There are many different types of workout programs. Some are designed as aerobic exercises, like steady-state jogging or cycling, for example; whereas, some workout programs are conceived of as anaerobic: think high-intensity interval training, the tabata method, and so called “metcons” for targeted metabolic conditioning, and so forth. Some workout programs are fads that come and go (remember Tai Bo?), and some catch the zetgeist like Crossfit or Zumba and become household names. Some workouts can require time and space commitments and elaborate equipment; others can be done in a few minutes in a small corner of your home, with nothing but your own bodyweight as resistance.
Here, we’re going to talk about yoga in general, and, specifically, chakra yoga. In its garden variety form, yoga is neither aerobic nor anaerobic, yet it does burn calories, help tone muscles, and strengthen your core. One of the Indian Subcontinent’s most recognizable exports, Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years, so it is definitely not an exercise fad. There are more than one hundred different styles and schools of yoga; some calibrated to be serene, meditative, and relaxing, others are fast-paced and result in a sweat-inducing workout. The most obviously elegant aspects of Yoga is its utter economy. Space and start-up cost commitments for new practitioners are minimal. Overweight, stiff, or out-of-shape? Or on the flipside, professional athlete? Ultimate warrior? Powerlifter? Yoga is a perpetual lesson in humility—not to worry—there is a tailor-made starting point adjustable upwards or downwards to and for anyone and everyone. And equipment-wise, all you need is a mat and you are good to go. No shoes necessary (or, more accurately, no shoes permitted!).
So, let’s look at a few of the high-level benefits of a yoga program. Specific yoga poses, or asanas, will target specific muscle groups. There are poses specific to strengthening your core, your arms, legs, glutes, and back. Yoga poses and stretches will improve your flexibility, overall strength, all with a low-impact workout, easy on the shocks to one’s extremities that arise from acceleration and deceleration forces in other exercise modalities. While yoga is not aerobic per se, it will make you sweat!
One specific variety of yoga is called Chakra Yoga. This yoga uses a combination of asanas and breathing techniques to cleanse, open, and balance the seven chakras, or energy centers, of the human body. The seven chakras follow the spine, and are noted in the diagram below:
The specific postures in chakra are designed to keep the spine aligned to facilitate the flow of chakra energy. Ultimately, it is all about the flow. Evidence to back this up is scarce, but I believe this is the same concept behind why Indian men generally opt to live deodorant-free (so do many Chinese men too); after all perspiration is an utterly normal bodily self-regulation why should we interfere with or block it? Generally speaking, the energy centers of the body must be unblocked as a rule, lest optimal mind-body functions be disrupted. This is particularly relevant to the function of the Crown Chakra.
The crown chakra is represented by the color violet. Deep indigo, is the color of the brow, or third eye, chakra. Devotees believe that these two chakras are the most influential to our overall mental health and acuity, and symbolized by the color violet on many different levels. Violet yoga, or violet chakra, represents an intricate bundle of progressively more technical poses, breathing, and meditation to open these chakras and sharpen our minds.
Chakra meditation, if done right, will invoke visions of violet. Yes, violet comes at you. And fast. This chakra suggests that violet gives us a sense of wholeness, and is both cleansing and purifying. It is the color of transformation and change. And this is arguably senior to the indigo of the sixth chakra, which is said to evoke intuition and inner wisdom, as the seventh and final chapter takes the inner change to its crescendo, via some externally evident and clairvoyant culmination.
On a physical level, violet is said to affect the cerebral cortex and brain, sparking quite literally electrical signals that flows from head to tail, cascading along the spine, chugging along to buzz each and every one of the inline chakras.
Color psychology tells us that violet people tend to be mysterious and creative, sophisticated and circumspect. In the western tradition the color violet symbolizes the vitality of duality. In the Indian (and Hindu) tradition, as we have discussed, violet is effectively the color of meditation, as clearing the blockages of the crown chakra is utterly foundational, and violet is inescapable because the crown chakra bathes in this flagship color. If you are ready to proverbially hit the mat as such, and begin a yoga practice that is imbued with a spiritual pursuit—or not— check out this violet colored yoga mat:
This is a nice, thick mat, with a beautiful violet color and pattern. It’s reversible to an indigo blue, incidentally.
Yoga mats are material things, impediments to our greater spiritual attainment even; nonetheless it feels good to choose products from companies that get it.
And subtle touches like this, that in fact violet-to-indigo connection between the 6th (brow) and 7th (crown) chakras, is the bigger picture, well, that is just swell, and what a cool way of mnemonically planting that information in our peripatetic information-inflammation state.
The 6mm thickness of the mat will give you optimal comfort, and it’s produced of phthalate-free PVC plastic. It has a non-slip texture so that it won’t slip while you are practicing your asanas. It even comes with a free, downloadable workout to help you reach your inner balance.
Again from the perspective of color psychology, violet jives with practice of meditation. Violet buttresses your harmony of mind and your emotions, helping you just feel good, overall. Violet is the link between your spiritual world and your physical world.
Chakra yoga can be beneficial both to yoga beginners and experienced practitioners.
It is a Violet State of Mind We Want
In particular, reaching the violet state of mind in the crown chakra is associated with higher consciousness (frankly this is majorly advanced PhD in abstraction stuff), but more prosaically (and probably more directly millenial-friendly) the violet state of mind is unclogging blockages, those things on a common sense level just impede our desired states of happiness and joy.
So, to recap, we’ve started out with a short overview of yoga in general, and then a more detailed look at chakra yoga in particular. Within chakra, we focused on the crown chakra, and a bit on the brow, or third eye, chakra. Both invoke shades of violet and purple. These colors affect overall mental sensory ability and acuity, and according to the Yogis help establish a harmony between your spiritual wellness and your presence in the real world. Use violet as a totem; it is a tool, a reminder, a mnemonic as part of your meditation and yoga routine, and whether it pops up in your clothing, your mats, and the like, violet is a fellow traveler on your way to positive mental states.
So, there it is. Violet yoga. And the alignment of your crown chakra, imagined as such: