Chakra Imbalances

The ChakrasMuch of the work I do with clients is based around the chakras, the energy system of the body first described in ancient yogic texts. In this system, there are seven main energy centers in the body that govern different parts of the body and different energies in the body. As life circumstances arise that impact us negatively, our energetic system can also be impacted negatively. When the energetic system is out of balance, this can map to the physical body making us susceptible to injury and disease. Because many of us are unaware or just beginning to learn about our energetic system, it can be challenging to know if and when our energy is out of balance.

Here are some simple questions you can ask yourself to ascertain if a chakra may be in need of your attention. Remember, it can be easy to feel that all of these apply to you, but feel for which one or two resonate with you strongest. Whichever you find yourself answering with a resounding yes to, this will be the chakra for you to explore:

  • 1st Chakra: I have difficulty feeling stable in my life situation. I may feel that I am lacking in resources, safety or have difficulty feeling “at home” anywhere. Conversely, I may horde my resources or have very rigid boundaries.
  • 2nd Chakra: Expressing emotion is difficult for me. I feel stuck creatively and may have difficulty expressing myself sexually. Conversely, I have no boundaries with expressing my emotions and find I may overshare personal things that are up for me.
  • 3rd Chakra: I am quick to anger and may have an inflated perception of my own self worth. Digestion may be an issue for me. Conversely, I have little to no confidence in myself. I may feel week and lack direction.
  • 4th Chakra: It is difficult for me to express or receive love. I may have difficulty connecting with others. Conversely I may over give and exhaust myself helping others.
  • 5th Chakra: Communication is challenging for me, whether it is speaking my own truth or listening to what others are sharing with me.
  • 6th Chakra: I feel overloaded when I am around a lot of people and feel that I am too empathic. I may find myself constantly being pulled out reality and into daydreams. Conversely, I find it difficult to meditate or do visualization exercises.
  • 7th Chakra: I have difficulty feeling connection to others on a broader scope. I may feel as though I am not like anyone else. Conversely, I may be so connected spiritually that I am unable to engage in day-to-day activities.

Did you find a chakra that was out of balance? Scroll back through my blog for yoga practices that will help you address these imbalances and bring more balance to the system.

When Stretching ISN’T The Answer

image from fitsugar.com

image from fitsugar.com

I’ve been battling an aggravated hip injury for some time in my yoga practice. For a while, it was something that came and went and if I practiced mindfully it would go away. For the last month or so, it has been consistently present and I had started also getting irritation in my knee as well. Any time the pain would flare up, I would immediately pull out my “yoga asana tool box” and start working hip openers and other stretches…because for me, anytime something hurts my response has always been to stretch it. And I would argue that is the natural response of many of us, yoga teachers or not, to find relief from my pain through stretching.  And yet, all this stretching and nothing was getting better.

Enter my partner, and a workout called “Inferno.” I have done my fair share of intense work outs in my life having trained for a half marathon, rode over 550 miles in 7 days in the AIDS Lifecycle, and participated in various other adventurous outdoor sports including climbing, kayaking and mountain biking. I had not, however, done “Inferno.” From my understanding of cross-fit, its something similar…lots of push-ups, lots of core-work, lots of squats and lots of jumping…not to mention lots of sweat and lots of drill sergeant style encouragement.  Basically the anti-thesis to my yoga experience. I was initially wary of the impact on my hip and knee and paid very close attention as I began the workout to ensure that I wasn’t making things worse, yet to my surprise, after only a few days of practice things started feeling better. My knee pain subsided and my hip, while still not totally happy, was doing much better. I was baffled, all this pushing hard and no yoga, and I was feeling better.

The following week I was in a yoga teacher training with twelve hours of anatomy training, with nearly four hours focusing only on the hips. I was in heaven, I was looking for answers! What came up as we talked was that sometimes stretching ISN’T the answer, sometimes strengthening is. In my case, some of my glute muscles were weak and some smaller hip and quad muscles were over-working to compensate. What I needed to do, to help these over-worked muscles, was strengthen the muscles that were weak so the hard-working muscles could start to let go. This explained why so much squatting, so much jumping, would actually make me feel better, I  was strengthening those glute muscles that needed my attention. I wasn’t over-stretching these already over-worked muscles. Little had I known, but I had stumbled upon exactly what I needed to start healing. It was a powerful reminder of that age-old adage “everything in moderation”…even stretching.