Get creative with the 7 chakras
Using the chakras to illuminate your yoga practice. By Jilly Shipway
If your yoga practice has lost its sparkle, then working with the seven chakras will bring back the magic! In this article, I’ll show you how the chakras can illuminate your yoga practice with a rainbow of colours.
There are seven chakras along the midline of the body, which are spinning vortices of psycho-spiritual energy that form part of a network of subtle energy within the human body. The chakras are wheels that connect the world of spirit and matter and provide an interface between the heavenly and earthly realms.
The chakras were imagined into being by the ancient yogis as an aid to meditation. I find that the chakras come to life when I visualise them as seven different coloured flowers along the length of the spine, from the tailbone to the crown of the head. As we picture each chakra’s flower, that chakra-flower opens and blossoms.
Here are 7 ways that you can introduce some chakra magic into your yoga practice.
- Build strong foundations with the Root Chakra (Muladhara). Its colour is red. Its bija (seed) mantra is Lam. Its element is earth, so we choose asanas that ground and evoke a sense of connection to the earth, such as Mountain Pose (Tadasana), Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana), Tree Pose (Vrksasana). Affirmations: The earth supports me. The earth nourishes me.
- Learn to go with the ebb and flow of life with the Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana). Its colour is orange. Its seed mantra is Vam. This chakra inspires us to cultivate sweetness in our yoga practice. Its element is water. Choose fluid movements and flowing yoga sequences such as Salute to the Moon (Chandra Namaskar) or Salute to the Sun (Surya Namaskar). Affirmations: I trust myself. My inner wisdom guides me.
- Fire up your confidence and be empowered with the Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura). Its colour is yellow. Its seed mantra is Ram. This chakra is ruled by the sun. Its element is fire. We build confidence by choosing expansive, powerful asanas such as Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana), Triangle Pose (Trikonasana), and strengthening poses such as Chair Pose (Utkatasana) or Plank Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana). Affirmations: My inner sun empowers me. I radiate love and light.
- Cultivate love and compassion for yourself and others with the Heart Chakra (Anahata). Its colours are pink and green. Its seed mantra is Yam. Its element is air. We choose heart-opening poses such as Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana), and Bow Pose (Dhanurasana). We make our inner dialogue kind and compassionate, talking to ourselves with the same love and understanding that we would show a good friend. Affirmations: My spacious heart holds all. My loving heart heals all.
- Speak your truth. Listen to and learn from others with the Communication Chakra (Vishuddha). Its colour is blue. Its seed mantra is Ham. You can overcome any difficulty you are having expressing yourself by using sound and mantra, which frees the voice and is exhilarating! We integrate seed mantras into flowing yoga sequences. Affirmations: I speak my truth with love. I speak my truth with compassion.
- See intuitively with the inner eye and develop your imagination with the Third Eye Chakra (Ajna). Its colour is indigo. Its seed mantra is Am. The inner eye can be activated by visualising colours, light, yantras, and mandalas. We use mantra to experience vibration at the third eye, especially during the prolonged mm sound of the mantra Om. Affirmations: Love flows. Light heals.
- Relax into a state of pure bliss with the Crown Chakra (Sahasrara). Its colours are violet, gold, and white. Its seed mantra is Om. Working with this chakra is transformative, you feel connected to the cosmos and open to receiving divine inspiration. In a crown chakra yoga practice, it’s important to maintain an energetic connection with the lower chakras to ensure that you don’t get spaced out when working at this more spiritual level. We cultivate a meditative, prayerful quality to the practice by including slow, flowing yoga sequences, combining mantras with yoga asanas, and visualizing light circulating around the body. Affirmation: Light of love within, light of love without.
I hope this has emboldened you to bring a splash of rainbow colour onto your yoga mat. I’d encourage you to dive deeper and explore further the treasure trove that is the chakras. Doing so will brighten up your yoga and enrich your daily life, bringing heaven down to earth. For more chakra-inspired meditations, visualisations, and yoga practices, check out my latest book, Chakras for Creativity: Meditations and Yoga-Based Practices to Awaken Your Creative Potential.
Jilly is a yoga teacher and author of Yoga Through the Year, Yoga by the Stars, and Chakras for Creativity.