Monthly Archives: February 2014

Svadhisthana Chakra – Pleasure and Pain

As we continue the journey to explore the space where mind and body meet, we take our attention to Svadhisthana Chakra, the second Chakra in the Chakra System. This is the Water Chakra and is associated with the moon, feelings and emotions, reproduction and sexuality. It is located in the bony bowl of the pelvis and is linked to the sexy sex organs.

After the stability of the earth element in the first chakra we get in touch with the fluidity and movement of water, in the second chakra. Interestingly, this Chakra develops at around 6 months of age, around the time we begin to see beyond our mothers face and start to notice the world. As this Chakra develops it brings movement and exploration, we start to curiously explore through our senses, listening, watching, touching, smelling, tasting whatever we can. At this age, as we shove anything into our mouths, we learn the difference between eating soil, and the taste of chocolate or ice cream, we feel the difference between the touch of a soft animal and the touch of a sharp nail. We are learning the difference between pleasure and pain. The seat of pleasure resides here in this Chakra, and as we explore more of the world we move towards pleasure and away from pain. Pleasure allows the body to relax and invites energy to ‘go with the flow’ like the water element, moving easily through the body. The word Svadhisthana is often translated to ‘the sweetness of life’.

As adults out in the competitive world, and caught up in our work obsessed culture we are taught to sometimes deny or delay pleasure, which can lead to stress and contraction of this Chakra. […]

Muladhara Chakra

Organise your energy, start at your roots.

In the chakra system the first chakra, also known, as the root chakra, is located at the base of the spine at the perineum.  In the physical body our largest nerve the sciatic nerve runs from this chakra all the way down to our feet.  This chakra is associated with our survival and material aspects of our life. When this chakra is blocked we are often living ‘too much in our heads’ or we maybe fearful, insecure, restless, and can suffer from anxiety.

Grounding practices that work energetically to balance this chakra are very healing; they help us in the more practical parts of life as well as facilitate energy moving up the chakra system.

When we are grounded we are able to live in the ‘here and now’, without roots we are unsteady with no foundation from which to grow.  We need roots to have wings!

Grounding Exercise

As a child my grandmother would often say ‘go and ground yourself, take your shoes off and walk along the beach.’ It sounded strange to me then, the concept of electricity within the body. I wasn’t aware at the time that this simple exercise was connecting my nervous system to the earth. Walking barefoot upon the earth and feeling the stability beneath us is very supportive and nourishing and helps to calm the mind. For those of us who live an urban existence it is easy to go days without our feet actually coming into contact with the earth. Make a conscious effort to try it even for 10min a day in the nearest park and notice the effect!

Yoga

Most of Hatha yoga is very grounding especially when done slowly.  The standing poses, as […]

Love is in the Air and the Anahata Chakra

Happy Valentines Day beautiful people!

To celebrate we are exploring the Anahata heart chakra, the fourth chakra.

The Sanskrit word ‘Anahata’ means unstruck, this beautiful concept means that beneath all our personal troubles, sadness, heartache, grief and pain there is an underlying wholeness with unlimited love to be found.

The physical position of this Chakra, in the centre of the chest is in the middle of the Chakra System. It is made up of the air element and is placed between the more physical and grounded chakras of elements earth, water and fire and the esoteric chakras of elements sound, light and thought.

The colour associated with the heart chakra is the colour green, formed from the yellow of the soul and the blue of spirit.

When this chakra is in balance we experience a sense of peace and tranquility, on the flip side this chakra is associated with health issues such as Asthma, Coronary disease, lung disease and is associated with the Thymus gland.

On practical level how do we work with Anahata Chakra?

Through Yoga and Meditation we can access this Chakra, there are many asanas (poses) that do this, all backbends such as cobra, camel and wheel help to open this chakra.

Today we will look at Ustrasana (camel pose):

 

 

Ustrasana – Camel Pose (A strong intermediate/advanced pose)

Ustra = ‘Camel’ in Sanskrit

Physical Benefits

This pose will benefit the circulatory, nervous, endocrine and the respiratory systems, these are all systems connected to the heart chakra.
This posture, opens up the chest, abdomen and throat and heart which promotes lymph drainage.
Tones the muscles of the back and spine.

Energetic Benefits

Helps with forgiveness of others
Develops compassion towards self and others
Increases acceptance

Meditation

I invite you to try the following simple meditation to work on your heart chakra.

Steps

Find 5 […]

Use Chakras for Vitality and Healing

Are you interested in self-healing or increasing your energy?

Then tap into the Chakra System……

What is the Chakra System?
The Chakra System is powerful and fascinating; it is made up of seven energy centres located in the body. It is helpful that each energy centre corresponds to a physical position in the body enabling us to locate them.

The Chakra System runs up our spine starting at the Perineum and finishing at the Top of our Head. The seven chakras and their physical locations are:

Muladhara – Perineum

Swadhisthana – Sacrum

Manipura – Solar Plexus

Anahata – Heart

Vissudha – Throat

Ajna – Brow

Sahasrara – Top of Head

When we explore the Chakra system we are working with our subtle body rather than the physical body. Saying that, we access the subtle body and the chakra system through the physical body and through our breath.

On a non-physical level these energy centres are located on the Shushumna Nadi, the largest Nadi. (The Nadis are the channels that transport prana/lifeforce around our body). It is interesting that each energy center corresponds to different organs and glands in the body as well as meeting points of nerves.

How to use the Chakra’s for Healing and Increasing Vitality

The Chakra System is vast and complex, it is lifelong work to really experience, but the good news is, even a small amount of attention focused on the Chakras can help with healing and energy levels.

We can use Yoga – breathing techniques and yoga poses to help clear these energy channels.

Over the next seven weeks I’ll explore a different Chakra providing information about each centre and tips for working with them…..as it is Valentines day tomorrow I will start with Anahata Chakra, also known as the Heart Chakra….please stay tuned…..

Clear the Mind with ‘Nadi Shodana Pranayama’

 

 

Pranayama means breathing technique. One of my all time favorites is Nadi Shoda (Alternate Nostril Breathing). I include it in almost every Yin class I teach as it helps to calm the mind. You can practice this technique at anytime throughout the day and it is a great one to do if you are experiencing stress at work or if you are stuck in traffic!

How to do it

Sit comfortably, keeping the head and spine upright.
Close your eyes or keep your gaze low.
Take Vishnu Mudra (hand gesture) as shown in the diagram. Use your thumb to block the right nostril and use your ring finger to block the left.
Start by blocking the left nostril, slowly inhale through the right nostril, then block the right and exhale left. Inhale through the left nostril, then block the left, and exhale right.
This technique uses the ration of 1:1 inhale to exhale, as you progress you may use 1:2 extending the exhalation. For more advanced versions using breath retention, please work with your yoga instructor.

Benefits

Calms the mind, creates a feeling of peace and happiness.
Increases vitality
Reduces stress levels
Fantastic to do a few rounds of this breathing if you suffer from insomnia.
Improves concentration

Why this works

This pranayama (breathing technique) clears out blocked energy channels in the body. It works on the subtle energy channels (nadis), hence the name. Nadi = subtle energy channels Shodana = cleaning/clearing