It’s time to move.
It doesn’t matter if you are reading this from your bed or your chair or from the line outside of your favorite lunch spot.
The time is now, because any time, really, is the time to move.
I didn’t learn this until a few years ago when a yoga studio opened nearby. I had never been to a gym, nor had I ever dedicated myself to any kind of exercise. But I guess it could be said that I saw a sign. Literally. It was hanging in a nearby shopping center, and I stopped in for a class schedule. It took me three more months until I signed up, but I finally made it to my first class.
I didn’t know that day would be the first day that I would start moving and never stop. I had no idea when I unrolled my mat that the practice would completely energize me, setting my wheels in motion from that day forward.
Everyone is eligible to reap the benefits of yoga. You don’t have to be flexible or muscular or have a certain body type; rather, you just have to be willing to try. There’s no question that your body will benefit, and, by default, so will your mind and spirit.
So start looking around now for your sign to move. Maybe this post is your sign! Or maybe your sign has been inside you all along, and you just can’t see it. For each of us is walking around with seven of them, and they can come into view at any time. All it takes is a little movement.
Yoga teaches us about seven chakras, or energy centers, located along the spine. Energy moves through our bodies, and if all is going well spiritually, physically, and emotionally, each center spins in a wheel-like fashion, and our energy flows smoothly. We feel good! But when life presents its inevitable challenges, our energy centers become blocked, and it’s the yoga poses that get them spinning smoothly again.
Even if you are doubtful about these energy centers, there’s no denying that it feels better to move. Maybe it’s not something you can put your finger on, but movement shifts our perspective, clears our minds, and strengthens our bodies.
The following list outlines the benefits of the practice, as framed by the chakras.
The Root Chakra is located at the base of the spine and is tied to our most instinctual and innate emotions, like survival. Movement affecting the first chakra includes grounding poses, such as seated Lotus, squats, and forward folds, along with Mountain pose, Warrior One, and Bridge pose. When this chakra is energized, we feel safe and secure with a strong foundation.
The Sacral Chakra is located under the belly button and is tied to our desires for pleasure and well-being. Movement affecting the second chakra includes hip-opening poses, such as Pigeon pose, Double Pigeon, Happy Baby, and Frog pose. Even the fluid motions of Sun Salutations impact the second chakra. When this chakra is energized, we feel sensual, creative, and free.
The Solar Plexus Chakra is located above the stomach and is tied to our self-esteem. Movement affecting the third chakra includes poses that strengthen the abdomen, such as Boat Pose, twisted Chair Pose, Bow Pose, and Warrior Two. When this chakra is energized, we believe in ourselves with an enhanced sense of trust. Even our digestive system is happier!
The Heart Chakra is, of course, located at the center of the chest and is all about love. Movement affecting the third chakra involves heart-opening poses, such as Wheel, Camel, and Cobra. These poses can wake you up, so think twice before back bending at an evening practice! When this chakra is energized, we are better able to love and care for ourselves and for others, and we are better able to receive love and care, too.
The Throat Chakra is located at the throat and is tied to communication and truth. Movement affecting the fifth chakra involves poses such as Fish pose and Shoulder Stand. The back-bending poses also activate this chakra. When this chakra is energized, our levels of communication are heightened. We speak the truth more easily, and we are better listeners, too.
The Third Eye Chakra is located at the center of the forehead and is tied to our intuition. Movement affecting the sixth chakra involves poses such as Child’s pose, Plow pose, and Tree pose. Warrior Three is also a strong pose for this chakra. When this chakra is energized, we are connected to ourselves with calm minds and clear insight.
The Crown Chakra is located at the top of the head and is connected to our spirituality. Movement affecting the seventh chakra involves poses such as headstand and, coming around full circle from the first chakra, seated Lotus. Meditation also activates this chakra. When this chakra is energized, our spirituality is sparked, and we feel connected to something larger than ourselves.
Remember that these poses and more all work to strengthen all parts of the body and not just those located around a specific chakra. You may think you are building muscles in your legs without realizing that you are strengthening your abdomen. Or, you might think you are exercising your glutes and not even realize you are strengthening your arms!
But the best part about moving through the practice is that it doesn’t require you to think about the chakras or remember which ones are where. All you have to do is move through the shapes of the poses to get strong on the outside and start your wheels spinning on the inside.