Intermediate Yoga Sequences

Claire Missingham’s Flow to Balance Your Lower Chakras

Looking to boost your confidence? Try this sequence from yoga teacher Claire Missingham to open your hips and balance your lower energy centers.

Looking to boost your confidence? Try these 3 poses from yoga teacher Claire Missingham to open your hips and stay grounded.

Claire Missingham Low Lunge variation

Step into this hip-opening and core-strengthening practice whenever you feel ungrounded or like you’ve lost a connection to your true self. The first three, or lower, chakras—the root, pelvic, and navel chakras—relate to your sense of stability, strength, and confidence. They are essentially the seat of our primal need to feel rooted, our creativity and sensuality, and our will power, explains U.K. vinyasa flow teacher Claire Missingham. When you can find stability in the hips and alignment in the pelvis, you can start to clear the central channel for prana, through the sushumna nadi, allowing the energy and strength of the lower two chakras to transition to the core and re-ignite the spark that lets you be true to yourself.

See also Our Beginner’s Guide to the Chakras 

1. Low Lunge (variation)

Claire Missigham in a Low Lunge

Come to a Low Lunge with your right leg forward, knee over ankle, and back shin flush against the wall behind you. Bring your hands to the thigh of the right leg and straighten your arms, bringing a lift to the chest. Firm your legs, direct your tailbone down, finding stability in your pelvis as you level your hips, energetically move your inner thighs together and pull in toward the midline. Zip the low belly in. From here, slowly and deliberately move deeper into the front knee, shifting the pelvis forward without losing integrity. Keep the tailbone moving down and avoid spilling the belly forward. Take five even inhales and exhales.

2. Low Lunge with Backbend

Claire Missingham Low Lunge variation

Maintain this stability, strength, and balance in the lower body as you inhale and bring your arms alongside your ears. Stay here if the stretch is intense enough. Or to deepen, bring the back of the hands or palms to the wall behind you, making an effort to keep the lower ribs pulled in (i.e. don’t let them pop out). If you are craving an even deeper stretch, walk your hands down and bring your forearms to rest on the wall. Wherever you land take five deep breaths. Lam, vam, ram.

See also Fall Equinox Flow: 4 Poses for Balance

3. Standing Splits (variation)

Standing Splits against the wall: Transition this stability to a standing pose as you shift the weight into your front leg and slide the back leg up the wall. You may need to adjust, bringing the front foot closer to, or farther from, the wall, depending on your hamstring flexibility. Fingertips or palms come to rest on the floor in front of, or next to, your feet. Firm your legs here too, direct your tailbone up, and find stability in your pelvis as you level the hips (i.e. don’t let the left hip move higher than the right), and rotate the inner thighs toward one another. Keep the low belly lifted. Take five breaths here before exhaling to come out of the pose and to a Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) and then Mountain Pose (Tadasana).