I recently went on an active trip to one of my all-time favourite islands, Ibiza (full ‘active escape’ review upcoming!). For decades, the island’s had a strong bohemian feel and it still breathes the same warmth and welcoming today! There’s so much more to discover than the commercial megaclubs; countless hidden beaches, organic farms, horse rides, hikes, tranquil spa hideaways, beautiful hotels, vistas of exceptional natural beauty and much more, which I’ll revisit soon!
Since part of my trip’s daily routine was yoga and mediation with the fabulous instructor Mel, I wanted to focus on Chakras, which in Yogic lore are the 7 core ‘junction boxes’, or centres of energy by which Cosmic energy is said to flow into our bodies. They run down the central pillar of the seated body, and the word itself means ‘Wheel’ in Sanskrit, as Chakras are thought to be spinning vortices of energy. In my photos, Mel shows me how to dispatch some of her favourite poses to help access some of the principal Chakras. I’m also wearing Daisy London’s gorgeous Chakra line of jewellery, inspired by ancient Buddhist symbols representing these 7 core Chakras, which felt appropriate! As you might have spotted on my Instagram, I’m thrilled to be contributing to Daisy’s four-part wellness guide; hop over to their page to find my mini wellness guide and win some jewellery in their competition!
1. SUKHASANA (PEASANT/MEDITATION POSE, as above image)
This traditional meditation pose is harder than it looks and requires good mobility.
1) Sit with the legs straight in front of the body. Bend one leg and place the foot under the opposite thigh.
2) Bend the other leg and place the foot under the opposite thigh.
3) Place the hands on the knees. Keep the head, neck and back upright and straight but without strain.
4) Close the eyes. Relax the whole body. The arms should be relaxed
CHAKRA SIGNIFICANCE: This is said to help us access the Agya Chakra, located between the eyebrows (hence it’s meaning as the Third Eye) and is connected to our insight, intuition, and the way in which we process knowledge. When it’s in balance, we trust ourselves and our choices in life, and vice versa. I particularly like this one, as it’s involved in Meditation (about which I wrote recently), whereby you have to relinquish distractions and connect with tranquility. This position facilitates mental and physical balance without causing strain or pain.
2. VIRABHADRASANA (WARRIOR POSE, as above image)
1) Stand with the feet together and the hands by the sides.
2) Step backwards with the right foot turning it to a 90 degree angle parallel with the back of the mat.
3) Ensure correct standing alignment, with the heel of the left foot pointing backwards into the centre of the arch of the left foot.
4) The hips should be square and open pointing in the same direction as the right foot.
5) Inhale lifting the arms to shoulder hight, exhaling as you bend the left leg making sure the knee is directly above the ankle and not overstepping.
6) Ensure the knee doesn’t move to the left or the right. Remain upright and straight in the spine.
7) Turn the head to look over the left shoulder, softly gazing at the thumb of the left hand. Repeat on the opposite side.
CHAKRA SIGNIFICANCE: This helps us to access the Manipura Chakra (meaning the Jewel Place, thought of as the Power Chakra), which is said to be situated in the spine behind the navel. It’s the centre of self-assertion, knowledge, dynamism and confidence, helping us to power through our daily grinds! It’s also related to the vital process of digestion and food metabolism, and governs the functions of the gastric glands, pancreas gall bladder etc. It functions as the psychic centre which controls the the instinctive drive to find food and nurture the body, and is said to control the energy balance and thus strengthen our health. So you can end up accessing quite a lot with one little pose!
3. UTTHITA TRIKONASANA (TRIANGLE POSE, as above image)
1) Start standing upright with the same foot positioning as Warrior, and keep your feet c. 4 feet apart.
2) Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach out to the sides. Turn your left foot in slightly to the right, and your right foot out, aligning the right heel with the left heel.
3) Turn your right thigh out. Extend your torso to the right directly over the right leg. Make sure to bend from the hip joint, not the waist. Be careful not to tip the body forward – meaning a lateral (sideways) bend of the spine.
4) Then place your right hand on the floor, shin or ankle (or thigh), whichever feels comfortable, whilst remaining in the right position. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, with the arms in a straight line and keep your head in a neutral position.
5) Do not strain to achieve the final position. Flexibility will come with practice
CHAKRA SIGNIFICANCE: This helps us to access the Manipura Chakra, as above. There’s a significance to the Triangle though, as it’s a shape you’ll encounter time and again in the symbols for each of the Chakras. It’s geometrically related to the sweeping circles of motion through which the human body can stretch, and is integral to the motions of Yoga.
4. VASISTHANA (SIDE PLANK, as above image)
1. Start by positioning yourself lying on you side on your mat.
2. Slowly and in a controlled manner, lift yourself onto your left/right arm which should be positioned directly under your shoulder.
3. Shift your right/left foot onto the other. Your body weight should be completely supported by your right arm and right leg at this point.
4. Make sure your body is aligned – keeping your torso, hips legs, chest in line. Aviod pushing your hips backwards.
5. If you feel comfortable at this point stretch your arm toward the sky, keeping it in line with your shoulder.
6. Finally turn your gaze up your hand.
CHAKRA SIGNIFICANCE: This helps us to access the Manipura Chakra, as above.
5. EKA PADA PRANAMASANA (TREE POSE, as above image)
1. Start by standing firmly on the ground. – focus the gaze on a fixed point in front of the body.
2. Shift your weight onto the left foot, maintaining a strong, firm foot on the floor
3. Slowly bend the right knee
4. With the help of your right hand hold your ankle.
5. Then slowly and controlled lift the left food to the inside of your left thigh.
6. Make sure not to twist your pelvis but stay centred throughout.
7. At this point you can either place your hands in a prayer in front of you or hold your hands up in the sky as the photos show.
CHAKRA SIGNIFICANCE: This helps us to access the Anahata Chakra, often thought of as ‘the Heart Chakra’. It governs our emotions, our facility to love, our compassion and trust, as well as our commitment and hope. It’s also responsible for grief, resentment, anger, loneliness and other such emotions, and should there be an imbalance in the Anahata Chakra, jealousy, isolation, and lacking compassion are said to follow. Back in the physical world though, the Tree Pose strengthens the leg, ankle and foot muscles, and helps to develop nervous balance.
6. PARIPURNA NAVASANA (BOAT POSE, as above image)
1. Start by sitting on the floor and place your legs out in front of you
2. Place your hands on the floor behind you with your fingers pointing towards you.
3. Now slowly lean back maintaing a neutral spine and smog (strong?) core. Only go back to a point which feels comfortable to you. Keeping your chest open and shoulders back. (avoid slouching, or rounded back)
4. Now slowly bend your knees and lift your feet of the floor.
5. At this point lengthen your legs as much as possible ensuring you still keep a good posture. Personally I find this super difficult as my hamstring are super tight. But remember only got to where is comfortable to you.
6. Hold your arms out alongside your body parallel to the floor. palms facing inwards
CHAKRA SIGNIFICANCE: This helps us to access the Manipura Chakra, as above.
Big thanks to Mel for her fabulous guidance throughout her Yoga sessions, and Daisy London for the #DaisyDoesWellness collaboration which has been a pleasure to be a part of 😀
I WAS WEARING: