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As with all exercises, warming up the muscles at the start of your session and cooling them down at the end of your workout are important to avoid injury. So too is hydration–bring your own water bottle or buy a bottle when you get to the studio. Most studios will offer Yogi tea at the end of each class for students to drink as they socialize with one another and relax. It is a decaffeinated tea similar to the Indian drink chai, and is made with Yogi Tea chai-style bags, soy milk and a splash of pure maple syrup to sweeten it.

Kundalini yoga teachers are supportive but not bullying. They will work with you to find adjustments for the pose if you have knee or back issues. There are also a number of props in each studio, such as cushion, blocks, and yoga straps to help you find whatever is comfortable for you.

They also have towels and mats so you do not have to carry yours around if you want to get in a session before or after work. Some studios also have showers if you want to freshen up afterwards.

You will find people of all ages at a Kundalini yoga, from young to senior. If you have not worked out for a while, you might feel very nervous about starting, and be especially scared at the very idea of putting on (fashionable) workout clothes and going to a gym full of fit 20-somethings.

With Kundalini yoga, all you need are comfortable clothes such as a tee shirt and shorts or yoga pants. A head covering like a scarf or bandana can keep the hair out of your eyes and is said to lock in the energy so it does not dissipate through the top of your head, your crown chakra, too quickly.

So what are the chakras, and how can they help with health and healing? Let’s look at this topic in the next chapter.

What are the Chakras?
The word chakra means wheel, or vortex. It is considered to be an energy center in the body that spins. Most illustrations of the chakras to explain them make them look like a round ball at each location, but this is not accurate. Rather than sitting on the front of our body, they actually spin from front to back like a dinner plate twirling. If we think of a whirlpool, we will also get an idea of the way chakras are positioned and function in our bodies.

Chakras

Each chakras is the seat of a particular form of energy. There are 3 lower chakras and 4 higher chakras. If we use the comparison of the whirlpool again, our energy can remain at or sink down to the lower chakras unless we make a conscious effort to move our energy up to the higher chakras. In this way we can live a balanced and complete life.

Once you know where each of your chakras is, you can work on the health of each. Once they are each in balance, you can practice moving the energy upwards, endowing everything you with a whole new power and purpose.

As you awaken the power within, you will find yourself feeling a renewed sense of vitality. Work will become easier, your stress will decrease, and relationships improve. In terms of creating a great life for yourself, balanced chakras and an integrated mind, body, and spirit can be achieved through Kundalini yoga.

Each chakra corresponds to a color of the rainbow or spectrum. The healing energy pictured as coming in and out of the crown chakra is often shown as white light, that is, the combination of all of the colors of the spectrum.

Starting from the bottom and working our way to the top, the chakras are:

  • The Root Chakra
  • The Navel, Sex or Sacral Chakra
  • The Solar Plexus Chakra
  • The Heart Chakra
  • The Throat Chakra
  • The Third Eye Chakra
  • The Crown Chakra

Colors and the Energies of each Chakra

1. The Root Chakra – Red
Stability, having life’s essentials, such as food, water and shelter. A balanced one means prosperity and ease. Imbalance triggers hardship, greed, and possibly eating disorders.

2. The Navel, Sex or Sacral Chakra – Orange
Passion, creativity, procreation. Balance give confidence and sex appeal. Imbalance creates timidity and the feeling of being stuck in a rut.

3. The Solar Plexus Chakra – Yellow
Willpower and personal power. Balance gives the energy and motivation to achieve all your goals. Imbalance means a lack of ambition or momentum. Think of the word solar, like the power of the sun, and you will get an idea of the importance of this chakra.

It is the highest of the 3 lower chakras. Moving the energy from here into the 4 upper chakras via the heart chakra is essential for awakening the power within.

4. The Heart Chakra – Green
Love, compassion, empathy. A balanced heart chakra gives you harmony in all your relationships. An imbalanced one closes you off to feelings and sensations, and makes you jealous of others.

5. The Throat Chakra – Blue
This is the seat of communication in all its forms. A balanced one helps you with all your spoken and written communications and allows you to tap into your authentic self. An imbalanced one results in lying, gossiping and being a bad listener.

6. The Third Eye Chakra-indigo, a kind of purplish – Blue
Intuition, wisdom, especially spiritual wisdom. A balanced one helps you tap into your higher self and make connections with the spiritual. An imbalanced one makes you feel stuck or cut off from yourself. You have a hard time trusting your own judgment.

7. The Crown Chakra – Violet
The higher self. A balanced one leaves you open in mind, body and spirit. A closed one cuts you off from your highest potential and make you close-minded and closed off to connection with others.

Now that you understand the chakras, let’s look next at how the Kundalini yoga moves energy in the body.