“My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more! It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!
In this issue: Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.
Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC
Five years ago my husband and I visited Poland—the homeland of our ancestors. I was having some issues with my left hip prior, but the pain was off the charts when we landed. The pain in my left hip wouldn’t allow me to walk more than half a block at a time without doing a “last resort” lunge wherever I could to alleviate the pain a little so I could walk another half a block. We had not rented a car so travel by foot was our only option within the various cities we were visiting.
It was still a beautiful trip with unforgettable, precious moments. I refused to let the pain dull the time there or the memories. We had an absolute blast visiting many of the top tourist spots like Krakow, Zakopane, and Częstochowa; as well as the larger cities near my parent’s birthplace villages: Kielce and Rzeszów. We were not in touch with Polish relatives at that time. So our visit did not include family.
More than one person shared their belief that the pain in my hip was a reflection of ancestral healing needed within either my family or even my homeland, Poland. We carry the stories of our ancestors within our energy field. Unresolved conflicts, emotional wounds, damaging judgments, and other limitations held by your ancestors past or present will continue to influence generations to follow. Our ancestor’s memories lie within our DNA. Deep, unexpressed emotions such as grief, anger, guilt, shame and fear can also be passed to us from our ancestors, just like our eye and hair color. Energy from our ancestors passes through the family tree. It’s an amazing thought, isn’t it?
My dad never made it back to the farm after World War II. He was taken from his home by the Germans when he was about 17 and was a prisoner of war on a German farm, as was my mom. Given the dates I saw on my grandparent’s graves, my dad lost his dad earlier the same year. His dad died in his arms—a story my dad repeated often. My dad never saw his mom again. This fact was driven home when during his final years with Alzheimer’s he would wander off saying “I’m going to find mama!”
We went back to Poland this past June. This time we visited family! We stayed on the farm my dad was born on in a 400-resident village in south-central Poland. My cousin, Henryka, her husband and two daughters currently live there. It was a deeply meaningful trip of a lifetime.
My cousin’s daughter, Anita, found us on Facebook in 2009. Since then, we have been in touch constantly. Her family’s connection with us and her visit here last year started the healing process of our extended families. Our visit back to Poland this year continued to “make right” the broken family relations.
Anita tells me that during WWII, my dad’s mom and younger siblings would hide in the fields for days when they knew the Germans were coming. Upon returning to the farm, the German tank tracks were visible near their home, some chickens missing, the house disheveled. When Anita recently took us for a walk in a nearby forest that surely my dad had frequented with his brother and sisters, the smoothed out hollows in the earth where the Polish soldiers and villagers would hide from the Germans were still apparent this many years later. It gave me an eerie, surreal feeling to walk through the forest. On the one hand my dad probably spent some wonderful hours playing within the forest area; but on the other hand, the energy of soldiers in wait and in fear lingered.
Back in the early 60’s my dad and mom sponsored his sister, Stanislawa, her husband, Henryk, and their three children—Maria, Krystyna, and Henryka—to come live here in America. After a huge falling out, my dad’s sister and family moved back to Poland. The details as given to me, a very small child, were sketchy.
Between the pain of being taken from his family home during WWII and then losing connection to his family a second time with the falling out years later, I’m thinking there was definitely some ancestral healing needed in my dad’s immediate family. But anyone who knows Poland’s history—(woah!..literally, as I typed the previous phrase and Googled the “history of Poland” to research the dates Poland was not even a country on the map, our electricity went out in the house for perhaps 30 seconds. Insert Twilight Zone music here. I’ve had my own experiences with electricity and communication from those that have passed, but that’s for another blog. Communicating through electricity is apparently a venue of choice for those that have passed: “They also work through electricity – turning TVs and radios on and off, affecting lights, doorbells, phones. They seem to be able to manipulate energy – most likely because they’re energy!”. “Hello!” to my Polish ancestors!) As I was saying, anyone who knows Poland’s history knows Poland’s borders have changed numerous times.
From 1796 until 1919, Poland did not exist as a county. World War II began with a massive German invasion into Poland. “Hitler’s policy was to eradicate the Polish nation and Germanise the territory.”
Within a matter of weeks, the Soviet Union moved into Poland, claiming its eastern half. “Thus, Poland was yet again partitioned. Mass arrests, exile and executions followed, and it’s estimated that between one and two million Poles were sent to Siberia, the Soviet Arctic and Kazakhstan in 1939–40. Like the Nazis, the Soviets set in motion a process of intellectual genocide.” Source: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/poland/history
When friends and therapists shared the concept of ancestral healing and connected it to the pain in my hip, I have to say I was more than a little intrigued. As a yoga teacher, I’d learned that we store a lot of emotions in our hips, especially the emotions we don’t want to, or can’t, deal with. Your hips generate any movement forward in your life. If you’re feeling stuck or blocked in some way, your hips are usually involved. The idea that an ancestral block was lodged in my hip resonated with me—especially since the pain went off the charts once we landed in Poland.
My Polish ancestors definitely had deep, unexpressed grief. Undeniably, negative influences from the past affect us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually; and as we’ve learned from mind/body science, they also affect us physically and energetically. Since the hips are where every initiative starts, any pain or trauma we have stored in the hips that’s stopping us from physically moving forward will also stop us from energetically moving forward.
Perhaps visiting Poland without connecting with family five years ago stopped my hip from moving forward with ease on our trip. Perhaps my ancestral homeland was “holding on” to my every step insisting I do more than just visit the tourist stops. Who can say? (Read about the chakra connection in the Chakrascope section below!) As we planned a return visit back to Poland five years later, it was more than a little on my mind. I didn’t want a repeat performance! But perhaps this trip with the sole purpose of meaningful connection to family would help shift the energy of unexpressed grief. At least that was my hope.
On a side note, I donned a karma bracelet for inner strength and courage early June, a month prior to our trip. Karma bracelets are designed to fall off when your karma is complete—when you have released your negative karma and achieved your personal goal. My “inner strength and courage” bracelet came with the following message: “Wear your bracelet to dissolve away any fearful or doubtful karma and give light to your inner strength. Confidence is the key to manifesting anything you desire.”
Karma is defined as “The total effect of a person’s actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person’s existence, regarded as determining the person’s destiny.” And another: “the cosmic principle of rewards and punishments for the acts performed in a previous incarnation.” If you look at karma in the light of our ancestral heritage, my bracelet was working on releasing any fearful and doubtful karma from my ancestors.
I’d witnessed a friend’s karma “complete” its journey quickly, falling off within a few days. So I expected my karmic “lesson” to be, at the most, perhaps a week or two. Why I thought I could estimate timing on karma is humorous in hindsight. Each lesson is personal, as is the timing.
As we approached the timing for our return trip to Poland, the karma bracelet still had not fallen off. I started to wonder if perhaps this once-in-a-lifetime trip to the farm my Dad was born on was to “complete” any unresolved karmic energies surrounding inner strength and courage.
The courage and inner strength it took for all Poles to rise above their violent history—let alone my parents—and to hold onto their Polish heritage under threat of death was not something I dwelled upon as a child of Polish immigrants who had been prisoners of war. My parents shared no bitterness for having had ten years of their lives stolen with the added humility of being held prisoners on farms and in war camps, their families ripped apart.
Both of my parents were prisoners of war on German farms. My mom was auctioned off to the highest bidding German farmer. She never, not once, discussed her time as a prisoner on that farm. I’m certain it wasn’t something she cared to remember and least of all share with her children. My parents and others like them buried their despair and their grief and moved on to a new life in the U.S. This is a common theme among WWII immigrants to the U.S. Their children learned to ask no questions. You were not to touch the sleeping dragon.
I was an adult before the reality of my history truly hit me: “My parents were prisoners of war on German farms, met in a war camp, got married in the war camp, and had two kids in that war camp.” And I was a yoga teacher in my 50’s studying the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) before I finally deduced that my parents weren’t just born with short fuses and erratic temperaments. Those are classic signs of PTSD.
I was told our recent visit to Poland was an “event” for this quaint village. When we would walk down the road, neighbors would step out onto the road to peak at us as we walked away. One cousin remarked as she met me for the first time: “It is impossible.” She was referring to my return to my dad’s birthplace village. Another had just lost her last sister and expressed gratitude for having met me and knowing she was not alone. Each and every one of them touched my heart and will live on there. I will hold them close as I know my dad did in his memories.
I couldn’t help but think about my parent’s decision not to remain in war-torn Poland; to move on to another land with two small children and start a new life. Now there was some inner strength and courage!
I felt lost simply not knowing the language fluently and I had a fluent bilingual relative accompanying me everywhere! My dad tried to take lessons to learn English here in the U.S. early on but holding down two to three jobs at a time got in the way of his studies and he had to abort the lessons.
My mom learned English all on her own, creating some of her own words and phrases along the way like “meat-lunch” for “lunchmeat” and things at an angle were “on an ick”*. She was my dad’s bookkeeper (he had his own ceramic tile, linoleum, slate business for close to 30 years) and took great pride in writing the checks and other business papers in perfect English after much trial and error. I know she felt self-conscious her whole life about the mastery of her second language. They both mastered the English language brilliantly, in my humble opinion.
Their struggles and accomplishments paved the way for my future just as the contributions of other famous Poles did:
(*Side story here: It was last year sometime in a conversation with my second oldest sister, Barb, who is nine years older than me, that the phrase “on an ick” was used by my sister. I started to chuckle and she asked why. So I commented that “ick” was a sweet “mom-ism”—a made-up word from mom. There was a long pause, and she said “Are you serious? That’s not a word? I’ve been using that word my whole life!” –a more humorous example of an ancestor’s struggle with learning a new language in a new land.
In Zakopane, as I walked among the Tatra Mountains my dad had often spoken so fondly of, I sent a silent message off to my dad’s spirit: “I am here, dad; and it’s as beautiful as you always said it was. I am here and I am home.” By the time we were in Zakopane, it was a little more than half-way through our trip. And after hiking 18 kilometers (a little over 11 miles) the first day—half of that all uphill—I knew my hip issues from five years prior were, thankfully, not going to reoccur! Of course, my husband and I also continued doing daily yoga throughout the trip each morning as well! Let’s hear it for the healing powers of yoga!
We even took another hefty hike up the mountain the second day to do a cave tour—a precarious walk up slippery slope rock-steps with an equally precarious, if not downright dangerous, path through the cave that deemed us worthy of saying we were definitely “spelunkers”! I teased my cousin’s daughter, Anita, that we were filming “How to lose your relatives in two days”. All joking aside, she apologized several times as we were in the midst of the cave tour among other tourists who were likewise in disbelief saying “Oh my God!” and “Jesu, Jesu!”
As we were waiting to catch the bus out of Zakopane back toward Krakow, I suddenly noticed my karma bracelet was gone! It fell off somewhere in Zakopane! “Wear your bracelet to dissolve away any fearful or doubtful karma and give light to your inner strength. Confidence is the key to manifesting anything you desire.” I have to say having lost the bracelet in Poland, and particularly in the midst of the Tatra Mountains, must have made my mom and dad smile. It was a sweet feeling to have left a little part of me there. Dwelling on my parent’s inner strength and courage, as well as the inner strength and courage of all Poles, undoubtedly “gave light to” my own inner strength and I can’t thank them enough for that gift.
I’ve read that ancestral healing allows you to make peace within your family going back many generations. Some say seven generations forward and backward. If my trip to Poland has done that for those that came before me and those that follow, for this I am truly grateful. If it has cleared the path for my own life’s mission, well that would just be the icing on the cake now wouldn’t it?
“Ancestral Healing can transform energetic patterns that are not in your highest good, or are preventing you from carrying out your soul’s mission and life’s purpose. If you are experiencing recurring patterns where things get in the way of feeling satisfied, enriched or successful, then Ancestral Healing may be the missing link that can free you to attain personal fulfillment.”
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, our trip to Poland has completed me. Before this trip I wouldn’t have thought I felt “incomplete” or “lost”. Yet after this trip I now know a sense of connectedness to family I have never known. It’s palpable. I have been hugged and kissed by cousins and distant cousins in numbers I cannot count. I have truly been “home”. My roots go deeper now and I am grounded in a way I’ve never felt before. I know where I come from and some of the stories that helped make me who I am. There’s a sense of security and safety in really knowing family. Having met, this family connection can only grow from here and the story continues…
How about you? What patterns, legacies, values, attitudes, key events, connections, struggles, triumphs and disappointments have been passed on from your ancestors? What impact have your ancestors had upon your present life? How will you embody their lessons and what will you pass on to those who come after? Are you disconnected from your immediate family? Only you can make the journey to complete yourself.
There’s no such thing as a lost soul.
I know where they are, and everyone makes it home.
Thanks for caring,
(Source: Totally Unique Thoughts from the Universe daily emails.)
This newsletter is about not only connecting to the energy of your ancestors, which lies in your DNA, but healing their unresolved conflicts, emotional wounds, damaging judgments, and other limitations that continue to influence generations to follow. This pose connects you to your root chakra as well as your crown chakra when used as a meditative pose. It connects you to your roots—your tribe—and to the energy funneled from the heavens.
Sit on a bolster, meditation cushion, or a couple of blankets to elevate the pelvis and release your hips. Cross the legs at the shins and align the feet under the opposite shin bones. Distribute your weight evenly over the sitting bones, balancing your shoulders directly over the hips with head on top of your spine. Sit up tall, elongate the spine, lifting out of the abdomen while opening the chest, collarbones wide. Keep the abdomen strong. Lengthen the neck, reaching your crown toward the sky as you soften your throat. The challenge is to not sink back into your hips and low back or tip too far forward in the pelvis. Balancing on the center of the pelvis enables your sacrum (the upside-down triangle at the end of your spine) to move in maintaining your natural low back curve. Leave a “comfortable gap” between the feet and the pelvis.
Bringing the hands to prayer/Namasté position at the center of your chest will help you to expand your chest, bring your shoulder blades back and down, and firm your upper back muscles.
Once you’ve established that expansion, shoulder blade position, and upper back muscles are held firm, you have the option to keep those qualities and rest your hands on your knees.
I often invite my students to “play” with energy here. Palms down on the knees feels more grounded, centered within and focused:
Palms up on the knees feels more open, energetic and ready to receive.
You get to decide on any given day just what energy you are looking for, and then I add that it’s okay to have one hand palm up and one hand palm down if you aren’t sure, or want both. Drilling down to the subtle effects of hand placement introduces even the most conservative folk to experience energy.
You can also add a hand mudra here. Perhaps add the “Chin Mudra”. Connect index and thumb and extend the last three fingers of your hand with palms facing up. (If you have one palm down, you can still do this same mudra, it would change names to Jnana Mudra.)
Keep the head centered between the shoulders. Again it’s a balance of expanding but not so much that you overarch your low back and move your lower ribs forward. It’s always a good idea to alternate the cross of the legs if you sit in this pose regularly. Our patterns create imbalances and our yoga practice is a great place to remind ourselves to balance the body.
Loosen the cross of your legs so the arches of your feet rest closer toward the opposite ankles. I even have one student who chooses to sit in butterfly pose instead of easy-seated pose as this is more comfortable for her. “Customize” the pose to fit your body.
“Sit with your back to a wall, slightly closer than the length of a yoga block, and wedge the ends of the block between the wall and your lower shoulder blades.” (Not shown) http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/2481
While an “advanced” version of easy seated pose could be lotus pose, I don’t promote lotus pose since:
1) I personally can’t do it and
2) At least one expert in the area doesn’t promote it due to possible injuries attained from practicing lotus pose:
http://yogaanatomy.net/lotus/ (The lotus dilemma. As this well-known expert says—the benefits aren’t necessarily always worth the risk.)
Contraindications and cautions:
Spiritual aspects of Easy Seated Pose:
Easy seated pose is often used for meditation. Your Hatha yoga practice was originally intended to enable the body to be still in a meditative pose for long periods. Once you start your meditation practice, coming to easy seated pose is like “Pavlov’s Dog” for your body. Your body knows it’s time to connect within. There’s nothing more spiritual than that connection.
In easy seated pose, you look down and see a triangle—three sides formed by the two thighs and the crossed shins. Trinities appear in many of the world’s religions and cultures—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; Mother, Maiden, Crone; Mind, Body, Soul.
The lucky “cat with nine lives” derives from the auspiciousness of three. Nine is composed of three trinities (9 = 3 x 3); and is considered to be “sacred three times”—the highest expression of sacred.
In the light of sacred geometry, simply finding easy seated pose in your yoga practice becomes the highest expression of sacred—the blending of mind, body, and soul.
How easy is it to fit this into your schedule? Going barefoot outside has many benefits physically, mentally, and energetically, as Laura Cornell shared in her July 23rd email to me:
Yoga and Your Sole
In the warmth of summer, we can go barefoot outside for our Yoga practice and reap great benefits! Physically baring the feet to the Earth is one of the best ways to connect with the life force of the planet, which increases stability and peace and opens us to greater clarity and wisdom.
On an electro-chemical level, standing barefoot on the ground synchronizes our body with the Earth’s electrical potential — we literally become “grounded.” Moisture facilitates the flow of electrons, so finding dewy grass or moss to stand on is ideal. Think of the Chinese doing Tai Chi barefoot on wet grass in the morning! (The book Earthing describes in detail the pain reduction and multiple other benefits that come from balancing our bodies with the electrical potential of the Earth.)
Also, the soles of the feet, just like the palms of the hands, are densely packed with sensory receptors. They love to be touched and massaged, and the input of varying temperature, texture, and pressure on the soles enlivens the energy pathways (nadis) that run through them. So stand barefoot on the Earth, and feel the tingling effects up into the heart.
In India (and throughout Asia, for that matter), taking off shoes and socks is not only a matter of cleanliness in the home and temple, but a sign of entering sacred space. So as you do your Yoga postures outside in bare feet, remember that you are standing on Holy Ground!
1. What makes me feel grounded in my life?
2. How can I open fully to the life force of Mother Earth?
3. What Soul messages do I receive from the Earth when I am most centered?
Go ahead, kick off your shoes. New studies suggest walking sans shoes in dirt or sand can boost your health in surprising ways
Provocative new research suggests that a practice called earthing—walking around barefoot or putting any body part in direct contact with the ground—may decrease pain and improve heart health. “You’re absorbing the earth’s negatively charged electrons,” says Stephen Sinatra, MD, earthing researcher and cardiologist. “They act similarly to antioxidants, balancing out positive free radicals that contribute to inflammation.” Just 20 minutes of earthing eases pain and inflammation; 40 minutes begins to reduce blood viscosity—thick blood may lead to heart attacks and strokes in vulnerable people, suggests Dr. Sinatra’s research. To enjoy these benefits, go shoeless in your garden or wiggle your toes in the sand.
If you found the above interesting, please consider taking my meditation “how to” classes. Visit my Web-site, www.betterdayyoga.com, for details.
If you are familiar with chakras, then you can tell from my logo that I love chakras. The rainbow-colored spheres within my logo are representative of the chakra system within the body.
If you are unfamiliar, heres a quick lesson: There are seven energy centers called chakras (literally wheels) that store energy/life force/prana. They are along the spinal column and correlate to major nerve ganglia branching forth from the spinal column. Each has a different relationship to a gland in the bodys endocrine system. Each stimulates different organs and systems in the body. Hatha Yoga activates these energy centers releasing the energy that flows through the spine. Yoga helps these energy centers/nerve bundles to function correctly clearing blocks that may be there. Each chakra also is associated with a mental/emotional focus. In each newsletter Ill highlight how you can work with a particular chakra to correspond with the season.
I love synchronicity, dont you? As I started to write this newsletter on ancestral healing, my wall on Facebook contained this message: You are not responsible for your ancestors not completing their mission on earth. You have your own mission(s). Call on Archangel Mariel to help remove this link/pattern in your soul star chakra. This post linked to another one which talked about ancestral healing. Ive learned to go where the messages in my life lead me. Chakras are a passion of mine (as you can probably tell from my newsletters), so this post really caught my attention since it hit upon a subject I had just started writing about. The Universe is in constant conversation with you. Believe it!
While I knew there were more than the usual seven chakras/energy centers in the body, I never really drilled down on the names and their purpose. The soul star chakra is a transpersonal chakra located above the crown chakra and is associated with spiritual connection between individuals, and as mentioned in the Facebook post that brought this chakra to my attention front and center, it speaks to the completion of your ancestors mission on earth.
Researching transpersonal chakras took me to subpersonal chakras which are five chakras located below the feet. Two subpersonal chakras caught my attention in regards to ancestral healing and the hip issues I was having five years ago (mentioned in the opening section) when I visited my ancestral homeland for the first time: The incarnator chakra and the earth star chakra.
The incarnator chakraabout 40 cm below the feetcontains the energy connecting us to our ancestry, our tribe/clan.
The earth star chakra anchors the body to Mother Earth and the physical realm. It holds the grounding cord and is the source of Life energy. It holds the current incarnations ancestry and race history, the issues of its generation, past life and family issues, karmic issues and family diseases. All family history, unprocessed issues, secrets and cycles are past along through the earth star. The issues in your life could be caused from past life experience or trauma suffered from an ancestor!
One of my favorite chakra experts, Cyndi Dale, confirms the concept of additional energy centers/chakras located outside the body. She believes you can create more change working with energy centers located outside the body because you are tuned to more powerful energies than what is contained within the physical body. Theres a reason Mayans refer to chakras as power centers! Positioned above and below the physical body, they connect you to the spiritual realm and earth energy.
She refers to a 10th chakra located about a foot and a half under the ground which corresponds to the incarnator chakra mentioned early. The incarnator chakra opens to your genetic patterns, to your legacy in terms of family history, to the history of the earth in general, and links you into the environment and nature.
As Ive mentioned in previous Chakrascopes, each chakra vibrates to a different light/color spectrum. The bottom half of the body vibrates at denser, lower vibrations/colors and the upper half of the body vibrates at higher frequencies/colors. The 10th chakra/incarnator underneath the feet is working with a lot of infrared energy, which is very powerful for energizing and healing the physical body. For instance, if someone is dealing with a genetic abnormality, I work with the 10th chakra. That energy center actually helps to program our DNA, and we can work with it to help with hereditary issues. ~ Cyndi Dale.
Ancestral healing deals with the DNA of our ancestors memorieswe inherit these memories and we embody there hereditary issues. Working with and finding ways to strengthen the incarnator/10th chakra is essential ancestral healing. As Cyndi explains further, there is more than one road:
There are two chakras that are found above the head. The 8th chakra is an inch or so over the crown. It opens to the outer worlds and the Akashic records (a recording of everything you’ve ever done, thought, or said). But also up here you access parallel present realities and potential futures. This is the place of the shaman and the mystic. It’s up here that you can open your perceptions to different universes, time periods, dimensions. 8th chakra practices are incredibly effective for gathering information, working with spirits, and bringing in healing properties and healing energies from the shamanic realms.
Positioned above it is the 9th chakra, which is a beautiful energy center. It contains the seat of our soul. So whereas the 10th, which is underneath the ground, has our physical genetics, on the opposite side is the energy center that contains our soul geneticsencoded information about your higher purpose and spiritual destiny. (The approximate location and description of the 9th chakra corresponds with the soul star chakra mentioned earlier.) We can perceive this information as numerical symbols, geometric patterns, or our own unique archetypal codes. If we’re not getting any benefit working on the physical plane, that may mean it’s time to go up and work with the soul patterns through the 9th chakra.
The relationship between the incarnator (10th) and the soul star (9th) chakras speaks to your ancestors history manifesting in your physical body and how clearing the patterns in one may enable you to strengthen the other. Theyre like book-end partners that have each others back so to speak. Clearing a block in either may enable you to manifest your lifes purpose, your destiny.
As Ive highlighted in many newsletters, the well-known seven chakras relate to the endocrine centers of the body. They are along the spinal column and correlate to major nerve ganglia branching forth from the spinal column. Each has a different relationship to a gland in the bodys endocrine system. The chakras outside the body also relate to the body via the endocrine system. The incarnator (or tenth chakra as Cyndi Dale calls it) works with the bones, bone marrow, and any disease related to the bones. Remember it also contains the energy connecting us to our ancestory, our tribe/clan. As I addressed in the opening section, more than one person suspected the hips issues I experienced on my first trip to my ancestral homeland had to do with ancestral healing needed.
People sometimes say that’s (bone issues) not an endocrine gland, but there’s research that’s now proving that the bones and bone marrow produce hormones. The 9th chakra above the head interfaces with the diaphragm. This is why so many yoga and spiritual practices emphasize breath work: the breath brings oxygen to the body and is a vessel for spirit. Cyndi Dale.
Ive always said my go-to chakra when Im feeling out of sorts is the root chakrathe grounding chakra. I need to work on grounding regularly to feel whole again. Well it makes sense that the incarnator chakra being below the root chakra which is weaker for me also needed some tweaking.
I love the idea of the incarnator chakra and the soul star chakra being book-ends, or different possible avenues to work through your personal issues. So if youre stronger or weaker in either the physical (lower) or spiritual (higher) chakras, you can use your stronger power centers to help balance the weaker onesYin and Yangas above so below. When I meditate and use breathwork, everything feels better. My weaker root chakra benefits from a stronger spiritual chakra meditation practice.
How about you? What is your chakra personality? Which bookend is stronger for you personally? Maybe youre stronger in the lower chakrasso do something physical to spur your creative solutions. Maybe youre stronger in the upper chakras, so try breathwork, meditation, and other mind/body activities like yoga, meditation, tai chi, and pilates, among others. Work with your strengths to balance your body. Do more yoga.
Breathwork and Visualization:
Ho’oponopono means to make right and is the Hawaiian word for forgiveness. A big part of Ho’oponopono is that peace begins with me. Since my cousins daughter found us on Facebook in 2009, we have been in touch constantly. Her familys connection with us and her visit here last year started the healing process of our extended families. Our visit back to Poland this year continued to make right the broken family relations. This Ho’oponopono practice believes when a person becomes ill, the illness was caused by anger or lack of forgiveness in the family. They believe that healing could only come with complete forgiveness of the whole family.
I cant really say why my hip did what it did five years ago (see opening section), but perhaps it was an indicator or messenger of the need for healing in my ancestral line. My Polish family has given me a sense of security, of roots, of history and heritage. Family tree has a whole new meaning to me now. If my coming home to Poland to reconnect with family aided my ancestors further down the line (and up the line for that matter), I consider myself truly blessed.
Using the Ho’oponopono ritual for your ancestral healing: Sitting in easy-seated pose (highlighted in this months yoga pose section), begin to take deep belly breaths. Exhale whatever youre done with, letting it go energetically. Visualize with great detail the good youd like to see in your life and inhale that into the cells of your body. Let each inhalation nourish you physically as you breathe in fresh, pure oxygen. Silently repeat the mantra phrases associated with Ho’oponopono to yourself: I Love you, Im sorry, Please forgive me, and Thank you. Breathe in your intention. Breathe out forgiveness.
The apology is an acknowledgement that we are sorry for whatever it is that we (or our ancestors before us) have done to cause the adverse circumstance to take place We ask for forgiveness with the absolute certainty that it has already been granted Your “thank you” is the acknowledgement that your petition has been heard and acted upon–that is all.
The incarnator (or tenth chakra, as Cyndi Dale calls it)works with the bones, bone marrow, and any disease related to the bones. So a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D are good incarnator chakra foods.
“The 9th chakra above the head interfaces with the diaphragm. This is why so many yoga and spiritual practices emphasize breath work: the breath brings oxygen to the body and is a vessel for spirit. Cyndi Dale.
The right mix of nutrients in your diet can help you breathe easier. No single food will supply all the nutrients you need. A healthy diet has lots of variety.
Good sources of protein help maintain strong respiratory muscles. The best sources of protein are milk, eggs, cheese, meat, fish, poultry, nuts, and dried beans or peas.”
Eating several small meals a day instead of two or three large ones can help you eat well and not feel uncomfortable. Here’s why: Your organs aren’t packed tightly inside your body. A muscular membrane, the diaphragm, is in the space between the lungs and the stomach. The diaphragm moves down and up as you breathe in and out. A full stomach presses up into the space below the diaphragm. This keeps the diaphragm from moving as far down as it should when you breathe in and your lungs don’t fill completely.
Try dividing your day’s food into 4 to 6 small meals. You can eat a small breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then get the rest of your nutritional needs for the day by eating two or three between-meal snacks.
The earth star chakra grounds us to Mother Nature. Grounding foods, such as those for the root chakra, include:
Root vegetables: carrots, potatoes, parsnips, radishes, beets, onions, garlic, etc.
Protein-rich foods: eggs, meats, beans, tofu, soy products, peanut butter
Spices: horseradish, hot paprika, chives, cayenne, pepper
Lemongrass essential oil is rejuvenating to the bonesamong others.
Eucalyptus oil as well as peppermint, myrtle, and copaiba oils that support respiratory health.
Root chakra oils apply here: Sandalwood, Patchouli, Grounding,Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang, among others..
Young Living Essential Oils for the Root Chakra :
Root Chakra (Gonads) / I KNOW /
Security, survival, trust, relationships with money, home, and job. Essential oils to open and balance this chakra are Sandalwood, Patchouli, Grounding, Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang. Rub one drop on base of spine and then rub hands together and inhale 3x.
~ Bottoms of Feet ~ Since the incarnator chakra is below the ground, Im adding the Young Living Oil recommendation for oils on the bottom of the feet:
Always ground yourself before any type of meditation or spiritual reflection/meditation. Essential oils that assist with this are Grounding and Valor. Take one drop per foot; rub on bottom of foot and on big toes. Inhale!
If aromatherapy interests you, I use Young Living Essential Oils which are therapeutic, food-grade oils. Please inquire if you are interested in purchasing a favorite scent and I can add your request to my personal monthly order. Essential oils raise the vibrational frequency of the body. When the vibrational frequency of the body drops, we become more receptive to ill health: http://justalist.blogspot.com/2008/03/vibrational-frequency-list.html. Therapeutic-grade essential oils are great to have in your arsenal of health promoting natural products.
Since the incarnator & soul star chakras are closest to the crown chakra, and earth star chakra is closest to the root chakra, Im highlighting gems associated with the well-known chakras below.
Gemstones amplify the energy when placed in contact with your chakras. For those of you unsure on this subject, consider that its scientifically proven that everything is energy. Nothing is really solid. Why wouldnt the energy of a stone work effectively with the energy in our bodies just as some research speculates that the energy of computers, cell phones, and microwaves may affect our bodies? At the very least, I find that holding a favorite stone is like a talisman for me, or a worry stone. As my favorite author, Wayne Dyer, likes to say, If its a placebo effect, Ill take two.
Recently, I found this great write-up on the subject of crystal therapy at Ashley Leavys Love & Light Crystal Therapies website:
Since both crystals and the human body have an inherent energetic blueprint, it is thought that the energies of the body can be balanced and healed by introducing the energetic vibration of a crystal into the bodys energy field. Their perfect forms are a metaphor for the balance and perfection that humans search for in their own lives. Using crystals in this way can actually help to repair energetic imbalances within the ethereal body. Through entrainment, the human body will begin to mimic the perfectly stable, balanced energy of the crystal. For this reason, crystal healing can be performed on anything that possesses an energy field, be it a person, a plant, an animal, or the environment. The stable energetic vibrations from the crystals can be used to re-align and direct the flow of energy within the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies, returning them to a state of health and wholeness. Listen to her amazing video on Crystals and the Human Energy Field here.
*Crystal Healing is not meant to replace conventional medicine, but rather to complement and enhance it. The information within this site is purely metaphysical in nature and is by no means medical. Crystal Healing should only be used with the understanding that it is not an independent therapy, but one that is a part of a holistic healing approach.
Hematiteoffers stress resistance; works as a protective shield (much like the knots!). Smoky Quartzbrings present focus, dissolves emotional blocks. Black Tourmalineprotects, calms and expels fear, best set in silver. Garnetcounters illusions; acts against depression, beats insecurity.
Activates the Crown Chakra: Celestite & Blue Sapphire. Calms the Crown Chakra: Charoite, Sugilite, Luvulite. Balances the Crown Chakra: Clear Quartz, Amethyst. Source: The Chakra Bible by Patricia Mercier.
If gem therapy interests you, you can find a great selection at www.crystallinelight.com or you can also link to her Web site from my links page at www.betterdayyoga.com. Ive known Jennifer, the owner, for many years and love her products (and her)!
All yoga poses essentially activate the chakras. Yoga without the connection of breath awareness is simply a stretching practice. So a consistent yoga practice stimulates all the chakras, as does the many breathwork practices outlined in the current and past newsletters.
Using a block between the thighs a couple of inches above the knees in various poses such as chair, or even throughout a sun salutation (hopping into plank and mountain vs. stepping is required) helps to activate the root chakra.
Some yoga poses to stimulate the Muladhara chakra and draw up earth energy include: Downward facing dog, Chair pose (especially with the block mentioned in the previous paragraph), Cobblers pose (or as I like to refer to it: Butterfly pose), Mountain pose (add a mountain scene meditationI like to remind my students that in life we often climb the infamous mountainwork, work, work, sweat, sweat, sweatand you finally reach the top. Most of us dont take the time to enjoy the view up here. We only see the next mountain looming, challenging, calling your name. Take time to enjoy this moment, this mountain you just climbed, and remember you are on top of the world. (Derived from my wonderful I Hope You Dance journal by Mark D. Sanders & Tia Sillers.)
Also, while in mountain pose, the act of pushing the imaginary floor boards away with your feet or try to tear your yoga mat apart with your feet activates the root chakra. Similarly adding foot lock in this pose stimulates the root chakra: (Lift the toes, spread them wide, plop them down. Feel the outer edges of your feet cup the mat.)
Tree pose (add a root visualization with roots coming out the soles of your feet to increase the root chakra energy, and Childs pose (add a relaxing forehead roll from left to right: Rolling over the third-eye activates the pineal gland, releasing melatonin, and promotes a relaxed nervous system. Rolling over the forehead points activates the reflexology points for worrying.)
As mentioned in the highlighted pose, yoga postures and breathwork are intended as preparation for meditation. They stimulate both the third-eye and crown chakras.
Yoga without the connection of breath awareness is simply a stretching practice. So a consistent yoga practice stimulates all the chakras, as does the many breathwork practices outlined in the current and past newsletters.
Although not necessarily yoga, dancing connects us with the higher realms of the divine. And Meditation can help you connect with your inner self. The Book of Chakras, Ambika Walters. Hare pose, Half Shoulderstand as well as Headstandif they are in your practice, are also stimulating to the crown chakra. Dolphin Pose, is also considered a headstand prep and stimulates both the crown and third eye chakras.
Yoga Nidra is also an excellent way to induce a meditative state and calm your crown chakra.
The highlighted pose, easy seated pose, connects you to both the root chakra through the base of the spine, and the crown chakra when used as a meditation pose.
Mudra means seal in Sanskrit. Its a symbolic or ritual gesture using primarily the hands. Each position is believed to have a specific effect. Specific positions can lead to specific states of consciousness symbolized by the hand positions. For example, if a person frequently and with feeling does a position of fearlessness, they will also be freed from fearfulness in time. Mudras are said to engage areas of the brain and/or soul influencing them, sometimes physically, by their usenot unlike an affirmation, or reflexology for that matter.
One way that all of us can better care for ourselves is by developing techniques for coping with the irritations and anxiety that are part of life
Think of these gestures as self-talk for your hands. These simple movements, the gestures
that we often make unconsciously, can help us focus on our work, calm ourselves, release anger and energize us. Used for centuries by many different cultures, mudras are seen in Eastern dance and meditation, in ancient Egyptian friezes, even in Byzantine icons of Christ. Most of us use them today, too: we wave goodbye, we press a hand to our chest in distress, we wriggle our fingers to release energy, or press fingertips together to calm ourselves.
Easy to learn, mudras can be done anywhere, at any time: at traffic lights, in meetings, in airplanes, when were arguing, when were grieving, when we need to prepare for sleep. The word mudra can be translated from the Sanskrit as that which brings inner peace, and that s what mudras are: a physical means of quieting our bodies. Product description for Mudras: Ancient Gestures to Ease Modern Stress by Emily Fuller Williams.
This months newsletter is on ancestral healing. We carry the stories of our ancestors within our energy field. Unresolved conflicts, emotional wounds, damaging judgments, and other limitations held by your ancestors past or present will continue to influence generations to follow. This creates our patterns. Our ancestors memories lie within our DNA. Deep, unexpressed emotions such as grief, anger, guilt, shame and fear can also be passed to us from our ancestors, just like our eye and hair color. Energy from our ancestors passes through the family tree. This mudra is about being aware of lifes lessonsour ancestors lessons, and then recognizing and overcoming our patterns.
Description: Sit in easy seated pose (highlighted pose) with back straight. Bend elbows and bring hands at the solar plexus level, palms together and fingers pointed away from the body. All the fingers touch firmly except for the thumbs.
Tuck your thumbs in between the palms so their tips rest just below the little fingers. The pinky side of your hands touch firmly.
The author suggests concentrating on your third eye. In light of this newsletters focus on chakras above and below the body, and the featured pose, I suggest visualizing roots down into the earth connecting you to your tribeyour ancestral lineageas well as visualizing your auric field energetically connecting to the heavens as though a funnel channeling energy from above.
Affirmation: I am aware of my lifes lessons; I can overcome my patterns.
Source: Power Mudras. Yoga Hand Postures for Women, by Sabrina Mesko
By Briana Everett
We’ve all heard about the benefits of yoga for reducing stress, but can it directly benefit your career?
The founder and principal teacher of Adore Yoga, Nikola Ellis, says yoga has the potential to improve your confidence and performance in the workplace – and not just because it makes you feel less stressed.
Traditional yoga and yoga therapy uses different practices to address psychological issues, as well as the physiological, changing the way our bodies move and how we perform in a high-pressure work environment.
According to Ellis, what you do with your body can influence your mindset and this directly affects your behavior and outcomes in the workplace.
“For women, the benefits of performing strong, powerful poses has been amply demonstrated by Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy, who noticed that the reticent body language of female MBA students corresponded to their lower levels of engagement in the ‘hands on’ components of the program, when compared to their male counterparts,” Ellis explains.
“She ran a study that showed that ‘power positions’, similar to yoga’s Warrior poses, can change our brain chemistry and behaviour in a way that creates stronger engagement, confidence and performance.”
This, says Ellis, is what yoga has been doing for centuries. Working with students in private sessions up to groups of no larger than six, Ellis helps people prepare for a challenging day ahead or that important pitch or meeting by using physical poses and breathing practices that are designed to create stability, strength and power, allowing people to stand their ground in the office and keep their minds calm.
“This helps to steer them towards the outcomes they want, rather than being reactive to a pressured environment,” she says.
“In yoga we move people’s body in a way that changes how they feel and then that allows them to move forward with confidence.”
Yoga ensures that our decision-making is based in reality and helps us to be more mindful, according to Ellis.
“Our decisions are often informed by past experiences or projections that rely on a flawed understanding of the situation,” she says. “Yoga teaches you to be mindful of every moment, taking your perceptions off ‘auto-pilot’ so that your decisions are based on a real-world understanding, rather than assumptions or reactive triggers.”
Yoga teaches us to pay attention to how our thoughts are affecting our body and our breath. Ellis says it’s through this process of continually watching ourselves and picking up on our own patterns of behaviour that yoga can teach us to become present and not to react to someone in a work environment by projecting past experiences into the future.
The practice of yoga requires us to work on our ‘edge’, which Ellis describes as “the place where we fully challenge and extend ourselves, yet remain calm and comfortable”.
Constantly working along this edge, says Ellis, yoga teaches us how to continually challenge ourselves while staying controlled.
“That is how we achieve and sustain peak performance. When we work with yoga, the idea is that it doesn’t matter what poses you are doing, you take yourself to a point where it’s challenging and sometimes to a place you didn’t think you could go,” she says.
“In a work environment we need decision-makers who are not afraid and who are able to challenge themselves in new ways and push themselves right up to that edge, but know when to pull themselves back before the challenge turns into unmitigated risk.”
Yoga teaches self-discipline and self-control which are key to good leadership.
“A leader is like a parent,” says Ellis. “You cannot have low self-awareness to inspire confidence, trust and inspiration and that’s exactly what yoga teaches.”
One of my dearest friends cooks, bakes, and grills like a professional chef. She loves to chop vegetables, says things like “ramekins” and has her own tablecloth named after her—The Christine—for purchase at The Palate in Stockholm, WI: http://www.thepalate.net/. Preparing food has been her passion since before my husband and I met Christine and her husband, Mark, over 15 years ago. It has been our good fortune to be the lucky recipients of many delicious meals and absolutely wonderful times in their home. Since I am all about following our passion, this is my way of letting her have an outlet for hers. Enjoy!
This newsletter is about ancestral healing. While their unresolved conflicts are in our DNA, their diet—the ancestral diet—can teach us a thing or two about healing as well. The author of the recipes I post here, my friend Christine, has always said that most box mixes could easily be reproduced at home from scratch in the same amount of time with more nutrition content to boot. It would do us some good to go back the diet our ancestors followed and abandon so-called “convenience foods” that provide little more nutrition than the box they come in.
Ancestral diets can reverse heart disease according to Psychology Today’s article. “When you compare our modern diet with what we were eating in the 1950’s, there are some significant differences. The ANCESTRAL diet:
In a study of children’s lunches in the 1950’s compared to today in the UK, it was found that despite post-war shortages, lunch box meals for children in the 1950’s had:
Although the fat and caloric intake was higher in the 1950’s, children were generally more active at that time and so there was less obesity. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/542205.stm
While I can’t assert that the 1950’s diet or lifestyle was perfect or that there were no obese people then, either, I do feel that we should consider returning to some of the basic principles that kept us healthy then. I’m proposing that the ANCESTRAL way of eating would include:
In honor of eating seasonally, as well as indulging in an item out of the ordinary that gives pleasure, I bring back Christine’s recipe from last year—Caramelized apples! I swear just the thought of “caramelized apples” carries the magic of the fall season on its coattails. Can you see the fairy dust sparkles sprinkle out the package of caramel you just unwrapped? No? Then you aren’t looking hard enough, or you just need to remember how to channel your inner child. Enjoy! ….and remember, “It’s not a treat if you eat it every day!” Thanks, Christine, for this perennial favorite:
Fall is a great time of the year to enjoy the bounty of nature. One of nature’s best gifts this season is apples. If you can, try to get to an apple orchard and pick your own apples. Or you can always buy local apples in the grocery store. Here in Minnesota my favorite this time of year is our own Honey Crisp apples.
This recipe is very versatile. You can serve as a side dish with pork or chicken, you can serve as a dessert over ice cream or use in the morning mixed with yogurt or oatmeal.
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp lemon zest
Peel, core, and slice apples into 1/2 inch slices.
Melt butter in sauté pan. Sprinkle sugar on top. Let Caramelize for 1 minute.
Add apple slices, cinnamon and lemon zest. Stir in pan.
Let apples cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes stirring frequently until they start to soften but are still a bit crisp. Remove from heat.
This month Ive talked about the roots knowing your history can give you. Your ancestors can be your oasis from the storm, your strength. I purchased this CD at my last YogaFit mind/body conference this past June. These trainings and my YogaFit friends are my oasis. Let the music on this CD be your oasis. Enjoy!
Enjoy the NEW ZEN CAFÉ 11 ~ OASIS… Chill tracks for slow flow yoga and restorative/ therapeutic classes. Produced by Beth Shaw, this CD marks the first custom CD released by Beth after a long silence.
Oasis was inspired by the crashing waves and crisp air of Northern California, the stillness of the Hills of Beverly at dawn and the strong chilled state that a slower practice creates. It’s a beautiful collection of tunes that are Three Mountain® formatted and will be lovely addition to your Zen Cafe series. Create your own Oasis in your classes, car and home with Zen 11 Oasis. This CD is three mountain formatted. No need to change out your music for 60-75 minute classes.
You can hear the full CD during one of my yoga classes, or purchase it for your own listening pleasure at:
Want to have your own private group class in the metro area? Let’s discuss! Tailor your class to fit your needs: Beginner, Intermediate, Mixed-Level—you choose! Pre-paid per session. Six session minimum program. Three-person minimum required in attendance for each session to hold. Hurry! Thursday evening spot available! Please call if interested! Check out the details at: http://betterdayyoga.com/products/services
Want to have me work one-on-one with you on correct alignment? Maybe you have questions you want to ask but can’t during class time? A private physical assessment will help me to recommend particular yoga poses for your body, and perhaps other lifestyle enhancements that might help you, after we discuss your questions and history. Feel better about your practice! Schedule a private consultation at http://betterdayyoga.com/products/services