“Just being low down in a room tends to clear the mind. Maybe it’s because being on the floor is so foreign to us that it breaks up our habitual neurological patterning and invites us to enter into this moment through a sudden opening in what we might call the body door.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
This week, we will begin to explore the individual poses of yoga or the asanas. This is the 3rd limb of the yogic system. Although it is self-evident that a steady yoga practice will involve the postures themselves, in the vast scope of yoga the asanas have a specific role to play. The intention of asana is to bring attunement (or greater awareness) to our instinctual responses. For that reason, many of the poses derive from animals who, by nature, are strongly instinctive.
The other main purpose of the asana limb is to balance the energy or prana within our bodies. In general, we want to balance the movement in our energy centers so that there is neither too much nor too little energy flowing through our bodies. We can affect the flow of prana by performing specific postures.
Each week, we will explore a specific center of energy and learn which asanas, mudras (hand gestures) and restorative poses can bring greater balance to these energy centers.
The first energy center is located at the base of your spine. It is called the muladhara chakra or the root chakra. It also strongly relates to the planet Saturn. A practice for this chakra will be very grounding and stabilizing.
The following asanas are ideal for balancing this energy center:
- Tadasana (Mountain)
- Uttanasana (Full Forward Bend)
- Utkatasana (Chair)
- Balasana (Child’s)
- Malasana (Squat)
- Virasana (Hero)
- Supported Savasana (Corpse)
A good mudra for steadying the muladhara chakra is Prithvi Mudra or the earth gesture.See Mudras, Yoga in Your Hands for more info.
Although many restorative postures are appropriate for this chakra, Viparta Karani (supported or without a bolster) is ideal for grounding the base of the spine.
When practicing this set of movements, you should feel rooted but confident, stable yet ready to conquer.
Be invincible and of steady courage!
To learn more about the muladhara chakra and the chakra system in general, click here.