How To Theme Your Yoga Classes To The Chakras

Once you've been teaching yoga for a while, it's only natural to start looking for ways to add more depth to your classes. A popular way to do this is by infusing yoga philosophy into your teachings. 

The chakra system is one vital part of ancient yoga ideology. Together with the Nadis, they make up the subtle body. Introducing the seven chakras could deepen your students' spiritual practice, so if you're wondering how you can integrate chakra theory into an asana class, read on.

How do you incorporate the chakras into a yoga class?

It is believed that there are many different ways to heal and balance the seven chakras. Many can easily be included in a yoga class, such as:

  • Specific yoga poses - Asana helps to increase life force and promote free-flowing energy through the chakra system. However, particular postures can stimulate a chakra, breaking up any blockages present. These are usually asanas that stretch, compress or engage the physical location of the energy center.
  • Visualization meditations - Every chakra has an associated color and body part. Using meditation to visualize the specific color present in the chakra's location can help to increase energy flow to that center. 
  • Mantras and mudras - Likewise, each chakra has an associated Biji (seed) mantra and one or more hand gestures that are said to help activate it.
  • Breathwork - Pranayama cleanses the Nadis and promotes free-flowing energy throughout the subtle body.

Using these tools, you can theme a yoga class around one chakra or create a 'chakra aligning' lesson to help balance the whole system. 

Root chakra theming

As the root chakra is associated with stability, safety, and security, grounding is an ideal root chakra class theme. Therefore, choose centering postures that require a stable foundation, such as mountain pose, tree pose, and Garland pose.

While your yogis hold these postures, suggest that they focus on the sensation of their feet pressing firmly into the ground and the root chakra energy drawing their tailbone down towards the earth. 

Start or end the class with a root chakra meditation. Prompt your students to visualize heavy, red energy at the base of the spine connecting them to mother earth. What's more, as the root chakra is associated with the earth element, if possible, take the class or workshop outdoors.

Sacral chakra theming

The sacral chakra is linked to our emotions and senses and has a flowing, water-like quality. Therefore, include flowing sequences and transitions and encourage your yogis to move with fluidity. As hip openers are associated with emotions, asanas like pigeon pose, lizard pose, and butterfly pose are excellent at stimulating the energy here and breaking up blockages.

Mindfulness meditation can help your yogis notice and allow their emotions. For example, you can use visualization like seeing their feelings as clouds coming and then going. Or incorporate the water elements by having them visualize their emotions arriving and then subsiding like the waves in the ocean.

However, as the sacral chakra is also about pleasure, playfulness, and creativity, you can also choose to keep the class lighthearted. For example, add in some fun shapes, try new transitions, or throw in a joke or two. 

Text How To Theme Your Yoga Classes To The Chakras

Solar Plexus chakra theming

A solar plexus yoga class will involve fiery energy and dynamic movement. The best yoga postures to stimulate the third chakra are core work like boat pose and plank, twists, and postures that compress the upper abdomen like bow pose.

As well as using dynamic movement to increase the fire element, heating pranayamas like Kapalabhati are excellent. What's more, including power poses like Warrior 2 or challenges like arm balances will help your yogis tap into the qualities of the Manipura chakra, like confidence, courage, and inner strength. 

Heart chakra theming

Heart chakra yoga classes feature many backbends as they stretch and open the chest and lungs where the heart chakra resides. Try camel pose, dancers pose, wheel pose, and upward facing dog. However, remember to balance them out with forward folds.

A great heart chakra class theme is gratitude, one of the chakra's qualities. Therefore, you could start the class with a gratitude meditation and then have your students revisit it while holding the backbends. Alternatively, you can include a metta (loving-kindness) meditation to create a theme around compassion.

Lastly, as the heart chakra is associated with the lungs, pranayama techniques like Nadi Shodhana or simply breathing deeply with one hand over the heart center can be highly beneficial.

Throat chakra theming

The throat chakra is all about communication and using our voices, so chanting is one way to theme a class around this energy center. For example, you can chant the universal sound of Om or use the throat chakra mantra ham.

Asanas that stretch and open the throat center, like bridge and fish pose, can help to stimulate a blocked throat chakra. On the other hand, compressing the throat with poses like shoulder stand and plow pose will help if the center is overactive. Therefore, you can include a mixture of these two types.  

While holding these asanas, encourage your students to visualize light blue energy in the center of the throat. It's also nice to introduce the chakra during a warm-up of neck rolls and neck stretches, stimulating the energy flow here. 

Aside from teaching your yogis a vital part of yoga's history, you can introduce them to profound ways to improve their health and wellbeing.

Third eye chakra theming

As the third eye chakra is all about vision, intuition, and the mind, meditation is one of the best ways to open this center. Therefore, a third eye yoga class should be meditative and reflective, with long-held asanas that encourage the students to go within. 

Introspective asanas like standing forward fold and legs up the wall promote fresh oxygen flow to the brain. They can also elevate headaches and mental tension, two common symptoms of a blocked third eye chakra. In addition, the child's pose and puppy pose both create a slight compression to the forehead, stimulating energy here.

You can also include a manifestation practice to strengthen your yogi's visualization skills. Or incorporate candle gazing meditation (Trataka), which improves eye health, memory, cognitive performance, and focus.

Crown chakra theming

Opening the crown chakra allows you to access deeper states of consciousness and connect with the divine. Therefore, a crown chakra yoga class should include meditative practices like yoga Nidra or mantra meditation. 

Furthermore, an excellent visualization to include is a bright white light coming down from the universe and entering the physical body via the top of your head. Encourage your yogis to envision the healing light filling their entire body, healing any physical, mental, or emotional disease. Finally, inversions are great asanas to include in a crown chakra yoga class, especially headstand, which compresses the top of the head. 

Incorporating all 7 chakras into a yoga class

Aside from theming a class to one chakra, you can promote healing to them all in a chakra tune-up class. This works great as a yin yoga class where you can include 2 or 3 postures for each energy center. Start with grounding root chakra asanas like Malasana and slowly work up to the crown chakra, where you finish with savasana. As you hold each posture for a few minutes, use this time to visualize the energy in each center.

Final thoughts

If you're looking to introduce yoga philosophy into your classes, the chakra system offers some creative ways to do it. Aside from teaching your yogis a vital part of yoga's history, you can introduce them to profound ways to improve their health and wellbeing. 

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Gemma Clarke
Gemma Clarke is a yoga and mindfulness teacher and freelance wellness writer. She’s passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience through movement and words. Aside from helping others find more peace and stillness, Gemma is an advocate for stray cats and fosters orphaned kittens for a local animal rescue center.

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