The 7 Yoga Poses You Need in Your Life (<---see link for fun gifs)
My name is Tea Sloane and I’m a yogi and writer from California. In my free time I like to make things, write and of course…do yoga! Both teaching and practicing yoga are really meaningful to me. When I’m doing yoga, I feel so present in my body that the world around me sort of fades away. It feels like I’m going into an alternate universe, and I think that’s a really powerful feeling to have! I want to share this feeling with other girls and young people, so I wrote a book called A Dragonfly’s Yogic Journey; which is about the Chakra system. And then, I wrote this article for Epic Sky which is kinda like a mini version of that.
In this article I talk about the chakras, which are these 7 different points in your body ( from the tip of your tailbone to the top of your head). Imagine them as like, 7 different gears that are always spinning and moving electricity through your body, only that electricity is actually your emotions and feelings. Focusing on these physical points can help us work through emotional pain or confusion, and get the energy and gears moving smoothly again. The chakras are a pretty complicated thing, but I’ll start to tell you more below! Check out the 7 chakras explained, and 7 of my favorite poses related to them!
Chakra: Root Chakra, located at the base of your spine
Meaning of this chakra: Identity, Survival, Stability
Mantras for this pose: “I am safe” + “I belong” + “I trust in life”
I do tree pose when I feel stressed out and need to find my center. Grounding yourself and focusing on the root chakra while balancing is a great way to empower yourself in the face of uncertainty. When I have a lot of homework or feel worried in general, I notice I lose touch with my body because I’m so distracted by my thoughts. So in these moments I get into tree pose. I love feeling my five toes planted on the ground while I breathe into my legs and feet.This allows me to feel more present, calm and balanced. I think it’s important to remain calm and feel good inside our own bodies; because our bodies are tools to assist us through the hard times.
Chakra: Sacral Chakra, located two inches below your belly button.
Meaning of this Chakra: Creativity, Relationships, Feelings
Mantras for this pose: “I FEEL” + “Creativity flows through me” + “ I experience life through my senses”
This pose (spit pose or “wide-angle seated forward fold”) is helpful for moments when you feel blocked and stuck; it opens up multiple muscles in the body AND also let’s our creative forces start to flow! A while ago someone in my family that I loved very much died. Everything in my body felt blocked up and overwhelmed. It was hard to write, be creative, focus or even breathe. This forward fold was soothing at that time because it helped release the emotions and physical tension I was holding onto. When you come into this pose, the longer you stay with the discomfort while breathing into the tight areas – the more things begin to open up.
Chakra: Solar Plexus Chakra, located three fingers above your belly button.
Meaning of this Chakra: Self-esteem, Personal Power, Endurance, Success
Mantras for this pose: “I DO” + “I am enough” + “ I am my own person” + “I am courageous”
People associate the Solar Plexus with strength and power, it’s located at the center of your body at your core/abdominals, and it’s kind of like your very own human battery. When I had to start at a new school and felt really shy, breathing into my belly and center helped me feel more confident. Most people were welcoming, but some people were mean and unkind. I realized it was because they were going through hard life things, and were expressing it as anger. I try to have compassion for others; because we can never really know what’s going on for other people. But, we do have control over ourselves, and we can help strengthen ourselves by spending more time in our bodies. Specifically by focusing on the core/center of the body to discover our personal power and self-esteem.
Chakra: Heart Chakra, located at the center of your chest
Meaning of this chakra: Unconditional Love, Patience, Compassion, Trust, Forgiveness
Mantras for this pose: “I am loved” + “I let love in” + “I forgive”
I do chair pose with my arms reaching up when I feel tired or down. This pose is a “heart-opener”, which means it creates space in the heart to help you deeply connect to yourself and your emotions. I feel strong, open and more in tune with what my heart may need when I’m in this pose. When I feel sad, exhausted, or when my day has been especially hard, I use this pose to bring more spirit into what I’m trying to do. Taking a few minutes to expand my chest and fill it with breath can help me move through feelings. And because our bodies and our feelings are so linked; if we use our breath to move through tightness in our chests, we can also move through feelings, and even become more ready to talk about them.
Chakra: Throat Chakra, located at the center of your throat
Meaning of this Chakra: Communication, Truth, Expression, Honesty
Mantras for this pose: “I am worthy of being heard” + “I speak my truth” + “I listen to the truths of others”
I do Sphinx pose to stretch my throat area, to focus on what I honestly think and want to say. When I am stressed or nervous, I notice that my throat always tightens up. Sometimes it’s hard to speak or express myself, which means I need to do some gentle work with my throat chakra. I breathe into my throat and look up to the sky to unlock my voice and my confidence in it. When I can find ways to make speaking up or expressing myself easier, I feel happy, true to myself, and empowered. If you feel like you are hiding or feeling self conscious about your opinions, breathing and stretching this chakra is a great way to find your inner voice and express it.
Chakra: Third Eye Chakra, located between your eyebrows
Meaning of this chakra: Intuition, Intellect, Understanding, Self-acceptance
Mantras for this pose: “I honor my intuition” + “I accept my path” + “I nurture my spirit”
I do child’s pose when my thoughts are running around and I feel overwhelmed. I find that closing my eyes in this pose helps me sense what’s happening in my body, and helps me separate myself from thinking. Once I become still in this pose, I start to find more peace, and my thoughts settle down a bit. After this pose I can be more mindful toward myself and others. I do this pose all the time, not just in one particular situation, but just in any moment when I am very busy, stressed or need some time to calm down. I feel loved, peaceful, mindful and blissful here as I breathe deeply into my hips and massage my forehead onto my hands.
Alternate Nostril Breath
Chakra: Crown Chakra, located at the top of your head
Meaning of this chakra: Connection to the universe, Spirituality, Life, Existence.
Mantras for this pose: “I am light” + “Divine energy flows through all beings” + “I am complete”
I do this breath exercise at the end of my yoga practice because it calms me down, but it also connects to me to my inner light – that we all share. When I’m doing this exercise, with each inhale and exhale I start to feel a little bit better; like there is less on my plate and more space for me to be myself. I feel more balanced in my body as I switch between breathing through my right and left nostrils. This practice can be great after an exhausting day or in the morning to start things from a more blissful and balanced place. Everybody has their own light, and we all share this. When we connect with ourselves in a way that is loving, hopefully we can connect with others in the same way.
GIFs by Tea Sloane, Images by Paulina Torbjornsen
Tea is an Epic Sky Contributor:
Tea Sloane is a Bay Area-based yoga practitioner, who has dedicated half of her life (5.5 years in total) to her practice. She officially completed a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in summer 2017 and is now offering a donation-based class at the Lafayette reservoir as well as classes at local high schools.