Chakras 101: Starting at the Top—Yoga and the Crown Chakra
Chakra literally means ‘wheel’ in Sanskrit. It is seen as an energy centre and often depicted as a colorful spinning wheel of energy. They are not something physical as such, but rather something metaphysical, aspects of consciousness, known as the ‘subtle body’. The subtle body is something that exists, but we can’t necessarily see it or study it. It’s like when you feel butterflies in your stomach before giving a presentation at work, or tightening in your chest when you feel anxious. The chakras are part of the subtle body.
There are seven of the main chakras in the body (and many other smaller chakra points, which incidentally correspond to many of the acupuncture points in Traditional Chinese Medicine). These chakras all run in a line along the spine, from the Root Chakra at the base of the spine, right up until the Crown Chakra at the crown of the head.
The Seven Chakras are:
- The Root Chakra, found at the perineum, known as Muladhara
- The Sacral Chakra, located at the coccyx, known as Svadhisthana
- The Solar Plexus Chakra, found at the solar plexus, known as Manipura
- The Heart Chakra, found to the center of the chest, next to the heart, known as Anahata
- The Throat Chakra, found at the centre of the throat, known as Vishuddha
- The Third Eye Chakra, found in between the two eyebrows, known as Ajna
- The Crown Chakra, found at the crown of the head, known as The Sahasrara
The Crown Chakra
Biologically speaking, the crown chakra is found where the pineal gland is located and is associated with the central nervous system. But really, this is just the physiology of where it is found, the spiritual side of the crown chakra is far more powerful, steeped in ancient wisdom and knowledge. Also known as the “thousand petal lotus” chakra, it is the chakra of enlightenment and spiritual connection. It is seen as the point where the body and ego fade away and the divine begins. The thousand petal symbol is a metaphor for beauty and gratitude coming from ourselves and reaching out into the universe, as though a flower were growing out of us and spreading its beauty into the world.
It can be particularly meaningful to focus on the crown chakra in times when the ego needs to take a step down, maybe you have a bruised ego or are feeling a little too overwhelmed by something. When these feelings strike, it’s incredibly humbling to remember our connection to the universe and feel grateful for the beauty in the world and so here, connecting with the crown chakra can be incredibly powerful. But don’t feel the need to wait until you have these feelings, meditating on the crown chakra can be beautiful at any time!
Connecting with the Crown Chakra:
There are some great specific mantras or affirmations you can use to help you connect with your crown chakra. While repeating these mantras, focus your attention on the crown of the head, while lifting it up to the sky, almost as if you were feeling a piece of string coming out of it, lifting you up. As purple is the color of this chakra, it enhances the mantra to visualise a purple wheel of energy at this area or a purple lotus flower with one thousand petals.
Some specific mantras for the crown chakra include:
- I am part of the Divine
- I listen to the wisdom of universe
- I trust my intuition
- I am grateful for all the goodness in my life
There are many yoga poses that focus on the crown chakra and can help to bring energy to this point. Again, it’s far more powerful if you focus your energy on the crown chakra and visualise purple energy at that area while doing these poses.
Poses to stimulate the crown chakra include:
- Handstand (Sirsasana): This pose requires a large amount of neck strength, but once conquered, beautiful stimulates and brings energy to the crown chakra. Take any variation to make sure you are working at your level and not putting stress on the neck or head.
- Tree Pose (Vriksasana): While not directly stimulating the crown chakra, you can focus your energy and attention on the crown of the head during this pose, to help you elongate your spine and have the feeling of reaching into the universe and the divine. It really helps with balance too!
- Lotus Pose (Padmasama): Similar to with tree pose, focus on lifting up from the crown chakra to the sky to make this pose more steady and strong. Remember to take any variation that works for your body, especially your hips, so as not to cause injury. Props places under the hips can also help lift the body to a more comfortable position and help you stay in the pose longer.
Essential oils are great to stimulate the crown chakra and help us connect with the universe. They help anchor us with the present moment and the world around us. It is nice to dilute a few drops of essential oil with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or sweet almond oil, and gently massage into the crown of the head. Some specific essential oils related to the crown chakra include:
Having gemstones nearby can also deepen our connection to our crown chakra, As this chakra is purple, any purple gemstone would be appropriate. White gemstones also can be used to symbolize the divine and the greater universe.
Some gemstones to consider include:
- White Topaz
- Quartz Crystal
Remember, there are no hard and fast rules about the crown chakra, rather there are feelings and intuitions. The crown chakra is a beautiful, powerful metaphor to connect us with the wider world, with nature, with community and with the divine. Any time you are connecting with these elements, you are stimulating your crown chakra. So think outside the box, go for a walk in nature, participate in a community event and connect with the world around you. All the while, you will be connecting with your crown chakra as well.
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Stephanie Johnson, CYI, Yogini Soul Staff Writer, is an elementary school teacher, yoga teacher, meditation student and writer. She is looking for ways to explore this beautiful, crazy life that we have been gifted and to live it with meaning. Stephanie fell in love with yoga as a teenager and has since traveled across the globe in search of gaining knowledge and experiences to deepen her understanding of yoga, from her home country of Australia, to India and across Asia, to Chile, in South America, where she now lives with her partner and two sons. Connect with her on Instagram.