Last May, I began my monthly zoom class series called Yoga & the Chakras. I invited my dear friend Kayo Malik (Chinese doctor/acupuncturist) to join me and for the past six months we have been blending our healing systems to achieve one synergistic presentation of the chakra energy model.
It has been very educational to discover that, although the system of Yoga was practiced a continent away from China, each culture developed a subtle body concept that was identical at its core. Just goes to show you that when something is authentic, it is eventually known by all.
I have enjoyed our journey immensely. And, now that we will be culminating with the crown chakra this month, I have decided to give a synopsis of the progression we’ve made through the energetic body – highlighting our two perspectives.
Before I begin with the individual chakras, here is a summary of each system’s view of the subtle energy body.
One of the clearest ways Yoga and Chinese Medicine are similar is that they both recognize the existence of an energetic life force. Whether you call it Prana or Qi, both systems point to the existence of an energy that pervades everything, including bodily tissues.
Yoga understands that balance and alignment don’t just exist on a physical level. There is moving energy that resides deep within us at the level of the subtle body – energy that flows into, out of and within the body. It is this Prana or life force energy that connects us all. Through the Nadis or energy channels – that remain unseen deep within us – the flow of prana is transmitted to every molecule in the body to align and balance us. This pranic energy is collected at specific hubs or spinning wheels called Chakras which are located along the axis of the spine – each one a concentrated field of prana that has specific characteristics. Our chakras direct the flow of prana to all of the body systems and, more importantly, allow our energetic flow to connect us with the energy of the universe.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
In Chinese medicine, the life force or Qi is carried to the organs and vital substances like blood and body fluids by Meridians. In the cosmos, energy is constantly moving in circles. Whether it’s the earth turning on its axis, the planets spinning around the sun, or the sun spiraling around the center of the Milky Way galaxy, all things in the cosmos find equilibrium through circular motion. As a part of the cosmos, the energy within humans is constantly circulating throughout the body. Because the Microcosmic Orbit mirrors the nature of the universe, it is also referred to as “small heavenly circles.” When our Qi circulates smoothly throughout the Microcosmic Orbit, it becomes easier to find a peaceful and nourishing flow with the forces that surround us.
#1: Root Chakra
Deficiency: Ungroundedness, insecurity and sometimes fear.
Excessiveness: Feeling of being locked in or too grounded.
Goal: To feel established, but not cemented, rooted and stable so that we are able to extend outside our home base knowing that this connection is available to come back to at all times.
Tools for Grounding
- Asana: Mountain, Tree and Child’s Pose for stability and connection to ground.
- Pranayama: Extended Exhalations to bring attention to the base of the body.
- Earth Mudra: Place the tips of the thumbs and ring fingers together using light pressure. Extend the other fingers away. Harnesses powerful, earth energy.
- Meditation: “Connecting with your Roots.”
In both Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda (the sister science of yoga), there are points located along the meridians. In Ayurveda, these are called marma points and in TCM they’re called acupressure or acupuncture points. Acupuncture points are nodes of energy along a meridian where practitioners gain access to the flow of Qi in a patient’s body. The same movements that affect the meridians also affect acupressure points. Through stretching and putting pressure on muscles and nerve pathways, one can access acupressure points during yoga. Another way to use the acupressure points is to simply press them before, during, or after yoga practice. We can also apply essential oils to acupuncture points to stimulate them.
- Du-1/Changqiang/Long Strong: Below the tip of the coccyx. Calms the Shen (spirit), alleviates pain, treats hemorrhoids.
- Kidney-1/Yongquan/Gushing Spring: On the sole, in the depression when the foot is in plantar flexion. Descends excess from the head, calms the Shen (spirit), tonifies Yin, revives consciousness and rescues yang.
Essential oils increase the vibrations of our subtle bodies. They can effectively open the chakras to strengthen our prana or Qi. They play such a vital role in activating our chakra system because the essential oils themselves are considered the Jing (TCM), Ojas (Ayurveda) or “essence” of a plant.
Valor Blend*, Vetiver, Cedarwood & Grounding Blend*
#2: Sacral Chakra
Deficiency: When there is a feeling of rigidity – physically and mentally. Restricting or holding onto feelings overtime.
Excessiveness: When there is a tendency toward overindulgence.
Goal: To “balance our flow” so that we can cultivate our true nature, our self abode.
Tools for Nourishing
- Asana: Reclined Cobbler, Reclined Twist and Chair Pose target the pelvic area.
- Pranayama: Viloma Breathing helps to hone the movement of the breath from the pelvis upward.
- Niyamas: The Niyamas create a foundation for superior health and well-being. As the codes of personal conduct, the niyamas align you with yourself, the self abode.
- Jala Mudra: Place the tip of the right thumb over the right little finger using light pressure. The little finger is connected to the water element and also to the kidneys and self-esteem. Extend the other three fingers away.
- DU-4 (Mingmen/Gate of Life): below the spinous process of the second lumbar vertebra, powerfully tonifies Kidney Qi and supports the Water Element. If there is timidity, it offers courage; if there is forgetfulness and disorientation, it clears the consciousness; if there is depression or emotional withdrawal, it coaxes the person to re-engage with the world.
- Ren 6 (Qi Hai/Sea of Qi):On the anterior median line of the lower abdomen, 1.5 cun below the umbilicus.
- Dantian: Taoist and Buddhist teachers often instruct their students to focus the mind on the navel or lower dantian. This is believed to aid control of thoughts and emotions.
Citrus Fresh Blend*, Inner Child Blend*, Jasmine, Clary Sage and Ylang Ylang
#3: Solar Plexus Chakra
Deficiency: When the digestion of inputs is weak, we lack the power to transform.
Excessiveness: Some of us can get overheated internally. Things easily inflame and create even more heat.
Goal: When balanced, our fire motivates and focuses us to generate willpower that is harmonizing to our personality.
Tools to Awaken Focus
- Asana: Sun Salutations Series and Cat/Cow center and balance energy.
- Pranayama: Establish connection of movement and breath to facilitate greater harmony.
- Fire Mudra: specifically directed to the energies of the solar plexus qualities of absorption and focus. The thumb represents fire and the ring finger represents the earth. Therefore, the energy of the fire element is working with the energy of the earth to motivate and metabolize.
- Meditation: “Golden Light.”
- Ren 12 (Zhongwan/Great Grainary): a generally fortifying point, that nourishes both physically and emotionally. This point treats all digestive diseases and improves the blood so one can feel more confident and resourceful.
Peppermint, DiGize Blend*, AromaEase Blend* and the herbal digestive/spice oils from YL’s Vitality Line*
#4: Heart Chakra
Deficiency: When our connection with others is weak, we may lack the power to be compassionate or give love from a genuine place. If we don’t feel as though we deserve love, we’ll have more difficulty receiving love.
Excessiveness: We may be smothering others and losing our own identity.
Goal: Instill the qualities of harmony, peace and love in ourselves and others.
Tools for Cultivating Compassion and Connection
- Asana: Cobra/Sphinx, Triangle or Partner Poses and Restorative Backbends open the heart.
- Pranayama: Diaphragmatic breathing to bring greater chest expansion.
- Yamas: non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, right energy use and greedlessness all relate to how we interact with others.
- Mudra: Anjali. Bringing your hands together at your heart center.
- Meditation: “Compassionate Connection.”
- Ren-17 (Tanzhong – Central Altar: This point is at the center of the chest, and the connecting point of the Heart Protector (or Pericardium). It’s an influential point for the body’s Qi, because it affects both the heart and the lungs. You can rub it or tap on it to relieve pressure in the chest, shortness of breath, of emotional agitation.
- PC-6 (Neiguan – Inner Passage): This is a powerfully calming point that regulates our boundaries and gives deep access to our heart. An important point for balancing us when we are either ‘wearing our heart on our sleeves’ or ‘feel completely shut down and protective.’
Lavender, Rose, Joy Blend* and AromaLife Blend*
#5: Throat Chakra
Deficiency: When our connection with others is weak, we may lack the power to express ourselves or communicate clearly. This chakra is also related to our ability to listen to ourselves, others and the universe.
Excessiveness: Too expressive.
Goal: To be truthful (in action, word and thought) so that our expression and communication are well balanced and pure.
Tools for Harnessing Your Truth
- Asana: Bridge, Fish and Lion Pose target the neck area.
- Pranayama: Ujjayi focus on the control of breath in the throat.
- Bija Mantras: The seed sounds of the chakras.
- Meditation: Gayatri Mantra/Purification.
Ren-22 (Conception Vessel-22) – Tian Tu (Heavenly Prominence):
- Cools the throat
- Cleans the voice
- Stimulates the descending function of Lung Qi
- Resolves Phlegm
- Clears Heat
- Stops cough and wheezing
- Benefits the throat and voice
Du-14 (Governing Vessel-14) – Da Zhui (Great Vertebra): is a point of choice for strengthening the yang of the body if it is deficient or decreasing it if it is excessive.
Eucalyptus. Cypress, Chamomile and Endoflex Blend*
#6: Third Eye Chakra
Deficiency: When our perception of ourselves is muddled or clouded, we lack the clarity to envision what we are meant to see.
Excessiveness: We get caught up in the clatter and confusion – the things that distract and veil us from connecting with our quiet self.
Goal: To see things as they are meant to be seen. When this chakra is balanced, we have access to our dreams, intuition and imagination.
Tools for Lucidity
- Asana: Shoulder Stand, Forward Bends and Eagle Pose to bring energy to the head area.
- Pranayama: Nadi Shodhana for balancing the right and left sides.
- Pratyahara or sense withdrawal.
- Meditation: “Manifest Your Vision.”
YINTANG (Hall of Impression): This point activates our ‘Third Eye’ or ‘Ajna’ – the 6th Chakra, center of Intuition, and spiritual vision. It activates the pituitary gland, thereby fostering our sense of connection to others and nature.
Sandalwood, Palo Santo, Envison Blend* and Peace & Calming Blend*
*Young Living Oil Blends
That’s my recap! If you are interested in receiving the complete class recordings, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to send them to you!
And, if you’d like to join us for our 👑 chakra finale, please sign up below.
Until next week, may your energies flow most, most harmoniously. ⚡️☮️⚡️