Sahasrara, the crown chakra, is the seventh chakra and considered the “seat of cosmic consciousness.” Aptly located on the top of your head, it represents the connection between the earthly experience and the higher sense of self.
Read on to learn about the importance of maintaining a balanced crown chakra as well as five yoga poses to help you do so.
About the Crown Chakra
Associated with the color violet, a balanced crown chakra will show you that your perceived limitations are simply illusions. That insight will render you free to strive toward your potential and full, unique value. The gifts of a healthy crown chakra also include wisdom, intuition, and an acceptance that everything you know, see, and experience connects to one divine truth. Unfortunately, experiences of excessive stress and anxiety can lead to an imbalanced crown chakra. Some signs of an underactive crown chakra include:
- Lack of Purpose
- Resistance to New Ideas or Ways of Thinking
- Greediness or Materialism
- Feelings of Mental Fogginess
However, an overactive crown chakra can lead to the following negative symptoms:
- Feelings of Superiority
- Disconnection From Reality
- Hypocritical Tendencies
You can balance and heal your crown chakra by praying, meditating, experiencing nature, eating white foods, and practicing loving kindness toward yourself and others. The qualities that will soothe your sahasrara chakra include empathy, connection, and recognition of a higher universal energy that connects us all. To support you in healing your crown chakra, be sure to include these five poses to your yoga practice.
1. Lotus or Half Lotus (Padmasana or Ardha Padmasana)
- Start seated in staff pose (dandasana) with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Bend your right knee and cradle your calf in your arms.
- Place your right foot in the crook of your left elbow and your right knee in the crook of the right elbow. Breathe several breaths here, easing your hip open.
- Practice this stretch on the other side.
- Now, return to the right leg, bend your right knee, and bring your right ankle to your left hip crease. (The sole of your right foot should face up and your right knee should open down toward the earth without pain.)
- When you’re comfortable with the last step, bring your left ankle to your right hip crease to complete the pose.
- Hold this pose for a few, full breaths — or up to several minutes — in meditation.
2. Standing Prayer Backbend (Anuvittasana)
- Stand in mountain pose (tadasana).
- Bring your hands to your heart center in prayer position.
- Ground into the soles of your feet and feel the energy of your spine reaching down into the earth.
- Reach your arms up on an inhale, keeping your palms together as you reach your fingertips overhead and behind you.
- Maintain a downward moving energy in your lower body while allowing your upper body to continue stretching up and back.
- Hold here with about 70 percent of your maximum effort, giving yourself room to breathe.
- After five to 10 breaths, bring your hands back to your heart center and return to mountain pose (tadasana).
3. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
- Stand in mountain pose (tadasana) with your weight distributed equally across the full surface of the soles of your feet.
- Bring your hands together in prayer position and fix your gaze on something just beyond the tip of your nose.
- Shift your weight to your left foot, lift your right foot off the floor, turn your right knee out to the right, and bring the sole of your right foot to your inner thigh or inner calf.
- You can place your foot above or below — but never on — your knee.
- If balance poses a big challenge, keep your right toes on the floor and touch your right heel to your left ankle while turning your right knee out to the right.
- Inhale and extend your arms overhead.
- Relax your shoulders.
- Keep your palms together or open your hands away from each other to create a wide “V” shape in the sky.
- Hold here for four or five full breaths.
4. Headstand (Sirsasana)
- Start on your hands and knees, and then place your forearms and elbows on the floor and interlace your fingers to create a triangle.
- Place the crown of your head on the floor, cupping the back of your head in your interlaced fingers. (You can gently rock your head back and forth on the floor to find the point where your neck is in a neutral position.)
- Press into your forearms, drawing your shoulders away from your ears. (This will relieve the top of your head from carrying all of your weight.)
- Straighten your legs, coming into some version of downward-facing dog (adho mukha shvanasana) or dolphin pose (ardha pincha mayurasana), with your head on the floor.
- Come up onto your toes and walk your feet a little closer to your face.
- This already represents an inversion, and it may be your complete pose for today.
- Feel free to honor that and breathe here for up to 15 full breaths.
- If you’re comfortable moving further into this pose, bring more weight onto your forearms, draw strength from your core, and stack your hips over your shoulders.
- Practice bending one knee and bringing your heel to your buttocks.
- Lightly hop your other foot off the floor, bringing that heel to your buttocks.
- Balance your hips over your shoulders, bring your knees together and slowly point them up toward the sky, and then straighten your legs to reach your toes upward.
- Aim to hold this pose for up to 15 full breaths.
- Come down by bending your knees, returning your toes to the floor, and relaxing in child’s pose (balasana) for at least 30 seconds before you raise your head again.
5. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
- Lie flat on your back, making sure your spine remains straight by keeping your head down on the floor at the same level as the rest of your body.
- Allow your arms to relax a few inches away from your sides with your palms facing up.
- Place your legs a few inches apart with your toes gently opening outward.
- Bring a feeling of heaviness into your entire body and notice how the earth completely supports your weight.
- Consciously bring a feeling of relaxation into each part of your body, starting with your feet and then moving up your legs, torso, back, arms, head, and face.
- Practice the above step with relaxed breathing in which you don’t try to direct or control your breath at all.
- Rest in this pose for five to 15 minutes.
- Come out of this pose by consciously deepening your breath and by starting to make subtle movements in your fingers and toes.
- Rotate your ankles and wrists, and then make bigger stretches with your arms and legs.
- Hug your knees, roll onto your right side, and use your hands to slowly and gently press yourself back up to a seated position.