"The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust
As we traveled through the lower chakras, we explored the elements associated with each. The first chakra is associated with earth, the second water, third with fire and the fourth with air. The throat chakra is often spoken of as being associated with the element of ether, which has a very light and etheric quality, but moving out of the throat, we leave all traditional element behind (a note here, that sometimes the throat is considered to embody the element of sound). The sixth chakra, is sometimes spoken of as embracing the element of light. While light is not an element in it the most traditional sense, it certainly has elemental qualities and given the 6th chakra association with sight, light makes perfect sense in this context.
As a society we tend to have unbalanced throat chakras. Advances in technology and social media have lead to an over-abundance of "communication" but communication that is inauthentic and doesn't provide true connection. You can see this physically manifested in the over-stretching common in so many people who spend their days at the computer. The neck is long in the back and constricted in the front, the cervical curve is lost. Energetically this speaks to a blockage in the front of the chakra (the giving side of the chakra) and a weakness in the back of the chakra (the receiving side of the chakra). We can all benefit from a little throat chakra work!
The heart chakra holds a unique place in the chakra system as it governs as a bridge between the lower/physical chakras and the upper/spiritual chakras. It is the melding of the gross and the subtle here with love that we find the true union of the physical world and the spiritual world.
If, as we've discussed in previous posts, we have built walls, blocks and other protection around the heart, running this energy becomes increasingly difficult. Lower chakras can atrophy without the touch of the divine, and upper chakras have trouble staying grounded without the the touch of physical reality. We need both kinds of energy and the heart is the bridge. Use the following practices to fortify the bridge of the heart and bring your energy into alignment in the chakras
"Just as we open and heal the body by sensing its rhythms and touching it with a deep and kind attention, so we can open and heal other dimensions of our being. The heart and the feelings go through a similar process of healing through the offering of our attention to their rhythms, nature and needs. Most often, opening the heart begins by opening to a lifetime's accumulation of unacknowledged sorrow, both our personal sorrows and the universal sorrows of warfare, hunger, old age, illness and death. At time we may experience this sorrow physically as contractions and barriers around our heart, but more often we feel the depth of our wounds, our abandonment, our pain as unshed tears. The Buddhists describe this as an ocean of human tears larger than the four great oceans. As we take the one seat and develop a meditative attention, the heart presents itself naturally for healing." -Jack Kornfield, A Path With Heart
Direct access tp the heart center can be intimidating and scary. After heartbreak and loss in our lives we build protective barriers and shields energetically (and sometimes even physically through tight muscles in the chest) and blowing right through these can actually create more protective layers rather then letting them gently fall away. This week, we again explore a "side door" to the heart through the 4th chakra's element of air. The quality of air is lightness, movement and openness. As we explore air in the body we look for these elements and move stagnancy and heaviness out of the body through the breath. Below are some practices for accessing air and the 4th chakra in your own body.
Working with the heart is scary business for most. We've all been hurt at some point in our lives and as a result we want to protect ourselves. I see many clients for intuitive work who have shields, walls and other sorts of energetic protection around their hearts. This is natural, we've been hurt before and we want to keep from getting hurt again. Yet when we create barriers like this it also makes it harder for us to receive love and we create this feedback loop of protection and inability to open to love which often leaves us feeling more and more unloved.
The focus of this blog is digestion: how we digest things we take in on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. Its just not about how we digest the food we eat, but how we take in experiences in our life and integrate them into ourselves. And when we talk about digestion, of equal importance is elimination. When I was sitting with this idea of elimination I came across a passage in Lama Surya Das' book Awakening the Buddha Within that spoke about renunciation. This was a piece in the yogic practice I always had some trouble wrapping my head around on a certain level, but he explained it this way:
“Trungpa Rinpoche said "Usually we think of renunciation as celibacy, poverty, obedience, shaving your head, going off somewhere and leaving everything behind." He then gave a wider tantric interpretation of renunciation: "Renunciation means to let go of holding back."...Renunciation refers to opening the tight fist of grasping and relinquishing our weighty burden of accumulated excess baggage. The heart of renunciation implies allowing rather than controlling. It requires letting go of that which is negative and harmful while opening up to sanity and wholeness.”
As I mentioned in the previous post, the 2nd chakra is ruled by the water element. Given its rule of the tides and the movement of water, the moon is deeply connected with the 2nd chakra. These practices are excellent for accessing the 2nd chakra and can also be utilized during the moon cycles each month.
In Ayurveda, the 2nd chakra is ruled by the element of water. Which, even on a physiological level, makes sense to me. The second chakra is located in the low back/sacral region and in the low belly, below the belly button. It rules the sexual organs and the emotions. All things, very connected with flow and movement in life.
I love working with the second chakra and deeply connect to the energy of water, yet, for me it is place where I have long had holding and I feel this speaks to my tendency (and our tendency as a culture) to shut down emotion. We lock emotion up and it stays held in our bodies, taking the form of tight hips, low back issues and injury and blockages in sexual energy and our ability to release emotionally, muscularly or structurally. Connecting with water helps us find the flow once again, to find movement out of stagnancy and helps us to bring greater health and wellness to our 2nd chakra.
Here are some practices to connect you with breath, the water element and to bring you into the flow:
"When we live in exile from our sensate reality of the body, we live in exile from the source of our aliveness. The only place that we can reconnect with this aliveness is in the body. Of course we all have bodies, yet few of us truly inhabit our bodies. We may live a short distance from the body divorced from our feelings, sensations, intuitions, and instincts. The body may seem like a foreign land that we have read about but never personally visited. And just as we may come to know a foreign land through the stories we've heard and the pictures we've seen, the actual reality of the place can never be known until we have walked, eaten smelled, touched, and been there ourselves. When we begin to live in the body again, we take of citizenship in our personal residence. In this way we come home to the body." -Donna Farhi
Yoga teacher, sound healer and explorer of the inner landscape. Join me!