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, here’s 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 body’s 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 I’ll highlight how you can work with a particular chakra to correspond with the season.
Summer is finally here! There is an abundance of light with longer days which means we need more energy to take full advantage of the extra daylight. Let’s use the increased energy of the last chakra which vibrates quicker than all the others. As we climb up the chakra ladder from the base/root chakra to the crown chakra, the chakras vibrate quicker and quicker. The seventh chakra relates to the general intelligence of the body—the divine within—and vibrates to the color violet. If we stay out of the way of the general intelligence of the body, it is designed to naturally stay healthy, constantly regenerating.
According to A Handbook of Chakra Healing by Kalashatra Govinda, “Normally a strong, healthy crown chakra ensures a long, healthy life. Chakra work can stimulate the crown chakra, thereby protecting against chronic illnesses and promoting the body’s own natural healing processes.” She lists a weakness in the immune system as being an attribute of a weakness or block in the crown chakra. She reminds us that all the chakras work together toward a healthy body, and that the best way of enhancing the crown chakra through natural healing methods is to engage in intensive work on all the other chakras.
One of the ways our seventh chakra can get out of balance is when we become attached to results and outcomes. Then we have rigid belief systems—such as believing in the body’s inability to heal as we get older, and have a closed mind to thinking anything else is possible.
Having an open mind and the ability to question the status quo is an example of a balanced seventh chakra. When our seventh chakra is balanced we experience our own limitless nature. We are connected to spirit, but not addicted to that connection. “The seventh chakra is about opening ourselves up to the spirit of creation living our lives through divine guidance and seeing the world with a sense of wonder, love, amazement, and unity, as we did as a small child. When you reach this ultimate balanced state, you are truly at peace with yourself and the world. You emanate love, wisdom, and compassion.” Anatomy for Yoga, Nicky Jenkins & Leigh Brandon. I can only reiterate that as a child, I had an undeniable belief in my body’s natural ability to heal.
Most texts on the seventh chakra mention that few achieve this ultimate freedom, but we all have some enlightened moments. I don’t know if my dream state mentioned earlier where I was aware of my body’s natural ability to heal was one of those moments, but it’s the closest thing I can equate it to.
The visualization practices I suggested using in the opening of this newsletter is working with the sixth chakra which was covered in detail in last month’s newsletter: https://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm. Using visualization, you can create your own good mood and healthy states of mind, health, and energy. If you’ve been working on your visualization skills from last month, then you have a leg-up this month to create your own vacation state of mind whether you’re on vacation or not; and you are your own body’s best partner in creating health and well-being. This is the sixth chakra working with the seventh chakra.
Since we are focusing this month on using our attitudes and beliefs to enhance our health, well-being, and energy, I’d like to introduce a “minor chakra” that specifically encourages a healthy immune system—the thymus chakra. According to Mary Horsley, author of Chakra Workout, each acupuncture point is a mini-chakra. The thymus chakra is in the center of the chest above the thymus gland.
I’ve taught a “thymus pump” in both my yoga classes as well as my facial exercise classes: The thymus lies just beneath the upper part of the breastbone in the middle of the chest, and it plays a vital role in the body’s immune system. Because it is the link between the mind and the body, the first response to emotional or physical stress is shrinkage of the thymus gland and a reduction of life energy. The thymus thump stimulates the immune system and the vitality of the body, and boosts metabolism.
Find the U-shaped notch between your collar bones and then go directly below it about an inch to find an indentation. That’s where you’ll thump. Thump the chest with your fingertips. I do this every day 90 times.
The thymus tends to atrophy as we get older—which begs the question, did it atrophy because we don’t believe in our body’s natural ability to heal? Who knows? According to the Chakra Workout book, in former civilizations that were more spiritually attuned, it is thought that the thymus gland remained fully functioning. This chakra is considered “another higher level heart chakra” where we “embody divine love, and act from a truly compassionate nature.” Physically it links with the pituitary gland and generates energy.
As mentioned, summer’s extra energy requirement means we will be expelling more energy. Stimulating and working with the thymus chakra is a great way to increase the well-being and energy of the body. Working with your compassionate nature increases your health and well-being as well. Healing of all kinds begins with love. That’s working with the heart and thymus chakras.
Remember from our February newsletter, https://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm, the heart chakra is devoted to love and compassion. Working with the heart center chakra begins the process of self knowledge and healing. It’s being your own best friend. That includes using your attitude and visualization skills to benefit your health and well-being.
”Happy people have younger hearts, younger arteries, and a younger RealAge. Happy people recover more quickly from surgery, cope better with pain, have lower blood pressure, and have longer life expectancy than unhappy people.
Studies also suggest that happy people may have stronger immune systems — they’re less likely to get colds and flu viruses. And when they do, their symptoms tend to be mild.
Not surprisingly, happy people are better at looking after their health, too. When people’s happiness levels improve, so do their health behaviors. They exercise more, wear sunscreen, and go for regular checkups.”
Another “RealAge” gem reminds us that expressing compassion and gratitude to others (heart chakra) increases your own happiness. “ When a group of students wrote a series of one-page thank-you letters every 2 weeks for 6 weeks, measurements showed that their baseline happiness levels increased by 20 percent. The students expressed gratitude in writing, and their happiness increased with each letter. Every month, try writing a couple of thank-you notes to people who did something nice for you.“ http://www.realage.com/tips/get-happy-quickly-by-writing-one-of these?eid=7194&memberid=5734411
All of this ties into the opening theme of building your health through your state of mind, and of being happier through your state of mind. So we combine our compassionate, loving nature (heart chakra) and our immune-boosting ability (thymus chakra) with our visualization/vacation state-of-mind mood creation skills (sixth chakra). Then we stay out of the way of the general intelligence of the body and let go of our attachment to rigid beliefs in aging (seventh chakra). This is our recipe for enjoying the long days of summer—and our lives—to the fullest! Now where’s my sunscreen?
Breathwork and Visualization:
The seventh chakra can also be gently stimulated and harmonized using the technique of chakra-energy massage:
- Lie on the floor on your back. Relax and close your eyes. To awaken the energy of the hand chakras, gently rub your hands together a few times.
- Place your left hand at the very top of your head and place your right hand over the left. Breathe in and out a few times.
- Let your breathing become deeper, and begin to imagine that with each inhalation you are drawing in cosmic energy and with each exhalation that energy is being sent to your crown chakra.
- Repeat this for the duration of seven breaths, while visualizing this energy as indigo or clear light that streams from your hands into your crown chakra.
- Lay your hands relaxed on the floor and become aware of the harmonizing effect on the crown chakra.
- Take some time. Try to heighten your inner awareness so that you can feel whether the energy massage has changed anything, whether you can perceive a difference in your mind and spirit, and whether your thoughts feel freer and lighter.
Source: A Handbook of Chakra Healing, Kalashatra Govinda
Thymus Chakra meditation:
“Sit in a comfortable meditation position and close your eyes. Breathe quietly, and picture someone, or somewhere in the world, where there is suffering. Visualize green/blue healing light pouring from your thymus chakra to that person or place. Visualize the light growing stronger and stronger with each breath, and being replenished in a constant flow from the cosmos. End when you feel intuitively that the exercise is complete.” Source: Chakra Workout, Mary Horsley.
- Today is a wonderful day. I choose to make it so
- I accept perfect health as my natural state of being
- My body wants to be active and healthy.
- Exercise is fun for me.
- I am free to think wonderful thoughts. I am in control of my own mind.
- All that I seek is already within me.
- I now create my life in the way I want it to be.
- I move beyond limited human-mind thinking and align myself with the infinite Divine Mind, where all things are possible.
- My life is a party to be experienced and shared with everyone I know.
- I work for enjoyment and satisfaction—and not just to earn a living.
- I use my mind and thoughts to enhance my life.
- As I heal myself, my presence heals others. As I heal myself, I heal the generations past and future. As I heal myself, I heal the Earth. I set my intentions, my prayers and my actions to heal myself and the Earth.
- I am fully aware—in my body, thoughts, and feelings.
- The essence of my being is light and peace .
- I open myself to the infinite power of God .
Sources: Power Thoughts 365 Daily Affirmations, Louise L. Hay (must have book!)
June 26, 2010 Sierra Bender e-newsletter, www.SierraBender.com
A Handbook of Chakra Healing, Kalashatra Govinda
Diet and the heart/thymus, third-eye, and crown chakras:
Past newsletters (February and June: https://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm) remind us that green leafy vegetables, green teas, and immune-boosting oregano are all heart chakra nourishing foods. Eating intentionally was an important element of diet for the third-eye chakra, as was dark blue/purple foods containing antioxidants which destroy free radicals in the body include eggplant, purple kale, blueberries, figs, plums, purple grapes, raisins, among others. The crown chakra enjoys a pure, light vegetarian diet.
Aromatherapy and heart/thymus, third-eye, and crown Chakras: We’ve been talking about energy with the crown chakra being the chakra that vibrates the quickest. 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.
Previous newsletters highlighted the aromas best for the heart chakra: Angelica, jasmine, rose, geranium, and bergamot. There’s also lilac, lavender, orange blossom, neroli, and ylang ylang. For the heart chakra’s influence on the lungs try eucalyptus and peppermint, among others.
Scents that stimulate the third-eye chakra include: Hyacinth, Rose Geranium, Lemon, Vetiver, Basil (surprisingly relaxing), patchouli, rosemary, mint, and juniper, among others.
The crown chakra enjoys frankincense, lavender, and rosewood, among others.
Why not try a blend taking a favorite scent from all three categories?
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.
Gem therapy and the heart/thymus, third-eye, and crown Chakras: Gemstones amplify the energy when placed in contact with your chakras. For those of you unsure on this subject, consider that it’s scientifically proven that everything is energy. Nothing is really solid. Why wouldn’t 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 it’s a placebo effect, I’ll take two”.
A quick review of gem therapy for heart and third-eye Chakras includes: Rose quartz, malachite, green tourmaline, ruby, green emerald and aventurine, among others, for the heart. Then there is Amethyst, Sodalite, Lapis Lazuli, Cat’s Eye or Tiger’s Eye, and Azurite, among others, for the third-eye.
Crown chakra gems include Amethyst, Diamond, and Alexandrite, among others.
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. I’ve known Jennifer, the owner, for many years and love her products!
Yoga poses for stimulating heart/thymus, third-eye, and crown Chakras: As mentioned earlier, all yoga poses work each of the seven major chakras with specific ones addressing specific chakras.
A review of past newsletters reminds us that poses that open your heart center area include: Fish pose, Bow pose, Camel pose, Yoga mudra pose done while standing and cobra pose, among others. Yoga poses that stimulate the sixth chakra include, headstand prep/dolphin pose; and if headstand is in your practice, headstand pose, among others. Please refer to the archives of February and June newsletters for more: https://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm.
Crown chakra yoga poses focus on pranayama, or breathwork. 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 Headstand—if they are in your practice, are also stimulating to the crown chakra.