Beneath the physical is the body’s inner temple within which your life force travels along energetic pathways. One of these pathways runs through your central core and along this central axis, at the points where energy channels converge, are the seven major chakras, or energy centres of the subtle body. They are often depicted as forming a broadly vertical line from the base of the spine to the crown of the head and can be thought of as a ladder where a journey can take place upwards towards liberation and downwards towards manifestation.

When energy flows freely along the energetic pathways you can experience vibrant health in the body and mind and spiritual awakening. However, factors such as dietary choices, pain, stress, lack of movement and physical exercise and not dealing with or holding on to emotions or thoughts can result in the chakras becoming energetically deficient or excessive which creates a blockage in the stream of energy.

In order to experience optimal health and wellbeing in the body-mind-spirit, it’s essential to create conditions within your inner temple that allow energy to flow freely. There are various different methods you can use and you may find one to be more effective than another depending on your interests and preferences; bear in mind however that you may naturally gravitate to what you believe you’re ‘good’ at and/or what comes most easily, but this can result in avoidance of that which needs most work and which could yield most benefits. Here are three of the methods that I’ve found to be most effective:

1. Yoga asana (postures) – these can help to reduce tension and stiffness and as you find more openness in the physical body you create conditions for energy to flow more freely through the subtle body.

2. Meditation – you can visualise the colour most commonly associated with the chakra you’re working with (for example red for the first or base chakra). The use of mantras can also work well.

3. Pranayama (breathing practices) – these can help create balance, harmony and rhythm and direct the flow of energy and attention to particular parts of the body.

These practices clear and energise the chakras, allowing you to create more spaciousness within your physical body and greater access to your inner temple.

If you’d like to experience these methods for yourself and learn more about the chakras as part of a yin yoga practice, I’m hosting a ‘journey through the chakras’ yin yoga workshop at Studio One Yoga Standish on 12th May. As part of the workshop you’ll be treated to a chakra-based yin sequence and a long guided chakra relaxation.