Some people feel that the chakras are a “bit out there’, “new agey’ or esoteric, a part of yoga that is perhaps not for them. What the chakras provide us is this map of getting to understand ourselves better on so many levels, from our physical and physiological functions to our emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
It is not important whether you believe you have a subtle body or not. These are practical tools which can help you focus and identify places in life where you may feel inhibited and need some help to free up.
In my own experience, a 7 day chakra yoga workshop at an Indian ashram triggered a deeper understanding within me.
I was already reflecting on where I felt stuck and why I felt I wasn’t blossoming in life, there was something holding me back. I realised that I lacked a lot of self confidence in how I was living my life, about where I wanted to go and lacked the power to bring things into fruition (manipura chakra, solar plexus). That made me unable to speak my own truth, express my opinions and live an authentic life (visshuddhi chakra, throat).
I focussed on strengthening manipura chakra because without the fire within my belly, I couldn’t translate my desires and longings into reality - it was lacking power and energy behind it. My digestion was sluggish, I had a weak core and no discipline. SO I started with discipline, by beginning a daily yoga practice which included twists and corework and I looked at my diet.
I was living in the foothills of the Himalayas and the weather was very cold. I went to the local market to buy a jumper – the only one in my size was bright yellow. I had such an aversion to wearing YELLOW (my aha moment – the colour of manipura chakra). It was the colour I needed!
I started wearing this yellow jumper everyday while I was doing all these practices and soon I felt this warming strength come into my body – that helped me gain confidence to start working on the block in my throat.
I enrolled into singing and chanting classes – I went every second day and often the first ten minutes of trying to tune my voice to the harmonium resulted in constantly clearing my throat, removing all these blockages and beliefs I had around my own voice and opening up to a sound I had never heard before.
If you had told me back then that I would become a yoga teacher, I would never have believed that!!! I didn’t have the confidence to speak in front of a group and felt I couldn’t speak with any authenticity. I hated the sound of my own voice. Within a few months, I challenged myself to perform a song at an open mic night on a roof top bar! I don’t know how good I was but it was not the point – I had gained confidence to sing my heart out and share my love of music!!
And when I came back to Australia, I enrolled into a yoga teacher training program because I knew these practices were real and I had experienced the effect on me – not only on my body and mind but in my life.
I really encourage you if you are interested in making some changes within yourself, to start looking into the chakras. These are real, grounded ways to work with yourself.
Once we align our chakras, then everything else falls into place.
I am so excited about the upcoming workshop (September and October) which will introduce you to the healing powers of the chakras.
I am excited about what 2018 brings! The time spent over Christmas and New year is a wonderful time for me to reflect on the year that has been, consider any changes to be made or to redirect my energy toward that which nourishes and flows in my life. See what is stagnant and start afresh, make way for the new.
Here is the Summer newsletter which looks into the yogic practice of deep heartfelt intentions 'sankalpa'. I thought it was fitting that the first workshop of the year focusses on establishing intentions and activating the fire and energy in our body to stay motivated and disciplined. There is no point in just sowing the seed of intention if we don't get to experience the bountiful harvest.
Learning the art of efficient relaxation…exploring yoga nidra
We have very busy lives. As a result, we carry a lot of tension in our body and mind. When we do take time to relax, or even sleep, we can find it challenging - our mind not able to switch off, or aches and pains in the body distracting us. Our methods of relaxation may not even be restorative such as lazing on a lounge watching a movie, reading a book, chatting with friends. We are so overwhelmed and bombarded with constant stimulation and the nervous system disturbed by stress, that our first steps should be to drop the stress from our body and mind, and withdraw from any external distraction. Then, only then, can our nervous system recharge and our mind rest.