Today's Daily Tip
Get Into Your Groove
This flow practice helps align the lower three chakras, or energy centers. By focusing your energy and attention on the pelvic floor, the hips, and the navel, you can begin to feel more stable, grounded, and self-assured.
Listen: Yoga teacher and musician Alanna Kaivalya created an uplifting, empowering piece of music specifically for this sequence. You can download and practice to it at yogajournal.com/livemag.
Mind Body Benefits
The seven chakras are thought to exist in the energy body, running vertically from the base of the spine to the top of the head. Each one is associated with various bodily functions and specific life issues. Chronic tension and low self-esteem can block these spinning vortices of energy, but yoga can help release such blockages, clearing the path to higher consciousness.
Key Focal Points
When the lower three chakras are out of alignment, you might feel unstable, stuck, and powerless. On the flip side, when the base of your physical self feels stable, you will feel rooted in your power. Focus on drawing the earth's energy into your legs, pelvis, and belly, and use the music as a reminder to breathe steadily. In doing so, says Kaivalya, "we honor the top guideline of vinyasa practice."
Before You Begin
Sit cross-legged in Sukhasana (Easy Pose). Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, chant the bija (seed) mantra Lam while placing your hands on your upper thighs. (Each seed mantra corresponds to the energy of each chakra.) Inhale again; exhale and chant Vam with your hands on your hips. Inhale; exhale and chant Ram with your hands resting on your upper belly. Repeat until you feel warmth and vibration in your lower body. Then begin playing the music. To complete the warm-up, do several rounds of your favorite Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation).
Watch: A video of this home practice sequence can be found at yogajournal.com/livemag.
1. Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
With your feet wide apart, turn your right foot out and left foot in slightly. Straighten your right leg and reach down to the right to come into Triangle. Reach your left arm up; gaze at the left thumb. Hold for 5 breaths.
2. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II)
Inhale, bend your right knee, and extend your arms at shoulder height, coming into Warrior II. These powerful standing poses address the first chakra by creating stability, balance, and grounding.
3. Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
Exhale and place your right hand on the floor to the outside of your right foot. Extend the left arm over the left ear. Feel one continuous line from the left foot to the left fingertips.
4. Plank Pose
Exhale and step the right foot back into Plank. Draw your tailbone toward your heels and your lower belly in and up. Stay here for 5 breaths, focusing on the power in your legs and abdomen. Feel how this engagement supports and grounds you.
5. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
Rest in Down Dog for 5 breaths, feeling your hands and your feet pressing strongly into the earth. Then inhale, step your left foot forward, and repeat Triangle, Warrior II, Side Angle, and Plank on the other side.
6. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Step or hop forward into Chair Pose. Reach your arms up as you draw your shoulders away from your ears. Stay for 5 breaths, pulling energy up through the feet, into the legs, and all the way up the spine.
7. Garudasana (Eagle Pose)
Cross your right leg over the left. Wrap your right arm underneath the left and press your palms together. Lean forward and hook the elbows in front of the knees. Stay for 5 breaths, and then repeat on the other side.
8. Bakasana (Crane Pose)
Bring your hands to the floor, shoulder- distance apart. Lean forward and place your knees high on the backs of the arms, lifting your feet off the floor. Lift your lower belly back toward your spine for support.
9. Adho Mukha Svanasana
Step back to Down Dog. Engage the legs and feel energy move up them into your seat and abdomen as you draw your navel toward the spine. Exhale and either hop or walk your feet forward to sit down.
10. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
Extend the legs forward and flex your feet. Inhale; lift your heart. Exhale; lengthen your spine as you fold forward. Clasp your right wrist or place your hands on your shins.
11. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
Come to a cross-legged position, keeping your spine tall. Close your eyes and rest your hands on your knees with palms up. Draw stable, grounded energy first into the pelvis and belly and then on up the spine.
12. Tolasana (Scales Pose)
This posture can be done with the legs in Padmasana (Lotus Pose) or with your shins crossed. Place your hands next to your hips, press your hands down, and lift the seat and legs up as you inhale. Exhale and lower yourself down. Repeat two more times.
13. Purvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose)
Extend the legs forward, pointing your toes. Place your hands on the floor behind your seat, with fingertips facing toward the feet. Inhale and lift your hips. Drop your head back if it's comfortable. Stay for 5 breaths.
14. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Hug your knees into your chest, and then allow the knees to drop out to the sides. Open the bottoms of your feet toward the sky. Keep your spine long and fold forward. Breathe into your low back and seat.
15. Reclined Twist
Lie on your back, hug both knees to your chest, and draw them to the left side of your body. Reach your arms out to the sides and gaze at your right hand. Stay for 5 to 10 breaths, and then repeat on the other side.
16. Happy Baby Pose
Hug your knees into your chest and hold on to the outer edge of each foot. Your knees will be bent; feet face the ceiling. When you've finished, change the music to the "Om" track and rest in Savasana (Corpse Pose) for at least 5 minutes.