Chakras

The Holy Grail of Chakras

Crown chakra image

The Crown Chakra is the Holy Grail of Chakras—it’s the pinnacle—the highest level of your subtle energetic Chakra body

The seventh chakra is the connection between you, the world and whatever God you believe in.  And to be honest with you, it is not that attainable for most of us “everyday folk”.  But does that mean you should not try — no way. Enhancing your crown chakra in any shape or form will enhance your life. Raising your level of consciousness will ease “physical and emotional pain and release endorphins which create happy and blissful experiences for us,”  according to Ambika Wauters , who wrote The Book of Chakras. Chakras_map.svgAnd she adds, “Once we start living from and within the Crown Chakra, we start to be thankful for our lives exactly as they are.  … we accept  trials and hardships that have shaped our spirit.” In all of the readings I have done throughout my yoga training, it is the ritual of working toward higher levels of connection that enhance your live, not necessarily the goal of pure bliss or Samadhi as it is called in Sanskrit.  In fact, according to Vedic tradition, no goal can ever be guaranteed in yoga or life, so the daily practice becomes the goal.

In helping my students work the Crown or Sahasrara Chakra, which in Sanskrit means thousand petals, we spend more time in quiet reflection than in our other Chakra practices.  When I offer my students either doTERRA Rosemary  essential oil if they are having too many visions or Frankincense oil if they need assistance in accessing the higher realm, I invariably get few takers for the Rosemary and many for the Frankincense.

“Frankincense, considered a Holy oil, is used for meditative contemplation, for achieving tranquil states of mind, and for attaining spiritual liberation.  The spiritual and psychological benefits of Frankincense have long been recognized by many cultures and spiritual traditions. On a physical level, the oil of Frankincense helps with nervous system conditions. Because of the high levels of sesquiterpenes, a type of molecules that have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, Frankincense may help to oxygenate the pineal and pituitary glands, according to www.chakra-anatomy.com .Frankincense is so highly touted in treating a number of physical and emotional diseases and the medical community continues to research more and more of its health benefits.   To top it off, it smells great making it a top seller at doTERRA. Even though it is very expensive, I offer my students to try it topically to help with focus and meditation.frankincense banner

The Crown Chakra Yoga Practice

We do a variety of the hip and hamstring poses to get ready to meditate. See my  Youtube video on sitting comfortably in easy seat.

gentl neck stretch 300 by 225Andrea doing twist 300Tree pose 300dpi

Gentle neck stretches, side to side stretches and twists are done to make sure all blockages leading from the base of the spine to the crown of your head are cleared.  Tree pose is our balance pose to ensure our focus and connection with all living things.

An appropriate relaxation activity for activating the crown chakra is Yoga Nidra.  When I did thisyoga nidra image practice with my students recently, I had several students report some fascinating results.  One student reported being able to visualize the blue pointed star at all 61 points that I mentioned.  Another visualized a colorful Chinese dragon dancing.

I introduce my students to a variety of other ways to quiet their mind and feel connected to their higher self.  Visualizing the color purple,  chanting the OM sound or using either crystal bowls or a 108 bead mala to assist in meditating.  Each of us respond differently to the various approaches of this practice, so I give the students a sampling and encourage them to practice at home.  To find out more about my Chakra balancing series, please fill in this contact form.

 

 

I wish you health and joy in  your day.  Namaste,  Andrea

Happehatchee Yoga Classes Estero Tennis Golf Yoga ClassesPrivate Yoga Classes Lee County

Heaven Lane Yoga

Heaven Lane Creations – Designing custom yoga classes to meet your physical, emotional and health needs. Designing individualized doTERRA oil routines for your health.  Designing custom made jewelry to fit your style.

 

Do you Trust your Intuition?

Third Eye Chakra banner

Balancing the Third Eye Chakra

I am going to share something very personal with you because I think it will help illustrate why working the third eye or Brow Chakra is so important.  When I was younger, I used to think every ailment that I got was going to be my last.  I ran from doctor to doctor seeking answers to every little strange ache and pain that cropped up in my life.  I also was afraid of everything– thunderstorms and earthquakes to name two of the big ones.  For me, it was a lack of knowledge, discernment and life wisdom that kept me imbalanced.  I had plenty of creativity and imagination (lol). I had a lot of work to do to develop faith in my inner wisdom.  Often work on the 6th Chakra comes with age, but some people are born wise or life hits them hard early in life, so they are faced with many big issues that can lead to development of this intuitive sense. According to www.multidimension.com, the brow chakra and the crown chakra are interconnected with two parts of the brain. “The pituitary gland is called the ‘seat of the mind’ with the frontal lobe regulating emotional thoughts such as poetry and music, and the anterior lobe regulating concrete thought and intellectual concepts. On the other hand, the pineal gland is known as the ‘seat of illumination, intuition and cosmic consciousness’. The pineal gland is to the pituitary gland what intuition is to reason.” If this Chakra is out of balance, physically you might be experiencing head aches, eye aches or be unable to sleep or have nightmares.

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The following is an excerpt from the class I teach on the third eye chakra. I encourage my students to try one of several doTERRA essential oil blends– clary sage to reduce anxiety and brain fog or Frankincense to increase higher mental powers. Start in child’s pose –making sure to have your fists or a block touching the brow between your eyes. From there move into a downward dog, placing a block so that your forehead is touching something. Use blocks during the forward fold before coming up to standing. Do several  sun salutations– the first couple with your eyes open and then close your eyes to rely on your intuition to guide you through the sequence. During the balance work, we call upon the eagle again.  The eagle, as well as other birds of prey, have amazing vision.  They soar above everything and can see the tapestry of our lives.  Tapestry 600 dpiWithout this eagle eye, our lives look like the underside of a tapestry– a mesh of threads going every which way. We work through several other poses from a seated position– all with our head touching a block.  The simple act of touching a body part you are attempting to activate draws both your attention and energy there. Then meditate on the third eye by looking at a candle or closing the eyes completely and visualize a 5-pointed star with each point representing aspects of our higher brain functions.  I had one of my students report back to me that after we worked the third eye chakra, she had a dream that her mother was in the room with her giving her a hug.  She said it was not spooky, rather very comforting. Andrea in child's pose third eye routine

DD with head on somethingAndrea ff on block 225 by 344Eagle pose 344Andrea doing flying eagle 500 dpi  ladies doing third eyeFire staring

The fire staring practice is done first by softening your focus and staring at the flame as long as you can without blinking.  Follow that with gently closing your eyes and noticing any visions or images that crop up.  Try to allow thoughts and images to pass by as if they are clouds in the sky. If you are an auditory learner, hum the following seed sound— Aum, Aum, Aum. I invite my students to select a throat chakra affirmation to become their mantra as they leave the class.  Maybe one of them will speak to you.

third eye chakra saying

I wish you health and joy in  your day.  Namaste,  Andrea

Happehatchee Yoga Classes Estero Tennis Golf Yoga ClassesPrivate Yoga Classes Lee County

Heaven Lane Yoga

Heaven Lane Creations – Designing custom yoga classes to meet your physical, emotional and health needs. Designing individualized doTERRA oil routines for your health.  Designing custom made jewelry to fit your style.

 

Is it Kind, Is it True, Is It Necessary?

Throat chakracover photoWhen exploring your 5th chakra, you walk a fine line between speaking honestly from your heart and not hurting others.

If you have spent a good part of your life holding your tongue or feeling that lump in your throat because you are unable to speak up, you might be experiencing an imbalance in your throat chakra.  On the other hand, if you are like many people and you gossip or tell fibs, you could also be experiencing an imbalance in your throat chakra. Imbalances in this Vishuddhi chakra , which means purity in Sanscript, can affect how you communicate with the world. It is, as www.crystalvault.com explains, “the voice of the body. … the pressure valve that allows the energy from the other chakras to be expressed.” When it is in balance you can express “Your truth” and align your words with your “Purpose”.

From a purely physical stand point, imbalances in the 5th chakra, the throat, can manifest itself in the following disorders– sore throats, ear and tooth aches, coughs and colds, stiff necks and headaches. For many years, this was the chakra most out of balance for me.  When I did a lot of soul searching and work, I realithroat-chakra-essential-oilzed there were a number of factors–first, I was a school teacher and I often felt like my students and my own children were not listening and secondly, I often felt misunderstood by my friends and colleagues because I was so blunt.  This chakra which is about “purity, honesty and clarity and knowing what matters to you,” according to consciouslifenews.com, is a filtering system for what is going on in your lower chakras.  (see earlier post). In working with my own throat chakra issues and helping my students balance theirs, I offer two different essential oil blends — lavender blended with coconut oil, if they feel anxious about speaking their truth and an eucalyptus blend if they feel like they need to do less gossiping or be mindful of  hurtful language.

We explore the throat chakra through a variety of poses.

Andrea touching throat

You can either begin in a seated pose with your hips elevated to stretch out your neck (see mini YouTube Lesson) or you can do a standing neck release series (see YouTube Mini Lesson on Bikram Style Neck Release). If you have low back issues, I recommend starting in standing rather than sitting.  We will explore several types of shoulder releases — including cow face arms and eagle arms.  Be sure to do both sides. Many of the poses in this series will look familiar however, the focus will be on the neck and upper back. Then work to the floor.  (see YourTube Video Mini Lesson) In preparation for extended hand to toe pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana), we will warm this pose up on the floor using a strap.  Stretch your left leg on the floor and flex the foot as if you are standing on that foot. Using a strap in your right hand and around your right ball of your foot, raise the leg to the sky and straighten it.  You may draw that foot off to the right side, but be sure, to maintain your left hip firmly planted on the ground.  In other words, don’t go too far off to the right.  Come back to the center and leave your leg up while letting go of your strap. Lower the leg and rest.  Repeat the entire sequence to the other side. Gently roll over and work your way safely up to standing (See Video on Yoga Foward Folds done Safely).   Practice two to three rounds of a sun salutation using the chin, chest, belly pose to transition from plank to cobra. Then working your way back to down dog and safely to standing. (See video for the throat chakra sunsalutations.) We are now ready to do the extended hand to big toe series .  I modify these poses because of my own body limitations. This series is also an excellent way to strengthen your arms and work on your balance.  We will repeat three times– each time making it a bit more challenging.  At any time feel free to do the earlier version of the pose.  Stand straight and tall and put your weight on your left foot, lifting your right knee and holding it with your right hand.  After a few breaths, bring your knee out to the right side however, do not go behind your normal range of motion.  Bring it back to the center and hold the knee up without your hand.  Change sides and repeat.  Second round… using the strap around the ball of your foot bring your right leg up extLions breathending in front.  Hold the strap just in your right hand. Keep your spine long.  Bring that leg out to the right side and back and then release the strap and hold your leg in place for at least two breaths. Repeat to the other side.  The full version of extended hand to big foot is not in my range, but it looks like the image in picture .  If you are doing full extended hand to big toe pose make sure to keep your spine long and do both sides. (click here for a quick video of this routine)

Our remaining poses will be done on the floor on our back.  We will do either plow or modified shoulder stand. Follow that up with fish pose.  Once again, I modify the pose.  Bridge pose with your head tilted back making a second bridge under your head and finally legs up in the air or against a wall. (see YouTube Video) Before going into Shavassana, I introduce my students to two interesting ways of working the throat Chakra.  From a seated position, we practice lion’s breath, which looks exactly as it sounds.  You take a deep inhale in and then when you exhale you roar like a lion releasing your neck and sticking out your tongue. Finally as we prepare for our meditation, we will practice the Jalandara Bandha, the throat lock, in which you inhale deeply and then hold your breath focusing on sealing off your throat  Release your breath and inhale and exhale normally.  Complete three rounds of this practice and then  breath normally as we prepare to chant Hum, the seed sound for the throat Chakra and visualize the color blue.  Affirmations for the throat chakra can include

Throat Chakra Affirmations

I am open, clear, and honest in my communication.
I have a right to speak my truth.
I communicate my feelings with ease.
I express myself creatively through speech, writing, or art.
I have a strong will that lets me resolve my challenges.
I nourish my spirit through creativity.
I live an authentic life.
I have integrity.
I love to share my experiences and wisdom.
I know when it is time to listen.
I express my gratitude towards life.
I listen to my body and my feelings to know what my truth is.
I take good care of my physical body.
I am at peace.

I wish you health and joy in  your day.  Namaste,  Andrea

Happehatchee Yoga Classes Estero Tennis Golf Yoga ClassesPrivate Yoga Classes Lee County

Heaven Lane Yoga

Heaven Lane Creations – Designing custom yoga classes to meet your physical, emotional and health needs. Designing individualized doTERRA oil routines for your health.  Designing custom made jewelry to fit your style.

How Yoga Helps the Heart

It goes beyond the Cardiovascular System

Heart chakra banner

When I tell my yoga students we are going to focus on the Heart Chakra (Anahata in Sanscript), there is usually a sigh of relief.  We have worked our way through the physical Chakras of root, sacrum and core. The Heart Chakra, fourth of the 7 energy wheels in our subtle body, lies in the space to the right of the heart along the spine.  This area of our spine is one of the strongest of our skeletal system for good reason.  It is protecting a very important physical organ—the heart.Chakras

We consider both the physical and emotional aspects of the Anahata chakra. Our heart can be very vulnerable depending on our life experiences. What may result is a heart chakra imbalance – respiratory issues, heart issues, depression, fatigue, to name a few of the possible symptoms. When you are unhappy, your thymus, which controls your hormones slows down, which can result in a general lack of thriving.  Emotionally an imbalance in this area can either lead to shutting down or just pretending to be happy.

“The fear of giving and receiving love blocks health, joy and goodness from coming into our lives,” according to Ambika Wauters, the author of The Book of Chakras who adds, “The heart’s unique intelligence is to remember love,  It never forget acts of kindness, friendship or love. “

In order to access love, one must be willing to be vulnerable.  At the beginning of class, I offer my students doTERRA geranium essential oil if they need to open up more or melalueca if they need to protect their heart more.  Both sides of this coin leave one feeling vulnerable.  It’s the paradox of the heart chakra, according to  http://nyapatrinos.blogspot.com/2015/08/chakra-series-yin-yoga-heart-chakra.htmlAndrea meditating “through humility, we find our power; through discipline, we find liberation; by cleansing the physical body, we become more mentally clear and attuned.”

We begin our practice in a seated pose to try and still the mind and tap into the heart; easier said, than done.  It takes practice to distinguish what your heart is telling you versus what your mind is chattering at you. One clue is if thought starts with love then it is coming from your heart. According to Yoga Journal’s Stephanie Snyder in a 2015 article, “Over time you will be able to observe both. This inner listening cultivates a discrimination. Discrimination supports skillful choices, which lead you toward your heart’s calling, your purpose. The result is bringing compassion and love into all you do.”

I invite my students to set an intention for the practice, which is often very personal.

It might include forgiving someone who has hurt you, or opening yourself up to love again after a bad relationship.  It could be working on loving yourself or trusting other people, or being less critical of people. Be sure to listen closely to your heart to ensure your intention rings true for you.

We do the following practice.  Feel free to attend one of my classes on balancing the Chakras or try the routine at home. 

In a seated position we begin by loosening our neck and shoulders.  Be sure to sit on a blanket or bolster to protect your spine.  Sitting on a bolster helps lean your pelvic bones toward the front which keeps your back from rounding.  Half way through this neck and shoulder routine, change the cross of your legs to keep them from falling asleep. (2) Preparatory arm stretches will also include cow face arms and eagle arms (shown). Roll over to hands and knees.  A modified cat/cow with a child’s pose focus on shining your heart each time you stretch up and forward helps get problems “off your chest” (3)

Andrea stretching neck 225 tallAndrea doing eagle arms 225 highCat Cow 225 high

 

Rest in Child’s pose.  Then move into Puppy pose also known as Melting the heart.  (4) Draw your shoulders back toward each other, but be careful not to dump your belly. Move into thread the needle or revolved child’s pose. (5) This is an intense stretch for your shoulder.  Metaphorically speaking, your shoulders are the branches from your heart, which if strong can lead to generosity and compassion. Repeat on both sides.

Andrea melting heart poseAndrea threading the needle

Move into downward facing dog (6)—focusing on your shoulders drawing toward your back.  You might need to bend the knees a great deal to feel this in the upper back.  High lunges, Low lunges or Warrior 1 on both sides will be modified to reflect the opening of the shoulders. (7)  Do both sides. Our balancing series will include both Eagle Pose (8) and Dancers pose (9).  Both work the upper body.  Dancer pose opens up the heart while Eagle pose protects the heart. Do both sides.

3 DowndogAndrea doing warrior 1 with open heartAndrea doing eagle 225 tallAndrea doing dancers pose 225 high

 

Add two full sun salutations, focusing each move on a gratitude practice.  For instance when reaching to the sky, express thanks to the sun, the forward fold, thanks to the earth, half way up, thanks to your parents, all the way down, thanks to your children or friends, going through plank, thanks to yourself including your body. Upward dog, thanks to your mind, and coming back up, thanks to the higher being that you believe in. You can even chant these as you go through the sequence. This practice came from Seane Corne. Make sure to open your heart during your back bends.

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Perhaps the most vulnerable heart chakra pose is Camel Ustrasana (10)

The following description of this pose comes from Yoga Journal. “Camel is an upper-spine backbend that comes from narrowing in the belly and widening your hands to your hips and drive the legs and pelvis down as you lift the low belly, ribs, and chest upward.  Finally drop your head back gently as long as it doesn’t cause neck pain. Spend about 3 breaths here and repeat this pose three times. When you finish, sit on your heels, close your eyes, and enjoy the rush of being alive in an open-hearted body.”

Modified Fish Pose is offered as part of this series.  I do not do a full fish pose.   Fish Pose (Matsyasana) 11 is known as the destroyer of all diseases.  It stimulates your thyroid and para thyroid as it strengths the muscles of the upper back and back of neck and stretches your front body muscles.

Andrea doing camel 225 wideIMG_0003

We end the practice in a restorative version  of  Reclined Bound Angel Pose.  Supta Badda Konasana (12) Lie on on your back placing either two blocks or place a bolsters length wise and incline it with a block or two.  Lay back with your spine directly over the bolster. If you are using blocks make sure one block is right across your shoulder blades (for ladies, no lower than the bra line).  Once comfortable open your heart and allow your shoulders to sink towards the floor. Then place your feet together and let you knees fall out to the side.  Roll a blanket into a rope and wrap around your ankles or place blocks under your knees to support you. Visualize the color green, which protects your heart or pink to represent your heart as you relax in this pose. The heart seed mantra is YAM.  Breathe in unconditional love for yourself and others.  Exhale and release old hurts, regrets, anger and grief.

ANdrea doing fish pose 225 highAndrea meditating with hands at heart 225

I wish you health and joy in  your day.  Namaste,  Andrea

Happehatchee Yoga Classes Estero Tennis Golf Yoga ClassesPrivate Yoga Classes Lee County

Heaven Lane Yoga

Heaven Lane Creations – Designing custom yoga classes to meet your physical, emotional and health needs. Designing individualized doTERRA oil routines for your health.  Designing custom made jewelry to fit your style.

 

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