Are You At Home in the Muddy Water?

lotus-883508_960_720When I first heard the Zen proverb, “May you learn to live like the lotus, at home in the muddy water”, I equated it to being content with where you are planted, facing your challenges and endeavoring to ascend.

Since my revisit to the land of the chakras and, specifically, the muladhara or root chakra, I can bring additional meaning to this phrase.

Although each chakra is symbolized as a lotus flower, I like to visualize the entire spine as a lotus plant. Anchored deep in the nutrient-filled waters, with its base at the root or pelvis, the flexible stem runs upwards, providing nourishment all along the way until it terminates with its glorious flower – the crown at the top of the head.

We have looked at the properties of the first two chakras (the root and the pelvis) and discovered how important it is to balance at these grounding levels for a healthy body, mind and spirit. In other words, we have found that we must learn to live in the mud – receiving and emitting prana at the deepest level – in order for our lotus flower to thrive.

So, are you at home in the muddy water?

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The Whirling Dervishes of the Subtle Body

dubai-728130__180This week begins our focus on the Chakras – the vortexes of energy that vibrate within our subtle bodies. For those of us that live in Sedona, a vortex is commonplace.  Energy swirls around us everywhere we go!  The subtle or pranic body, however, has its own system of vortexes to contend with.  As yogis, we strive to balance these internal energies by doing yoga, meditation and pranayama.

Prana flows as oxygen does, fueling our bodies with essential energy.  The esoteric pathways of prana are called nadis.  Nadis are the channels that direct the energy throughout the body. There are believed to be some 70,000 nadis located throughout the subtle body. Although they are not anatomically viewed, it is understood  that the nadis join to form three prominent passageways; the ida, pingala and sushumna nadis which are visualized as running from the left, right and center of the spine.5544f8e2c3960ea00ec8214db59ab5e9

The chakras are the whirling centers that collect and direct the energies that flow through the nadis.  There are seven chakras. They begin at the base of the spine and stack up to the crown of the head.

This week, I introduced the Muladhara or Root Chakra through a few key postures.  Hopefully, by now, you are feeling nicely grounded and firmly planted. Here are some other ways to balance your Root Chakra:

  • Use the essential oil Cedarwood – apply it as directed to the soles of your feet
  • Walk barefoot – a tough one to do in the desert!
  • Try gardening
  • Focus on your exhalations
  • Move more slowly – think about how you are connected to gravity

 

 

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YOLY Challenge #14: Getting to the Root

This week we will begin a series of “Chakra Challenges”.

chakras-310119__180Chakras are wheels or rings of energy connected to specific areas of the body. Although they are usually depicted as colored circles that line up along an image of the spine, chakras are not physiologically evident. Instead, they are part of a complex known as the subtle body. Along with the nadis (which we will revisit later in the week), chakras are pathways for the pranic energy that is carried within the body.

Specific yoga postures, sounds, colors, smells and emotions are attributed to each chakra.  Our challenges will focus on the postures and how they can regulate the chakras.

As we explore, it will be our intention to balance the energy at a specific chakra level. Certain chakras can be tight or closed off, restricting the flow of prana. On the contrary, some chakras may be too open, emitting too much energy.

We begin with the first chakra, the Muladhara Chakra or Root Chakra.thailand-1340898__180

Associated with the earth, this chakra is what grounds us.  If you are feeling insecure, unsure or fearful, you need to root.  This condition happens to all of us at one time or another.  Transitions, major changes or traveling have the potential to uproot us.

Here are seven postures for getting to your root.  Do one pose daily this week:

  1. Supported Savasana (Corpse)
  2. Virasana (Hero)
  3. Balasana (Child’s)
  4. Malasana (Squat)
  5. Utkatasana (Chair)
  6. Tadasana (Mountain)
  7. Uttanasana (Full Forward Bend)

“You are not separate from the earth, you are of the earth. As you go about your day, let the natural expression of the earth rise up through your body.  And then, from that groundedness, extend.” -Rodney Yee

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