The chakras are believed to be the centers of life force energy (prana) in the body. The body contains seven major chakras from the base of the spine to the top of the head. Each of these chakras contains a different energy.
For example, the root chakra is grounding and governs emotional balance, while the heart chakra is the center of compassion and unconditional love. Different asanas can target specific chakras, such as:
- Root chakra (muladhara) – child's pose
- Spleen (or sacral) chakra (svadisthana) – pigeon pose
- Solar plexus chakra (manipura) – mountain pose
- Heart chakra (anahata) – eagle pose
- Throat chakra (visuddha) – plow pose
- Third eye chakra (ajna) – cat/cow pose
- Crown chakra (sahasrara) – half lotus pose
Chakra yoga often uses the asanas employed in Hatha yoga because they keep the body and spine aligned, which helps liberate and balance the flow of chakra energy. The meditation, chanting and pranayama relax the mind, reducing stress and increasing energy.