Spring is a time of renewal allowing us to find balance and focus on restoring energy to the entire body. The following yoga sequence is a yin practice designed to balance the chakras with guided steps for how to use and make your own aromatherapy.
The Sanskrit word Chakra literally translates to wheel or disk. I was recently in NYC this past week taking a yoga class and it got me thinking about the need for an entire body practice focused on a sequence for spring to find balance. Recently I've felt very imbalanced between work and life and the need for a slower yoga practice has resonated with me. This practiced is designed to allow for focus on the chakras or wheels of energy throughout the body. There are seven main chakras, which align the spine, starting from the base of the spine through to the crown of the head.
The practice is recommend to be taken in this order and each pose held between 3-5 minutes. An aromatherapy corresponds with each chakra, so a recommended Young Living oil is placed next to each and how I recommend using it throughout the flow.
Centering: Sit for five minutes in stillness. Focus on the breath simply at first by noticing the breath. Yin practice does not traditionally focus on pranayama, but taking a few minutes to allow yourself to set an intention before you begin can help you draw inward.
1. Muladhara Chakra (Essential Oil- Patchouli)
I create sprays with Young Living essential oils. It is one of the main reasons that I first bought a Premium Starter Kit. You can buy a glass spray bottle anywhere online. The ones I use are 1 oz bottles. Add about 10 drops of the oil and fill it with water. You can buy a pack 12 of bottles for about $10.00. A 15ml bottle of Patchouli with my wholesale discount costs me $33.75 and contains 250 drops ($0.13 a drop). This means I made my aromatherapy for about $2.30. One of these bottles lasts me around a month in privates and classes.
Begin in either Legs up the Wall or Seated Forward Fold (hold for 3-5 Minutes)
If you are beginning in a Seated Forward Fold you may want to sit on the edge of a blanket or roll up the edge of your yoga mat to take tension off of the lower back. Suffer from tight hamstrings? Keep a bend in the knees. Draw focus to the center of energy at the bottom of the spine, grounding the sitting bones into the mat.
2. Svadhistana Chakra (Essential Oil- Frankincense)
I use Frankincense as a roller and apply to the right wrist to inhale the scent. Rollers can be purchased as a Glass Roll On for Aromatherapy. I add Fractionated Coconut Oil to the roller and add 10 drops of Young Living Frankincense Essential Oil.
Supported Butterfly (Baddha Konasana)—The hips are the focus area and opening to encourage awareness of 2nd chakra svadhistana. Students can lay back on a bolster and blocks to open the chest. This feels especially nice if you've just taken the forward fold to find contrast in the body.
3. Manipura Chakra (Essential Oil- Acceptance blend of Rosewood, Geranium, Frankincense, Blue Tansy, Sandalwood, Neroli)
I use this blend in an oil dropper mixed with Fractionated Coconut Oil and Acceptance. This blend is nice applied to the temples. The scent can be inhaled, but allows for focus on this chakra where the mind has trouble, doubt, or maybe frustration with Acceptance. The blend contains Neroli, which is has been regarded traditionally by the Egyptian people for its great ability to heal the mind, body, and spirit. It is calming and relaxing to the body and spirit. It may also help strengthen and stabilize the emotions.
Supine Twists (Jathara Parivartanasana)—Three to five minutes on each side. Reclined twists put some pressure on the solar plexus area gently massaging the organs in the abdominal area. The knees are together and supported by the ground. The hands can be at a "t" shape or open with the elbows slightly bent. If knees and back are tight a blanket can be placed in-between the legs for comfort.
4. Anahata Chakra (Essential Oil- Gentle baby) blend of Rosewood, Geranium, Palmarosa, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Lemon, Jasmine, Bergamot, Rose).
I choose usually to use this blend for 4th chakra because of the intense scent is has as it corresponds to the heart region as well as the blend containing Rose. I put the oil into a dropper mixed with Fractionated Coconut oil and apply to the hands. The scent can be inhaled for 5-10 breaths slowly to draw focus during the pose below.
Sphinx or Seal (Bhujangasana)—Laying down in a belly backbend, place the front body on the mat. I like to use a blanket on top of the mat for added support. Take Sphinx laying all the way on the front body and coming to the forearms. I encourage people to relax the leg and bum muscles and stretch front upper part of the upper body by dropping the rib cage towards the mat. The aromatherapy can be placed in the hands as a direct way to inhale the scent. Make sure to rest flat with the head down on the ground or come into child's pose to rest the spine after the pose.
5. Vishudda Chakra (Essential Oil-bergamot)
Bridge Pose- Come to lay on your back. Pull the feet parallel to one another allowing the hips to lift. I place two blocks on the medium side and use the blocks side by side for a more restorative version of this pose. The neck is exposed allowing focus to draw on the center of communication at Vishudda Chakra. Eyes closed and hips elevated. Come back to a flat spine on the ground after this pose either by drawing the knees together or a Happy Baby pose. Spray or use an aromatic diffuser to inhale bergamot.
6. Ajna Chakra (Essential Oil- Cedarwood)
Child’s Pose (Balasana)—In this posture, the sixth chakra is activated by gently resting the spot in the between the eyebrows on the mat. I like to use Cedarwood as the essential oil in a spray. The scent is so relaxing and if you are doing this late at night can also help with sleep and to relax before laying in bed. Extend the arms forward or take them to the heels to relax.
7. Sahasrara Chakra (Essential Oil- lavender)
Meditation. Sit or lay down for final meditation. For tips on how to mediate check out my publications here. Use an aromatherapy diffuser from Young Living. Add water and a few drops of Lavender essential oil to help relax. This will carry you through final Savasana. The one thing I love about the diffuser is that is automatically shuts off, so no needing to worry about putting out a flame or if you fall asleep turning it off!
8. Savasana (5-10 mins)
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