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.
October is surrounded with shades of orange (although I can’t get my mind off the white squirrel in my yard!)—jack-o-lanterns smiling at us, trees turning beautiful hues, apples ripening on the vine. Many of us choose to celebrate Halloween as a light-hearted, fun time for costumes and trick or treating. So we can have some fun “trying on” a different persona. This takes the “just supposing” concept introduced in my opening section a little further! Let’s be creative! That’s the second chakra-the Sacral Chakra. Its color is orange and it is the seat of our creativity and our passions. It focuses on the element of water-of flow. The Sacral Chakra is about sweetening life by opening to pleasure. Here’s some ways to open to the pleasures of the season!
Was there a favorite costume character from your childhood Halloweens, or perhaps as an adult? (Let’s keep it clean!) What persona were you trying to create and why? Explore why you considered that one your favorite. Let’s do some Halloween costume analogy to see how you used your creativity (Sacral chakra) to exemplify a character.
It may be that you enjoyed the reaction from others, or maybe it had a deeper meaning for you. Were you looking for the power of being that character? Do you like to be a leader in your everyday life? If so, are you? Was that persona a role model for you?
Perhaps you enjoyed the laughs your costume brought. Do you like stand-up comedy? Do you use humor enough in your everyday life to satisfy your creative soul? If not, can you think of ways to add more humor into your life?
Perhaps it was the pride you took in the artistic effort that went into the costume. How do you let your artistic talents out to play now that you’re all grown up?
Maybe it was just the act of letting go of reality for a bit and having some outright fun. I think most of us could use more play in our life. How can you add some playtime back in?
I’ve read that whether you like or dislike someone it’s because you recognize the same qualities within yourself. I’ve tried to keep that in mind whenever I get to judging someone because it usually means any irritation I have is the seed of something in me as well. It’s humbled me more than a few times.
Posing the above questions to myself, a gypsy costume—my favorite costume for Halloween when I was younger-was my favorite because to me gypsies had a handle on all things magic. They could tell the future, do fortune-telling, dress in those flamboyant scarves, and where some big-time bling. That observation makes me smile. I still enjoy all things magical, own way to many scarves, and prefer big honking costume jewelry rings to the more expensive gemstones. As for telling the future, well I’ve done my share of asking the Universe for signs, as you well know.
(I have to mention, my Thursday evening yoga class is in Anoka, MN, the “Halloween Capital of the World”. http://anokahalloween.com/, in a wonderful gift shop filled with a gift for everyone on your list, Krista Artista Gallery, http://www.kristaartistagallery.com/. Stop in and “rediscover Anoka”! http://www.rediscoveranoka.com/ .)
Expressing our creativity is Sacral Chakra energy in action. While I don’t go trick or treating any more, I do answer the door with style. An old retail jewelry customer of mine gave me a white witch’s hat she bought for her dress shop as Halloween décor. She knew she wouldn’t sell it in her dress shop. She told me that she knew I was one of the few people open to being silly enough to enjoy it. I justified being a witch with the thought that I’m a good witch, just like on the Wizard of Oz, and the hat has a white owl on it, for wisdom. So that’s not scary, right?
The hat replaced the Mardi Gras mask I’d used prior, and I’ve added a child’s magical ringing wand. My husband and I still use dragon hand puppets from Manhattan Toy (a previous sales job I had), and flashlights under our chins as the trick or treaters approach. Outside we play spooky music from Martha Stewart’s collection. http://www.amazon.com/Living-Spooky-Sounds-Martha-Stewart/dp/B00004WJ6F. I swear we have more fun than most of the visitors! We’ve created this fun ritual to enjoy our creative expression marking the season. Create some fun of your own! That’s Sacral Chakra energy and going with the flow of the season!
We have a favorite apple farm, as I’m sure many of you do. Ours is Minnetonka Orchards in Minnetrista: http://www.minnetonkaorchards.com/. I love the magic they create there. You can pick your own apples, or buy them in their wonderful gift shop along with hot apple cider, apple donuts, and apple brats. My mouth is watering. The musical entertainment is always family-oriented, and begs you to dance in their lawn. They have hay rides, walking trails, a corn maze, petting zoos, bonfires, face-painting, and pumpkins too! Our annual trip there has become our autumn-welcoming ritual. It is the harbinger of the “horn of plenty” about to come with all the autumn and winter holidays. It creates a festival type atmosphere where you can let your inner child out to play along with all the other children there. This is our way of opening to the pleasures of the season. We took my mother-in-law on a hay ride here once about four years ago. At the time, she was in her early 80s and had a blast! So you’re never too old to experience all the pleasures of an apple orchard! You just have to be open to it! Being open to the pleasures of life-that’s strong Sacral Chakra energy!
When was the last time you went out for an autumn drive just to see the leaves changing color? Leave your electronics behind and go witness nature’s own full-color extravaganza! This is true surrender to the season. Going for a long walk in your favorite woods revitalizes your creative juices. Breathe the crisp, fresh air, and take in some color. Nature is begging you to come outdoors this time of year and view her blanket of colors. Take a cue from nature and find ways to add color to your life. Take time to celebrate whatever season of life you are in with pizzazz. If nature can recreate herself by adding a little color, why not you too? We don’t consider the leaves as old and wrinkled. We see the beauty in them and consider them as a gift. How can you add a little color into your life?
For walking trails in the Minneapolis area, try http://www.trails.com/city-trails.aspx?keyword=Minneapolis&state=MN. Wondering where the best leaf viewing is? Try http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fall_colors/index.html. For a state-by-state listing of farms with pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hayrides and other autumn activities: www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/index.php
So where to begin? How do you choose your best fun activity? Recapping the “luck” theme from my opening article, I connected luck to the creativity aspect of the Sacral Chakra using Frank Capra’s quote, “A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” (Remember principle two above for creating your own luck was “listening to lucky hunches”.) Using your gut feeling as to which family ritual for autumn is right for you is using your Sacral Chakra energy. Repeating the sentiment in my opener, luck is really intuiting the opportunity within any potential activity you are considering. So have at it and listen to our gut!
Do you wonder what all the fuss is about this time of year? How can you create your own magical autumn? What fun, family rituals can you put into place? Perhaps a visit to your favorite apple orchard is in order or maybe your own family bonfire along with homemade hot apple cider while you carve your jack-o-lanterns.
Perhaps you can be a little more creative with your attire when you answer the door for this year’s trick or treaters. How can you add a little color into your life? Pick your favorite forest or scenic drive and check out the colors. Bet you’ll have some fun while you do it! Be open to the pleasures that can sweeten your life! Create your own magic—that’s Sacral Chakra energy!
I invite you to please post your favorite, fun costume or scenes from your favorite orchard or trail on Better Day Yoga’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Canada-MN/Better-Day-Yoga-LLC/495055625435?ref=ts.
Breathwork and Visualization: In the “Meditation to Go” section I shared my own personal visualization/meditation for the shower. The following is a Sacral Chakra water meditation for the bath taken from The Chakra Energy Plan, The practical 7-step program to balance and revitalize, by Anna Selby. Enjoy!
Meditating on—and in—water has a powerful and positive effect on the Sacral Chakra. The heat and support of the water relaxes your body and your mind becomes still to focus on the meditation.
Spend some time preparing your bathroom before you do this meditation. Run a warm bath, light some candles, and make sure that you have some warm towels and a bath robe for when you come out of the bath. If you can, find a tape or CD recording of water—the sound of the sea or a fountain, or the music of whales is ideal. Play this softly in the background to help you meditate.
Get into the bath and submerge yourself in the water. Let go of any tension in your muscles and find a position in which your body can relax completely.
Breathe in deeply through your nose, bring the air down into your belly, hold it for a few moments and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this three times and then let yourself breathe normally. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Don’t count your breath—just observe how your breath enters and leaves your body.
Now bring your consciousness to focus on the water around you. Feel the touch of it on your body, how it moves and responds to your breathing, its warmth, and how it supports your body. Observe how the water brings calmness and relaxation. Extend your consciousness to visualize the great bodies of water that cover most of the planet—the lakes, the seas, and the oceans. Sense the rhythm of the waves and their gentle lapping on the shore. Visualize the moon’s pull on the water, drawing the tides up and down. Picture yourself floating on a calm sea under a bright moon. Do this for at least five minutes, focusing on the sensation of the water holding and supporting you, and the pale moonlight shining down on you. Feel the moon pulling the tides of your body toward her and feel a sense of being at one with the waters of the world.
Gradually bring your awareness back to the water around you and your breath. Focus on your breathing for a few minutes, then slowly open your eyes and take in your surroundings. Feel the sense of tranquility and relaxation that comes from water meditation. When you are ready, get out of the bath, pat yourself dry, dress in a warm robe and go to bed or rest for at least a half an hour.
The Book of Chakras, Ambika Wauters.
A Handbook of Chakra Healing, Spiritual Practice for Health, Harmony and Inner Peace, Kalashatra Govinda.
Power Thoughts, 365 Daily Affirmations, Louise L. Hay.
Diet and the Sacral Chakra: Drink plenty of water! Not enough water is a cause of fatigue, constipation, arthritis, back and neck pain, hunger, depression, and allergies! Drink more clean, purified water! Other ways to get water into your diet would be herbal teas and both fruit and vegetable juices such as oranges, apricots, pomegranates, blueberries, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, etc. Using a blender, you can create your own concoctions.
Aromatherapy and the Sacral Chakra: Scents associated with the sacral chakra are jasmine, ylang ylang, cinnamon, tangerine, rose, rose geranium, geranium (my personal favorite!), clary sage, and patchouli.
If aromatherapy interests you, I use Young Living Essential Oils(tm) 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 Sacral 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 sacral chakra gems are: Coral, citrine, cornelian, onyx, tiger’s eye, moonstone, pearl, aquamarine, and clear quartz, 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. I’ve known Jennifer, the owner, for many years and love her products!
Yoga poses for stimulating the Sacral Chakra: Warrior poses all stimulate the Sacral Chakra! See both this month’s highlighted pose as well as last month’s for more on Warrior I and II!
The triangle pose, highlighted in my Dec/Jan newsletter is one of my favorite poses. Other poses noted as good for activating the sacral chakra: side stretch, pelvic tilt, cat/cow pose, butterfly pose, wide stance pelvic rolls, seated pelvic rotation (which I do at the end of each of my sessions) among others.
Please refer to the archives of Dec/Jan and April and August newsletters for more on the Sacral Chakra: https://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm.