Chakras

Crown Chakra Tune-Up Practice

Integrate your entire being from head to toe to experience a vast connection between your innermost self and all things.

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START WITH Intro to the Crown Chakra
RETURN TO Chakra Tune-Up

STephanie snyder anjali mudra

Integrate your entire being from head to toe to experience a vast connection between your innermost self and all things.

Working toward enlightenment may seem daunting, unrealistic, or completely beyond the scope of your radar. But regardless of whether you practice yoga to stay fit and healthy or to work toward complete liberation, do not miss the opportunity to notice those enlightened moments that can come through a regular practice of insight and positive action. An enlightened moment can spring forth at any time, let this practice open you to the possibility and prime you to witness those moments of grace sprinkled throughout your day.

This practice is meant to integrate right and left, masculine and feminine, surya and chandra, ida and pingala (energetic channels that link into and through the main channel called sushumna), and your entire being from head to toe. Use this integration to experience a vast connection between your innermost self and all things.

See also A Beginner’s Guide to the Chakras

Crown Chakra Visualization Meditation

STEPHANIE SNYDER SUKHASANA

Begin your practice seated and bring your hands into prayer (Anjali Mudra) at your heart. Bring your awareness to your pelvic floor and let it rest there until you feel grounded, supported, and relaxed. Then begin to glide your awareness up the front of your spine slowly checking in and resting for a moment on each chakra as you go. (Head back to the Chakra Tune-Up page for a review.) Imagine the spine as a stalk or reed and draw your awareness up through the reed. Once you reach to the crown of your head, imagine there at the top of that stalk of energy a luminous white lotus flower. One by one begin to open each petal of the thousand-petaled lotus. Imagine as you open the lotus that your innermost self is merging more and more with the universe. Let this happen in the most natural and beautiful manner. Spend as much time in this visualization meditation as you like.

Set Your Sahasrara Intention
Now set your intention for this practice. Here are some themes related to the sahasrara chakra that you may want to integrate into your intention: vastness; limitlessness; unity; seeing yourself in all beings to cultivate compassion; accepting your place and your part in the universe; awakening of consciousness; opening to spiritual realizations. Feel free to use any of these or choose your own. As long as your intention feels true for you it has value.

See also Chakra-Balancing Yoga Sequence

Standing Prayer Backbend

STEPHANIE SNYDER STANDING BACKBEND

Begin standing with hands in Anjali Mudra. Close your eyes and take at least 5 big breaths, very long and slow. As you inhale, feel the energy ascend from your feet up through the crown of your head. As you exhale, feel the energy descend from the crown of the head down into your feet. Remember that this flow between earth and spirit is always intact.

With your feet firmly planted and your legs engaged, begin to lift from the pelvic floor as you lengthen your spine upward. Lift and broaden your chest while drawing your shoulder blades into your ribs for a gentle heart opener. Now gracefully bring your prayer hands to the mid forehead. Feel the back body lift the front body. Energetically open up to all of the potential that the universe has in store for you. Let this progression last 3–4 breaths total holding the fullest expression of this gentle backbend for only one full cycle of breath. Return the hands back to the heart to finish.

See also Claire Missingham’s Lower-Chakra-Balancing Flow

Warrior I + Eagle Arms

Stephanie Snyder Warrior I

Virabhadrasana I + Garudasana Arms

From Tadasana step your left foot back about 3–4 feet, turning it out to a 45-degree angle. If you have any pain in the back knee, lift the back heel for a High Lunge instead. Keep your hips square toward the front of your mat as you bend your right knee to 90 degrees or less. Inhale reaching your arms up for Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I). Spend a breath or two here letting the hips open. Now bring your arms in front of you and stack the left arm on top of the right. Snake the arms around each other for Garudasana (Eagle) arms variation. Keeping a deep bend in the right knee begin to lift the heart, arms, and gaze into a mild backbend. Keep your feet firmly planted and grounded but feeling vast, open, and alive! Spend 4–5 breaths here and then release.

See also Yoga Poses for the Chakra System

Revolved Bound Half Moon Pose

STEPHANIE SNYDER REvolved bound half moon

Parivrtta Baddha Ardha Chandrasana

This is a challenging but beautiful pose that enhances the cross-lateral balance mechanism, integrates total-body awareness, and provides opportunity for opening only by softening up.

From Warrior I with right foot forward, rock your weight into your right leg and touch the floor with your left hand. Extend your left leg back and your right arm up into Revolved Half Moon Pose. You are welcome to stay there and work up to the bind over time. To continue, bend your left knee and catch the left foot with your right hand. Find a steady gaze as you kick the left foot up to lift the chest and open through the heart and right shoulder. Spend 5 breaths here. Once you have the bind, soften up a little bit—become receptive to the universal download and the pose will become easier, I promise!

See also Chakra 101

Baby Eagle Pose

Stepanie Snyder baby eagle pose

Garudasana variation

The coiling in effect of this pose brings everything back to center. Visualize activation of the kundalini shakti, the serpent that rises up from muladhara (root chakra) piercing each chakra as she ascends to sahasrara (crown chakra) to unlock expanded states of consciousness.

Begin by kneeling with your toes tucked under and your sitting bones on your heels. (If you have a knee injury, keep the legs like this.) Then cross your right knee over your left and place your right foot flat on the floor just outside your left thigh. Your left heel will be right at the pelvic floor now. Once you feel stable and balanced here, return the arms to Garudasana (Eagle arms) with the left arm on top of the right. If you feel stable, try to balance with your eyes closed. Instead of gripping tightly, expand outward into the energy that surrounds you. Let this interplay of inner and outer remind you that you are supported from within and all around. Spend 5 breaths here, then switch sides.

See also Grounding Flow For the First Three Chakras

Saddle Pose

Stephanie Snyder saddle pose squat

Use this final pose as an opportunity to feel your feet on the ground and expand upward in an affirmative gesture of courage and willingness to merge with the infinite.

Come back to a kneeling position, rising onto the balls of the feet and brining the sitting bones to the heels. Keep your hands on the floor for balance as you open your knees out as wide as possible. Press the thighbones toward the back body and the sitting bones toward the front body to activate pelvis and legs. Then bring your hands to your heart. Balance there or if you are feeling really stable, extend your hands in Prayer up and overhead. Spend about 3 breaths balancing here and then rest.

See also 5-Minute Chakra-Balancing Flow Video

Seated Crown Chakra Meditation

STEPHANIE SNYDER SUKHASANA

The most practical way to connect with the sahasrara chakra is through meditation. There are many schools of meditation, and investigating a method that works for you is a worthy pursuit. Try to take this meditation outside or at least to a window (if its cold).

For this practice, begin with coming into a comfortable seat. Elevate the sitting bones if needed so the knees are lower than the hips and the spine can be vertical. Rest your hands on your knees. Take several long, slow, deep breaths and have a look all around you. Turn your head right, left, and then center. Look up and down and take everything in. Notice it all. The beautiful, mundane, brilliant, messy, etc. Notice how everything relates to everything else. Resist judging scenarios, just observe and let it be.

After several moments of noticing the world all around you close your eyes. Turn back to the inner world now and use that same observation technique. With wide-open awareness observe all of yourself—beautiful, mundane, messy, brilliant, etc., and let it be. Then bring your awareness to the crown chakra. Spend a moment here observing the lotus flower. As it opens up petal by petal, a golden light is revealed. Let that golden light spill down your skull and the stalk of your spine. Then watch as it expands from the spine outward until it covers every cell of your being and even expands beyond your physical body into everything else. Sense that everything is made of and connected by this golden light of awareness. Stay here quietly for as long as you like. Try for at least 5 minutes and build up to 20 minutes.

When finished, slowly open your eyes and take a couple of easy breaths, before lying back into Savasana. Feel the scalp, skull bones and brain relax deeply. Leave yourself here long enough to drift into a deep and peaceful repose.

See also Chakra-Aligning Soundtrack

About Stephanie Snyder

Stephanie Snyder Chakra Tune-Up

Stephanie Snyder is a San Francisco-based vinyasa yoga teacher. She’s written, modeled, and created DVDs for Yoga Journal in addition to presenting at Yoga Journal LIVE! Don’t miss Stephanie’s class in our weekend-long chakra event coming up in San Diego June 24-27