I couldn’t have been happier when the gym where I teach yoga asked me to teach 7 Power Yoga classes this month. However, after my initial burst of excitement, it hit me…how would I plan for that many sequences and still keep them challenging, fresh, and unique? How would I keep my students from becoming bored with the same old sequences?
Easy. I would focus on one of the 7 chakras for each of the 7 classes.
Now, for those of you that don’t know what chakras are, here’s a quick summary.
There are seven chakras in the body and each one is associated with a color. In life, we may experience chakra imbalances (they can be inactive or overactive) and through yoga poses, we can awaken these specific chakras to open ourselves up to our emotions and the actions connected to them.
(Source: Asanas for the Chakra System)
1. Root Chakra; associated body parts: spine, legs, feet, large intestine. Causes of a deficiency in the root chakra: traveling, relocation, feeling fearful, and big changes in our body, family, finances, and business. Signs of excessiveness in the root chakra include greed, hoarding of possessions or money, or attempting to ground yourself by gaining a lot of excess weight.
2. Hips/Sacrum/Genitals Chakra; associated body parts: hips, sacrum, lower back, genitals, womb, bladder, and kidneys. Recommendations to open up 2nd chakra: open up to pleasure, learn how to “go with the flow.”
3. Navel Chakra: associated body parts: solar plexus, navel. Signs of a deficiency are: digestive problems, eating disorders, feeling like a victim, or experiencing low self-esteem. Signs of excessiveness: perfectionism, anger, hatred, and too much emphasis on power, status, and recognition. Recommendation to open up 3rd chakra: risk-taking (“risks may involve confrontation, setting limits, or asking for what we need—all ways of reclaiming our power.”)
4. Heart Chakra: associated body parts: heart, upper chest, and upper back. Signs of a deficiency: sitting with your head forward, shoulders rounded and your chest collapsed, shyness, loneliness, an inability to forgive, lack of empathy. Signs of excessiveness: co-dependency, possessiveness, jealousy, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
5. Throat Chakra: associated body parts: neck, throat, jaw, and mouth. Signs of a deficiency: neck stiffness, shoulder tension, teeth grinding, jaw disorders, throat ailments, underactive thyroid, fear of speaking. Signs of excessiveness: talking too much, an inability to listen, hearing difficulties, stuttering, and an overactive thyroid.
6.Third Eye Chakra: Associated body part: just above the eyes. Signs of excessiveness: headaches, hallucinations, nightmares, and difficulty concentrating. Signs of a deficiency: poor memory, eye problems, difficulty recognizing patterns.
7. Crown Chakra: associated body part: crown of the head. Signs of excessiveness: being overly intellectual or feeling yourself to be a member of a spiritual or intellectual elite. Signs of a deficiency: difficulty thinking for yourself, apathy, spiritual skepticism, and materialism.