Music for The Chakras

This month we have been wrapping up our chakra journey through full body chakra practices. Its been so fun to take the specialized work we’ve done in each chakra over the course of the last six months and now see that unfold in a full  practice. One of the key elements to a chakra practice can be finding music that helps you connect with that element. Whether its music that resonates with the emotions and issues of that element, or in the case of the lower chakras, music that reminds us of the element itself. Below you will find some musical recommendations for each chakra to continue your journey.

1st Chakra: Root (Earth)

chakras

  • Chigumbo by Ben Leinbach & Geoffrey Gordon
  • Inion by Afro Celt Sound System
  • Kothbiro by Ayuba Ogada
  • The Rhythm is Not Mine (Instrumental) by John de Kat
  • Earth Album by Alex Theory

2nd Chakra: Sacral (Water)

  • Watermoon by Bernard Scholl
  • Orcadrift (Remix) by Adham Shaikh
  • Natural Healing by Shajan
  • The Yearning by Kamal
  • Samadhi by Shaman’s Dream Project
  • Down Temple Dubs: Waves Album by Desert Dwellers

3rd Chakra: Solar Plexus (Fire)

  • Nomad by Niraj Chag
  • Durga Shakti by Shaman’s Dream Project
  • Dreamcatcher by Bhramja & Maneesh De Moor
  • Down Temple Dubs: Flames Album by Desert Dwellers

4th Chakra: Heart (Air)

  • Geometry of Dreams by Gretchen Yanover
  • Cedar by Gretchen Yanover
  • Gobinday Mukunday by Shashara
  • Shiva’s Flute by Shaman’s Dream Project
  • Sun Will Set by Zoe Keating

5th Chakra: Throat (Sound)

  • Radiance: Prayer to the Goddess Saraswati by Jai Uttal & Ben Leinbach
  • Guru Brahma by Shaman’s Dream Project
  • Mala by Ty Burhoe
  • Invocation to Water by Cynthia Bourgeault
  • The Healing Waters by Kamal

6th Chakra: 3rd Eye (Light) 

  • Untitled by Chinmaya Dunster (from Buddha Moon)
  • Horizon of Gold by Ben Leinbach
  • Khumjun by Ben Leinbach
  • Walking into the Himalaya to Meditate by Nawang Khechog
  • The Heriophant by Ben Leinbach
  • Celestial Abode by Todd Norian

7th Chakra: Crown (Akasha)

  • Silence

Inhabiting the Body: 1st Chakra Exercises

“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

I feel like I have spent all month harping on the fact that the 1st chakra’s access point is the physical body…but really, how cool is that? We’ve got everything we need right here in front of us, all we have to do is be present. And as I sat with that this month, I began to notice how hard that can be. Some of the signs of a 1st chakra imbalance are being ungrounded in the body, living out of body or harshly criticizing or judging the body. As I began to do my own work with these lessons this month I began to notice how often I was moving outside my own body. I would find myself comparing my body to others, wishing my body somehow looked different or when I was “in” my body, pushing it further than it needed to go. It was so refreshing to have this 1st chakra reminder to come back into my body and sit with those thoughts, feelings and judgements. While I certainly can’t say that I’ve moved beyond it all, I can definitely say I have become more aware of how I inhabit my own body.

This week marked the last week of practice with the 1st chakra. I feel like I’ve just begun my exploration of what the 1st chakra has to offer, its a little daunting to move on to the next. The great opportunity here is the bridging between the chakras and as I develop a stronger more grounded first chakra, the more I support my 2nd chakra, and the rest of the way up the line. While the waters of the 2nd chakra are already calling my name, here are some final practices to ground into the first chakra:

Be Here Now

Lollipop Graphics Poster

Each and every breath you take, be present in your body. As you come into a pose, notice those places that you check out. Where do you have blind spots in your practice? Where do you go numb? Are there places that you’re not able to visualize in your mind’s eye? Notice these places. Invite your awareness into these places and in particular, invite the breath. Use the breath to create space and to explore. The more you bring the breath, the easier it will be to be present.

Now start to notice the transitions you make between poses. Its easy to be present in Warrior II (well, most of the time…). But how present are you as you move from Downward Dog to Warrior II? Are you aware of how you step through? Are you fixing your clothes? Fixing your hair? Are you watching other practitioners? Make a commitment to notice your transitions, make the movement from pose to pose be the focus of your practice for a day. It relates to the idea that its easy to be centered and grounded on your yoga mat, but when you’re in transition, driving in traffic from home to class, how grounded and centered are you then? Let it all be your practice!

 

Using Sound to Connect with Earth: The Schumann Resonance

Alex Theory created a series of CDs called Full Spectrum Soundhealing. The Earth CD in the series works with the Schumann Resonance (listen to a portion of it above). I used this CD for several of the classes, as the sounds he invokes in the Earth series, are grounding and connect us with the resonate power of the Earth. The Schumann Resonance can be thought of as the heartbeat of the Earth. When we bring ourselves into alignment with this sound,we come more into alignment with the energy of the Earth and therefore our own 1st chakras.  For more about the Schumann Resonance visit my previous blog post on the topic.

The Energy of the Heart

During many workshops I teach, we explore the power of sound and its impact on the physical and energetic body. For many students, this is their first exploration into the world of sound and energy, and many find it to be a very positive experience. In the workshops we do a practice toning through each of the chakras, activating the energy along the central channel, the sushumna.  Students were surprised at the effect on their mood, energy level and overall sense of relaxation.  It is exciting to watch people exploring, for the first time, tools that I have had the joy of working with for many years. During these practices, I often assess my own energetic state. The place I most regular feel the largest amount of shift is in the heart center. It seems, for me, that much of this work was an invitation to open the heart.

Recently, I was listening to a talk given by Tom Kenyon, a master sound healer and someone I have studied quiet extensively.  He was discussing the heart and the electromagnetic field it creates, a field that generates a frequency up to 5000% more electromagnetic energy than the brain.  He went on to describe the the double torus (donut-shaped) field that electromagnetic field of the heart creates.  The remainder of the talk went on to discuss the power of the heart in our own healing and the ability of sound to be a gateway to open up to this energy.

Shown above is a picture of the double torus of the electromagnetic field of the heart.  When I first saw this picture I was blown away, as it matches very similarly the view of the energetic system with the sushumna and the chakras in the central channel feeding the energy of the body. It was exciting to see what we study in yoga, sound and energy healing all coming into alignment with studies in science and the medical fields.

I look forward to continuing to explore the power of sound and yoga as a way to unlock the underlying energy of the physical body. Join me for some heart-expanding classes this summer!

The Schumann Resonance

8 Limbs Yoga Studios owner, Anne Phyfe Palmer, recently turned me on to a great series of podcasts from Sounds True. These podcasts feature spiritual teachers and pioneers in new thought and have become a regular addition to my walks to and from work.

I talk a lot about sound, for those who know me or have studied with me, I often speak to the importance of sound in our lives. The importance of being in resonance with everything in around you. I love the idea of the fact we’re all working to find harmony with one another.  Recently I listened to an interesting Sounds True podcast featuring sound healer, Alex Theory. In his discussion, he spoke extesnively about something called the Schumann Resonance. In its simplest sense, the Schumann Resonance is the scientifically measurable electromagnetic frequency that naturally pervades and nourishes all life on earth. He uses the example of the rhythmic way in which lightening strikes the Earth, which worldwide, can actually be measure and recorded and found in tune with the Schumann Resonance. It is as if everything on Earth is following this same drum beat, this same vibration, and that we will feel much more harmony and ease in our lives if we can bring ourselves into alignment with this beat.   No matter where we go or what we do, we cannot escape this vibration. It is, in a way, the beat of creation and life on this planet.

Holding this idea in mind, I recently can across the term spanda, a key component of Kashmir Shaivism.   When we speak of spanda, we say that ultimate Reality itself “quivers,” that is, is inherently creative rather than static. To me, the  meeting of these two ideas was so beautiful and simple. It speaks to this beautiful dance we do as human beings, why for so many of us we can find release and expression in movement rather than in stillness. And for myself, even in stillness, I find movement, rhythm, vibration.

To find out more, click here for the full interview with Alex Theory.

The Throat Chakra: Finding Your Voice

With all this talk of sound I felt it would be important to move into the throat, the 5th chakra, Vissuddha Chakra:

Color: Cobalt Blue
Seed Syllable: HAM
Element: Ether
Rules: Thyroid, jaw, neck, mouth, throat, tongue, larynx
Planet: Mercury

Because the 5th chakra is located in the throat and governs higher communication, speaking, hearing and listening, it helps us to understand our inner truth and convey it with our voice to the outside world. The sense for the 5th chakra is hearing. Chanting, singing, speaking, reading aloud are all good for the 5th chakra. The vibrations of all these things affect the body down to the cellular level.

The element for the 5th chakra is ether/space. It is connected to the cosmos, which consists of these elements. Deficient energy in the 5th chakra can cause neck and shoulder problems, jaw disorders, throat problems, an under active thyroid and a fear of speaking.

On the other hand, excessive energy in the 5th chakra can cause hearing problems, inability to listen, excessive talking and an overactive thyroid.

Here are some yogic suggestions to work with the throat chakra:

Asana
– Matsyasana (fish pose)
– Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
– Setu Bhanda Sarvangasana (bridge pose)
– Neck Stretches

Pranayama
– Ujjayi (conqueror breath)

Bhandas
– Jalandhara Bhanda

Mantra
All kinds of mantra and chanting are excellent for releasing the throat chakra.

The Importance of Sound

In a 2010 interview with CNN, Chairman of the Sound Agency, Julian Treasure, spoke about the benefits of sound for healing the body. He likened the body to a chord and to illness as something that vibrates out of harmony with the sound of the body.

Acutonics, involves the use of tuning forks placed on the body, on acupuncture points and places of tension and pain. The sound and the vibration of the tuning forks help to bring the “chord” of the body back into vibration with its natural resonance. Not only does the vibration help to release tension and bring the systems into harmony, but the sound of the forks also helps to relax the body and calm the nervous system.

If you are interested in finding out more about Acutonics visit my website.

To hear some sample sounds of the forks click here.

To read more of Julian Treasure’s interviews click the links below:

Read his interview:

10 Things You Don’t Know About Sound

Julian elaborates on this interview in his blog article below:

Science or Pseudoscience? Sound, Music and Health

The Importance of Sound

In a recent interview with CNN, Chairman of the Sound Agency, Julian Treasure, spoke about the benefits of sound for healing the body. He likened the body to a chord and to illness as something that vibrates out of harmony with the sound of the body. 

Acutonics, involves the use of tuning forks placed on the body, on acupuncture points and places of tension and pain. The sound and the vibration of the tuning forks help to bring the “chord” of the body back into vibration with its natural resonance.  Not only does the vibration help to release tension and bring the systems into harmony, but the sound of the forks also helps to relax the body and calm the nervous system.

To hear some sample sounds of the forks click here.

To read more of Julian Treasure’s interviews click the links below:

Read his interview:
10 Things You Don’t Know About Sound
Julian elaborates on this interview in his blog article below:
Science or Pseudoscience? Sound, Music and Health