Sometimes we think of our body as a steady object, but... the ancients observed how the energies in the body are always moving and changing and described them with the Chakra system. Modern science explains how the body’s cells are always cycling and explains them through organ systems. Each type of cell (skin, stomach, bone, brain) is regenerating at a different rate, but they’re all in motion throughout our lifetime.
It’s really quite amazing!
The 1st Chakra, the color red and the element of Earth. It is called the root chakra or the Muladhara Chakra and located at the base of the spine. It is associated with your sense of security, relationships and your feeling of home. When energy is flowing through the first chakra, you feel firmly grounded in yourself and the world around you. For us personally, Santosha has been that feeling of home for many years even through all its changes it remains constant. Content and grounded.
In yoga, creativity is connected with the 2nd chakra or the Svadhishthana Chakra. It is associated with the hips & bowl of the pelvis, the color orange, and the element of water.
All of the practices of yoga can help get your creative juices flowing! And once the energy is in motion, our creative spirit can shine -- whether your expression is visual arts, writing, music, or making a delicious meal. What's your art?
We continue our exploration of the chakras (energy centers) with the 3rd chakra, Manipura Chakra. It is associated with the color yellow and the core of the body -- the area around the solar plexus and diaphragm at the bottom of the ribcage. This energy center is like the “bellows” of the body, pumping our breath & warmth. This chakra is related to the element of fire and the color yellow.
When the Heat of the 3rd Chakra is activated, you can Find Your Strength. As your breath, blood, and energy pumps through the body, your muscles, and connective tissues warm up. You feel fully energized and powerful, discovering the strength of your body and mind.
Many of us have been hesitant to step into our own Power because it can be challenging to find the right balance. According to the ancient yogis, when we have a healthy third chakra, our Power comes into balance. For example, we can stand up for ourselves without anger and we can notice when we start to get frustrated and “cool down” before we overheat with an outburst.
Moving on to the 4th Chakra, also known as Anahata or the Heart Chakra. This energy center is related not just to the physical heart but also the lungs, ribcage, arms, and hands. The Heart Chakra is associated with the color green and the element of air. It was considered by the ancient yogis to be the “home of energy” and modern science has confirmed that the electromagnetic field around the heart is 60 times stronger than the electromagnetic field around the brain! Wow!
Our energy extends out to loved ones and community through the heart center, just like our arms and hands extend to friends and neighbors. Some of you may remember the Anahata Yoga community from the late 1990s and early 2000s - at first near Thurbers Avenue and then off of North Main Street. We’re grateful to carry on the heart of this community as we expand beyond Rhode Island to share our light around the globe.
As we continue to explore the Chakras (energy centers) in the body, we move up to the 5th Chakra, the Vishuddha Chakra, associated with the color blue and the element of ether/spaciousness. It is located at the base of the throat. When your Fifth Chakra is open, you can communicate well and express more fully -- sharing your creativity with the world and speaking your truth.
An open Fifth Chakra lets you tap into your inner voice of wisdom. As you release old patterns of thinking and feeling, you have more space for the “knowing” that comes from inner attunement. This “knowing” is cultivated through all the practices of yoga -- by deepening your friendship with the Body (Asanas/poses) and training the Mind to relax (Meditation), we light up our Spirit.
Our Journey of the Chakras has brought us up to the 6th Chakra, also known as the Third Eye point or Ajna Chakra.
What is the Third Eye?
Many of us have heard of this thing called the “Third Eye” and wondered what it was all about. Or maybe you’ve heard the instructions to bring your attention to the point between the eyebrows and kept wondering what you were looking for?
The Third Eye point is what the yogis called the “seat of intuition” and what Western medicine describes as the pituitary and pineal glands deep inside the brain. The ancient yogis say that attention to this point helps to balance the active & passive, hot & cold, sun & moon energies in the body. Modern science explains how these glands release neurotransmitters into our bloodstream that bring all of our body’s systems into balance. Both ancient and modern systems agree that this area is essential for integration and balance.
The Third Eye point and this Chakra/energy center is associated with the color indigo and is related to the element of light. This point allows for integration and is considered to be the meeting point of mind and spirit. When this energy center is open and flowing, we have a felt sense of balance in our lives - internal & external. When it’s blocked, we may find it hard to see the bigger picture.
Wrapping up with the 7th/Crown Chakra. This Chakra (called Sahasrara in Sanskrit) is associated with the color violet or a white lotus and is related to Unity. When this energy center is open, we feel more connected. The ancient yogis understood this to be Oneness - a connection to everyone, everything, everywhere.
Every time we gather together to practice is a perfect time to recognize our Connection to other beings! When we practice connecting to ourselves on the mat, whether in a yoga pose or a Yoga Nidra meditation, we are naturally able to connect more fully in our daily lives.
Many of us have experienced challenging moments when it comes to our relationship with our body. For many reasons. Here at Santosha, we honor all of those reasons.
And also: the opportunity to deepen our friendship with our body is always available. In every moment. It may not mean that we feel awesome about our body all the time. But from the perspective of yoga, every time we tune inward, feel the sensations, follow our breath, and give the body space & time to relax, we have a fresh chance to deepen the friendship.