We’ve all received enough tiny, Hallmark-approved Valentine cards to know that hearts must equal love, right?
Or at least that’s not the WHOLE story.
Our yoga practice teaches that there are seven wheels of energy, called the Chakras, spinning within the physical body, aligning from the base of the spine to the top of the head.
To visualize a chakra in the body, imagine a swirling wheel of energy where matter and consciousness meet. This invisible energy, called Prana, is vital life force, which keeps us vibrant, healthy, and alive.
The fourth chakra, Anahata, is located right at the heart center; it is most often described as our source of love and connection. It’s the bridge between the body, mind, emotions, and soul; the uniter of the lower three chakras of matter and the upper three chakras of spirit.
But love doesn’t begin and end in the heart. Love builds from the root up and pours from the crown down.
That means we can discover a seat for love in each of the Chakras – and we want to celebrate those spaces this year.
Plus we know your favorite yoga teacher will have a big backbending class planned for you, so you’ll get all that information sooner rather than later anyway 😉
From the tail to the crown, here is how some of our most loved teachers are talking about love today (and every day).
The First Chakra
Muladhara, the root chakra, is our pranic link to the earth, the environment, our physical bodies, and our personal history.
The word Muladhara breaks down into two Sanskrit words: Mula meaning “root” and Adhara, which means “support” or “base.” It’s our survival center – the most instinctual, primal and animalistic of all the chakras. It connects us with spiritual energies of our ancestors.
I used to think love was just something that sort of “happened” to people. As if we truly could just “fall” into it, without needing to open up or set an emotional foundation. My yoga practice has taught me that love is a gift of abundance – one that’s almost impossible to receive if we haven’t done the work to release our fears and let go of the moments, memories, mistakes, and misconceptions that hold us back from feeling most aware and alive.
This might sound strange, but my favorite quote to share during yoga isn’t from the Gita or Pema Chodron – it’s a quote from my cousin’s high school yearbook. I must have read it 20 years ago, but I’ll never forget it: “when opportunity knocks, I’ll have my shoes on.”
For me, that means that we need to be ready for great things to enter our lives. That doesn’t mean we should expect or anticipate great things; it’s more about doing the work NOW, in the present moment, because we know the universe has our back and we NEED to be ready to see, trust, and accept what’s coming our way.
And what’s greater than love?
So we need to find our feet, let go of anything that no longer serves us, get grounded, and stay grounded. Because love IS coming.
Let’s get ready.
The Second Chakra
When your second Chakra, Svadhisthana, is in balance, you are able to live life authentically and to speak your truth.
5 years ago, my life felt like a waiting game. I was wasting time, with no truth in sight, other than an inner voice screaming “this is wrong” and “there must be more.” I felt exhausted, lost and trapped; I was lacking self-love and constantly struggling.
I worked in Manhattan, never able to understand why I felt so unhappy and out of place at my jobs, constantly switching careers (7 times to be exact) in search of meaning and purpose. I moved in and out of relationships and was consistently struggling with money. My second charka, a vessel of pleasure, happiness and creativity was majorly out of balance.
It was not until I found the practice of yoga that my life turned around. Being that Svadhisthana is the center of emotions, I had to first go inwards before I could see the benefits reflect outwardly. I had to clearly look at my life with a level of brutal honesty and determine what was authentically working for me and what was toxic. At the top of that list was my job (the corporate world), my experiences in Manhattan, and the many meaningless relationships that I had in my life.
Over the course of two years I worked tirelessly towards my goal of creating a better life for myself. One that had purpose, creativity, love and was authentically me. I practiced yoga and meditation daily, read inspiring books, studied personal development, created dreams and whole heartedly went for them.
It worked – and it’s still working. I’ve created a life that was far beyond my wildest dreams and I continue to grow daily – plus I am now dedicated to sharing this awakening, along with the powerful tools I used, to help others.
Our second chakra is a power house that is not to be overlooked or ignored. Once opened it can turn an ordinary life into a magical dream. I’m living proof!
Manipura, or our solar plexus chakra, is located above the belly button and below the ribs. This is our energy center; it’s the fire within us.
I often do chakra meditations with my students and when we get to the solar plexus I invite them to visualize a ball of fire, similar to the sun, rising and growing at the navel. The sun gets brighter and larger on every exhale, until this warm yellow light takes over your body, filling you with passion, love and humility.
The teachings don’t end with fire though. When we tap into the third chakra, we tap into self-esteem, the power of transformation, confidence, and self-love. True love starts with self-love, so our third chakra is directly associated with our openness and ability to spark a connection.
The fire burning within us is symbolic. It’s the seat of passion in the body, and there is nothing more beautiful than a person living, breathing, and sharing their passion. Passion creates an earth-shattering confidence that spills over into our beings – allowing us to stand strong in our independence and feel motivated. Those intoxicating qualities flow into our relationships with others. The brighter the light we build, the more we are able to break our heart centers wide open, inviting in the love of a lifetime.
Try carrying a piece of citrine, using lemongrass essential oil and eating yellow foods to encourage that fire to grow!
When Vishuddha Chakra (throat) is balanced, we can speak our truth. We are inspired, authentic and we communicate clearly. We also know when to welcome silence, when to listen, receive and process information.
When working with the chakra system, we want to begin from a place of stability and balance. If your first three chakras are unbalanced, you will most likely have issues with fear, attachments, and ego. When this unbalance works its way through the gateway of the heart to the throat, it will be difficult to be clear and wise in your communication. It will also be challenging to hear and take in what is being offered.
It makes sense right? If you are living in fear, or a highly emotional charged state, speaking with clarity and insight might not be high on the list of priorities. We want to bring the lower chakras into a state of Sattva, the element or mode of prakriti associated with purity, wholesomeness, and virtue, first. Then you can truly share most effectively from a place of love, inspiration and inner wisdom.
I often remember speaking to a particular family member and having very heated discussions. I felt as if I was not being heard and I wanted to prove myself right. There was also a fear of that person judging me or abandoning me in some way. The tension in my jaw and throat would build. I’m sure I was straining and sticking my chin way out.
As I grew up and began my yoga practice, I realized that when in balance I was able talk more clearly without getting so agitated. I also realized the value of silence and listening. Just as I felt I was not being heard, so did the person I was speaking to. Because my lower chakras had been stabilized, it had worked its way up to my heart. I could bring that compassion and openness into the conversation with out the fear of losing myself or that relationship.
The sanskrit name for the sixth chakra is Ajna, which translates to “perceive” and “to command.” It is often called the third eye chakra and is located between the brow on the forehead. When this chakra is balanced, you are able to perceive patterns to see the big picture in front of you by transcending the ego and finding the deeper, truer meaning.
For a long time, I felt like I was going through the motions of my life with my head down. I did exactly what was expected of me regardless of if I thought it was right or wrong. I never ever trusted, or listened, to my gut reaction. Instead, doing what I thought others wanted me to do. This was especially true when it came to my body. At the time I was playing D1 field hockey and thought it was expected for me to eat a certain way and run miles and miles a day to stay in shape. This was an illusion I had created, how I thought my life should be, totally dependent on other’s ideals. By illusion I mean a static image that I was attached to. This attachment pulled me out of the present moment making it impossible to see reality.
After walking away from field hockey and finding yoga, I was able to balance my Ajna chakra and now feel that it is one of my more prominent chakras. When we see things through our physical eyes, it is the third eye center that creates memory. The memories directly affect our perceptions which then command our reality. It is important to know that memories can distort our perceptions. Because of this, my work was to see past the illusions, patterns, and stories I had created in order to find the deeper meaning of all things, which is love. I could not give or receive love until I was able to identify and label my thoughts and patterns of the mind.
Through meditation and my practice, I was able to face my patterns of the mind and allow the third eye chakra to lead me to live intuitively in order to deeply experience love and respect for myself. The mantra I actively recite for this chakra and now share with you to practice is: “I am open to the wisdom within.”
The seventh chakra, Sahaswara, is located at the crown of the head. Sahaswara is our link to the divine energy that exists within the universe and within every being on the planet – including ourselves. When the seventh chakra opens, we find enlightenment.
I feel like that sounds crazy heavy, or just nearly impossible for “average” people. Luckily, YOU aren’t average. There is a reason you showed up on this page and maybe an even bigger reason that you made it down to the end of this article. Think about it. You could have stopped on one of the other chakras, identified with it, and slammed your laptop shut.
But you didn’t. You kept reading. Some piece of you – conscious, unconscious, or subconscious – knew that there was more to consider.
The universe brought you here and now it’s your job to trust that your daily practices are bringing you closer to a universal consciousness and spiritual awareness.
And even better – you are moving closer to unconditional love.
Yup, that’s where the 7th chakra takes us. Unconditional, pure, unbridled, compassionate, kind, humble, selfless love. The sort of love each one of us experienced the moment we entered this world as a tiny ball of pranic power, emerging with the brightest light shining from our crowns.
You absolutely can access this incredible force of love. We begin to develop this chakra in early adulthood and we continue to grow in it, and around it, as we cultivate wisdom (not just knowledge).
Your yoga practice is a gift to the 7th chakra. The most important factor for a healthy seventh chakra is a regular spiritual practice – finding a path that resonates with you and bringing you closer to a connection with something greater than yourself.
So keep showing up on your mat. Keep meditating, listening to music, dancing, praying, painting, coloring, and offering your experiences up to who and what you identify with – your higher self, the Universe, God, or the whole Hindu pantheon of gods and goddesses.
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