Anytime you do anything physical, whether it's taking a walk outside or doing a physical yoga practice, you need to warm up the body. Whether you do the following sequence all the way through or just choose to focus on one chakra, always warm up first. Be intentional about the healing benefits you are about to receive: take time to center yourself and transition from your other activities into this practice.
Centering for Chakra Healing Sequence
Sit in a comfortable, seated position with your legs crossed. This posture is sukasana. Place a cushion or a folded blanket under your sitz bones (sitting bones); this helps you sit up tall while maintaining the natural curves in your spine. Gently place your hands in your lap. Close your eyes. Relax your forehead, eyes, jaw, and tongue. Scan all the way down your body, relaxing each body part, as you breathe in and out naturally.
After scanning the body, simply watch the breath as it flows in and out. Do this for a few breaths. Then, begin Dirgha Pranayama. Allow the belly, ribs, and chest to expand in three dimensions as you inhale. As you exhale, allow the chest, ribs, and belly to relax. Continue Dirgha Pranayama for several breaths. Then, return to the natural breath, and open your eyes.
Sukasana: easy seated pose, with blanket for support
Preparing the Body for a Gentle Sequence
While in sukasana place your hands palms down on your thighs. Gently exhale as you round the spine so that the bottom of your pelvis tilts forward and the crown of your head comes forward. Then inhale as you smoothly arch the spine by tilting the top of your pelvis forward, pressing your chest forward, and carefully tilting your head back. Repeat this sequence gently three to four times.
Come back to neutral. Raise both arms up overhead, pull your abdomen in, gently elongate the spine, and slowly twist your torso to the left. Lower your arms, placing your right hand on your left knee and your left hand down to the earth beside or behind you. Inhale and exhale in this position. Then, inhale the arms up and repeat this twist by turning to the other side. Inhale and exhale while twisted to the other side. Gently return to center. Bring your hands into your lap. Close your eyes. Breathe naturally for a few breaths. Then, repeat this twist twice on each side.
If sitting on the floor is uncomfortable, you can do the twist while sitting on a chair.
Seated twist, supported by a chair
Come into a steady and stable standing posture, mountain pose: tadasana. Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart. Feel the balls of your feet and the heels rooting into the earth. Engage the muscles in your thighs while keeping the knees slightly and softly bent. Stand with your pelvis in a neutral position. Place your hands on your hips, inhale and imagine growing taller in the spine. Exhale and gently roll your shoulders up and back. Gaze forward, with the top of your head parallel to the ceiling, breathe naturally, and stand strong in tadasana with your fingertips extending down toward the earth.
Bring your right hand to your hip. On the inhale, raise the left arm out to the side and continue to raise it up in the air. On the exhale, lean slightly to the right side so that you create a slight arc in your torso. Inhale and exhale a few gentle breaths in this position. Gently inhale your left arm back up toward the center, bringing your whole torso into alignment. Exhale, release both arms to your sides. Repeat this on the other side. Pause and notice the effects.
Standing side stretch
Lightly jump several times in place, relaxing any part of you that doesn't need to be engaged as you jump. Let the arms hang, let the tongue and jaw be relaxed. Keep breathing and jumping for three minutes, going at different paces. Jump and pause between jumps, then jump up and down without pausing. Open your mouth and let out a sound, “aaaahhhhhhhhhhhh,” as you do this—bouncing the tension out of the body, warming it up.
Come to stillness. Notice if you feel any sensation as you stand still for a few breaths. Then, look down at your feet and wiggle your toes. Wiggle them, and keep breathing. Add to your wiggling toes, wiggling fingers. Wiggle fingers and toes for a few breaths. Then, pause. Observe how you feel.
Finally, rotate your ankles one at a time, in one direction then the other. Do this nine times for each ankle. Rotate your wrists nine times, then pause.
The following sections are instructions for a gentle Hatha yoga sequence to balance all the chakras, one at a time. Doing the entire sequence will allow you to focus on each chakra and have a complete practice. If you do not have time for a full practice, and want to work on just one or a few of the chakras, always begin the practice with a warm up. And, end your practice with savasana.
For savasana, lie on your back with your legs straight on the floor. Place a cushion underneath your knees to help the low back relax. Allow your arms to relax along your sides. Slightly tilt your chin toward your chest, so the neck is long and relaxed. Relax your forehead, your eyes, your tongue, and your jaw. Let your whole body go, and lie in savasana for several minutes. When you are ready to get up, slowly roll to one side and press yourself up into a seated position. Notice how you feel. Then, slowly transition into your day.