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Visualize a root system descending from your seat and down into the earth. Run the energy down into the earth for several minutes and then start to pull it back up. As you pull it back and into the body through the seat and back toward the heart. Visualize each of the chakras, 1st, 2nd and 3rd and the energy running up from the earth back into those chakras. See them filled with light as the energy from the earth rises back up. See the energy then filling the heart and circulating around the heart center.
Then start to pull energy up the sushumna nadi from the heart to the crown. Visualize the 5th, 6th and 7th chakras as the energy rises and then see the energy leave the crown and travel up into the sky, connect with a celestial body of your choice (sun, moon, stars, planets). Connect the cord into that body and breathe into it for several minutes.
Then pull the energy down from the sky, through the crown and into the body. Visualize each of the chakras lighting up as the energy travels down the spine. See the 7th, 6th and 5th chakras. Pull the energy back into the heart. Sit for several minutes circulating the energy around the heart center and then play with circulating it out to the crown and the seat and then pulling it back into the heart.
If you follow astrology, you have heard about the upcoming peak of the Cardinal Grand Cross on April 23rd. There is much speculation as to what this big planetary line-up will mean and the impacts that will be felt internally as well as externally. I am a firm believer that astrology should never be used in a way to incite fear, but I also believe in the powerful shifts these planetary bodies can bring about and having an awareness of what’s going on can be of huge benefit as these energies ebb and flow. If you would like to know more about the Cardinal Grand Cross from some very thoughtful astrologers, you can read below for more:
Having looked through all that is being speculated and predicted with this Cross, what seems to be up for most right now is that this is a time of change. We have a powerful opportunity create transformation in our lives. As we face down huge shifts in our lives it can be easy to look outward and see all the things that need to changed or tidied up before this can happen, but the most profound work we can do right now is inside. The more we can activate our own energy centers and allow energy to flow freely and smoothly, the easier it may potentially be to harness this strong flow of energy and utilize it to help shape our lives. Below is a meditation to use to begin to activate the energy flow in the body:
I recommend doing this meditation seated. You can spend as little as 5 minutes or as much as 20 minutes with the visualization.
Begin by closing your eyes and finding your breath. Spend some time connecting with the inflow and outflow of the breath and feel it moving through your body. If possible imagine breathing all the way down to the tips of your toes. As you settle into the flow of the breath, begin by imagining a cord of golden light extending along your central axis. Extend it down below your seat into the earth and up through your crown toward the sky. You can spend as much time as you like with this visualization, but ensure you see the line running strong and clear before moving forward (in fact your first few times it might simply be to visualize this cord of energy).
Once you have maintained this cord in your mind’s eye, bring your awareness to the front of the chest, see two golden balls of light resting at the front of the chest right where the collarbone connects to the shoulder. Again, spend time until you feel you can sustain this visualization, once you have it, so two more balls of golden light resting at your hip points. Spend time seeing these two orbs. Finally send a cord of light from the shoulder to the hip. And again work with this till the visualization becomes strong.
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:
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.
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.
I talked in my last blog post about new year’s intention setting, and the powerful opportunity we have to make change in our life. The energy of the new year was coupled with the power and potency of two vibrant new moons in the month of January that have given us the opportunity embrace all the change coming our way. When I set the intention for change in my life, I have found that everything in my life that is not in resonance with the shift I am wanting to make, rises up to be processed and dealt with. For example, I have set intentions in the past around expressing more self-love. It seems, almost immediately, I find myself facing my harshest critical voice and the ways in which I judge myself. At first, this feels counter to the intention I’ve just set. However, when I can start to unpack my oldest wounds and my deepest fears I find I have the opportunity to do my most profound work.
Our first new moon if the year fell very appropriately on New Year’s Day. New Moons have long been heralded as the beginning of a cycle and so I find it very appropriate that we begin this new year with that extra push of new beginnings. This moon is also a “super moon” which means that the moon itself occurs at our near its closest approach to the earth. This super moon energy adds an extra powerful punch to the intentions and seeds we plant at the start of the year.
The moon is in the sign of Capricorn which is an earth sign. Beginning our year with the energy of earth is like an offering from the universe of fertile soil in which to plant the seeds of your intentions. Use this time at the start of the year to examine your beliefs (especially those beliefs that you find are self-limiting) and begin to sow the seeds of intention for the new year.
Fueled by the drive of Capricorn, this is an ideal time to start cleaning house on mental, emotions and energetic level. What in your life is currently serving you? What are you ready to let go of. Use the clear-headedness of Capricorn to make decisions that truly suit your best interest.
Keep in mind that Venus is still in retrograde (she went retrograde 12/21 and will remain so until 1/31). This descent of the feminine into the underworld is asking you unpack your feelings around femininity, sexuality and how it plays a role in your power as a woman. What strong intentions might you set to embrace this energy in the new year?
Here is a practice to connect you with this new moon energy:
Take your journal and find a quiet place that you will be undisturbed and read the following from Clarissa Pinkola Estes book “Women Who Run With Wolves”:
“There is probably no better or more reliable measure of whether a woman has spent time in ugly duckling status at some point or all throughout her life than her inability to digest a sincere compliment. Although it could be a matter of modesty, or could be attributed to shyness- although too many serious wounds are carelessly written off as “nothing but shyness”- more often a compliment is stuttered around about because it sets up an automatic and unpleasant dialogue in the woman’s mind.
If you say how lovely she is, or how beautiful her art is, or compliment anything else her soul took part in, inspired, or suffused, something in her mind says she is undeserving and you, the complimentor, are an idiot for thinking such a thing to begin with. Rather than understand that the beauty of her soul shines through when she is being herself, the woman changes the subject and effectively snatches nourishment away from the soul-self, which thrives on being acknowledged.
I must admit, I sometimes find it useful in my practice to delineate the various typologies of personality as cats and hens and ducks and swans and so forth. If warranted, I might ask my client to assume for a moment that she is a swan who does not realize it. Assume also for a moment that she has been brought up by or is currently surrounded by ducks.
There is nothing wrong with ducks, I assure them, or with swans. But ducks are ducks and swans are swans. Sometimes to make the point I have to move to other animal metaphors. I like to use mice. What if you were raised by the mice people? But what if you’re, say, a swan. Swans and mice hate each other’s food for the most part. They each think the other smells funny. They are not interested in spending time together, and if they did, one would be constantly harassing the other.
But what if you, being a swan, had to pretend you were a mouse? What if you had to pretend to be gray and furry and tiny? What you had no long snaky tail to carry in the air on tail-carrying day? What if wherever you went you tried to walk like a mouse, but you waddled instead? What if you tried to talk like a mouse, but instead out came a honk every time? Wouldn’t you be the most miserable creature in the world?
The answer is an unequivocal yes. So why, if this is all so and too true, do women keep trying to bend and fold themselves into shapes that are not theirs? I must say, from years of clinical observation of this problem, that most of the time it is not because of deep-seated masochism or a malignant dedication to self-destruction or anything of that nature. More often it is because the woman simply doesn’t know any better. She is unmothered.”
Now take out your journal and begin by writing a stream of consciousness reflection on Dr. Pinkola’s passage above. Write whatever comes to you with no thought for punctuation, spelling or grammar. Write as long as you need to and when you finish, pause and ask “Is there more?”. Write anything else that arises.
Now turn to a new page, a the top of the page write the following sentence “In the year 2014, I let go of the following limiting beliefs about myself and my worth…”