reverse Warrior

From Warrior II pose (with the left knee bent), bring the right hand down to rest on the right leg. Keep the left knee bent, pressing into the feet with the legs strong. Breathe and hold for atleast 1 minute and longer if possible. To release: inhale the arms parallel to the floor coming back into Warrior II. Repeat on other side.

Other suggested Asanas: Tree Pose and Easy Pose (Sukhasana)  These poses are Grounding and Centring.

Second Chakra – Creativity

Sacral (Navel) Chakra/Svadhistana

The second chakra, located in the reproductive area, connects to our feelings, emotions, sexuality & creativity. When off balance we may feel jealousy, guilt, possessiveness, shame of our body/sexuality. When in balance this chakra brings us grace, flexibility, depth of feeling, sexual fulfilment & creativity.

Pose: Goddess Squat

From Mountain pose (Tadasana), turn to face the long edge of your yoga mat and step your feet wide and parallel 3 feet apart. Turn your toes out and your heels in, creating a 45 degree angle with each foot. On an exhale, take a deep bend in your knees, moving toward bringing your thighs parallel to the ground and your hips in line with your knees. The knees have a tendency to bow inwards as they bend, so ensure that your knees remain stacked directly over your ankles. Extend your arms out at shoulder height and bend your elbows to 90 degrees with your palms facing away from you. Spread your fingers wide and draw your shoulder blades into your back. Keep your core engaged and draw your low ribs into your body. Lengthen your tailbone down toward the ground and keep your shoulders stacked directly over your hips. Press down evenly through the soles of both feet and remain in the pose for as long as possible. It is not necessary to be on your toes if your are uncomfortable.

Other suggested Asanas: Crow Pose, Frog Pose and Cobra Pose.

Pose: Malasana

Begin by standing at the top of your mat in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your arms at your sides. Step your feet about as wide as your mat. Bend your knees and lower your hips, coming into a squat. Separate your thighs so they are slightly wider than your torso. Drop your torso slightly forward and bring your upper arms to the inside of your knees. Press your elbows along the inside of your knees and bring your palms together in prayer position (Anjali Mudra). Work toward bringing your hands to your heart center and your forearms parallel to the floor. Lift and lengthen your torso, keeping your spine straight and shoulders relaxed. Shift your weight slightly into your heels. Hold for as long as possible.

Third Chakra – Power

Solar Plexus Chakra / Manipura

The third chakra, located in our solar plexus, connects to our ego, will, personal power and autonomy. When off balance it can threaten our self-confidence, cause depression and confusion. When in balance it brings us harmony & protection, the feeling of being comfortable with oneself and with others.

Pose: Variation of half twist

Sit in half twist pose and straighten upwards your right leg. Bend your left leg and try to touch your feet to your right buttock. Bring your right leg outside of the left knee. Touch your feet to the ground. Keep your spine erect. Exhale and turn your upper body to the right. Hold your right feet with left hand and place your right hand behind you are on the ground. Breathe normally and hold this pose as long as possible. Repeat on the other side with left leg upwards.

Pose: Boat

Begin seated with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hands resting beside your hips. Keeping your spine straight, lean back slightly and lift your feet, bringing your shins parallel to the floor. Draw in your low back, lift your chest, and lengthen the front of your torso. Hold this as long as possible and remember to breath calmly.

Other suggested Asanas: Standing Twists,  Half Boat Pose and Leg Lifts

Fourth Chakra – LoveHeart Chakra / Anahata

The fourth chakra, is located in the region of the heart, connects us to our emotional self, bringing harmony, forgiveness, sincerity and love. When off balance it can lead to over-loving, overly guarded, jealousy, abandonment, loneliness and bitterness. When in balance we feel joy, love, gratitude and compassion.

Pose: Cow Pose

The pose should look like a cat stretching its back. Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest. Inhale, coming back into Cow Pose, and then exhale as you return to Cat Pose. Repeat as many times as possible, and then rest by sitting back on your heels with your torso upright.

Pose: Camel Pose

Come to your knees, with your legs hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips, with your thumbs on your sacrum, the bony plate at the base of your spine. Keep your hips over your knees and internally rotate your thighs, squeezing them toward each other. Inhale to engage your lower belly and reach your tailbone toward your knees, creating space between your lower vertebrae. On another inhalation, lift your sternum and draw your elbows toward each other, allowing your rib cage to expand. Keep your chest raised, your core engaged, your spine long, and your chin tucked as you drop your hands toward your heels. Press the heels of your hands into the heels of your feet while draping the fingers over the soles. Keep lifting through your sternum. Now lift your shoulders to allow the trapezius muscles between the shoulder blades to rise up and cushion your cervical spine. Gently lower the head and neck and gaze at the tip of your nose. To exit the posture, bring your chin back toward your chest and your hands to your hips with your thumbs on your sacrum. Engage your lower belly and use your hands to support your lower back as you come up slowly.

Other suggested Asanas: Cobra Pose and Backbends

Fifth Chakra – Expression

Throat Chakra / Vishuddha

The fifth chakra, located in the throat region connects us to our expressive self, reinforcing communication, speech and healing. When off balance there may be issues of self-expression, fear of no power or control. When in balance, we can express our truth without worrying about what others may think.

Pose: Shoulder Stand

Begin by lying flat on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your sides, palms down. Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet flat on the floor. On an inhalation, use your abdominal muscles to lift your legs and hips off the floor. Curl your torso and bring your knees in toward your face. Then, lift your hips and bring your torso perpendicular to the floor. Bend your elbows and place your hands on your lower back with your fingertips pointing up toward the ceiling. Keep your elbows on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Do not let your elbows splay out to the sides. When you are comfortable, lift your thighs so they are vertical to the floor, keeping your knees bent. Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone. Then, straighten your legs fully and reach your feet up to the ceiling. Lift through the balls of your feet. Bring your shoulders, hips, and feet into one line. Keep your head and neck in line with your spine and do not turn your head. Draw your shoulder blades firmly into your upper back. Keep a space between your chin and chest, and soften your throat. Gaze toward your chest. Hold the pose for as long as you can. To release the pose, slowly lower your feet back to the ground, coming into Plough Pose (Halasana) with your hands supporting your back. Then, release your hands to your sides and slowly roll down, one vertebra at a time, bending your knees if you need to.

Other suggested Asanas: Lion Pose and Plough Pose

Pose: Fish Pose

Begin by lying on your back with your legs extended and your arms resting alongside your body, palms down. Press your forearms and elbows into the floor and lift your chest to create an arch in your upper back. Lift your shoulderblades and upper torso off the floor. Tilt your head back and bring the crown of your head to the floor. Keep pressing through your hands and forearms. There should be very little weight pressing through your head. Keep your thighs active and energized. Press outward through your heels. Hold for as long as possible. To release the pose, press firmly through your forearms to slightly lift your head off the floor. Then exhale as you lower your torso and head to the floor.

Other suggested Asanas: Lion Pose and Plough Pose

Sixth Chakra – Intuition

Third Eye Chakra / Ajna

The sixth chakra, located in the middle of the eyebrows connects to our cosmic insight. When off balance there may be moodiness, day dreaming and distrust. When in balance, we feel open and focused and can easily determine between truth and illusion.

Pose: Child

Begin on your hands and knees. Spread your knees wide apart while keeping your big toes touching. Sit up straight and lengthen your spine up through the crown of your head. On an exhalation, bow forward, draping your torso between your thighs. Keep your arms long and extended, palms facing down. Hold this restorative pose as long as possible.

Other suggested Asanas: Standing Forward Bend and Dolphin Pose

Pose: Head to knee forward bend

Begin seated in Staff pose, with both legs extended straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee and bring the sole of your right foot to meet your inner left thigh. The outer edge of your right foot should be on the ground, and the heel should be just in front of the groin. Turn your torso to face the left foot. Keep the left foot flexed and active, and energetically press down through the heel of the foot to engage the left leg. On an inhale, extend both arms up alongside your ears. Reach your fingertips toward the ceiling and lengthen evenly along both sides of your body. Maintaining the length along the spine, hinge at the hips on your next exhale and begin to fold forward over your extended leg. Let your hands fall wherever they may — the ground on either side of the extended leg, holding on to the calf, or holding on to the left foot. Keep your shoulders back and relaxed away from your ears, broaden across the collarbones, and reach your sternum toward the toes of your left foot. Remain in the pose for as long as possible. Repeat with the other leg.

Seventh Chakra – Wisdom

Crown Chakra / Sahasrara

The seventh chakra, located at the top of the head connects us to our higher consciousness. When off balance there may be depression, rigid thoughts, confusion and fear of alienation. When in balance, we live in the now with a strong trust in our inner guidance.

Pose: Headstand

Come into table top position. Clasp your hands and place your head on the mat. Move into half-forearm headstand position. Kick your legs up and hold the headstand. Use a wall support to steady the pose if necessary. Hold as long as possible. Slowly and with control, lower your legs to the ground one by one.

Other suggested Asanas: Corpse Pose. Alternate Nostril Breathing. Aum Chanting in Lotus Pose

Pose: Lotus Pose

Sit on the floor with your legs extended, spine straight, and arms resting at your sides. Bend your right knee and hug it to your chest. Then, bend your left knee. Draw your knees as close together as possible. Rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing up and hands in the Gyan Mudra. Spine and neck extending upwards effortlessly. Onceyou are fully comfortable and your breath is calm start meditating focusing on the crown chakra. Meditate silently for about 20 minutes. Alternatively chant OM for 5-10 minutes.

Done by Karen Mattar.

Bio: ” I studies in Business and management in Lebanon and Art in Paris (I am Lebanese and french, grew up in Lebanon) and later on, entered the corporate world. Obviously corporate world wasn’t for me so I just left it after 4 years and dedicated my time fully to Yoga and Wellness. This was in 2016 (yes, not long time ago!). I am passionate about Yoga and wellness. I got certified in India in 2016, in multi style yoga and meditation. I also had my Reiki certification there. And got my certification in Bootybarre (barre class) here in Dubai. 2017 started so good for me: lots of learning, growing, inspiration and sharing. Getting my certifications in level 2 vinyasa, meditation (one more!) and restorative Yoga. I currently teach private yoga classes here in Dubai, and group yoga classes at Yoga house (I teach most of my yoga classes there + barre classes), fitrepublik and gravity calisthenics gym.”

Art Director: Kish

Photographer: Davod Nascimento

Assistant: Vanessa Arnold

Studio: Aum Media

Posted by: Elena (Yogalife Team)


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