by Teresa Adele: Change is one thing you can always count on to set our nervous system into a frenzy…
Because, no matter what, it’s never easy to process change.
In the best of times, change is something that you crave, and yet – when it comes around to it – fear and resistance set in no matter how positive the incoming change is. In the worst of times, change has the power to completely rock our foundation.
Each of us feel and process the ripples of the transitional period of change in different ways. But no matter how we process, what is the effect on our energetic body? How do we respond on a physiological level to change?
How to Use Chakra Yoga to Process Change
Using our yoga practice (and specifically chakra yoga), we can learn to process change in a healthy way and minimize the negative effects on our systems.
If you don’t know much about the chakras, read Chakra 101: An Introduction to the 7 Chakras
To do this, we focus on grounding our energy through the Root Chakra, creating security within our body.
Then, we nourish and open the Heart Chakra, which allows us to take in all of the positive opportunities that change provides us – and these opportunities are always there, even when they are less obvious.
Finally, we support our Third Eye Chakra – our intuition – where we can feel the power of our own knowing as our internal compass leads us through the levels of forgiveness, acceptance, and surrender, and back into safety.
Practice These 7 Chakra Yoga Poses to Help You Process Change:
This chakra yoga flow is designed to help you process and accept change on multiple levels.
1. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
Start grounding hectic energy through the Root Chakra by checking-in while laying in Supta Baddha Konasana.
Let’s try it:
- Laying on your back, bring the soles of your feet to the floor with your big toes touching and your knees facing up to the sky
- Using your hands to support your outer legs, begin to let your knees drop open and bring the soles of your feet to touch
- You can draw your heels closer or farther from your body to intensify or relax the posture
- Bring your left hand to your heart and your right hand to your abdomen. Allow your elbows to stay grounded so there is no effort required to sustain this connection
- Breathe deeply here for five to 10 minutes
Tip: There are a few ways to support the body in this pose. One favorite is to help out your hips by supporting your legs with blankets or yoga blocks beneath your knees.
2. Supta Matsyendrasana Variation (Reclined Twist)
To help move any stagnant energy, move into gentle twists.
Let’s try it:
- From Supta Baddha Konasana, use your hands on your outer legs to begin to draw your knees back to center and bring the soles of your feet to the ground
- ”Windshield wiper” your legs gently from side to side
- After a few rounds of “windshield wipers,” allow your knees to relax over to the left
- Open your arms into a “T” shape and either keep your gaze toward the sky or begin to look toward your right hand
- Remain here for two to three minutes and then, slowly, switch sides
3. Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby)
This hip-opening, Root Chakra grounding favorite is the perfect way to continue to release your body’s emotional energy in this chakra yoga flow.
Let’s try it:
- From laying down, bring your knees into your chest
- Reach between the inside of your knees for the outer edges of your feet
- Allow the soles of your feet to face the sky as your knees remain near your armpits
- Close your eyes and focus on drawing your entire spine toward the floor
- Remain for three to five minutes, rocking side to side when the sensation becomes intense
Tip: If you feel like there is pressure on your head, or that your spine isn’t able to find the earth all the way to your tailbone, it’s better to reach outside your legs (behind your knees) instead. In this case, there’s just a little more room to support the spine!
4. Surya Namaskar A (Sun Salutation A)
If you feel like you have a lot of restless energy in your body, this is the point in your chakra yoga flow where it would be beneficial to begin to release it.
Sun Salutations are the perfect way to work almost every muscle in your body, while also staying focused on breath and intention. You can do as many as you like.
Let’s try it:
- Start standing and take a full breath in Mountain Pose
- Inhale to reach your arms overhead
- Exhale to fold your torso forward
- Inhale to lift your torso halfway up
- Exhale to step back into Plank Pose. Inhale here, too (we’re taking it slowly!)
- Exhale and bend your elbows to lower to your stomach
- Inhale and lift your chest into Cobra Pose with your hips grounded
- Exhale to lift your hips up and back into Downward Facing Dog and stay for three to five breaths
- Exhale to step forward between your hands into a Forward Fold
- Inhale lift your torso halfway up
- Exhale and fold forward again
- Inhale and reach your arms out and up overhead as you rise to stand
- Exhale and release your hands back down by your sides in Mountain Pose
5. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
To gently open the Heart Chakra which is responsible for courage and compassion with yourself and others, work on this pose for up to three rounds, going only as far as it feels like a good stretch.
Let’s try it:
- From laying down, bring the soles of your feet to the floor and your knees up to face the sky
- With your feet hip-distance apart, close to your seat, bring your palms to the floor and inhale
- As you exhale, lift your hips and press into the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet
- Keep your shoulders grounded and your gaze relaxed toward the sky
- Remain here for 10 breaths and then slowly come back to earth, one vertebra at a time
Tip: You can play with variations once you’re lifted to increase or decrease intensity. You can clasp your hands behind your back and roll your shoulders under, or lift your heels and walk your feet in closer. Make it a supported Bridge Pose by placing a yoga block beneath your sacrum.
6. Balasana (Child’s Pose With Third Eye Massage)
Tap into your intuition and honor the answers that lie within.
Let’s try it:
- From laying down, roll onto your stomach and press up to all fours
- From all fours, untuck your toes and draw your seat toward your heels
- Bring your big toes together and let your knees come as wide as you like
- Extending your arms far in front of you, inhale and lengthen your spine
- Exhale, keep that length, and lower your head to the floor
- Imagine your heart also coming down to meet the earth
- If your head can touch the floor, slowly rock side to side, massaging your Third Eye Chakra (the space between your eyebrows). If your head doesn’t reach the floor, place a pillow or a block under your forehead to secure a connection and then also rock side to side
- Remain here for five minutes
Tip: You may feel this pose in your hips or the tops of your feet. Give yourself permission to acknowledge when to use props as support and when to back out of the pose – your body knows best!
7. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Lastly, ground, surrender, and honor with a final resting posture.
Let’s try it:
- Lay on your back and take up as much space as you like
- Close your eyes
- If comfortable, place a light prop such as a yoga block or a small crystal or even a blanket on your Third Eye Chakra (the space between your eyebrows)
- Rest in relaxed awareness for five to 10 minutes
Tip: Additional props that might feel good include: a pillow for under your knees (keeping your heels on the floor) or a blanket over your whole body.
The Takeaway on Chakra Yoga to Help Process Change
Change is a natural and dependable thing in all of our lives. But, sometimes, processing that change can feel harmful or overwhelming to our nervous system and energetic body.
This gentle chakra yoga flow, which focuses on the Root, Heart, and Third Eye Chakras, is a therapeutic way to help your body cope with the stress and grief that comes with both “positive” and “negative” change experiences.