SEASONAL SELF-CARE BLOG
LET THE EARTH LIVE
Posted on October 2nd, 2016
“Let the Earth live”, this is what I heard. The voice came quickly, clearly, without drama or excess. I was sitting in front of my yoga class one Thursday at noon, inviting my students and myself to listen inside and let an intention arise from the wisdom of the heart. I suggested not to let the mind tell you what to do, but to take the time, sit patiently, focus on the heart center and ask the great guidance from the wisdom of the heart to speak. I did the same and like a bolt of clarity from the very heart of Earth itself the words “Let the Earth Live” sprung forward leaving all the tendrils of my mind’s agenda dangling in the wind. I was actually a little stunned. Often when I really take the time to listen to the heart, words like “kindness”, “patience”, “deep love”, “listen”, “soften” come forward. That morning my mind had not been spinning on the impending disaster of climate change. My worries were far more personal and petty in nature. So when the words “Let the Earth Live” came forward with such a quiet force and with such clarity, I really listened and I’m still listening. And I’m trying to do what I can to follow this request. The class that followed was I’d say the best class I have taught in a long time. Though I had come in with a completely different plan, I shifted it to focus on connecting to the Earth. I mean, when the Earth speaks you have to listen! Right? So we slowed waaaay down, so that we could feel, so we could touch, so we could listen, so we could connect to the Earth. At first I could see the minds chomping at the bit, wanting to move the bodies into distraction, to fly through the air with a sweaty, windy, gymnastic adventure. But I knew from Ayurveda that would only create more air element and disconnection and that we desperately needed to find earth. We needed to slow down, to touch ground, to make contact, to feel our connection with our bodies so we could nourish the earth element in our bodies and connect with the presence of Earth itself. So I Invited our minds to ground their fragmented, distracted, disconnected wires of inattention, and connect through the temple of our bodies through simplicity through slowing down and connecting to the stability, the groundedness, the ever generous abundance and loving embrace of the Earth. We touched the Earth with presence of awareness awakening our own roots of our toes, our feet, our legs, and pelvis and strengthen muladhara chakra our root chakra. And it worked. People were glowing at the end and full of gratitude in our bow to the Earth.
The request “Let the Earth Live” continues and deepens daily. I have been strongly feeling that in order to survive, we need to awakening the wisdom of our voices as women. We must dust off, pry open, and reverse the conditioning of silencing the intelligence that is uniquely feminine. I am trying in my own path as a yoga teacher and artist to share the women’s Lunar Yoga practices through my teacher trainings, workshops, and gatherings. The Full Moon Elixirs that I’ve been offering have been very empowering. These circles of women gathering together to honor the lunar cycle feel like magical, mystical experiences, tapping into ancient roots of women’s circles over the centuries. As I offer more ways to gather, I am nourished by discovering other allies. Just yesterday after teaching a Lunar Yoga workshop in Boston, I stumbled through my e-mail into Tree Sisters, an amazing organization of women taking direct action to gather together and help re-forest the Tropics in 10 years. “Feminine consciousness is the vital ingredient in humanity’s evolution into a protector species on behalf of all life. This month we are calling forth women as a force of nature, on behalf of nature by inviting 2500 women to become tree sisters, collectively planting 1 Million Trees per year.”
Powerful action is needed, sisters. It’s time to wake up and plant some trees! The Earth is calling us. I encourage you to listen, follow the call, and do what you can to “Let the Earth Live”.
I invite you to join me on one of my upcoming retreats and embrace the journey to renew, rejoice, reconnect with yourself and the beauty of the natural world.
Sacred Roots Retreat: Catskills, Oct 14-16
Flourish this Fall with practices connecting you with your rooted, grounded, most vibrant self! Relax in nourishing yoga and Ayurveda remedies which ground vata dosha, the air element, and restore focus and balance to your being.
Nicaragua Yoga & Surf Retreat, Feb 18-25, 2017
Embraced by our beautiful yoga sanctuary at Costa Dulce, nourish your being with a week of yoga, meditation, and thai massage practices to awaken seeing and listening from the heart. Invite the spirit of wisdom, open hearted connection, and the abundance of nature into your life.
Fifth chakra – Visuddha – throat chakra
Posted on February 1st, 2016
Speak your truth and let your creativity flow freely! Enjoy these practices to open Visuddha Chakra, your throat chakra. Join us on instagram @yoga_sukhavati for our #chakraSeries#Thurs and get some tips for opening your chakras every Thursday!
With our fifth chakra, we shift from the physical plane of the lower chakras to the more subtle spiritual realms of upper three chakras. Located in the throat, Visuddha chakra, meaning purification, is associated with the elements ether and controls the principle of sound. It governs speech, communication, and creativity through the vibrational resonance of our voice. Our self-expression is the pathway for our interior world to make itself known in the outside world. The throat is also the internal portal between our mind and body. When our fifth chakra is blocked our creative expression and voice are impaired. We may not speak up for ourselves, be shy, withdrawn,, mutter, stutter, whisper or have a tight voice. If excessive, we may monopolize conversations, speak too loudly or have a shrill voice. When our throat chakra is healthy there is an easy balance in conversation between listening and talking. The voice is resonant, clear, and authentic. We easefully express ourselves and our creativity flows.
The fifth chakra is blue with 16 petals on which are inscribed the 16 Sanskrit vowels. In the center of the lotus is Ham, the bija mantra or seed syllable for Visuddha chakra. Chanting Ham as well as the sanskrit vowels is very healing and opening for the related organs as well as emotional and mental aspects of Visuddha. Singing and mantra practice are wonderful ways to heal imbalances in Visuddha chakra.
This photo was taken on my Retreat in Norway at Tomrefjord. Every evening as we sat down for dinner, an exquisite elemental dance of light arose in the vastness of space of the fjord. We were in awe and I had the distinct feeling of being in the presence of the divine.
The throat chakra, Visuddha chakra, means “Purification”. It is the portal to our spiritual dimension. As we purify the toxins from our physical, mental, and emotional bodies through our yoga, meditation, and chanting practices, we also cleanse our subtle body. The element of the throat chakra is ether, or “Akasha”, derived from the sanskrit root “kāś” meaning “to be visible”. Translated as space, sky, atmosphere, Akasha, or ether, is the element in which visibility occurs. The first element created, akasha is the essence from which the other elements arise in the material world. Ether governs sound. Sonic vibrations create a deep cleansing of the etheric body. As such chanting, mantra practice, and singing are very potent means of purification and spiritual awakening.
MATSYASANA (Fish pose)
Do you find it difficult to express your thoughts and feelings? Are you afraid to speak your truth? Do you find that you silence yourself often, wishing you could speak up, but remain mute? Do you have creative impulses that lie dormant? If yes, your throat chakra may be blocked.
The throat chakra governs the free flow of honest communication and creative self-expression. I have found that shoulderstand (sarvangasana) and fish pose (matsyasana) are the most effective asanas to open up the throat chakra. Consistent practice of these poses will help you clear your voice and open the pathway to easeful communication and creativity. Prep for these poses with a healthy dose of shoulder openers to warm up your neck and shoulders. I always include plenty of shoulder openers in my classes, as my students will attest! This picture was taken awhile ago, when I was living in Oakland, California. I have always loved it.
SHANKH MUDRA (Shell Mudra)
Open your voice, clear the pathway to easeful and honest communication, heal throat issues, and unleash your creative self expression.
- Sit comfortably
- Wrap your left thumb with the fingers of your right hand
- Place your right thumb on the middle finger of your left hand
- Hold the mudra in front of your chest
- Chant “Om” several times
- Listen afterwards, letting the echo of the chant reverberate through your being
- Rest in silence
- Enjoy the peacefulness and sense of calm that Shankh mudra awakens inside