The poses for this chakra yoga series have been selected, presented and explained by Marzena Skowronska, a friend of Perfect Potion, passionate yoga teacher and Reiki practitioner. Marzena is the poet behind the beautiful Chakra poems in Sal’s book Aromatherapy and Chakras. Marzena also wrote the poetic affirmations for each pose in this series.To connect with Marzena visit her website www.MarzenaSkowronska.com or Instagram account @myyogarhythm. You can read her interview with Perfect Potion here.
Important note: Please practice yoga respecting your body. If you have any injuries or pre-existing conditions, please make sure you respect the limitations of your body and avoid any poses that may aggravate your condition. My teaching serves as a guidance, but I cannot take responsibility for your practice and outcomes of your practice. In fact, you become your most empowered self when you realise all the benefits and consequences of the practice are a direct result of your own work. Please remember, yoga is meant to nourish us, not deplete.
Chakras, Yoga and Subtle Aromatherapy
We are all energetic beings in an energetic universe.
However, sometimes the vibrations of our body fall a little out of tune when we experience physical or emotional stress. Chakra healing focuses on the seven energetic, life-force centres in our bodies (chakras): a philosophy originating from ancient, esoteric Tantric Indian practises. By balancing our chakras, we realign and restore the body, mind and spirit to harmonic vibrational resonance – allowing us to self-heal, unleash our potential and live a life of vibrant wellness.
Similarly, subtle aromatherapy focuses on the vibrational aspect of essential oils and how it affects our aura and subtle body. Each pure essential oil resonates on a different vibrational attunement, which aligns and corresponds with the seven energetic frequencies of the chakras. This allows us to combine aromatherapy with chakra healing to form a new holistic framework to elevate our wellness.
To enhance this concept even further, we’ve merged subtle aromatherapy and energy healing with a yoga flow mindfully designed to open up each chakra, to create a ritual that brings alignment in body, mind and spirit.
Creating a Chakra Balancing Aroma-Yoga Ritual
Begin by creating your sacred space.
Lay down your mat and mist the space with our Chakra Balancing Mist.
Mist over your crown and inhale deeply, breathing in the divine aroma with awareness and attentiveness.
After a few inhalations, set up your space in a way that fully immerses you in your wellness practice.
Perhaps for you this is creating a lush forest with houseplants, or the pink glow of a Himalayan salt lamp.
Set up your diffuser and decide which chakra you would like to focus on.
Settle in, and you are ready to begin!
As the saying goes, “yoga is not about touching your toes, but what you learn on the way down.”
As much as yoga practice is about working with the body through the asanas, the asanas also serve as invitations to develop deeper self awareness. It’s not just about performing, or better yet, perfecting the poses, but being able to listen to what the poses are telling us, teaching us about our capabilities and limitations, on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level, through the experience we have while practicing them.
Make sure your body is warmed up for this advanced sequence.
Start with a series of 5 Sun Salutations A and 3 Sun Salutations B. As a general guide, stay in a pose for 5 breaths. Breathe in and out through the nose.
Connecting with Earth, the element of the Base Chakra is wonderful for balancing this chakra. We become grounded and balanced by feeling our feet standing firm on the ground. Warrior Pose also helps us invoke a feeling of strength and trust in our capacity to participate in life fully by having all our needs met, so we can focus on understanding and expressing our life’s purpose.
The feet are in a heel-to-arch alignment, i.e. the heel of the front foot is in line with the arch of the back foot. Front knee is stacked over the front ankle. Engage the legs by lifting the arches and engaging your quadriceps. This way you are not only drawing energy from the ground up, but also protecting your knees. Make sure your legs are active and you are not dropping your body, but holding yourself strong like a warrior. Push the front knee out so you can see the front big toe. At the same time make sure your back hip is not rolling forward, but opens out. The body is facing to the side, it is only the head that is turned forward gazing over the middle finger of the front palm. Arms are parallel to the floor with palms facing down. The head is stacked over the hips, making the spine perpendicular to the floor. Arms are active, but the shoulders are relaxed. Make sure you do the pose on both sides.
Why this pose:
Crane Pose allows us to tap into the ‘sweet’ aspect of Sacral Chakra - the joy, passion and pleasure. Crane Pose is pure fun and helps us to reawaken the sense of playfulness. It is said that when one performs this pose regularly, one will never be lazy or lethargic, as it will rekindle drive and passion for life.
From a squat, place hands on the mat, shoulder width apart with fingers spread wide, middle finger facing forward. Press down through the base knuckles of the fingers, especially through your index finger and thumb. Make sure the elbows are straight. Your drishti, the eye gaze, is slightly forward towards the front of the mat. Place your knees up into the armpits. Tip forward as you lift one leg then the other. Big toes come together as you keep lifting heels towards your hips. If you fall, have a laugh and try again, it’s part of the process of embodying the lessons of the Sacral Chakra, making the obstacle the new path, enjoying the process rather than only focusing on the end result.
Why this pose:
Eka Pada Koundinyasana I (EPK I) helps us to tap into the fire element of Solar Plexus Chakra by activating the core muscles, building heat in the body and making us physically stronger and capable. The fire in our belly helps us bring our creative dreams to life with action, motivation, ownership and self-belief. This chakra teaches us to have courage and confidence. By believing in ourselves, we believe in our dreams and bring our creative ideas into existence. The arm balancing component has two powerful connotations. The ability to balance on our hands requires courage and also metaphysically reflects our ability to support ourselves in life. EPK I is a twist. Twisting poses activate the digestive system, which is also associated with Solar Plexus Chakra. Well-balanced Solar Plexus Chakra calls for healthy digestion. Undigested food and/or life experience is toxic and weighs us down, making it hard to shine our light and live our purpose. Hence, one of the ways to make ourselves feel stronger and more capable is to improve digestion.
You can enter into the EPK I either from Parsva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose) or Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose). This description is for the latter one. Keeping the integrity of the twist from Parivrtta Parsvakonasana with the left leg in the front. place both hands on the floor outside of your left foot, shoulder width apart. Make sure you squeeze your left leg well into the right upper arm. Maintain the twist. Bend your elbows to a 90° angle, shift your weight forwards and start straightening and lifting your legs. Work at keeping your legs straight as you breathe deeply through the nose finding balance between the effort and ease. To come out, you can jump back to Chaturanga Dandasana. Repeat on the other side.
Why this pose:
If we ever felt hurt or experienced loss, we may have unconsciously built an energetic protective shield around our heart, that can manifest as a hunched back and rounded shoulders. What we often don’t know is that when we put up a shield, it will not only protect us from the unwanted unpleasant experience, but also block the positive and desired one. Once we realise the true essence of our Heart, that can be wounded, but can never be truly hurt, we may be more willing to drop the shield and allow all experience in. Embodying the wisdom of the Heart Chakra, we will become capable of dealing with any challenging situation that life may throw at us, and even develop a capacity to notice the blessings in disguise. What is more, with the open Heart Chakra we will be able to receive and enjoy love and beauty. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, noticing and enjoying beauty has the capacity to strengthen our Heart. So we get into a wonderful cycle of empowerment.
As our life experience affects our body posture, also, our posture can influence our consciousness. Building trust in love and dropping our defences is a process, and it’s encouraging to know that we can aid it by physical practice. Yoga poses that help to open up the chest area are called ‘heart openers’, and as the name suggests, work on the Heart Chakra. Wild Thing Pose helps to balance the Heart Chakra by opening up our chest. Therefore, in a very tangible way it assists us in embracing vulnerability.
The pose works on our lungs that are also associated with Heart Chakra. With an open chest we can breathe more fully, which in turn activates the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for relaxation. When we are relaxed, we feel safe and more trusting. Feeling safe and relaxed, we are more likely to be able to notice and appreciate beauty. As already mentioned, noticing and enjoying beauty can strengthen the heart and also lungs.
Last, but not least, Wild Thing engages arms and hands. Arms and hands are extensions of the heart and by activating them, we activate our heart.
Start in Downward Facing Dog pose. Lift your right leg up into a three legged Downward Facing Dog pose. Bring your weight into your left hand and roll onto the outer edge of your left foot. Step your right foot back and place your toes on the floor with your knee partially bent. Stay strong on the left palm and arm, while you extend your right arm from your heart. To come out of the pose, come back to Downward Facing Dog. Take a few breaths here and then repeat on the other side.
Why this pose:
Shoulder Stand / Plough Pose / Knee to Ear Pose engage the physical location of the Throat Chakra. They stretch the neck and the reversed action of gravity on the inverted body improves blood circulation in the throat, thyroid and parathyroid glands flushing them with blood and nutrients while helping to remove toxins. The poses also activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Metaphysically, we start to move in, cut off from the external world and surrender to the Truth.
From lying on the back, lift legs over the head. Place hands on the back for support, palms facing up. Don't allow elows to splay out, keep in line with shoulders. For Shoulder Stand, your legs are in a straight line, perpendicular to the floor. For Plough, from Shoulder Stand, take the straight legs behind your head towards the floor. If your toes touch the floor, untuck them. Release your hands from the back and interlock your fingers while pressing the arm to the floor. For Knee to Ear Pose, from Plough, bend your knees and guide them towards your ears. Press your knees against the ears to block out outside noise.
For Fish Pose, lie on the back with your feet together, point your toes. Place your hands underneath your buttocks, palms facing down. Push your forearms into the floor and with an inhale lift your chest up. Bring the crown of your head to the floor. Keep most of your weight in your elbows, only 5-10% rests on the head. If you would like to challenge your core, after a few breaths, lift your legs to 45 degrees, release and lift your hands to be parallel to your legs, hands pressing together.
Important! Do not move your head to the side while you are practicing the poses for Throat Chakra.
Avoid the poses if you are suffering from high blood pressure, Glaucoma, detached Retina, have weak eye blood vessels or neck injury.
Why this pose:
In Dolphin Pose we are lowering the upper body closer to the mat, which increases circulation of blood and prana in the head. As a result, eyes, pineal and pituitary glands are nourished and cleared from toxins, and so is the Third Eye. Anjali Mudra is a hand gesture that stimulates and activates Third Eye Chakra, promotes inner awareness and balances the pituitary gland. Hence adding this gesture to the Dolphin Pose further enhances the connection with the Third Eye Chakra.
Begin in a kneeling position. Place your hands on the floor, with your forearms creating a V shape. Keep your elbows shoulder-width apart and slightly in front of your shoulders. Press your hands together in a prayer pose. Tuck your toes under and lift up into Dolphin. Press your hips back and up as if you were going into Downward Facing Dog. Push the floor away with your forearms so that your shoulders and hips extend away from your elbows in a straight line. Straighten your legs and reach your heels toward the floor. Gaze towards your feet. To come out, lower your knees back down to the floor.
Why this pose:
In the headstand we activate the Crown Chakra by balancing our body on the top of the cranium, the physical location of Sahasrara. The inverted posture allows for rich in nourishment blood and prana to flow to the head nurturing the pineal gland and further activating the Crown Chakra.
Begin in a kneeling position and place palms flat on the ground shoulder width apart. Bend the elbows while placing the crown of the head on the ground. The hands are far enough away from the face to create Chaturanga arms, i.e. elbows over wrists, ninety degree angle in elbows. Tuck the toes under, lift the hips up and straighten the legs. Walk the toes in towards the head keeping the shoulders lifting to prevent any extra pressure on the head or neck. Take one leg and while bending the knee, place it lightly on the same triceps. Repeat on the other side. Lift and straighten both legs. Reverse the sequence to come out. From the position with knees resting on the upper arms, you can try lifting up to Crow Pose and jumping back to Chaturanga Dandasana. Take a moment of pause in Child’s Pose, then move into Savasana.
Resting in Savasana we allow the practice to integrate. We melt and merge with the divine consciousness.
Lay flat on your back with feet more than hip-width apart. Let your feet gently flop to the sides. Move your arms a little away from your body, palms facing up. Make any minor adjustments to feel completely comfortable. You can use any prompts to customise the pose and get the most out of it, e.g. a bolster to place underneath your knees to help your lower back, a cushion for your head, a blanket to keep you warm, or an eye pillow to help you disconnect and achieve a deeper relaxation. Eyes are closed, softly resting in their sockets. Your whole body is relaxed. Feel your body lying symmetrically, either side of a central line running in between your navel and your throat, giving a feeling of harmony, of balance. Your posture changes your consciousness. You are lying in an attitude of openness, of trust, of letting go. Let go of the practice, what is done is done. Also, do not let your mind get busy with thoughts about the future. Enjoy the beautiful space you have just created in your body and mind. Let the energy you created work its magic while you rest deeply.
To finish the practice:
When you feel ready to finish your practice, start wiggling your fingers and toes. Gently move your head from side to side. Inhale your arms up and stretch in both directions, as if you are waking up from a long night's sleep. Bring your knees into your chest, wrap your hands around your shins and give yourself a big loving hug. Roll into one side and when ready, use your hands to push yourself up into a seated position. Bring your hands into a prayer pose, Anjali Mudra, at your heart centre. Press your thumbs against your sternum and bow your head down in a gesture of honouring yourself and the practice of yoga. Allow yourself to be filled with gratitude for your life, your body, your practice and the ability to take time to nurture your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It is the ultimate act of love to take good care of yourself, as it allows you to elevate your vibrational energy and meet the world as your most radiant and harmonious self.
To complete the practice, say aloud, whisper or mentaly vibrate the word “namaste” acknowledging the light within you that is also present in all beings, as we are one.
Thank you for taking time to tend to your needs. The outer world is a reflection of our inner state. The more we love ourselves and take time to cultivate our inner peace, the more loving and peaceful our surroundings will become. This is the way we make the change and heal, and elevate not only us, but also the world we live in. I acknowledge and honour your light and true essence.