by Robin Beaudoin
Chakras are the seven centers in our body through which energy flows. Identify the cause of your tension, and allow relaxation, through practice of a few simple calming exercises.
This healing comes in many relaxing forms: Meditation can mean prayer, time snuggling a beloved animal, quiet time on a swing set listening to the leaves blow in the trees, focus on breathing, or simply clearing your head with soothing music. Attend an event with a new group of friends or try spending a day in bed reading. Treat yourself to a massage or healing therapy. A gentle style of yoga, such as hatha, restorative or yin yoga, massage, and meditation can also help to calm the parasympathetic nervous system.
Symptoms specific to a chakra may be addressed by practice aimed at healing that individual chakra:
Muladhara (root chakra/red): Located at the base of the spine, this chakra is the primary grounding chakra symbolizing stability of the body and mind, guiding our instinct, ambition, self-sufficiency, and determines our mental/physical balance in health and success. Root chakra imbalance may lead to issues with the genitals, prostate, and kidneys. Yoga poses to open this block stretch the back in both directions. Try child pose and locust pose (lie on your belly, stretch your arms and feet up to the sky like a superhero).
Svadhisthana (Sacral chakra/ orange): Largely an emotive chakra, Svadhisthana rules our sensuality, sexuality, and reproductive system. Represented by an orange lotus, a blocked sacral chakra can lead to creative, emotional, and relationship blockages. Use hip-opening stretches to treat a blocked sacral chakra.
Manipura (Power chakra, solar plexus/yellow): Right at the naval, the power chakra, on an emotional level, governs our self-awareness, power, and decision-making abilities. On a physical level, the power chakra rules the stomach, small intestines, upper abdomen, middle spine, and adrenal glands. When blocked, this leads to low energy and depression, along with digestive issues. Twists and backbends compliment the power chakra.
Anahata (heart chakra/green): Firmly positioned at the heart center (mid chest), this chakra governs our ability to show compassion, sensitivity, empathy, our ability to nurture, and unconditional love and trust for others as well as for the self. It is the love chakra, and when blocked, can lead to feelings of jealousy, trust issues, and bitterness. Physical symptoms of a blocked heart chakra include circulatory issues as well as lung and breast health problems. Explore chest opening poses, such as stretching arms wide in a doorway.
Vissudha (communication/ throat chakra/blue): Centered in the throat, this chakra monitors speech and expression. It holds balance spiritually and emotionally with expression of thought, and can be blocked by things such as secrets or fear. Blockages may results in mild vocal chord and teeth issues, as well as sore throats or swollen glands. These can be balanced with neck stretches and shoulder- opening exercises.
Ajna (third eye chakra/indigo): Between the eyebrows, third eye energies unite to achieve improved intuition, intellect, emotional, and spiritual awareness. This chakra taps into our sensory perception, aiding discipline and imagination alike. Unbalanced third eye chakra can lead to depression, headaches, and eye problems. Meditative poses including yoga mudras (touching fingers to thumb), child’s pose, and guided meditation* can assist in re- balancing this chakra, and finding higher awareness.
Sahasrara (Crown chakra/ violet): Known as the spiritual chakra, or center of wisdom, this chakra is located at the top of the head/scalp. Balance the crown chakra to achieve spiritual communication with the divine, and to see beyond one’s self, helping resist the unbalanced sense of spiritual loss or lack of purpose or identity. Balancing postures such as tree pose (hands together above head, one leg drawn up to inner thigh), or eagle pose (arms entwined, standing crouched on one leg, with the other leg crossed over).
If yoga isn’t your thing, treating yourself to some self-love is another healthy way to relieve stress. Larrie Rodriguez, owner/operator of Midtown Massage & Bodywork, sees real results in her massage clients. She notes, “Massage is an effective treatment to reduce stress, pain, and muscle tension. Beyond the muscle tissue and pain relief, people appreciate the qualities of caring, comfort. and connection.
Taking deep breaths as part of meditation, has been shown to reduce the stress level cortisol, and Ohio State University researchers noticed that daily meditation has been proven to prevent breast cancer relapse. Breathe in for a count of four, and out for a count of four. This even, equal breathing balances energy and the counting slows the heart rate, preparing the body for meditation or sleep. Meditation helps filter distractions, improving focus, and aiding in decision making. Regardless of the source of your stress, there is an outlet to improve upon it.
Midtown Massage & Bodywork
885 S Cooper, 901.596.3838,
Therapeutic, thai, and prenatal massage.
7853 Farmington Blvd. Germantown,
Gentle yoga classes, complementary to the health of the chakras.
Delta Groove Yoga
2091 Madison, 901.207.7835
Gentle healing yoga, and healing applications including acupuncture, reiki, and shamanic healing.
Guided meditations may be found free at YouTube.com for every need under the sun: focus, sleep, pain relief, and healing.