Crown Chakra: I KNOW
The Crown, or Sahasrara Chakra is the seventh of the seven main chakras that we will be exploring on our Journey through the Chakras . The crown chakra is placed at the top of the “chakra ladder” which starts from the root chakra that grounds us to the Earth and travels up to the Sahasrara which connects us with the universe. It is located just above the top of the head at the crown and governs the upper brain, top of the head, spinal cord, hormone and nervous systems. The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word Sahasrara is “one thousand”. However, while literally meaning one thousand, the word sahasrara implies that its magnitude and significance is vast, unlimited. Therefore, sahasrara should more aptly be described as a lotus with an infinite number of petals.
The element associated with the Crown chakra is Cosmic Energy or Thought. This chakra is the gateway to all things spiritual and represents the highest level of consciousness and enlightenment. It is the centre for deeper connection with ourselves and a force of life that is greater than ourselves. When we begin to realise that everything is interconnected and that we are part of the larger scheme of life, we begin to live with gratitude, faith and trust, rather than filled with fear and anxiety.
We are spiritual beings engaged in a human experience and by strengthening and opening our crown chakras we allow ourselves to grow and expand into our highest self on this physical plane.
The Crown chakra is symbolised by the colour purple or violet although sometimes referred to as white with being ultraviolet and thus made up of all the colours in the spectrum. It is depicted as a thousand-petalled lotus.
When your Crown Chakra is in balance, you experience an ability to understand and learn new information easily. You feel open minded and thoughtful and are more connected to your spiritual nature. You will have a great intuitive knowledge and will be aware of your spiritual self.
If your Crown Chakra is out of balance, this can exhibit as a feeling of lack of purpose or inspiration, confusion, a lack of understanding, a loss of identity, apathy, learning difficulties, or denial of our spirituality.
So how can yoga help?
When we address the chakras in our yoga classes this manifests in a number of ways: the use of mudras that relate to the individual chakras which will be included when we sit in breath focus or meditation, through the inclusion of physical postures, or asanas, that specifically target the chakra in question and through the use of positive affirmations, visualisations and mantras again all focused on the individual chakra.
Mudras for the Crown Chakra
A key mudra that works to activate and open the Crown Chakra is this Crown chakra mudra pictured above. To form this mudra, interlace the fingers, right thumb on top, ring fingers pointing away and resting in your lap. To use this in a breath focus, keep your mind focused on the crown chakra at the top of the head. Try to empty your mind, notice the breath and embrace the silence.
Physical postures (asanas) for the Crown Chakra
As the Crown Chakra is connected with the spiritual aspects of our being rather than the physical the best way to open and balance the Crown Chakra is through meditation and meditative practices although many poses also help to soothe and heal the Crown Chakra.
A yoga class themed around opening up this chakra would involve any postures that stimulate the crown chakra either by allowing energy to flow down towards the head, for example in inversions or those that stimulate the crown directly by resting on the top of the head. Here are a few key asanas that will help to open and activate the crown chakra:
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog):
This yoga pose is an inversion allowing for increased blood flow to your head. Concentrate on your crown chakra as you hold this position.
This “King of the Asanas” is a beautiful pose for opening up and activating the Crown Chakra. It is a strong inversion and as it stimulates the crown directly it is the best asana for this chakra. Modified options include Dolphin pose, Hare pose and one-legged Headstand.
Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
This balance helps to activate the Crown Chakra as the arms overhead and the focused gaze (drishti) tap into the energy of the Crown chakra. It is a great posture grounding you down through the earth but lifting you up into the Crown Chakra.
Affirmations for the Crown Chakra
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Begin to bring your awareness to the top of your head, to the crown of the head where the Crown or Sahasrara chakra is located. Try to focus and concentrate all of your awareness on this point. Just by bringing your focus and attention here your energy will flow here and help to open and balance this chakra.
Try to breathe into this area, try to draw your inhalation into the body through the crown of the head and then allow your body to soften with each out-breath. Breathing in let the breath enter the body through the top of the head and then with the exhalation let the body soften and relax.
As you breathe in you might like to imagine drawing a white healing light or energy in through the top of the head and as you exhale allow this white healing light to spread throughout the rest of the body filling every cell. Again breathing in a white healing light in through the crown of your head and then exhaling, softening the body and allowing this white healing light to expand out into the rest of your body bringing with it a sense of healing and protection.
Continue with this visualisation for as long as is comfortable and then when you are ready slowly bring your awareness back to the present moment. Take a few deep breaths, wiggle your fingers and toes and slowly open your eyes.
Each chakra has its own seed, or Bija, mantra which are one-syllable sounds that when said aloud activate the energy of the chakras. These Bija mantras have been universally used in meditative practice to harmonise one’s energy and purify and balance the mind and body. When you speak, or chant, the bija mantras aloud you resonate with the energy of the associated chakra.
The mantra for the Crown Chakra is no sound at all, simple silence.
I hope you enjoyed our journey through all the seven main chakras. Obviously this has just been an insight into what is a vast topic and there are countless books dedicated to the chakras, but hopefully looking a little at each chakra in turn has stimulated an interest to learn more and to encourage you to deepen your study.