SEASONAL SELF-CARE BLOG
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 We may not speak up for ourselves, be shy, withdrawn,, mutter, stutter, whisper or have a tight voice.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
Affirmation: I easily express myself and my creativity flows freely!
Third Chakra – Manipura
Posted on November 17th, 2015
The third chakra, “Manipura” means “jewel city” derived from the Sanskrit, “mani” – jewel and “pura” – city. The lustrous gem center, yellow and radiant is located according to some texts in the solar plexus and others in the navel. Manipura, as the fire element, governs our digestive organs: stomach, spleen, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, and small intestines. Related to our ego identity, it gives us our sense of personal power in the world. A person with a balanced manipura chakra has good a good sense of self, is confident, intelligent, productive, focused and responsible as well as playful. They have vibrant energy and are able to take action and manifest their visions in the world with ease. Blockage in the third chakra displays as digestive disorders, low self-esteem, lack of self-discipline, poor follow through on tasks, indecisiveness, anger, hostility or a sense of victimization.
The third chakra has 10 petals on which are inscribed the Sanskrit letters, Dam, Dham, Nam, Tam, Tham, Dam, Dham, Nam, Pam, Pham. In the center of the lotus is Ram, the bija mantra or seed syllable for Manipura chakra. Chanting Ram as well as the sanskrit letters is very healing and opening for the related organs as well as emotional and mental aspects of Manipura.
The beautiful image of the Third Chakra is from “The Invisible Seven Psychic Lotuses” by YogaShakti Mission.
Fire is the element of “Manipura”, our third chakra. It is the power of transformation, luminosity, digestion, radiance, intelligence, vitality, and activity. Associated with vision, fire as light is the energy that fuels both outer sight and inner vision of comprehension and recognition. The fire element is Integral to our yoga practice in which the inner heat, activated through asana practice, burns impurities and awakens insight. The earliest term for yoga like activities is Tapas which is derived from the Sanskrit root, “Tap”, meaning “to burn” or “to glow”.
Our digestive fire is called Agni in Ayurveda. Located in the solar plexus, Agni governs metabolism as digestive enzymes and other metabolic processes that break down, digest, absorb, and assimilate our food. Strong agni is also important for nourishment of our tissues and immune system. This photo, taken at a retreat that I led in Guatemala, was for a very powerful Shamanic protection ceremony.
REVOLVED SPLIT-LEGGED HEADSTAND
Shine up your gem center with Parivrttaikapada Sirsasana!
Twists are very beneficial poses for the Third Chakra. Located in the solar plexus/navel area, Manipura chakra governs all of our digestive organs: stomach, spleen, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, small intestines, and large intestines as well as the kidneys. The spiraling action of twists, wrings out physical, emotional, and mental stagnation and sluggishness in our organs. As we unravel the twists, fresh oxygenated and nutrient rich blood rushes in and the stagnant blood is pushed out, offering a deep cleansing and detoxification process. Inverted twists, like Parivrttaikapada Sirsasana, provide an even more effective cleansing of accumulated metabolic waste and toxins from our system.
If you’re feeling insecure, unconfident, indecisive, weak & listlessness, and have digestive difficulties, you may have blockage in your third chakra. Try Practicing Rudra Mudra to awaken your solar plexus chakra, revitalize your prana, and strengthen your center.
• Touch the thumb, index and ring fingers together and extend the other fingers easefully.
• Practice 5 minutes, a few times a day.
• Affirmation: “I rest at my center and draw strength and joy from my center.”
Sacred Sounds of Sanskrit
Posted on September 8th, 2015
Through my deep explorations of my body as a yogini and dancer, I have found that actually the delicate intricacies of the subtle body are most eloquently unveiled through sound.
As my yoga practice deepened, I was drawn to study Sanskrit. I had the great fortune of attending a Sanskrit workshop with Jo Brill. I loved exploring how to create the sounds of Sanskrit and thrilled to be able to actually begin to decipher the squiggly script of devanagari in just one weekend! I felt like I was cracking the code and entering a new level in my yoga studies and awareness!
At the time I was also working on a new performance piece, “Traces”, which explored memory, origin, and roots. Since Sanskrit is the mother of all Indo-European languages, it seemed to me to be a perfect way to explore the root of language in my performance piece. I took the Sanskrit alphabet with me into the rehearsal studio and played with the sounds and how they emerged from different places in my mouth. I created a sound score which became a very powerful part of the piece and my favorite part to perform. I loved the sounds and felt intrigued by how they affected me.
As I studied deeper, I learned that there is a vibrational correspondence with each of the sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet and the chakras. There are 50 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet and in total 50 petals on the chakras. Each of the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet is said to open one of the 50 petals of the chakras. Chanting the entire Sanskrit alphabet reverberates through all the petal of the chakras and their related areas in the body! Additionally the sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet offers healing and cleansing in the body by sonic stimulation of particular areas and marma points. Marmas are energy points in the body which connect with your underlying organ systems and energetic channels.
“The subtle body of sound vibration relates to the mental body and to the subtle or astral body in general, the site of the seven chakras. It creates and sustains the physical body, supporting health and well-being within it. Through changing the frequencies of the subtle body of sound, we can bring healing into the physical body and remove negativities from the mind.” David Frawley
The powerful healing offered through sound vibration is an area of deep interest to me. I am excited to share the explorations through our Yoga Sukhavati: ART OF SOUND weekend workshops. Join us Sept 12, 13 for a Sanskrit immersion with Jo Brill, and Oct 2-4 for the Healing Power of Sound.