Introduction to the Chakras

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Course Overview

What are the chakras, how do they affect us, and how can we work with them to support our personal growth?

This course by Sandra Anderson will explore how each chakra is connected with our physical, mental, and psychological functioning and our understanding of who we are. You will also learn asana and pranayama practices to unlock, strengthen, and balance the energy at each chakra, as well as how to do a short meditation.

Great Course! I learned so much in two hours. The course was very informative, and Sandra's delivery of the subject was very easy to comprehend. In addition, the practices provided me additional understanding of the intention of each chakras.

— Tammy, Course Participant

You will discover:

  • Which chakra is the best place to begin working with the physical body and to initiate spiritual practice

  • How to gain a greater sense of security and stability through yoga practice focused on the root chakra at the base of the spine

  • Which chakra is considered the seat of our identity and emotions, and which is the seat of the mind

  • Two pranayama practices that enhance the energy of the higher chakras and prepare the mind for meditation, which leads you to the highest chakra

Certificate of completion

3 CEU’s Upon Completion

Self Paced Learning

Course Outline

2hrs to complete

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Section 1
  • Muladhara chakra, or the root center, is the foundation that supports our physical life, so we need to keep this center strong and stable. It supports not only our physical body, but also all the energies and consciousness needing a body in order to unfold. This chakra is located at the root of our vertical axis (the spine) and is associated with our four basic instincts—food, sleep, sex, and self-preservation. Yoga practice to stabilize and strengthen our root energy focuses on the pelvis and legs. A healthy diet is also important.
  • Standing poses are especially helpful in working with muladhara chakra and the pelvis, giving us a sense of stability and security. This practice begins with ashvini (horse) mudra, done lying face down, to activate and strengthen the pelvic floor. It then moves on to four strengthening, grounding, and energizing standing postures—downward facing dog (adho mukha shvanasana), standing forward bend (uttanasana), chair pose (utkatasana), and tree pose (vrkshasana). Sandy provides guidance on alignment and mental focus to give you the full benefit of each posture.
Section 2
  • The second chakra, svadhishthana, translates as "Her own abode," the place where Kundalini resides. The element represented here is water, expressing the unconscious depths of our desires. This energetic center is where the life force begins to express itself and is responsible for our outward movement of vitality into the world. Here we are either in touch with our needs and wants and can satisfy them in a healthy way, or if out of balance, we are dissipated and attached to pleasure and the gratification of cravings.
  • The second chakra, svadhishthana, connects us to fluidity and movement of energy. In order to maximize the benefits here, strength and containment are also important. Find a balance between the two with this energizing practice. Start with a hip balance pose that will strengthen the lower abdominal wall, then move into baddha konasana (bound angle pose) to mobilize the pelvis. Finish with a dynamic shalabhasana (locust pose) to activate the energy of the pelvic center, and then rest in child's pose, sensing the freedom of the breath in the pelvis.
Section 3
  • The third chakra, manipura, is located at the navel center. Manipura means "city of gems” and refers to a special kind of gem that gives inner knowledge and illumination. Manipura is associated with eyesight, but also insight—outer and inner vision. The fire element dominates this center—the fire of transformation and digestion. Sandy explains why this chakra is so important to health and vitality and why it is the most accessible place to begin working with the physical body and to initiate spiritual practice.
  • The manipura chakra, located in the lumbar spine and the navel center, is the physical and metaphoric connection between the heart and the pelvis. Encourage stabilization and activation in the front and back of the body by working with the four layers of abdominal muscle. This practice will build the strength necessary to support the movement of energy in this area.
Section 4
  • Anahata chakra, the heart center, is the core of our being—the home of our sense of self and of our higher, indestructible Self. Sandy explains the symbol for anahata chakra, how the air element and sense of touch are associated with this chakra, and that it is the seat of our emotions. She also suggests working with the three lower chakras and the eyebrow center to gain access to the heart center.
  • One of the best ways to engage at anahata chakra (the heart center) is through working with the arms and hands. Sandy demonstrates the use of anjali mudra—pressing the palms of the hands together in front or in back of the heart—in three postures: tree pose, a forward fold, and a seated posture. She emphasizes the alignment of the arms as well as creating an open, stable connection between the heart and the head, neck, and shoulders.
Section 5
  • Vishuddhi chakra, the home of speech, is associated with all forms of creative expression as well as with nurturance, since the throat is the gateway for both food and speech. Sandy explores the various aspects of this chakra—the active and cognitive senses associated with it, why its symbol has 16 petals, how it is related to the element of space, its connection to the endocrine glands in the throat area, and how imbalances in the energy of this chakra manifest in our lives. She also suggests specific pranayama, asana, and other practices for working with this chakra.
  • Bhramari pranayama (bee breathing) is an especially good practice for vishuddhichakra, the throat center. It activates the voice box and engages both speech and hearing (the active and cognitive senses associated with this chakra). In bhramari, a bee-like humming sound is directed inward and upward toward the head. It makes the mind inward and is a good preparation for meditation. Sandy demonstrates bhramari and explains how to develop it further with regular practice.
Section 6
  • Ajna chakra is the seat of the mind, of conscious and unconscious awareness. Known as the "command center," the eyebrow center is also where the two main energy channels, ida and pingala, connect. Balancing these energies regulates the nervous system and establishes mental balance that will serve as a gateway to the deeper dimensions of the mind.
  • Nadi shodhanam, or alternate nostril breathing, is a pranayama that corresponds to ajna chakra. This technique cultivates an enhanced sensitivity to the breath and supports the inner focus at the eyebrow center necessary for meditation.
Section 7
  • Sahasrara chakra is beyond the manifest world. Located at the crown of the head, it connects us with divine, or universal, consciousness. Sahasrara means “thousand-petaled,” indicating infinity. We gain access to sahasrara through practice that helps us reframe the “I,” or our sense of identity, so that we begin to connect with something beyond our personal boundaries and understanding. Sandy explains that meditation is the key practice for this, and that our body is the vehicle through which the process of connecting with the infinite happens.
  • The practice that leads us to transcendence and to a connection with the Divine at sahasrara (crown) chakra is meditation, which starts with a comfortable sitting posture. Sandy explains how to sit, how to bring your attention to the inner space of the body through breath awareness, and finally, how to give yourself a mental focus for meditation, such as ajna chakra (the eyebrow center), the touch of the breath in the nostrils, or a mantra.

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Meet Your Teacher

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Sandra Anderson
For over 20 years Sandra Anderson has shared her extensive experience in yoga theory and practice with... Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely, you can include this course in your Yoga Alliance training hours, with each hour equivalent to one continuing education credit.
This course is entirely self- paced, allowing you to learn at your convenience.There are no imposed deadlines or time constraints for Course completion.
No prerequisites are required; this course is open to anyone interested in deepening their knowledge and practice.
No, the course is accessible to all individuals interested in enriching their understanding and practice of yoga.Yoga teaching certification is not a prerequisite.

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