All light is vibration. Visible light can be separated into distinct colors by generating a rainbow. The light appears to be separate colors as its frequency changes, but blended together the frequencies form one white light. Similarly, our chakras—each a different frequency and color—express the entire spectrum of
frequencies that comprise the energy of the physical body. The word chakra (pronounced “chak-rah”) means “wheel” or “circle,” named so by the ancient yogis to depict a wheel-shaped vibration of pranic energy.
A chakra is pure and continuous energy. It is our prana in motion, a wavelength of vibration in our electromagnetic field that contains our values, feelings, thoughts, and childhood imprints. As each of the eight chakras become energized through chakra yoga and other means, the physical and emotional attributes corresponding to that frequency are also energized, as is our consciousness.
Much like a tuning fork that will not sound if it is held tightly, tightness in parts of our physical body can prevent our chakras from resonating. For a tuning fork to resonate, we have to release our grip, hold it delicately, and allow the vibration to flow. This is very similar to how we work with the physical body in kundalini yoga: the “tuning fork” of each chakra is anchored to the physical body, and by releasing physical tension we also release the movement of energy.
The body holds our emotions. When we have a blocked emotion, the chakra that corresponds to the part of the body holding that emotion is also blocked. When the energy starts flowing through the practice of chakra yoga and other means, the blocks dissolve and the emotions open. It takes deep trust to release these blockages, but it can be done by getting the prana moving through kundalini yoga and other spiritual practices.
In the following section, we describe the character of each chakra and provide yogic exercises that will enable you to connect with its essence.
First Chakra: Existence
The first chakra vibrates with the most fundamental aspect of our human incarnation: the energy of existence. This is the energy center connected to the material world and primal survival. Our physical body, our health, and our habits correspond to this area.
Its anatomical equivalent is at the perineum and the base of the spine. The legs and feet are also extensions of the first chakra. The color associated with the first chakra is red.
We take on form and mission with the declaration of “I am.” The way we honor our very existence affects the frequency of the first chakra. When the first chakra is balanced and flowing with prana, we feel worthy of our existence and happy to be alive. It is the fertile soil from which all else arises. When our first chakra is blocked, we may not feel valued, lovable, or entitled to occupy space. An unbalanced first chakra also leads us to compare ourselves with others and resent their existence.
Yoga for the First Chakra: Crow Pose
When we cleanse and balance the root chakra with yoga, we boost our health, strengthen our sense of security, and increase our trust in the flow of prosperity. Crow Pose is a yogic pose that brings our pranic energy to the base of the spine, the home of the first chakra and a place where we often conceal ourselves.
Chakra Yoga Instructions: Crow Pose
1. Stand with your legs three feet apart. Feel your spine rising tall from your pelvis and your weight distributed equally between both feet on the earth below you.
2. Maintaining the position of your feet, squat down with your feet flat on the ground. We invite you to press your palms together in front of your heart as if you are praying during this chakra yoga pose, with your elbows inside your knees and your spine as straight as possible.
3. Inhale slowly and deeply into your abdomen, hold it for a moment, and fully empty your lungs on each exhalation. Continue holding the yoga pose and breathing this way for thirty seconds to three minutes.
4. To finish, release the hands and bring yourself onto your back. Rest for a few minutes. Allow your breath to flow naturally again, notice the movement of prana through the physical area of the perineum and in the space surrounding your body, especially around the hips and coccyx.
Second Chakra: Feeling
The second chakra opens our incarnation into the world of trusting our sensation. We become drawn to what feels good—drawn to warmth, to touch—and in doing so become vessels of universal creativity. When we trust that what we feel is a gift from our highest consciousness, we can surrender and allow the creative force of nature to work through us. We instinctively know what to do. We trust our instincts. We go with it. We open. Conception is the first, most beautiful creativity that we are all born of. Thus, the frequency of the second chakra is represented in the physical body through the sexual and reproductive organs, the hips, and the receptive lower spine. The color associated with it is orange.
When the flow of prana through the second chakra is blocked, we no longer trust the source of our feelings. We separate our feelings from God, and our sensation becomes thought of as something negative. Many people who overly control their lives with thought have a difficult time accepting their second chakra energy because it can feel so out of control. It feels separate from their intellect because it is! The second chakra vibrates at a very deep emotional, not mental, level.
Modifications: If you have difficulty holding this chakra yoga position, two wonderful modifications can make it easier. First, keeping the balls of your feet on the ground, you can place a rolled-up yoga mat or blanket beneath your heels. Or, if putting your palms together causes you to fall backward, try holding on to the leg of a heavy table with both hands instead.
Yoga for the Second Chakra: Pelvic Lifts
Yoga movements that open the hips and relax the pelvis encourage the flow of positive energy while releasing negative energy in the tender area of the second chakra. In this chakra yoga exercise we balance the energy in the lower belly by using the breath, visualization, and movement.
Chakra Yoga Instructions: Pelvic Lifts
1. Lie down on your back with your spine flat against the ground. Feel your breath entering through your nostrils and filling your lungs; notice the rise and fall of your rib cage with each breath. Tune in to the steady, nurturing earth below you and the vastness of the sky above as you breathe.
2. Bend your knees so your soles are flat on the ground, close to your buttocks, with your knees pointing toward the sky. Place your arms alongside your torso, with the palms pressing down against the earth. Alternatively, hold onto your ankles.
3. For the first phase of this chakra yoga pose, inhale as you slowly raise your pelvis as high as possible, lifting your spine up off the floor one vertebra at a time, starting with the lowermost vertebrae and gradually moving up the spinal column.
4. Exhale as you slowly lower the spine back down to the starting position, feeling it reconnect, vertebra by vertebra, back down onto the ground.
5. Continue lifting up and lowering your pelvis down throughout the chakra yoga pose with a slow, steady, smooth, meditative movement. Allow your breath to lead the movement, fully filling your lungs as you inhale and stretch your spine up, fully exhaling as you lower back down. As your breath leads your spine, allow your spine to move the rest of your body. Visualize your breath erasing tension as you inhale and visualize your breath releasing any imbalance as you exhale. Continue for three to twenty-six lifts.
6. For the second phase, stay in the upward position while you take long, slow, and deep breaths. Completely fill the lungs and allow your rib cage to expand on each inhale. Hold your breath in for a moment after each inhalation and hold out after each exhalation. As you exhale, empty the lungs fully and allow your rib cage to compress. Continue for three breath cycles or longer.
7. To finish the kundalini yoga pose, inhale deeply and hold the upward position. Imagine pent-up energy from the second chakra releasing, pouring into, and filling your lower spine; in your mind see it illuminating and infusing your entire being. Hold your inhale in and continue visualizing for as long as possible.
8. Now fully exhale while bringing your hips up a little higher. At the end of the exhale, hold the breath out for as long as you comfortably can.
9. Inhale again and slowly exhale as you lower your spine down to the floor, vertebra by vertebra, until the last parts of your body to come down are your buttocks.
10. With your back flat on the floor, turn your palms up and stretch your legs out. Stay still, taking long, slow, deep breaths, feeling the shift in your energy body, particularly around your hips, groin, and lower spine. Trust that everything you are feeling is moving through you to bring harmony in a newfound way.
Third Chakra: Power, Stability, Perseverance
The navel was where we were all once connected to our mother in her womb. We completely trusted this lifeline, and every day as we grew we would draw on that connection with our mother. That sense of trust continues in our lives via the navel point. The navel point is located between the navel inward toward the base of the spine.
While the navel is a physical part of our bodies, the navel point is an etheric ball of energy which holds our consciousness and power as spiritual beings having a human experience. The navel point acts like a pranic reservoir, and it reverberates like sunshine radiating through our entire being. If prana is flowing easily through our third chakra, which starts just below the belly button and projects upward into the solar plexus, we have an inherent sense of being sustained energetically, giving us the power and confidence to manifest on earth. The third chakra is known in kundalini yoga as the place where true awakening happens. It is where the fire is ignited and sent to the other chakras. The color associated with this chakra is yellow.
Yoga for the Third Chakra: Front Platform
Many people sense a pang in their stomachs when something is simply not right. We often experience our inner instinctual guidance system through feelings that seem to arise from our third chakra.
There’s a reason we call this a “gut reaction,” and by all means it is a very important message to listen to. We can develop the sensitivity to truly listen to what the gut is expressing.
When the third chakra needs balancing, you may feel unstable in your day-to-day decisions and uncertain about your choices. The following chakra yoga exercise opens the flow of prana through the third chakra, balancing and sensitizing us to hear the messages we get from the solar plexus area.