How To Balance The Chakras With Essential Oil & Yoga
The Chakras: A Short Introduction
In Sanskrit the word chakra means “wheel” or “circle”. There are seven main chakras in the body that represent our vital energy centers. You cannot see them or touch them – it is where your energy (prana) flows.
The NADIS refer to the channels through which, in traditional Indian medicine and spiritual science, the energies of the subtle body are said to flow.
The word Nadi actually translates to “flow”.
Just as the negative and positive forces of electricity flow through complex circuits, in the same way, prana (energy) flows through every part of our body via these Nadis.
There are 3 of these Nadis:
- The Sushumna is the central channel that runs vertically from the base of the spine to the top of the head. There are two channels that cross along the central channel.
- The Ida terminates in the LEFT nostril and is cooling, feminine, and calming. It has lunar energy and is associated with introverted qualities in the right hemisphere of the brain.
- The Pingala terminates in the RIGHT nostril and is heating, masculine, and energizing. It has solar energy and is associated with extroverted qualities in the left hemisphere of the brain.
The Nadis are constantly seeking balance.
If the channels are blocked, it messes up the whole system!
Where these channels intersect are the Chakras.
Each is thought to govern a unique emotional and spiritual state.
How energy flows through these centers greatly affects us.
Balanced chakras allow energy to flow freely, promoting health, vitality, and harmony.
But life experiences such as illness, trauma, and stress can cause imbalances which block the flow of energy.
These imbalances produce a wide array of ailments & disturbances and can result in chronic illness, disease, and habitual patterns of thinking, feeling, & behaving.
Fortunately, chakras can be cleared, rebalanced, and energized through yoga, Pranayama, meditation, and essential oils, & aromatherapy.
Essential Oils: A Short Introduction
Essential oils are all around us. Most of us have experienced the energizing aroma of a freshly squeezed lemon or the calming influence of a lavender bouquet.
Essential oils offer an abundance of natural healing options and can be an important tool in improving your emotional, physical & spiritual wellness.
Mind and body are inextricably linked; if you are not healthy mentally, your body will be negatively affected.
And vice versa – nothing reduces well-being as much as pain.
Essential oils are renowned for their ability to promote spiritual focus, enhance mental clarity, and emotional well-being.
But they also have beneficial therapeutic and medicinal properties.
Everything from common practical remedies for coughs & colds and cuts & bruises, to chronic pain resolution, and appetite control & weight loss.
Essential Oils are extracted from nature’s most generous trees, herbs, plants, seeds and fruits.
They can be beneficial when used in three ways: topically, aromatically, and internally.
Most oils are suited to topical application and can be used to heal and soothe.
Some should be diluted in a carrier oil, especially for those with sensitive skin.
Simply breathing in the molecules allows them to be absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and can positively affect both your mind & body.
Either by inhaling right from the bottle, rubbing between the palms and inhaling, or diffusing into the air.
Some oils are even beneficial when ingested; either added to food or water, or swallowed in a capsule.
They can even add flavor to your cooking.
Muladhara, the Root Chakra, is symbolized by a lotus with four petals and corresponds to the color red. It is the very foundation of our being and our identity. It relates to the principle of gravity, connecting us to our bodies, to the physical world around us, and to the ground below. Its essence is that of a rock, self-sufficient and unto itself. Your fight or flight response is initiated from this chakra – it is your survival center.
The Muladhara governs our family ties and feelings of survival, belonging, and guardedness.
Our earliest memories are stored here, including whether or not our basic needs were met.
When it is blocked or out of balance you can become needy, have low self-esteem, or have self-destructive behaviors.
When it is in balance you feel strong and confident; you can stand on your own two feet and take care of yourself. Your foundation is secure.
CYPRESS OIL helps to create a sense of stability and security. It is purifying, soothing, invigorating, strengthening and centering. It calms the nervous system and eases stress; helping with anxiety, perfectionism & rigidity, and forcing or controlling tendencies.
It is said to bridge the subtle and physical worlds to bring the mind into balance with the spirit.
The root chakra is associated with the element of EARTH and directly linked to your ability to dig in and feel firmly rooted in your life.
Apply (diluted in a carrier oil 50/50) to the soles of your feet.
Asanas that cultivate a sense of earthiness, radiance, and stability to keep you rooted & grounded:
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
- Flow from Virabadrasana II (Warrior II), to Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose), and through Viparita Virabadrasana (Reverse Warrior)
- Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” -BKS Iyengar
Svadhisthana, the Sacral Chakra, is symbolized by a lotus with six petals and corresponds to the color orange. Key issues involved are relationships, emotional needs, pleasure; and on the down side, violence & addictions. Physically this chakra governs reproduction, mentally it governs creativity, emotionally it governs joy, and spiritually it governs enthusiasm.
The Svadhisthana corresponds with your reproductive and sexual organs, and represents fluidity, creativity, and fertility.
You can take a literal interpretation of this, or associate this chakra with whether or not you feel deserving of a pleasurable, abundant, and creative life.
When it’s out of balance you can feel emotionally unstable, guilty, or be hard on yourself.
When it’s in balance you feel creative, positive, and receptive to change – like the ocean and its tides, you go with the flow.
YLANG YLANG OIL is known for its charming and romantic scent and is a natural aphrodisiac. It can help release feelings of tension and irritation, allowing emotional healing to flow naturally and bring joy back into the heart. It heightens sensitivity, self confidence and a sense of creativity. It develops the inner feminine and is balancing, purifying and calming.
Apply this oil to the area just below the navel.
The sacral chakra is associated with the element of WATER; always flowing, never static.
Create a chakra bath or body scrub with essential oils.
Asanas that work on opening the hips & pelvis:
- Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
- Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose)
- Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
- Utkata Konasana(Goddess Pose)
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” -Rumi
Manipura, the Solar Plexus Chakra, is also known as the power chakra. It is symbolized by a lotus with ten petals and it relates to the color yellow. The Manipura rules personal power, will, and autonomy. It is the center where personality & identity is formed and emotions, intuition, & psychic energies are integrated into the self.
The Manipura is the center of your self-esteem, your willpower, self-discipline, as well as warmth in your personality.
It is all about who you are.
A person with an open and balanced Manipura values herself and her work, is confident in her ability to do something well, loves and accepts herself, is willing to express herself in a powerful way, knows that she has the freedom to choose to be herself and direct her own life.
When it is blocked, you lack courage, have low self-esteem, and feel stagnant with little or no vitality.
Balancing the Manipura allows us to feel cheerful, vital, strong & alive.
BERGAMOT OIL is associated with self-love & self-acceptance. It has nurturing, calming and refreshing properties. It releases pent-up emotions and helps soothe anxiety, tension & depression; relieving despair, self-criticism & self-judgment. It offers optimism and hope. Apply (diluted in a carrier oil 1=4) to the area just above the navel.
It corresponds to FIRE, so in the presence of fire; dance, sing and laugh.
Sit with friends around a bonfire and tell stories.
Get into the full light of the sun and take an invigorating walk.
Or simply meditate in the sun focusing on connecting with your personal power.
Asanas that are designed to strengthen the core and increase confidence and power:
- Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) with Yoga Mudra and bowing forward for Humble Warrior Pose
- Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
- Navasana (Boat Pose)
- Urdva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose) or Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
“The body achieves what the mind believes.” -unknown
Anahata, the Heart Chakra, is symbolized by a lotus flower with 12 petals and involves the issues of complex emotions, compassion, tenderness, equilibrium, rejection, and well-being. It relates to the color green and is the center from which feelings of love originate, and through which we emotionally relate to others. Anahata is thought of as the balance point between the three lower (physical) and three higher (spiritual) chakras. It is where we process and store emotional experiences.
When the Anahata is blocked, you become possessive and co-dependent, and you may form dysfunctional relationships.
You may also stay isolated for fear of rejection.
When you stimulate the heart chakra, you can heal past wounds by reopening your heart, learning to love unconditionally, and forming healthy relationships.
You awaken to the power within you through compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance.
TRUE LAVENDAR OIL calms and relaxes the mind & body to improve balance, energy, and overall well-being. It allows you to release fear and soothes & calms emotional anxiety so you feel safe expressing your true self. Apply the oil to sternum.
It corresponds to WIND and can be connected to by driving with the windows down in the car, or flying a kite on a breezy day. Or practice deep breathing during a heart-focused meditation.
Asanas that improve circulation and respiratory systems to make the work of the physical heart easier. Focus on reversing the chest collapsing of sitting in a chair, driving, cooking, etc by elongating the front of the torso and opening the collarbones.
- Supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Supported Bridge Pose)
- Sukasana with Anjali Mudra
- Ustrasana (Camel) Pose
- Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose – full or half pose)
- Camatkarasana (Wild Thing)
“Love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
Vishuddha, the Throat Chakra, relates to communication and growth through self-expression. Its symbol is a lotus with 16 petals and is characterized by the color blue or turquoise. It is the center of transformation & change and governs self-expression & creativity. Here, emotions are transformed into audible expressions.
When the Vishuddha is blocked, you may feel like you can’t find your voice or your truth. You may also be overly talkative and not listen to others. When this chakra is open and stimulated, your voice moves through space to help you communicate your emotions in healthy ways. You also become better at listening to others and honoring their personal truths without judgement.
EUCALYPTUS OIL opens, cleanses, and eases lungs & airways. This oil improves breathing function and provides the body with rich antioxidants. It allows for a feeling of safeness to embrace life through the breath and be open to all experiences. Apply (diluted in a carrier oil 50/50) to the collarbones & under nostrils.
Vishuddha corresponds to SKY and ETHER. Take a walk on a sunny day, surrounded by the harmonies of the natural world. Sing songs, call an old friend, or write a letter to someone you love. Any Pranayama practice will benefit the Throat Chakra.
- Virasana/Vajrasana with Bronchial Mudra
- Simhasana (Lion Pose) – let you voice be heard! Roar!
- Halasana (Plow Pose)
- Sarvagasana (Shoulderstand) flushes ears, neck & throat with blood. It creates a flood of energy through your organs of communication (alternative: Bridge Pose)
“It takes two to speak the truth; one to speak, and another to hear.” -Henry David Thoreau
Ajna, the Third Eye Chakra, is symbolized by a lotus with two petals and is located between the brows. Represented by the color indigo, the Third Eye Chakra involves balancing the higher & lower selves, trusting inner guidance, and accessing intuition. It inspires your visionary process and fosters understanding, while minimizing the cloudiness of illusion and confusion.
The Ajna Chakra is holistic in nature. When this chakra is fully activated, both hemispheres of the brain function in synchrony.
It allows us to access our inner guidance that comes from the depths of our being.
The Ajna is associated with your intuition, or sixth sense, and governs how the rest of the chakras function.
When it is functioning well, you have insight and you trust your inner wisdom to face life’s challenges and choices.
When it is blocked, you feel close-minded, too attached to logic, untrusting, and cynical. Working on this chakra opens your mind to the bigger picture and different perspectives, it promotes your ability to think clearly, and it helps you receive the wisdom that cannot be seen or heard by ordinary senses.
ORANGE OIL promotes a sense of quiet confidence by calming the body & mind, while focusing attention. It relieves tension and doubt while increasing intuition, self-assurance & creativity. It also promotes balance while eliminating feelings of obsessiveness and fearfulness. Apply (diluted in a carrier oil 50/50) to the Third Eye, the space between the eyebrows.
Ajna corresponds to LIGHT.
Some suggested exercises are: sitting in stillness in nature, light therapy, exercises for the eyes or lying quietly with an eye pillow, and completing puzzles or brain-training exercises.
- Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with Mudra of the Inner Self
- Childs Pose: Head melts to earth, heart surrenders to truth, arms stretched out in acceptance
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Down Dog)
- Sirasana (Headstand)
“Balance is not something you can find. It’s something you create.” -Anonymous
Sahasrara, the Crown Chakra, is the chakra of pure consciousness. Symbolized by a lotus with 1,000 petals, it is located at the crown of the head – hovering just above it. Represented by the color purple or violet, the Crown Chakra is associated with inner wisdom, deep under-standing, and great knowledge. This is a timeless place of all-knowing and pure being. It represents union with the Divine.
From the Eight Limbs of Yoga, the Niyama Ishvara Pranidhana translates to Surrender to the Divine. This requires internal listening, setting your intention, and chanting &/or visualization to create the space to receive.
When the Crown Chakra is closed, you think happiness can only come from the outside. When it is open, it helps you to understand who you are: beyond the physical body. Working on this chakra helps you free yourself to reach your highest potential and state of being.
FRANKINCENSE OIL provides an uplifting, centering effect that promotes relaxation & tranquility. It slows down and deepens the breath when meditating. It calms the mind, reduces anxiety, and cultivates inner peace.
Apply (diluted in a carrier oil 50/50) to your places of tension.
Sahasrara is connected with all elements and with THOUGHT.
Meditative and spiritual practices, conscious breathing, prayer, and chanting are all encouraging to the crown chakra.
Asanas for relaxation and meditation:
- Sukasana or Padmasana (Lotus) Pose, hands to heart and belly for Dirgha Breath or holding the Gyan Mudra
- Recite or chant the Asatoma Invocation* or AUM (OM)
“What would happen if you let everything to be exactly as it is?” –Adyashanti
*Asatoma Invocation: Asatoma sadgamaya, tamasoma jyotir gamaya, mrityorma amritam gamaya. (May this practice lead us from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from time-bound consciousness to the timeless state of being.)
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