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Supine Side Bends and Chakra Work



Side bends are often thought of primarily as having an effect on Anahata chakra and supine work primarily as having an effect on Muladhara Chakra. However, the approach to a posture greatly influences the effect of the posture on the chakra system. So, what I offer here is some examples of the sort of approaches to supine side bends to try for having an effect on a particular chakra. I have also attempted to distinguish between practices and approaches that will tend to stimulate (make more active) the chakra and those that will tend to stabilize (strengthen) the chakra. Inevitably, there is significant overlap in this and you may well find for you personally that something I suggest as stimulating is more stabilizing and vice versa. In any case, what is offered here is very much a personal view (rather than a consensual view of experienced experts) so my strong recommendation is that you play and experiment with these ideas, both to find what works for you and to help you form your own views (as opposed to absorbing and trusting these ideas as they are.) [For information about the chakra system please see the Pranic Anatomy section of this website.]

Muladhara Chakra



Awareness of the feet.

Beware of the points where the body rests on the floor – e.g. back of shoulders, back of head, back of pelvic girdle as well as feet connection with floor.

Having active legs – e.g. via imagining feet pressing in to a vertical wall as though one is standing.

Relaxing & trusting one’s weight to the floor.

Contracting muscles to take one further into side bend.

With a sense of the earth supporting one.

Use of Mula Bandha and pelvic floor exercises.

Use of “base support” practices (e.g. “core strength” idea in Pilates).

Swadhisthana Chakra



Focusing on stretching muscles associated with the hips (e.g. wide legged for stretching the ilio-psoas muscles and legs moved away from stretched side for the hip abductors).

Awareness of legs or hips / pelvic girdle or lower spine.

Having a sense of luxuriating in and enjoying the movements and sensations of practice.

Accepting the experiences and sensations of practice.

Moving the legs with the breath.

Imagining elongation or flow (of prana) between waist and foot (of stretched side).

Manipura Chakra



Practising active abdominal breathing (i.e. slowly squeezing abdomen in towards spine on exhalation and allowing inhalation to occur however naturally happens).

Observing movements / sensations that occur with the breath.

Keeping the abdomen toned on the inhalation and consciously directing the in-breath to flow into the stretched side of the trunk.

Imagining an elongation of the stretched side of the trunk during inhalation.

Imagining heat / light being generated in the upper abdomen and flowing to the stretched side of trunk, hip and shoulder.

Imagining ‘prana’ flows from the earth (or heavens above) into the mid-trunk and from there into the rest of the body.

Anahata Chakra



Consciously directing the in-breath into the open side of chest.

Awareness / observation of any rib-cage movements occurring with the breath.

With arm of stretched side held / resting away from trunk (i.e. close to head).

Movement of arm (of stretched side) with breath.

Imagining elongation from waist or hip up trunk side & out through arm.

Awareness of air / space on stretched side of body.

Vishuddha Chakra



Incorporating / linking with sound work & / or mantra or saying words.

Incorporating / linking with affirmations and / or thinking sounds / words / mantra.

Taking attentive care to see if one can improve / refine the quality or alignment in the different stages of the posture practice.

Attention on connectivity – on how changes / difference in one part of the body / posture affects another part (e.g. effect of leg position on shape of lower back).

Using Ujjayi breath or breath as a measure of how long in posture.

Listening to the sound of the breath.

Awareness resting on neck or throat.

Imagining connectivity between different parts of body e.g. foot and hand of stretched side.

Ajna Chakra



Analysing some aspect of the posture (e.g. effects, muscle use …).

While practising observing the experience of practicing the posture.

Imagining or visualizing practising the posture or some aspect of the posture.

Practising “meditatively”.

Using “imagery” to aid practicing posture – e.g. imagining prana flowing to / from the third eye.

Practising with one’s awareness resting on a simple focus e.g. being aware of the area of contact between back of head and floor …..

Sahasrara Chakra



Allowing awareness to rest or be unfocused however naturally happens.

With awareness drawn to the crown of the head.

With a feeling of the sacred or infinite or divine within oneself and all around one – all pervading.

With a feeling of heaven above (and goodness from above radiating into one) and earth below (and the earth supporting and nurturing one).