Throughout our lives we are subjected to impressions of who we think we should be. We absorb these distorted beliefs and allow them to influence us. A lot of times we even define ourselves by them. Why do we do this?Continue reading “Communicate Your Truth”
Next week, I will host a class for creating greater healing and balance for the Anahata or heart chakra. The Anahata is the energetic place for harmonizing and perpetuating the flow of tenderness, warmth and love.Continue reading “Anahata, the Chakra of Contentment”
This month, I’ll be dedicating the blog to the energy of love. For a couple of reasons, my monthly Zoom class series, Yoga & the Chakras is addressing the heart chakra in August and also, this month my husband and I are celebrating our 37th wedding anniversary.
What is it that connects the heart so strongly to the energy of love?Continue reading “The Energy of Love”
In the midst of summer, many of us are feeling the power of heat or fire. Although we can’t control the weather outside, we can learn to balance our inner fire to make the external heat more tolerable.
For some of us, the heat of summer is especially intense because we get overheated internally. We get aggravated from the list of chores we need to get done, the people in our lives inflame us because they aren’t doing things the way we think they should be done or, because we just can’t find enough time in our day, we tend to burn the midnight oil – which creates even more heat.
The primary way to get our inner fire under control is to balance the energy of the solar plexus chakra. If we can tame the fire within, we are able to cool and refresh ourselves both inside and outside.Continue reading “Ways to Regulate Your Inner Heat”
Lately I have been enjoying the benefits of essential oils in dozens of ways for my health and well-being. It seems only natural that I would start to incorporate the oils into my yoga routine. Today, I continue a series I started back in October based on the use of essential oils for yoga practice. I have connected this usage to the more subtle aspect of yoga, the chakras or energy complex.
In the past, I have posted frequently on the concept of the chakric system. Many books and articles explain how each chakra can be balanced or pacified. There are seven chakra centers that follow the body from its base to its crown. If you are interested in learning more about the general chakra system, click here.
We will continue this series with the svadhisthana or pelvic chakra. It’s the second chakra and is located at the level of the hips, sacrum, genitals and kidneys. This chakra balances our creativity and harmonizes our expressions and emotions. With characteristics of the water element, it relishes fluid motion.
Within yoga there are many poses that can help an individual to focus on the energizing quality of this chakra like Lunges, Cat/Cow pose, Bhujangasana (cobra pose), Navasana (boat pose), Setu Bandhasana (bridge pose) or Supta Baddha Konasana (supported bound angle pose).
Along with the postures, chakras can be influenced by the use of essential oils. When combined, the benefit for this subtle energy system can be incredible. As I discuss the particular oils associated with a specific chakra, I will refer to the Young Living essential oils that are found in the Premium Starter Kit (see below).
For the purposes of balancing the energy of our second chakra, I suggest the blend Citrus Fresh.
When I received this oil, I felt compelled to use it daily. It provides such renewal and aliveness. Citrus Fresh is one of those multipurpose oils; good for the body and household use (as a cleaner). Citrus Fresh is known to help with the appearance of healthier looking skin. I’ve also heard stories of how worthwhile it is for those who need to balance emotions, addictions and desires.
Since the second chakra is so closely associated with fluidity and taste, Citrus Fresh is the perfect complement. The blend is composed of a mixture of lemon, grapefruit, orange, tangerine and mandarin – literally all of the juicy citrus fruits! In addition, it contains spearmint oil to add minty coolness. Citrus Fresh can promote feelings of inspiration and encourage creativity – qualities that are definitely needed if you want to feel more energized and free-flowing. It has the capability to banish stagnation and remediate traumas associated with sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
I would begin by using this oil in a diffuser during your yoga practice. Inhaling its aroma is most effective and immediately uplifts. You can also apply the oil in a 1:1 dilution (using a carrier oil such as Jojoba) to the bottoms of your feet, ring finger or navel area. One word of caution, however, if you are applying any citrus oils to skin which will be exposed to the sun – they are photosensitive and contain compounds known as furanocoumarins which greatly increase UV sensitivity.
Once applied, try a few energizing poses like those mentioned in my post, Zest Things Up!
If you are new to essential oils and want to get started incorporating them into your yoga practice, you can register with Young Living here and get your Premium Starter Kit (which includes Citrus Fresh and all the other oils we will be discussing). Once you are enrolled, I will be connecting with you directly to provide reference sources and helpful advice.
Flow with Feeling my friends!
And now for a fun challenge.
For some time I have been scouring the internet to find a simple questionnaire in order to gauge chakric energy flows within the body. But I couldn’t locate one that was short and sweet. So, I’ve decided to invent my own little quiz. I’m calling it the “Chakra Check-Up.”
Your quest this week is to use Yoga Posts’ Chakra Check-Up click here to evaluate how the energy is flowing through your various chakras. You may find one or more centers to be relatively balanced, excessively open or tightly closed.
After you tune into the chakra(s) that needs your attention, follow my recommendations below for balancing.
This is a great challenge to repeat for another week, especially if you locate more than one chakra that needs adjusting. Happy Hunting!
We made it! We have arrived at the summit – the uppermost chakra. This marks the end of a long journey that started on week 14 – the site where we laid down our roots for the climb to the top.
This shining star located at the apex is called the crown chakra. In sanskrit, it is known as sahasrara and translates as the “thousand-petaled lotus.” The number 1000 is the symbol for boundless, infinite and tremendous.
The yoga postures associated with the sahasrara or crown chakra are restorative and meditative in nature. They are the ones that enable you to tune into your inner mind – that divine spirit that is within you and create an infinite connection to the cosmic world.
To achieve this contemplative state, it is helpful to balance your chakra wheels from root to crown so that the energy can appropriately ascend.
Try this 30 minute sequence daily and be sure to leave plenty of time for the “prize” at the finish:
Muladhara (Root) Chakra: Easy Cross Leg Pose
Svadhisthana (Sacral) Chakra: Cat-Cow to Child’s Pose
Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra: Downward Dog to Plank
Anahata (Heart) Chakra: Sphinx
Vishuddha (Throat) Chakra: Bridge
Ajna (Third-Eye) Chakra: Seated Staff Pose to Supported Forward Bend
Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra: Modified Rabbit Pose – from child’s pose, lift your hips and roll onto the top of your head supporting your weight with your hands.
Savasana (well supported with props)
Spend about 1-3 minutes in each “chakra pose” and give yourself at least 10 minutes for Savasana.
The mind’s eye, also known as the third eye, is spiritually located between the eyes at the level of the brow. Physically, it has been related to the pineal gland which resides within the brain directly between the right and left sides – deep center to the spiritual third eye mark.
René Descartes called this pine cone shaped gland the “principal seat of the soul, and the place in which all our thoughts are formed.” His reasoning was “since our soul is not double, but one and indivisible, […] the part of the body to which it is most immediately joined should also be single and not divided into a pair of similar parts.”
Researchers still exploring its full purpose believe that the pineal gland is responsible for our circadian or biological rhythm. This rhythm is determined by the amount of light the pineal gland detects. Each evening as the sky darkens, the pineal gland triggers the release of the hormone melatonin. Conversely, as daylight approaches the gland ceases its melatonin production. In this way, the pineal gland controls the sleep-wake cycle.
This sensitivity to our environment has kept our mind’s eye impacting us in many powerful ways. It’s sanskrit name, ajna, means the perception or command center. When maintained and balanced, it is believed that this chakra’s energy can give us clearer intuition, insight and vision.
In assembling this post, I came across a quote from Edgar Allan Poe that described his perception of this mysterious third eye.
“That intuitive and seemingly casual perception by which we often attain knowledge, when reason herself falters and abandons the effort, appears to resemble the sudden glancing at a star, by which we see it more clearly than by a direct gaze; or the half-closing the eyes in looking at a plot of grass, the more fully to appreciate the intensity of its green.”
Here are some additional techniques and approaches to stimulate your insightfulness:
- Focus on a positive thought or image.
- Use cedarwood*, frankincense*, or sandalwood* essential oil. To reach the pineal gland, inhale the aroma of the oil or place a diluted drop in between the eyebrows.
- Keep a dream journal. Record any images and feelings you get immediately after waking.
- Keep a “sense” journal. Write down impressive smells, sensations, feelings, or urges – anything that sticks with you.
- Watch the sunrise or the sunset.
- Get out of your monkey mind by meditating, taking a walk or a soothing bath- add a few drops of essential oils* to your water.
Focus on the space between your eyes, this is the seat of your perception center, sometimes referred to as the mind’s eye.
The third eye or ajna chakra allows us to see things as they are meant to be seen – it is the connection to the quiet voice of the soul.
I call this challenge “The Bridge to Clarity” because as we make our journey to the higher chakras, we cross over into a new realm. On the other side is greater access to our dreams, intuition and imagination. When we begin to attend to our third-eye, we find ourselves more lucid, balanced and clear.
Our posture work this week will pave the way to this new state of being.
Fine-tune your mind’s eye with these daily postures:
Tree Pose (with your eyes closed): a wonderful way to get more insight into this pose through balance.
Supported Seated Forward Bend: descend into a comfortable place and support your forehead to increase blood flow to the brain and become more inward.
Child’s Pose: make this as supportive as you can and cushion the forehead slightly – give attention to the third eye as you restore.
Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall): use an eye bag and detach from your surroundings.
“The superior person settles her mind as the universe settles the stars in the sky. By connecting her mind with the subtle origin, she calms it. Once calmed, it naturally expands, and ultimately her mind becomes as vast and immeasurable as the night sky.” -Lao Tzu
Week #22 – amazing! I hope that you have benefited from a few of Yoga Posts’ Year of Living Yogically Challenges. We are nearly half way there.
Since we have been focusing on the chakra system for a few weeks now, I think it is important to step back a little and look at where we started – from the lower three chakras; the root, sacrum and solar plexus. These energy levels have one thing in common, they hold our perceptions and represent the way that we experience our lives. They give us the roots, the inspiration and the drive to ascend.
On week #19 we acknowledged the important anahata or heart chakra – our connection between the lower and upper chakras. This chakra generates the passion that can send us to new heights.
Now as we get ready to climb the chakra ladder to its highest rungs, there are a few preparations to take.
Understand the purpose of the upper three chakras.
The throat, the third eye and the crown chakra are the more esoteric centers. They create our spiritual essence – our expressions of what we are. They are not involved with material matters and only work with our deepest levels of expression.
Practice pratyahara or sense withdrawal.
This is the fifth limb of the yoga system. It means to withdrawal your senses. Like a turtle that retracts inside of its shell, your practice of pratyahara will teach you to go inside yourself and retreat from the external “noises” that exist around you: the opinions, the interruptions, the distractions, the associations, the influences. Once you can detach from this commotion, you can be free to choose the sensations that you wish to bring into your field of awareness. The practice of pratyahara will enable you to see things as they truly are as you ascend the chakra ladder.
Your challenge this week is to practice these techniques of pratyahara:
1.) Take a Media Fast. Spend some time each day away from sensory input. Turn off the t.v, the computer, the phone, put aside music and books. Sit quietly and allow your mind to rest for 30 minutes or so.
2. ) Take a Real Savasana. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Wrap a blanket around your head to form a nest so that the ends of the blanket cover your ears. Use a washcloth or an eyebag to cover your eyes.
After either technique, find one thing to focus on: the blue sky, the red rocks (only in Sedona, of course) or a field or garden of flowers if you have them. These simple and positive images will be a refreshing change for your mind.