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.
I’ve been writing about the chakras since my premiere newsletter back in November 2009! Since the opening section talked about the knots/granthis, I thought I’d write a bit more about the knots and, in particular, the first knot which is located in the root chakra/muladhara chakra.
As mentioned in the opening section, Knots are considered “thresholds” where the energy gets stuck. When energy is stuck at the various thresholds, it develops a physical “pathology” specific to that area of the body. When the knots clear, we become “aligned with the truth of our nature, and the symptoms disappear.” (Source: Kundalini Rising. Exploring the energy of awakening by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Andrew Newberg, Sivananda Rhada, Ken Wilber, and John Selby.)
The energy that is getting stuck is referred to as Kundalini energy. I wrote about Kundalini energy in my August 2011 newsletter. Here’s an excerpt from that newsletter:
“In Sanskrit, Kundalini means ‘life energy’. Known as the serpent energy in Hinduism, the first culture known to have labeled this mysterious force, kundalini is the natural divine energy inside of you. Your kundalini is the life force of your body that, when fully activated, leads to living as an enlightened sage.
If you were able to fully draw on your kundalini, the life force that lies within, what might you do? Well, you could lasso the stars and pull them to earth, plant your dreams in the soil and grow love, laugh in the wind, and heal the world. You could write your name in the water, author your life, and sing with the Divine.
At some level, kundalini has already been accomplishing all this and more for you. You’ve already been exercising its enchantment to become the great person you are. As mysterious as its name and as magical as its origin, kundalini has been pulsing in your body since you were conceived, performing tasks as basic as igniting the electricity in your cells and as elusive as attracting others to you.
Kundalini is a god energy, and as such, it nourishes your uniqueness and upholds your sacred vocation. Since it originates from the Divine Source, it also interconnects you with all living beings, as well as with the Divine itself. Because of these connections, to tap into your kundalini is to open the channel to your intuition, to begin to hear the messages in the wind, to receive revelations colored with inspiration, and to know the unknowable. In short, kundalini allows you to be you—and encourages others to be themselves.” Kundalini Divine Energy & Divine Life by Cyndi Dale.
How many of you want more of that?! “When kundalini wakes up, it primarily travels upward through our various energy bodies and channels, parts of the energetic anatomy that create and sustain our physical body. Energy is information that vibrates, and guess what kundalini does? It shakes up the energy of our body, mind, and soul.
The kundalini first rises through energy channels along our spine. These energy channels are called the nadis, and as the kundalini climbs through them, it activates the seven chakra energy centers also positioned along our spine, our center axis, and connecting our spiritual and physical selves.” Kundalini Divine Energy & Divine Life by Cyndi Dale.
I’ve read that the knots are there has a protective shield—a circuit breaker, if you will. Each knot will only open up to let the energy release if you are able to handle it energetically—mentally, physically and spiritually. I equate it to a divine “high five”. As you become more and more connected with your true spiritual nature, and as you take care of your energy body, your knots are free to release their potential energy. It reminds me of the quote on the following picture.
“If God Brings You To It, He Will Bring You Through It.”
Or “God will never give you anything you can’t handle”. You life is a series of stepping stones leading you to the next best thing. You can’t skip a lesson because you need to have the knowledge and stability of the previous lesson to be able to fully digest, understand, and accept the next one. The knots are here to make sure the energetic way is clear and that you’re ready to take it on.
“Following the path toward fulfilling my spirit…all other journeys can wait.” ~ Author unknown
I remember my first “energy work” class over twenty years ago. The instructor cued the students to close their eyes and “run” their energy in figure eights up and down their energy bodies pulling energy up from the earth. While she had just described what she wanted us to do, I was in the “what the heck?” stage. I remember closing my eyes along with all the others, and then peaking out ever so slightly to “see” if I could sense what the others were doing. Little did I know at the time, the “running of my eights” exercise would become a staple in all of my visualization/mediation/centering exercises. I needed to experience it as a lesson, work with it, learn it, and practice being it before I could embody it without effort. Just like riding a bike! Once I believed in it, I could easily feel it.
“You’ll see it when you believe it.” ~ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer (Book by the same title is an excellent book!)
Likewise, if someone had told me ten years ago that I would quit my full-time corporate job 3 ½ years ago and teach yoga, facial exercise/acupressure/self-massage, and meditation classes full time, and write regularly for my own and other websites, I wouldn’t have believed them. Yet here I am; and I am able to walk this path, with all of its wonderful, synchronistic twists and turns, because I took the steps in between to “try this life on” and to believe in living on purpose.
“Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” ~ Joseph Campbell.
I won’t say it was a piece of cake. At first my self-esteem dropped tremendously. I was too attached to equating who I was with my old job title—with what I “did”. That’s attaching to the physical, the material. I cried a lot in those first few months. It wasn’t until I fully believed in myself and my gifts that I started to detach from having a “career” and align myself more with having a “life purpose” and living “on purpose”.
You can have both, to be sure, but for me a “life purpose” is what we should all be striving for behind the “career”. THAT will make your life’s work pop with magic and energize you because then and only then does the Universe conspire for your full expression!
Don’t worry about what the world wants from you, worry about what makes you come more alive. Because what the world really needs are people who are more alive. Your real job is to increase the color and zest of your life. ~ Lawrence Leshan
As mentioned in the opening section, this first knot, located in the root chakra, is “Known as the knot of names and forms, the world of ambitions and desires..” The Chakra Bible by Patricia Mercier.
The root chakra is about being centered, grounded, safe and secure—which is what I was pining after once I quit my corporate job. Yet modern lifestyles, by their nature, can pull you off center—whether you just quit your job or not. The crazier your world becomes, the more you gravitate toward safety and security. You might even tend toward reaching for safety and security over venturing out and putting yourself out there in the world as I admitted to in the opening section.
Well if the first knot is about ambitions and desires and it’s located in the safety and security chakra, can you see the possible conflict to overcome? Remember, the first knot remains shut until you have overcome your attachment to stability, inertia and identification with the physical alone. When you can experience your life force moving forward in the direction of your ambitions and desires, yet remain detached from the physical trappings of what you equate those desires to, you’re on the right track!
Remember it’s a focus on the bigger picture vs. the details. Bigger picture is end result—love and joy and expressing that. Expressing that is your purpose. Details are: “How do I get there? What do I do to achieve that?” “What’s in it for me?” When you do things with love, people are attracted to it and come back for more. Surround all of your endeavors with love and joy—simple but not easy, as stated earlier.
“Love responds to your invitation, love responds to imagination.” ~ Rush, Chain Lightning
“Eventually you will come to understand that love heals everything, and love is all there is.” ~Gary Zukav
You’ll never really have all the answers, but as you realize you need nothing “out there” to feel grateful, life becomes filled with constant joy. You begin to recognize your life as beautiful in every way and in every moment because you decided it is. Safety, security, and survival are a given in this frame of mind!
You no longer “need” anything in the physical realm other than what you already have. As a matter of fact, simpler is better.
“Observe for yourself how much of the time you measure how well you are doing in regard to your destination while ignoring how you really feel in the moment. Where are all the actual minutes, hours, and days of your life? Do they wait for you at some destination, or are they rapidly passing right now? Ask yourself, would you rather have a feeling of happiness in the moment-to-moment experience of your life, or in a few big bang-up episodes upon reaching various goals? You know the final destination of the physical body is decay and death, so why would you choose to measure your life by endings when all the experience, the felt sense of being alive, is in the journey?” ~ Buddhist teacher Phillip Moffitt
You’ll never have enough of something that doesn’t feed your soul. Having more “stuff” won’t fill you up because more stuff doesn’t really fill you, does it? All you need lies within—literally. True wealth has nothing to do with how much money you have. It is your gifts within that you are finally brave enough to share with others—because you finallybelieve in yourself enough to share them—that create true wealth. As you find the courage to share your gifts with others, you align with your own true nature; and as you align with your own true nature, in my humble opinion, that is the path toward releasing the first knot in your energy body.
Your work is to discover your work and then, with all your heart to give yourself to it.
It starts in your mind. You decide. Decide you are enough. That’s a very empowering statement. I started to write it just now as “I am good enough, smart enough, etc.”, and then I shortened it to I am enough, and then to “I am.”
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
~ Psalm 46:10
The Secret by Rhonda Byrnes, pointed out that “I am” are the two most powerful words in the English language. I think their power is in knowing you have all you need within. Affirm who you are constantly until it becomes who you are. Believe you deserve. Believe something wonderful is about to happen, because the Universe will always fill that void. Magic Happens!
Breathwork and Visualization:
When Buddha rose from under the Bodhi tree, it is said a monk approached him in utter amazement at his luminosity and asked, “O Holy One, what are you? You must be a God.”
Buddha, not thinking of himself as anything but present, answered, “No…not a God,” and kept walking.
But the dazzled monk persisted. “Then you must be a Deva,” and Buddha stopped and said, “No…not a Deva,” and kept walking.
Still the monk pursued him, “Then you must be Brahma himself!”
At this point, Buddha simply uttered, “No.”
The monk, confused, implored, “Then what are you—Tell me, please—what are you?!”
Buddha could not repress his joy and replied, “I am awake.”
Can it be that our purpose, no matter whom we run into, no matter what we are told, is simply to be awake?
Sit quietly and meditate on the things that have come to define you.
Feel what you do with your days and say, “I am more than my job.”
Feel where you sleep your nights and say, “I am more than where I live.”
Feel who you love and say, “I am more than my relationships.”
Feel all you have suffered and say, “I am more than my history.”
Feel your very name and say, “I am more than my name.”
Feel your breath enter and leave your heart and say without history or name,
“I am the flame of life living in this body.”
Source: The Book of Awakening. Having the Life You Want by Being Present in the Life You Have by Mark Nepo.
- I am willing to see my magnificence*
- I am on an endless journey through eternity*
- Whatever is happening out there is only a mirror of my own limited thinking.*
- I trust the intelligence within me.*
- I am open to possibilities.***
- I am a reflection of joy.***
- I am committed to helping others.***
- I am believing in myself and my gifts.***
- I am capable of continued excellence. I keep going for what feels astounding, remarkable and life giving. Then all areas of my life will sparkle with new light.****
- I am grounded and calm**
- I am rooted to the earth**
- I am welcome, wanted, and completely supported by the Universe.**
- My life is part of the natural plan, and my presence on earth is welcome, wanted and essential to the Divine Plan.**
- I am now totally centered in the love and joy of being alive.*
- I flow with life.*
- Peace of mind is mine.*
- I am enough
- I am
- I am neither too little nor too much, and I do not have to prove myself to anyone.*
- I am okay as I am.*
- I am filled with the unlimited abundance of the universe and manifest all that I need.*****
- *Louise L. Hay Wisdom Cards, her book, You can heal your life, and her 2013 affirmation calendar.
- **Sonia Choquette chakra affirmation cards
- ***Intentional Serenity “Open to Possibilities” Card
- ****Yoga Path Cards by Susan Woldman
- *****Coventry Creations’ Prosperity Candle affirmation
Diet and Muladhara Chakra:
Protein (especially animal protein), root vegetables, edible and medicinal mushrooms, red-colored foods (apples, pomegranates, etc). And since February is known as American Heart Month and the “ultimate red month”, here’s a great link to an article about 5 Red Foods to Eat for Your Heart.
Do you crave salt like I do? Read on!
Salt relates closely to the root chakra. “The key emotional quality of this chakra is security, without which smooth social interaction and other vital activities fail. .. A similar proposition in Chinese physiology states that the kidneys rule the emotions fear and insecurity. Our desire for salt may reflect an internal wish for a more emotionally safe foundation, particularly in a modern society characterized by tremendous change and uncertainty. The anchor of security provided by salt is something to be highly valued. However, too much of an extreme substance such as salt causes it’s properties to reverse—kidney damage, fear, rigid legs and pelvis are all symptoms of a poor emotional and physical foundation resulting from excess salt.”
This wonderful, intriguing book goes on to say that “Salt has the unique ability to produce a quick mentally centering effect to counter the scattered consciousness caused by toxins, as well as to aid in general detoxification. According to the doctrine of signatures, an ancient principle still used in herbology and other forms of biologic medicine, a plant or substance will sometimes have a visual appearance which suggests its use. Salt has a crystalline structure which suggests definition and clarity. From our observation, salt promotes a lucid, grounded centered experience. The Inner Classic supports this view, telling us that salt in moderation strengthens the heart and mind.”
One last amazing thing: “Salt, on the other hand, alkalizes and thus is craved by those whose systems are overly acidic. This property of salt is one reason people heavily salt their meat, since meat strongly acidifies the human body. Similarly, adding a touch of salt to the cooking water of grains restores balance to these acid-forming foods.” The author goes on to warn that “despite the positive aspects of salt—it’s clarifying, alkalizing, purifying, and centering qualities—there is still great potential for its misuse.”
“Salt…is a grounding crystal that takes us down into the body/mind where well-centered concentration of matter attracts a clear perception of its opposite: Spirit (non-matter).” ~ Jacques De Langre, in Seasalt & Your Life.
Source: Healing with Whole Foods. Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchford.
Aromatherapy and Muladhara 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, Patchouly, Grounding, Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang. Rub one drop on
base of spine and then rub hands together and inhale 3x.
~ Bottoms of 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!
Also try: Vetiver, Ginger, Thyme, Basil, and Clary Sage.
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.
Gem therapy and the Muladhara Chakra:
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”.
Some Muladhara Chakra gems are: Hematite—offers stress resistance; works as a protective shield (much like the knots!). Smoky Quartz—brings present focus, dissolves emotional blocks. Black Tourmaline—protects, calms and expels fear, best set in silver. Garnet—counters illusions; acts against depression, beats insecurity.
For some of these and other great root chakra stones, (Boji stones, Black Moonstone, Black Obsidian, Shiva Eye Agate, Shungite, Moqui (aka Shaman Stones), Onyx with Pyrite, and Snowflake Obsidian) check out http://www.crystallinelightshop.com/collections/crystals-root-chakra 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 (and her)!
Yoga poses for the Muladhara Chakra:
All yoga poses essentially activate the chakras. The Charkascope section focuses on the mula bandha, or root lift/lock, which activates the root chakra. Also, 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 (Please note all the links, except for the root visualization, go to my old website for information on the linked page only. All other pages are not current!):
Downward facing dog,
Chair pose (especially with the block mentioned in the previous paragraph), Cobbler’s pose (or as I like to refer to it: Butterfly pose),
Mountain pose (add a mountain scene meditation—I like to remind my students that in life we often climb the infamous “mountain”—work, work, work, sweat, sweat, sweat—and you finally reach the top. Most of us don’t 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, 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.)
Child’s 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.)