The Yogi’s Guide to Athens, Greece

This blog post was originally intended as a simple guide for my Greek Island Yoga Retreat attendees, but why not share the love. I’ve been to Athens a handful of times and each time I visit I discover a new gem. In this post, I’ll be sharing my favorite restaurants, yoga shops, Athens yoga studios among favorite wine bars, sights to see and places to shop.

Photo by Simply Greenhttps://www.simplygreen.gr/travel-mat-poio-na-dialekso/

Where to Buy Yoga Pants and Yoga Mats in Athens

Yoga students and yoga teachers… if you managed to lose or forget your yoga mat, block, incense or mala beads head over to Simply Green. Simply Green is actually an online shop, BUT they do open their doors Monday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm. They carry great brands… think Manduka and Jade, they have plenty of travel mats in all colors, and tons of other bits and bobs you may have forgotten at home (like a refillable water bottle, yoga towel, mat cleaner, etc.). It’s amazing and it’s located pretty centrally, so it’s a win-win! Location: Simply Green 73 Ermou Str. Monastiraki

If your yoga pants have blown away then check out the Nike store at 1 Ermou, this is probably your best bet for finding a variety of suitable leggings. Simply Green has a few leggings styles as well. Athens Yoga on Louizis Riankour 65, would be a bit of an expedition to get to, but if you’re in a bind or feeling adventurous you could head out to their location. There are also two H&M stores on Ermou. H&M stores in the states typically have fitness wear… just check that your leggings are opaque!

Niyamas Yoga Mat would be another option for picking up a yoga mat. Their mats are known for being nice and sturdy. They’re a local brand and they’re located a little north of the city center on Leof. Konstantinoupoleos 78-80 in Peristari.

The Best Yoga Studios in Athens

If you’re arriving in Athens a few days before your yoga retreat you may be seeking out a yoga studio in Athens to get moving and breathing after sitting on a plane for a dozen hours.

There are a surprisingly large number of yoga studios in Athens. Here are a few to check out:

Abhaya Yoga offers classes in English. At the moment, they have the following types of classes on their schedule: Bhakti, Anusara, Abhaya hatha, Alignment based yoga and Yin-Yang. Check out their website for their current schedule and pricing www.nysystudios.gr or give them a call +30 210 3232004. Location: Aiolou 43

Enjoy a class at Spa-like Anahatashuddhi yoga studio in Peristeri, Athens

Anahatashuddi Yoga Studio is a little further away from the center, but it’s gorgeous and well worth the effort. They offer floor yoga, aerial yoga and pilates in Peristeri. Reach out to Eva via email at eva@anahatashuddhi.com or give them a call at +30 210 5744162 or +30 694 6941126. Location: Emiliou Veaki 36

Swaha Yoga Kallisperi has super friendly staff and a large range of class offerings, including: ballet, pilates, aerial, and floor yoga. Check out their site www.swaha.gr or shoot them an email at om@swaha.gr Their phone number is +30 210 9229251. Location: Kallisperi 11

Other Yoga Class Options:

Where to Eat: Vegan, Vegetarian, Organic and Sustainable Restaurants in Athens

Okay, there are loads of great places to eat in Athens, but when you’ve had enough of the meat, cheese, bread combo give these restaurants a try.

Avocado Vegetarian Cafe Photo credit: Avocado Cafe

Avocado

So Amazing!!! Loads of delicious vegetarian meals from falafel, to crispy tofu to veggie burgers. This restaurant has a surprisingly large menu. They even have a few gluten-free and vegan options — which let’s be honest… Greece is not super friendly to vegans… not that the Greeks are mean, because they’re definitely not, but because the options for vegan food are seriously lacking. Definitely check out Avocado for your veggie and smoothie fix. It’s one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in Athens. Location: Nikis 30, Syntagma

Indian Haveli near the Acropolis metrohttp://www.indianhaveli.gr/en/

Indian Haveli

I might be biased. I love Indian food and it is one of my comfort foods. AND there are usually plenty of vegetarian options on the menu, which I love. Indian Haveli is conveniently located near Syntagma Square (2 minutes from the Acropolis metro) and it’s affordably priced.

O Kostas

This may be the best gyro and souvlaki in Athens. A favorite among locals for its simplicity and full flavor. But you must go early, when they run out they close up shop! Pentelis 5, Syntagma

Nice n Easy Organic Bistro in Kolonaki, Athens

Nice n Easy

An organic bistro with locally sourced Greek food ie. loads of organic produce, fresh pasta and sustainably sourced meats. Nice n Easy is worth a visit. I would definitely recommend a reservation. This restaurant has a few other locations out on the islands, so if you can’t get in in Athens, check out one of the island locations (if that’s where you’re headed). Location: Omirou 60, Athens

Athens Central Market

If you’re on a budget check out the Athens Central Market. It’s been in operation for over 100 years and offers plenty of veggies, meats, and grocery items.

Seycheles

This may be the best meal I have had in Athens. Seycheles’ menu has lots of small-ish plates and a handful of entree style plates and they’re all delicious. I recommend the octopus, the tomato fritters and the smoked eggplant! Go with a friend so you can try more things! If you want to eat during prime time definitely make a reservation. The restaurant is out of the tourist zone in an up and coming, hipster-ish neighborhood called Metaxourgeio. Address: 49 Kerameikou street

Couleur Locale

Cocktails, wine, and coffee with a rooftop view of the Acropolis and Plaka. Not a bad way to spend an evening. Location: Normanou 3, Monastiraki

Kiki de Grace

A beautiful wine bar near Syntagma Square. They have about 30 different glasses of wine to choose from. Location: Voulis 38

Favorite places for Coffee

Tailor Made Microroastery

Tailor Made Microroastery is located at Agias Irinis 2. Great coffee, awesome outdoor seating that is perfect for people watching and a fun, social scene. Location: Agias Irinis 2 in Monastiraki. Word on the street is that they have closed. Sad face!

Peek a Bloom

Peek a Bloom is another great spot for caffeine, this little cafe is near Syntagma Square and it’s a perfect spot to tuck out of the sun for a cup of coffee. While I haven’t tried their breakfast, I do enjoy their coffee. It’s down the alley at Lekka 14.

Athinaika Galatompoureko Triantafillou

Okay, there are literally hundreds, probably thousands of places to try baklava in Athens, but trust me, when I say that Athinaika Galatompoureko Triantafillou has the best baklava ever! Hike up the hill to Pagrati and get yourself some baklava. It’s worth it. I promise. Location: Eftichidou 2 in Pagrati

Ohh Boy

This is the best cafe to stuff yourself with sweets and get hyped up on sugar and caffeine while cranking out a days work. Did I say they have super fast wifi??? Because they do. Thank you. Thank you! Location: Archelaou 32

Shopping: Where to Buy Gemstones and Crystals in Athens

Alright yogis, you might love gemstones and crystals just as much as I do, so here are a few spots to check out while you’re in Athens.

Michael Hatzmihail near Syntagma Square at Perikleous 56

Stonestories by Albandakis at Perikleous 44

One of my girlfriends bought a gorgeous Byzantine inspired ring from one of the Konstantinos or Kostas stores (I can’t remember the name, but there are a few of them in the Monastiraki and Plaka area).

Shopping: Best Clothing, Shoe, Vintage and Secondhand Shops in Athens

Simply the best! Closet to Closet

Closet to Closet

Closet to Closet is super cute. They have lightly used high end brands like Laboutin and Manolo Blahnik at a fraction on the cost. And it’s next to the National Gardens… picnic + shopping sounds like a lovely afternoon to me. Location: Eratosthenous 4

Preloved

Preloved is another great secondhand shop between the National Gardens and Monastiraki. Location: Asklipiou 20

Kilo Shop

If you don’t have time to make it over to Closet to Closet and Preloved you can check out the Kilo Shop located right in the heart of the tourist district. The last time I was in Athens one of my friends found an amazing pair of Levis… so jealous! Location: Ermou 120

Olgianna Melissinos Sandals

Get a pair of custom made leather sandals. Olgianna and her husband make fantastic footwear and leather bags!!! All at affordable prices too. Every time I am in Europe I treat myself to a pair of shoes or an article or two of clothing… the quality is always amazing. This year I will be getting my own custom made sandals. Location: Normanou 7

Athens National Gardens

Free Things To Do in Athens

  1. Watch the changing of the guards at the Parliament building. The changing of the guards happens every hour on the hour. On Sundays there is an even more elaborate changing of the guards. On our first trip to Athens we stumbled upon the changing of the guards. It’s cool. It’s free. And you can stand in the shade while you watch.
  2. Have a Picnic in the National Garden. The National Garden is massive and beautifully landscaped. Stop by a market on your way and grab a few snacks and maybe a bottle of wine (I have no idea if you can drink wine in Athens’ parks — might be worth looking into).
  3. Check out Anafiotika. Anafiotika is a super cute mini neighborhood in the Plaka area. The architecture is reminiscent of the Cyclades… narrow lanes, white buildings, flowering bougainvilla, and sunbathing cats are the norm. To get there from the Acropolos metro station, take Vyronos St. pass Lycicrates monument and turn left to Thespidos St until you arrive at Stratonos. Turn right on Stratonos and walk straight ahead. You have arrived! There is also some nearby street art.
  4. Wander through Athens’ Central Market. The Central Market is massive, impressively clean, and fairly priced. You’ll find meats, cheeses, veggies, and grocery items. Everything you need for a picnic in the park.
  5. Wander the historic center. Start at Hadrian’s Arch, wander through Plaka, stop and aww at the archeological sites that seem to pop up out of nowhere.
The Acropolis

7 Must See Sites in Athens

If you plan on visiting multiple sites you should buy the multi-site ticket. The ticket to the Acropolis only is 20 euros. The multi-site ticket is 30 euros… and I would take a wild guess that you’ll be visiting at least one or two more sites. Don’t bother booking ahead, just go early in the day before the tour buses show up. The multi-site pass is valid at the following sites: Acropolis of Athens, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos, Archaeological Site of Lykeion, Hadrian’s Library, Kerameikos, Museum of the Ancient Agora, North slope of the Acropolis, Olympieio, Roman Agora of Athens, South Slope of Acropolis.

  1. The Acropolis
  2. The Acropolis Museum
  3. National Archeological Museum
  4. Varvakeios Central Market
  5. Ancient Agora
  6. Hadrian’s Arch
  7. Temple of Zeus

Travel to and from Athens City Center

Athens by Metro

Transportation to/from the airport via the metro is 10 euros each way and takes about 40 minutes.

Athens by Bus

Transportation to/from the airport via the bus is about 6 euros each way. The X95 drops off and picks up at Syntagma Square. The bus takes 40-60 minutes depending on where you’re headed.

Athens by Taxi

A taxi from the airport to the city is a flat rate of 38 euros during the day and 54 euros between midnight and 5 am. A taxi takes approximately 35 minutes.

Travel to and from Lefkada

There are four buses a day going to Lefkada from Athens. The first departure is at 7 am. The KTEL bus is 36.80 euros one way or 67 euros roundtrip. If you book online you can save 10%. The bus runs from Kifissou in Athens to Lefkada Town on Lefkada.

LEFKADA– filosofon & Tzeveleki, .31 100
President- 26450 26086
Account Office- 26450 22795  Φαξ. 26450 21827
Information/ Ticket Office- 26450 22364
Store/ Parcels- 26450 26085

ATHENS– Leoforos Kifissou 100, 104 42
Information/ Ticket Office – 210 5150108 fax. 210 5151544
Store/ Parcels- 210 5150108
Ticket Office Omonoias – Vilara (near Ag. Konstantinou)Tel. 210 5246803, 210 5233810

Travel to and from Piraeus

The 040 bus will take you to the city center of Athens in 50 minutes, and costs 1.40€. The express buses X80 or X96 take you to the city center in 30 minutes and the tickets cost 4€.

A taxi between Piraeus and Athens city center will take about 25 minutes and will cost approximately 25€ under normal traffic conditions.

Manipura Chakra: Confidence and Personal Power

third chakra manipura chakra navel chakra
Image by freepik.com

Manipura = Dwelling place of gems
Mani = jewel or gem
Pura = dwelling place

The third chakra, Manipura Chakra, is known as the power center and it is located at the front of the spine in the region of the solar plexus and navel. It rules our personal power, will, and autonomy, as well as our metabolism. It is responsible for the digestion and assimilation of food and it corresponds to the stomach, upper intestines, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, pancreas, adrenal glands, spleen and mid back.

When Manipura chakra is healthy, this chakra brings us energy, effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power. We are confident and focused while possessing strength, fortitude, and determination.

The third chakra develops in our teenage years as we begin to develop our own identity. The issues that arise here involve our development of personal power, autonomy, self-esteem, individuality, and the fulfillment of our dreams.

The ego arises in the third chakra along with our desire for authority, respect, identity, recognition and power. The overactive third chakra gives rise to egotism, pride, selfishness and the desire for control.

Image: Freepik.com

Manipura Chakra at a Glance:

  • Location: Front of the spine at Navel or Solar Plexus
  • Element: Fire
  • Color: Yellow
  • Lotus: Ten Petaled
  • Bija Mantra: RAM
  • Aspects: Vision, form, ego, willpower, determination, confidence
  • Sense: Sight
  • Vayu: Saman
  • Planet: Sun (solar)
  • Kosha: Pranamaya

Manipura Chakra’s Ten Petaled Lotus

The ten petals of Manipura chakra are associated with ten different aspects of Braddha Rudra, otherwise known as Old Shiva. Braddha Rudra is the deity associated with the third chakra. The ten petals represent ten forms of vrittis or mental modifications. These mental modifications include:

  • spiritual ignorance
  • thirst
  • jealousy
  • treachery
  • shame
  • fear
  • disgust
  • delusion
  • foolishness
  • sadness.

Manipura Chakra and the Element of Fire

The third chakra’s element is fire. Fire provides both light and heat. Just as the sun is the source of life within our solar system, similarly, manipura chakra is the center of life within our own bodies. The fire of manipura chakra is our source of vitality and transformation. It is also linked with our digestion and assimilation of nutrients, thoughts and information and it is deeply related to hunger, thirst, sleep, lethargy, and ojas (radiance).

The Bija Mantra for Manipura Chakra

The bija mantra or seed sound for Manipura Chakra is RAM. When chanted it guides Kundalini shakti up toward the third chakra and increases the flow of prana (life force) to the solar plexus region.

When chanted repeatedly, the sound RAM creates a vibration at the navel center and may help improve digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Chanting RAM also helps coax Kundalini shakti up out of Muladhara and Svadisthana chakras and up into the sushumna nadi, our central channel. The seed sound RAM helps us cultivate the courage, support and drive to achieve our goals.

Lakini Devi and the Solar Plexus Chakra

Like Braddha Rudra, the goddess Lakini Devi, or Bhadra Kali, is linked to the third chakra. Bhadra Kali is the compassionate, benevolent form of the goddess of destruction, Kali. She is beautiful. She holds a fire pot, representing agni; one hand is holding the abhai mudra, a hand mudra for fearlessness and boons; she holds a thunderbolt that represents the continual flow of energy; and she holds an arrow to represent the upward flow of energy and the energies of accomplishment, freedom, independence, and authority. She encourages us to set goals and concentrate on what we need to do to achieve them.

An Out of Balance Third Chakra

Dysfunction in Manipura chakra manifests as many emotional issues associated with trust, fear, intimidation, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-responsibility, self-respect, care of oneself and others, decision making, fear of rejection, and sensitivity to criticism. Fears related to Manipura are fears of rejection/failure, criticism, and judgment.

To heal the third chakra one must learn to honor oneself, to develop self-respect and healthy self-esteem. In third chakra development, we learn about and understand our relationship with our selves, how we stand on our own two feet, and how we take care of ourselves. In Carolyn Myss’s book Anatomy of the Spirit she states, “How we feel about ourselves, whether we respect ourselves, determines the quality of our life, our capacity to succeed in business, relationships, healing and intuitive skills.” Isn’t this the truth?!?!?

When we’re down on ourselves it affects every aspect of our lives and sometimes it can be hard to pull ourselves out of that rut. When we lack confidence, self-love and self-respect we give our power away to others… those we see as higher than us and sometimes even to our partners. Myss continues, “Given your particular body, environment, and beliefs, will you make choices that enhance your spirit or those that drain your power into the physical illusion around you?… the third chakra will cause you to evaluate your sense of power and self in relation to the external world.” And you will face these challenges again and again until you’re secure in your self-worth.

A Balanced Manipura Chakra

When healthy and balanced the third chakra manifests characteristics of healthy self-esteem, self-respect, ambition, discipline, the ability to take action, and the courage to take risks. When the third chakra is healthy one is generous, acts ethically and with integrity.

Practices to Balance the Third Chakra

Acts of Service (Seva)

Selfless acts and acts of charity help to balance the overactive third chakra. Selfless acts are those that are done without expectation of reward, recognition or anything in return. So often we get stuck ourselves stuck in the mindset of serving ourselves, but when we learn how to selflessly serve others, that is when the real magic happens.

Enhance your inner power

When we choose to work on developing our inner power the influence of the external world loses its grip on us. When we are living in accordance with our dharma, aligned with the intelligence of our higher self, we strengthen not only our inner power, but also our energetic field, we increase our sense of self-worth and we start weeding out the energy vampires and negative people in our lives. Stop giving your energy away for free!

Start Facing Your Fears

Use techniques like fear setting to overcome your fears and start building your confidence. I’m not sure who came up with the idea of fear setting, but it’s a great way to start really moving forward. According to Tim Ferris, fear setting is, “An operating system for thriving in high stress environments. It’s a way to visualize all the bad things that could happen to you, so you because less afraid of taking action.” Work through your fears and you’ll find yourself less fearful, empowered, healthy, and successful.

Courage to take leaps and follow through. Now that the fear setting is done, start making changes.

Get over needing to be comfortable and secure. Yes, I said that. Anytime we try something new, go someplace new there is a bit of discomfort. Embrace it. It’s speaking to you. Notice what is coming up. Notice your judgements and your expectations. Notice how your body is responding to the discomfort. Take a deep breath and do it anyway.

Examine your beliefs.

Get out your journal and answer the following questions: What beliefs do I have about myself? Are they true? What beliefs do I have about my abilities? What am I good at? What brings me joy? How can I do more of that? What small steps can I start today to bring more awareness to my third chakra and its qualities? Do I believe in myself? You have got to have faith in yourself!!! You are strong! You are loved! You are worthy!

Accept responsibility for your actions.

Own your actions. Own the good and the bad. Celebrate your wins. Learn from your mistakes. Apologize when necessary. Keep going.

Use Visualization

Visualize your best life ever, your “happy and complete” life. Envision your next version of you. How does he/she behave? How does she live? What relationships does he/she have? What are they like? What are his/her strengths? What does her day/week/year look like?

Goal setting

Plan it out. I personally swear by The 12 Week Year, but use any goal setting technique that resonates with you. Just make sure to break those goals down into smaller actionable, measurable goals. Small wins will help to build confidence in your ability to achieve your goals.

Do Strengthening Practices.

pilates for manipura chakra

Do a stronger yoga practice to stoke the inner fire. Lift weights. Do pilates and other core exercises. These practices will help you build confidence in your physical abilities, in addition to helping you feel great in your body.

My favorite Manipura chakra yoga practices include:

  • Plank, side plank, forearm plank
  • Crow pose and other arm balances
  • Inversions
  • Boat pose
  • Strong standing series with Warrior Poses and Balancing Poses
  • Twists to invigorate samana vayu
  • Kappalabhati and/or Bhastrika pranayama techniques
  • Lunges
crystal healing

Crystals for Manipura Chakra

  • Tiger’s Eye (protection, grounding and cleansing)
  • Citrine (self-healing, increases energy and drive)
  • Sunstone (improves intuition and authenticity, dissipates fear, alleviates stress, increases vitality and encourages independence. It may be helpful to those who have difficulty saying “No”.)
  • Amber (boosts confidence and improves mental clarity)
  • Yellow and Orange Calcite (creative and sexual energy and increases confidence)
  • Yellow Jasper (protection, balance and activation of Manipura chakra)
  • Pyrite (a stone for prosperity, it also encourages looking within)
  • Lemon Quartz (optimism)

Svadhisthana Chakra: Creation and Sexuality

Second Chakra basics

Svadhisthana Chakra or Sacral Chakra

Sva – “self” or “prana”
Adhistana – “dwelling place” “abode” or “seat”

The Svadhisthana Chakra is the Dwelling Place of the Self. It is our second chakra and it is located at our sacrum. It generates our sense of personal identity and psychological boundaries and governs our sensuality and our ability to connect deeply with others.

When Svadhisthana is open and healthy we feel passionate, worthy, vibrant, playful, and full of life. We feel creative, sensual, desirable, and we are able to express our emotions. We feel comfortable in your own skin and in our sexuality.

The second chakra starts to develop around age seven when the child begins to explore their power of choice, their individuality, and they start to form relationships of their own.

Svadhisthana Chakra is characterized by our need for relationships. Relationships are spiritual messengers… they teach us the lessons we need to thrive. Relationships teach us about our strengths and our weaknesses. They shine the light on our habitual patterns and opportunities for growth. We learn how to interact consciously with others, to nurture the relationships with those that support our growth and to discard the relationships that hold us back.

Svadhisthana Chakra at a Glance:

  • Location: Sacrum and reproductive organs
  • Element: Water
  • Color: Orange/Vermillion
  • Lotus: Six Petaled
  • Bija Mantra: VAM
  • Aspects: Procreation, family, fantasy, creativity, sexuality
  • Sense: Taste
  • Vayu: Apana
  • Planet: Mercury
  • Kosha: Pranamaya

Need a chakra primer? Check out these two articles introducing the chakras.

Introduction to the Chakras

Seven Chakras Every Yogi Must Know

sacral chakra intimacy sensuality

Svadhisthana holds our feelings around intimacy, worthiness, sensuality, creativity, and desires. It is associated with our ability to maintain our sense of self in our relationships and interactions.

In Anatomy of the Spirit, Carolyn Myss defines the strengths of Svadhisthana as, “The ability and stamina to survive financially and physically on one’s own and to defend and protect oneself; the “fight or flight” instinct; the ability to take risks; the resilience to recover from loss whether of family members, partners, property, occupation, or finances; the power to rebel and reestablish a life and personal and professional decision-making ability and talent.”

Svadhisthana Chakra is characterized by the power of choice, the law of cause and effect. “Every choice we make contributes a subtle current of our energy to our universe, which is responsive to the influence of human consciousness.” Svadhisthana is associated with the unconscious mind and is considered the storehouse of our samskaras. Past experiences directly influence our attitudes and how we behave and react today, whether we remember those experiences or not.

“All the attachments by which we maintain control over our external lives, such as authority, other people, or money, are linked through this chakra to our energy field and physical body. The illnesses that originate in this energy center are activated by the fear of losing control.” Caroline Myss

When Svadhisthana Chakra is Imbalanced

An imbalanced sacral chakra can cause low libido, feelings of low vitality, reproductive problems (ovarian cysts, endometriosis, testicular or prostate disease), joint problems, back pain, urinary tract problems, constipation, IBS, muscle spasms, and dehydration.

On an emotional level, you may have trouble connecting with others, you may feel disconnected, your emotions may be unstable, you may express feelings of shame or guilt, you may struggle with vulnerability or experience lack of self-control and/or creativity.

A lot of heavy fears are also associated with our second chakra, from losing control to being dominated by a person, event or circumstance.

When the Second Chakra is overactive we may be attached to pleasure and suffer from addiction, gluttony, greed, obesity, hormone imbalances and/or restlessness.

An underactive Second Chakra often manifests as depression, decreased sex drive, feeling stuck, or a lack of passion and creativity. Its cause? Spending too much time focused on practicalities and not giving ourselves time to experience pleasure in its many forms.

Skip to the last section to find out how to bring your second chakra back into balance.

Svadisthana Chakra and the Water Element

Water is life-giving. Did you know that up to 60% of the adult human body is made of water and about 71% of Earth’s surface is water? As humans, water is present in our blood, mucus, urine, saliva, lymph and other body fluids as well as in our brain, heart, lungs, skin and it’s even in our bones… it’s everywhere.

Water is intimately connected with the moon… think of the tides of the ocean, which are connected to the lunar cycle. I’m sure you’ve also experienced the influence of the waxing and waning of the moon on your own body chemistry and emotions.

svadhisthana chakra flow

According to Harish Johari, the “lunar energy is evoked when the water element (which is dominant for 16 minutes in each nasal breath cycle of one hour) is accompanied by breathing dominated by the left nostril. Left nostril breathing activates Ida Nadi, which is lunar in nature. When the Ida Nadi is activated, it stimulates the right hemisphere of the brain, which is related to emotional behavior. Thus, in this chakra, we see the relationship between water, the moon, emotions, and the psyche.”

To awaken Svadisthana embody fluidity and flow in your movements, your mind and your breath.

The Svadhisthana Yantra and the Six-Petaled Lotus

The Svadhisthana Chakra is symbolized by a six-petaled lotus. As stated in the Mahanirvana Tantra, the six petals of Svadhisthana represent six mental modifications or vrittis:

  • Affection (indulgence)
  • Suspicion
  • Disdain
  • Delusion
  • Destructiveness
  • Pitilessness

The Bija Mantra for the Sacral Chakra

The bija mantra or seed sound for Svadhisthana Chakra is VAM. When chanted it guides Kundalini shakti up to the second chakra and increases the flow of prana (life force) to the second chakra.

The Second Chakra and Our Sense of Taste

When Svadhisthana Chakra is healthy, food is eaten not just for sustenance, it is enjoyed.

Svadhisthana Chakra and Apana Vayu

Svadisthana is associated with Apana Vayu. Apana is the Vayu that expels semen from the male organ and urine from the urethra, it is the energy behind passing a bowel movement and that which pushes the baby from the womb during birth. Think of “down and out” as the flow of Apana Vayu.

Tips and Practices for Svadhisthana Chakra

So now that we know more about the Svadhisthana Chakra, how do we bring it back into balance or keep it in balance?

Tips for an Underactive Second Chakra

If you’re feeling uninspired and you lack passion, make time to experience pleasure or joy. Paint, hike, draw, dance, create, swim in the sea, have sex, self-pleasure.

Try something new. Take a dance class. Learn martial arts. Do yoga. Tap into your artistic side. Prepare food for friends and family.

Tips for an Overactive Svadhisthana Chakra

If you’re feeling unable to control your physical desires or addiction, work on practicing brahmacharya (moderation — in it’s most modern translation). You may also choose to seek the help of a professional.

Much of the healing for the second chakra comes from healing past traumas. Now is the time to do the work and to heal. You can work with a professional, find guides online, or even journal. Journaling is an amazing practice to let go of past traumas and their associated pain, shame and guilt.

Tips and Practices for Anyone Interested in Healing Svadhisthana

Take a warm bath. No distractions. No phone. No kids/partners/pets. Time just for you. Bonus: add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. These oils are all great for the second chakra: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemongrass, Geranium, Rose, Ylang-Ylang, Jasmine, Neroli, Clary Sage and Patchouli.

Practice abhyanga or Ayurvedic self-massage. After your warm bath put an old towel down on the bathroom floor and oil yourself up with warming sesame oil. Use long strokes on your long bones and circular motions on your joints. Take your time and enjoy it. Or share the experience with a partner.

second chakra massage

Come up with your own second chakra affirmation and write it in your journal, put it on your altar, and on your fridge.

Examples:

  • I am a divine being of light.
  • I embrace my sexuality and its expression.
  • I am alive, connected, and aware.
  • I am a vibrant, creative being of light.

Meditate. A simple sacral chakra meditation is to envision an orange wheel of light spinning at your sacrum. As you envision this orange wheel of light repeat your affirmation.

Crystals for Your Second Chakra

Set an intention to heal your second chakra and create a crystal grid to increase creativity, vitality, confidence, and sexuality. Use:

  • Citrine (self-healing, increases energy and drive)
  • Carnelian (removes blockages that may be causing sexual problems)
  • Orange calcite (creative and sexual energy and increases confidence)
  • Tangerine quartz (raises your vibration, healing after trauma, boosts self-esteem)
  • Milky quartz (let go of overwhelm)
  • Selenite (unblocks stagnant energy and clears negative energy)

If your Second Chakra is overactive you might find it beneficial to create a crystal grid with:

  • Blue or green flourite (emotional balance)
  • Moonstone (creativity, intuition, harmony)
  • Milky quartz (let go of overwhelm)
  • Selenite (unblocks stagnant energy and clears negative energy)

Second Chakra Yoga Sequence

sacral chakra yoga practice

A yoga practice that includes watery, fluid, flowy, primal movements and hip openers will help balance the second chakra.

A lovely yoga practice for Svadisthana Chakra could include:

  • Supta baddha konasana: 3 minutes
  • Figure Four: (5 breaths each side) (rock legs side to side between sides)
  • Come up to Tabletop Pose
  • Cat/Cow x3
  • Flow from Cow Pose to Child’s Pose 3-5x
  • Primal hip circles 3-5x each way
  • Downward Facing Dog: 5-10 breaths → pedal the legs and sway the hips side to side
  • Wave the spine forward from downward facing dog to plank pose 5x
  • Standing forward fold/Ragdoll–> Slow Roll up to Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
  • Surya Namaskar A x3
  • Downward Facing Dog to Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge) to Ardha Hanumanasana (Half Splits)–> Flow between Low Lunge and Ardha Hanumanasana 5x each side
  • Dancing Warrior Sequence: Warrior 2 -> Reverse Warrior -> Side Angle (Flow from Reverse to Side Angle)
  • Malasana 5 breaths
  • Dancing Warrior Sequence above plus Star Pose to Skandasana on the opposite side (flow from right to left 3x) to Runner’s Lunge facing the front and flow between Runner’s Lunge and a modified Pyramid Pose by bending and straightening the front knee (3-5x), drop back knee and add a quad stretch
  • Dancing Warrior Sequence above plus Goddess Pose between Star Pose and Skandasana -> Goddess (eagle arms and rock side to side) -> Wide Leg Forward Fold (5 breaths per pose; R side, then L side)
  • Malasana 5-10 breaths or Crow Pose
  • Warrior 2 -> Reverse Warrior ->Side Angle -> Triangle Pose -> Half Moon -> Ardha Chandra Chapasana
  • Eka Pada Tadasana (standing on one leg with other knee to chest, to Garudasana (Eagle Pose) to Standing Figure Four (like chair pose but with one ankle crossed over the thigh of the opposite leg), return to Tadasana.
  • Lizard (90 seconds) -> Add quad stretch
  • Pidgeon (wave torso up & down 5x)
  • Janu Sirsasana 5-10 breaths each side (wave your spine long on your inhale and soften on your exhale)
  • Gomukhasana 10 breaths on each side
  • Madukasana (Frog Pose or ½ Frog Pose) 10-20 breaths
  • Child’s Pose 5 breaths
  • Dynamic Bridge x3 and hold final round for 7-8 breaths
  • Simple supine twist: 5 breaths each side
  • Savasana: 10 minutes

Do you want to learn more about all the chakras? Check out our free chakra guide. Sign up for the newsletter and I’ll send it over! Option to sign up in the side bar and on the homepage.

XOXO,

Autumn

Anahata Chakra

anahata chakra

Anahata Chakra: The Chakra of the Heart

Anahata: “unstruck” or “unhurt”

Your Heart Chakra is your fourth chakra in a system of seven, counting up from the base of your spine. It is located at the very center of your chest, and is commonly thought of as the bridge between your lower three chakras and your upper three chakras. The lower three chakras are considered centers of physical energy whereas the upper three chakras are more spiritual in nature. The heart chakra is located directly in the middle and provides balance for your physical body and your spiritual self. The Sanskrit name for the heart chakra is “Anahata” meaning “unstruck” or “unhurt”. When in balance it is perceived as a bright emerald green, the healthier the chakra the more vibrant the color. It can also be visible as various shades of pink.    

Tree Pose photo by kjpargeter at https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background

Anahata Chakra at a Glance

  • Location: heart region of the vertebral column, the cardiac plexus
  • Element: Air
  • Color: Bright Green (sometimes represented as pink)
  • Lotus: 12 petals
  • Bija Mantra: YAM/YANG
  • Aspects: Balance
  • Sense: Touch
  • Vayu: Prana
  • Planet: Venus

Anahata is your energy center for love, compassion, calmness, serenity, friendship, romance, and unity. When your heart chakra is in balance you feel connected to those closest to you, you feel cared for, and you feel love for yourself and others. You will also feel equality, joy, and passion. Having a balanced heart chakra is incredibly important for your quality of life.

Your ability to love not only affects your emotional and mental state but your physical body as well. The heart chakra is connected to your Thymus gland, which is located in the center of your chest. The Thymus gland is part of the immune system and correlates to our emotional well-being, it functions at its best when we are happy, loving and joyful. An underactive Thymus gland may be the result of emotional trauma, heartache, loss and more. Your heart chakra is also connected to your physical heart, lungs, arms and hands.

Upward Facing Dog photo by Yanalya at https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/people

When your heart chakra is out of balance you may find yourself angry, depressed, jealous, resentful, and envious. If you’re feeling detached from those closest to you, losing hope, or having problems in your relationships these may be signs your heart chakra needs a little extra love.  

Nature walks, time spent with pets, time spent with family, practicing gratitude, and acts of self-care are all ways to nourish the heart chakra. As well as wearing green clothing, green essential oils, green gemstones, and eating green foods.  

Yoga for the Heart Chakra

A well rounded yoga practice can also be helpful to balance the heart chakra. Some heart-healing asanas include

  • Fish (matsyasana) or supported Fish
  • Seated forward fold (paschimottanasana)
  • Cobra (Bhujangasana) or Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
  • Boat (Navasana)
  • Bow (Dhanurasana)
  • Child’s Pose (Balasana)
  • Puppy Pose
  • Camel (Ustrasana)
  • Dancer (Natrajasana)
  • Reclined Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
  • Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1)
  • Tree Pose (Vrikshasana).
Meditation vector by from https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/design

Meditation for Anahata Chakra

Meditation can be a very powerful tool in balancing not only your heart chakra but your other chakras as well. Visualizing a glowing, bright green orb in your next meditation while repeating heart opening affirmations (either silently or out loud) is a simple yet effective way to open your heart chakra. You may visualize this orb in the center of your chest, slightly in front of you, or washing over your whole being. Pink is also associated with the heart chakra, and you’re welcome to incorporate various shades of pink to intermingle with the green.

Practice Metta or Loving-kindness meditation daily. Loving-kindness meditation is a Buddhist meditation technique where one practices sending love to all beings in stages. Learn more about metta meditation here.

The seed sound of the Anahata chakra is “yam” chanting this mantra internally or out-loud before or after your meditation is another way to connect with your heart chakra. While chanting “yam” place your left hand on your heart with your right hand on top. You may also practice a heart-opening mudra while meditating, chanting or during your yoga practice.

Mudras for the Heart Chakra

A mudra is a sign or hand gesture that has been known to affect different parts of the body by engaging the nerve endings in our fingertips. Mudras direct energy flow from the fingers to the brain and help the body communicate with itself. Some heart opening mudras include;  Padma or Lotus Mudra, Apana Vayu Mudra, and Ganesha Mudra.

Ganesha Mudra

To practice Ganesha Mudra, place your left hand palm up in front of your chest and bend the fingers inward. Place your right hand over the top of the left, so that the palms face each other and the fingers grasp together.

Apana Vayu Mudra

On each hand, bend the pointer finger to touch the ball of the thumb. Touch the tip of the thumb with the tips of the middle and ring fingers and extend the pinky fingers outward.

Lotus Mudra

Begin with the hands at Anjali Mudra (prayer pose), keep the thumbs and pinky fingers and the bottoms of each palm touching and flower open the rest of the fingers.

Do you want to learn more about all of the chakras? Join the Ambuja Yoga Newsletter and I will send you our free Chakra Guide. You can sign up in the side bar or on the homepage. Easy Peasy!

Muladhara Chakra: Safety and Security in an Uncertain World

root chakra

Does the world seem a little bit cray-cray to you? Because it sure seems nutty to me! I’m like, “Is Mercury retrograde all the freakin’ time now?” But seriously?!?! What is going on? We won’t get into politics because we get enough of that any time we turn on the TV or log in to social media. This past new moon was freakin’ intense and it seemed as though everything went to “hell in a handbasket”… is that how that saying goes? I just wanted to chuck my phone in the trash, lock myself in my room, and never come out.

All of my woes centered around money. Miscommunications about money, people wanting money, refunds and cancelations, taxes … money money money!!!! And it sucked! Our finances and stress about finances are deeply linked to our first chakra, Muladhara. Muladhara chakra is associated with our feelings of safety, security, and survival… and in this day and age money is paramount. So instead of hiding in my bedroom and telling everyone to go away, I chose to give my root chakra a little love. I made a crystal grid for abundance and even called in the Goddess Lakshmi. It was time to do ALL THE THINGS.

Here you’ll be introduced to the qualities of the root chakra and a few practices to give your root and YOU a little tender loving care.

root chakra muladhara

Muladhara Chakra

Mul – base
Adhara – Support

The chakras are psychic centers as well as centers of transformation of psychic or mental energy into spiritual energy. There are specific behaviors associated with each of the chakras. Along with our experiences, these behaviors stem from our desires and our attachment to the pleasures associated with each chakra. And our root chakra is tied up with security in job and shelter among other things.

When one’s Muladhara chakra is balanced and healthy one is grounded and calm, they have a strong foundation, they feel supported and connected, they are humble, independent, strong and healthy. They feel generous and have the power to attract abundance.

Muladhara Chakra is the abode of kundalini shakti, the dormant spiritual energy that lies coiled within the first chakra. The practices of yoga coax kundalini shakti out of Muladhara and up the Brahma Nadi. Brahma Nadi, is a spiritual energy channel within Sushumna Nadi. It is within Brahma Nadi that the chakras reside.

Muladhara Chakra at a Glance:

  • Location: perineum and coccyx
  • Element: Earth
  • Color: Red
  • Lotus: Four petals
  • Bija Mantra: Lam/Lang
  • Aspects: Security
  • Sense: Smell
  • Vayu: Apana
  • Planet: Mars

When Muladhara chakra is healthy, one has self-control, physical strength, patience, discipline and the ability to “bear heavy workloads”. When out of balance, one may be obsessed with finding security (including job and shelter). This chakra is also associated with illusion, greed, anger, delusion, avarice, and sensuality. Those with an out of balance first chakra are often self-centered, cruel, and even potentially violent.

Someone who needs to work on their root chakra may find it easy to take direction from others, but not be able to find direction themselves or be able to direct others. They may be humble and respectful to those above them, but harsh to their peers and those they view as “below them”. If their security is threatened they will likely lash out violently like a cornered animal. They may struggle to care for themselves and they often need extra guidance and support.

Other signs that the first chakra may need a little TLC: one may feel like a victim (did you read paragraph two? Hello victim mindset!), be stuck in fight/flight/freeze, one may experience feelings of lack, guilt, overwhelm, anxiety and may also experience insomnia, fatigue, chronic illness or pain.

Muladhara Chakra and The Earth Element

In yogic teachings, the element earth (not the planet) is a combination of the other elements: water, fire, air, and akasha (space or void) and provides stability and security. It is the basis for our physical body, the bones, the flesh, the skin, the Nadis, and body hairs.

In Ayurveda, when the earth element combines with the water element it forms the kapha dosha, which is characterized by mucus.

The Muladhara Yantra and The Four-Petaled Lotus.

As stated in the Mahanirvana Tantra, the four petals of the Muladhara Chakra represent four different vrittis or mental modifications:

  • Paramananda the state of greatest joy
  • Sahajananada the state of natural pleasure
  • Virananda the delight in the control of the passions
  • Yogananda the blissfulness in concentration

The Bija Mantra for Muladhara Chakra

The bija mantras are sacred sounds used to invoke the divine energy within the body. The bija mantra or seed sound for Muladhara Chakra is LAM also pronounced LANG. When chanted it creates a lock at the root and prevents the downward flow of energy from Muladhara. The vibration of the chant invites Kundalini up into the Brahma Nadi and when chanted, this mantra deepens concentration, improves awareness, creates inner strength, and also removes insecurities associated with Muladhara.

Muladhara and Our Sense of Smell

Muladhara chakra, the nose and the sense of smell are deeply intertwined. Sweet smells, the smell of homecooked meals, the smell of fresh earth, and earthy essential oils like patchouli, sandalwood, cedarwood, and palo santo are wonderful scents for those working with the root chakra.

Muladhara Chakra and Apana Vayu

Apana is the Vayu that expels the semen from the male organ and urine from the sexes, it is the energy behind passing a bowel movement and that which pushes the baby from the womb during birth. Think of “down and out” as the flow of Apana Vayu.

Tips and Practices for Muladhara Chakra

Follow the yamas and niyamas.

Practice grounding pranayama techniques like Three Part Belly Breath (Deerga Swasaam), Square Breath or Nadi Shodhanda

Take care of the physical body by eating nourishing foods and getting adequate sleep.

Fears related to security, safety, and survival will need to be addressed and any real issues regarding the above will need to be solved.

Spend time out in nature. Put your hands and bare feet on the earth. Breathe the fresh air. Move slowly and mindfully.

Call in the Goddess Lakshmi.

Set an intention to heal your first chakra and create a crystal grid for safety, security, abundance, whatever needs to be addressed.

garland pose for the root chakra

A yoga practice that focuses on slow movements, rootedness, foundational, grounding and surrendering poses will help nourish the first chakra.

A lovely practice for the first chakra could include:

  • Supported child’s pose
  • Malasana
  • Lizard pose
  • Chair pose or goddess pose
  • Warrior poses
  • Tree pose
  • Seated forward fold
  • Legs up the wall
  • Savasana

muladhara chakra meditation

Meditation on the Muladhara Chakra in the presence of the element earth develops natural health, strength in the body, and intellectual power.

In meditation, visualize roots growing down into the earth. Feel this rooted connection to the Earth. Feel the support of Pachamama, Mother Earth.

While in meditation focus on a red wheel of energy or light at the base of your spine. While envisioning this red wheel of light, Muladhara Chakra, repeat the bija mantra for the first chakra or an affirmation like: I am safe and secure. I am firmly rooted and supported wherever I am.

I hope you’ve found this blog helpful and healing. If you would like to go deeper into the chakra, please join me on a chakra inspired yoga retreat or join the newsletter, where you will receive chakra tips and advice straight to your inbox.