Spinning Your Wheels

When I first started teaching yoga to my community in Harlem I ran the classes as eight week series. I found having a theme running through those eight weeks helped to give me and the folks in class a focus. As I began this year, I felt very muddy in my brain and in my gut as to what I wanted to offer my classes. So I decided to utilize this practice of an on-going theme to help give me some direction. I came back to the chakras. It seemed perfect, as we begin a new year, to spend some rebalancing our energies.

The chakras are energy centers in our body. While we can’t see or physically touch them, we can definitely experience the sensation of them: when they are out of balance (deficient or in excess) and when we awaken them and move toward balance.

In most practices there are said to be 7 chakras aligned vertically from the base of the spine to the top of the head. I, along with other practices, believe there to be an 8th chakra – our aura that resides above us and all around us. These energy centers are described as spinning wheels of energy that absorb and process energy within and around us.

Each chakra corresponds to a location within our body and is associated with specific functions as well as the way we handle specific life issues.

Here is a basic breakdown of the eight chakras. In the following weeks I’ll be providing a little more detailed information on each as well as yoga and reiki practices to help bring each chakra toward a state of balance.

Chakra Name Location Sound Color Function Deficient Excess
1st Muladhara or Root chakra Soul of the foot to the base of the spine Lam Red When in balance we feel grounded, stable. Flighty, unfocused, generally ungrounded Hoarding, greediness, even weight gain to physically ground oneself
2nd Svadisthana Pelvic region: hips low back, bladder, kidney Vam Orange Going with the flow, acceptance, creativity, pleasure, emotional expression Resistance to change, lack of pleasure, difficulty expressing feelings, Poor boundaries, sexual addiction, overly emotional
3rd Nabhi Manipura Solar Plexus, navel, digestive area Ram Yellow Confidence, courage, self-esteem Digestive issues, self-doubt, insecurity Perfectionism, anger,
4th Anahata Heart, chest, lungs, upper back Yam Green Feelings of connection, love, compassion Loneliness, shyness, unforgiving Possessiveness, jealousy, heart related issues
5th Visuddha Throat Ham Blue Speaking our truth, communication, ear of speaking, underactive thyroid, stiffness in shoulders and neck Excessive talking, inability to listen, overactive thyroid
6th Ajna 3rd eye – space between eyebrows Om Indigo Clarity, wisdom, visualizing, knowledge Confusion, poor eyesight, difficulty envisioning Hallucinations, headaches, difficulty concentrating
7th Sahasrara Crown of the head Silence Violet Faith, spirituality, connected to the divine Not feeling connected to anything spiritual, isolated, not thinking clearly Being overly-intellectual – that you are intellectually elite
8th Aura – space around you Silence White Able to perceive all that is around you Low energy, unaware of the space around you

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