Feeling a bit stressed about your financial security or career? Do you feel content in your home? Or are you feeling a bit disconnected from everyday life? You may be experiencing an imbalance in your root chakra. In today’s yoga class, we focus on poses that open the root chakra and help you to feel more grounded.
A chakra is sanskrit for “wheel” and is regularly depicted as spinning, colored wheels of energy. A chakra is an energy center in the body, with the major seven running along the length of the spine. The root chakra is located at the bottom of the main chakra system, located between the genitals and the anus.
The root chakra is generally associated with the color red and the feeling of being grounded. It is the main chakra for:
- Survival concerns – money, food, shelter, success, etc.
- Grounding and foundation
- Career and accomplishment
Today’s sequence will help you to feel more stable and grounded. It’s also good for releasing stress associated with any of the points above.
Stand at the front of the mat with the feet about hip distance apart. Spread the toes wide and press all four corners of the feet into the mat. Activate the legs, tuck the pelvis slightly under, and pull the bellybutton in towards the spine. Arms should be by your sides, palms facing forwards, allowing the shoulder blades to pull down and back, expanding the chest. The top of the head presses up towards the ceiling as the feet press into the floor, lengthening the spine.
From mountain pose, reach the hands up over hand while bending the knees, as if sitting back into a chair. The pelvis should be tucked under, belly drawn in, and the shoulders rolled back. Try to get the thighs parallel with the ground if possible.
Standing Forward Fold
Start standing in tadasana. On an exhale, hinge forward at the waist with a straight back and bring your hand towards the ground. Depending on flexibility, bring your hands to the shins, floor, or yoga block. You can also keep a slight bend in the knee. Allow the hand and shoulder to relax downwards.
From standing, bring the hands behind the back and clasp the fingers together, palms facing upwards. As you hinge at the waist, keep a nice bend in the knees and reach the bound hands up towards the ceiling. Be sure to relax the head and neck, pulling the shoulders back.
Plank to Chaturanga
Plank (for 5-10 breaths): From hands and knees, place the hands directly underneath the shoulders, pressing into the palms, and lifting into the tops of the shoulders. Tuck the toes and step each foot back, bringing your body into one straight line. Tuck the pelvis, pull the bellybutton up towards the spine, and press the thighs together. Aim to make one long line with the body, not allowing the tailbone to lift or the hips to drop too low.
Chaturanga: From the top of a push-up, or plank pose, begin lowering down to the bottom of a push-up while keeping the elbows squeezed in by the sides. For beginners, you can lower the knees to the mat to support the body as you lower done. Additionally, you can lower all of the way onto the belly. For intermediate students, do not allow the chest to fall to the floor, but rather hold the bottom of the push-up, elbows squeezed in, and making about a 90 degree angle with the arms. Avoid letting the chest fall forward or lifting the pelvis.
Start laying on your belly with the feet stretched back behind with the tops of the feet pressed into the mat. Bring the palms underneath the shoulders, fingers spread wide, and the elbows are pulled in. On an inhale, press into the palms as you lift the chest off the ground and pull the shoulder blades back together. The elbows should stay tucked into the sides as the chest opens and the head remains neutral, not allowing the chin to reach upwards.
Downward Facing Dog
From hand and knees, place the knees directly underneath the hips and the feet hip distance apart. Hands should reach out in front of the shoulder with the fingers spread wide and the palms fully pressing into the floor. Lifting the knees off of the floor, reach the tailbone up towards the ceiling and straighten into the legs. Press the heels towards the floor and look up at the belly button, relaxing the tops of the shoulders.
From downward facing dog, step the right foot up in between the hands, making sure that the knee is stacked right over the foot. Staying on your left toes, press into the left heel to straighten and strengthen the back leg. Center your hips forward by pressing your left hip towards the front of the mat. Lift the chest forward and pull the shoulder blades back. Fingertips can stay on the floor or on blocks. Options: Reach the hands off the floor for more balance, lifting in front or straight overhead.
From standing, step or jump your left foot back, about 3.5 to 4 feet apart. Reach both arms out to the side, actively reaching through the fingers with the palms facing downward. Turn the right foot towards the front of the mat and angle the left foot at ninety degrees. Bending into your right leg, try and get the thigh to be parallel with the ground and the knee directly stacked on top of the ankle. The left leg will remain straight and strong. Continuing to reach through the fingertips, pull the shoulder blades back and lift into the chest, gazing at your right fingertips. The torso should be stacked directly above the hips, not reaching forwards or backwards.
Start in mountain pose and step your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down. Turn the right foot towards the front of the mat and turn the left foot out to a ninety degree angle, heels in line. Reach forward into the right hand, extending the torso, and drop the right hand onto the right shin or ankle. Extend the left hand up towards the ceiling. Keep the body in the same plane, as if pressed into an imaginary wall behind you and do not let the chest fall forward.
Beginning in mountain pose, plant your left foot firmly on to the ground, spreading the toes and energizing the leg. Bring your right toes to the side of the left foot and open the right knee out to the side, hands pressed together at heart center. To intensify this balancing pose, place the bottom of the right foot to the inside of the left calf or thigh. If stable, hands can be extended overhead. To find stability in this pose, pull the belly button in and focus your gaze at one point directly in front of you. Repeat on the other side.
Yogi Squat or Garland Pose
Start from standing in mountain pose. Step the feet wider than hip distance, turning the toes out and the heels in. Squat down and reach your tailbone as close to the floor as possible. Aim to keep your heels on the floor if possible, walking the feet further out or closer together to accomplish this. For balance, keep hands on the floor in front of you or on block. If balance, bring the hands to prayer at heart center and press the elbows into the knees to open the hips.
Extended Child’s Pose
From hands and knees, bring the big toes together and take the knees out as wide as the mat. Sit back onto the heels and walk the hands forward, bringing the forehead down onto the mat. Allow the belly to drop between the thighs and sink into the hips. Reach through the fingertips, but allow the shoulder blades to stay in place.
Start from standing on your knees with the knees touching. Walk the feet further apart, further than the hips, giving you enough space to sit between the feet. If you have pain in the feet or the knees when trying to sit back, try to place a number of pillows or blocks between the feet to sit on. Alternatively, you can try one leg at a time, with the other leg extended out in front (great prep for the next pose).
Forehead to Knee Variation
From hero pose, extend one leg straight out in front. Fold forward over the straight leg, trying to keep the belly button towards the center of that leg. Bring your hands to your foot or your calf to help gently pull yourself forward. Allow the head and the shoulder to relax into the posture.
Alternatively, switch to this variation of head to knee pose, allowing the bent knee to open out to the side. This can be less intense on the knees.
Bound Angle Pose
Start from seated position with your legs out straight in front of you. Bend into the knees and bring the souls of the feet together, allowing the knees to fall out to each side. Pull the heels as close to the pelvis as comfortable, keeping the hands wrapped around the ankles and lift your chest forwards. Hold here for a couple breaths. Then walk the fingers forwards and allow the head to drop, rounding into the back.
Lying on your back, bend the knees and place the feet on the floor, close to the tailbone and about hip distance apart. Place the hands palms down on both sides of the hips. On an exhale, lift the hips and the buttock up towards the ceiling. Try to keep the thighs parallel to the floor and roll the shoulder blades underneath. Option is the clasp the hands together below the lower back, continuing to pull the shoulder blades together.
Savasana or Corpse Pose
Don’t skip this one! This may not seem like it, but it is the most difficult yoga pose that you can accomplish. Laying flat on your back, bring the arms to your side with the palms up, allowing the shoulders to roll back. Allow the toes to fall out to the side and tuck the chin in slightly to make sure the back of the neck is straight. Relax the body as much as you can and rest here for 3-5 minutes.
Ready to ground into your root chakra with these yoga moves? Keep this routine nearby you by printing out this one page PDF.
Questions about the routine or how to get in touch with your root chakra? Comment below and let’s keep the conversation going!