Awakening to 2012: Finding the Bridge

by Waelad Akadan

by Waelad Akadan

The winter solstice represents a huge time of transition, a threshold between two times. Not only are we marching up to this transitional time of the solstice, but we are also drawing near the end of 2012, a time long thought to be another broader threshold. As we stand on this precipice, there are many who foretell an “end times” and there are many who disregard any mention of change or shift. While I find no benefit in getting caught up in the fear being generated by those predicting apocalypse, I do feel that there is a change building. It feels as though things have accelerated and that shifts are happening physically, emotionally and energetically at a much faster rate. One need only look around at world events and weather patterns to these energy unfolding in real time, palatable and intense.

I feel we have a great opportunity at this time to harness this heightened energy and awareness and move forward consciously into the next manifestation of the world and in our own lives. This time is rich with transformative energy and anyone who is ready to make change in their life need simply open up to receive the energy that is starting to come through. And while I say, “one need simply open up,” this is a tall order. As it involves releasing the old paradigm: our limiting beliefs, the wounds we have carried around with us for so long and our negative self talk. If we can open and up and release these things we can become a powerful channel for this heightening energy.

As we move forward, a groundedness in intent and openness to change become truly important. Preparing the body, mind and spirit is all important and time should be taken for nurturing self-care, internal exploration and energetic expansion. I offer the following meditation as a way to begin to open to this energy and start to connect with what blocks might still be in our system as we move forward.

Energetic Bridge Meditation

Ensure you are somewhere where you will be uninterrupted for at least 20 minutes. Come to lie on your back, on a bed or on the floor. Make sure you are comfortably supported using props such as a pillow under the back of the knees or a pillow under the head. Also ensure that you will be warm, perhaps covering yourself with a blanket or donning extra layers.

Once you’ve settled in, allow yourself a few minutes to watch your breathing and to come into your body. Gradually allow the breath to deepen and lengthen and as it does so, invite your body to relax. Scan from tips of the toe to crown of the head and as you find places of tension or holding in the body, direct the breath into those places. As you feel yourself relax, become aware of the heaviness of the head and the sensation of gravity pressing down upon your whole body.

As you’ve settled into the pace of the breath, begin to direct it along the spine. As you inhale, pull it from base of the spine to crown of the head and as you exhale pull it back down the spine. After several rounds of breath, imagine an orb of light traveling with the breath. As you inhale, pull a golden orb of light up the spine, tailbone to crown. As you exhale, pull that golden orb from crown to tailbone. Continue with this visualization for at least five rounds of breath.

Next bring the orb of light up the spine to the heart center at allow it to come to rest there. Take several breaths into the heart center and watch the orb shift from golden light to a deep emerald green. After some time with the focus on the heart, drop your awareness into the back of the body and envision the space between the shoulder blades, the back of the heart. On an exhale drop a cord of emerald light from the heart down into the floor send it deep into the earth and as it reaches the earth watch it spread out in an intricate root system, like that of a tree or plant. With each breath send it wider and deeper. Once the roots have sunk deep into the earth, reverse the flow of energy and like a plant drawing nutrients up from the soil, begin to draw earth energy up your root system. As it rises, the earth energy turns the roots from emerald green to a deep crimson red. Breath by breath the energy rises until eventually it returns to the back of the heart and rises up into the orb at the center of the chest. As this energy fills the heart, it turns the orb in the chest from emerald green to red as well. As you take each breath, the light at the heart grows more vibrant and deeper in its reddish hue.

After several breaths, draw the awareness to the front of the body. Bring your focus to the sternum and pull an emerald cord of light from the orb at the heart up through the center of the chest and toward the ceiling. Take it up into the sky, higher and higher. Eventually the entire night sky expands before you and you see thousands of glittering stars. Look around and find the bright disk of the moon in the sky and send your cord of emerald light toward that disk. Eventually, you connect with the energy of the moon and as you do, you begin to pull the lunar energy down the emerald cord and back toward the body. As the energy of the moon descends, it turns the cord from emerald green to a glowing silvery white. It drips like honey, bit by bit, making its way back down to the body. When it reaches the body it enters through the front of the chest and enters the crimson red orb at the heart. The moon energy begins to swirl with the earth and energy and as they mix the orb at the chest begin to glow a vibrant pink, the color of quartz crystal. Take 10-15 breaths allowing this pink light to fill the heart.

Once this light begins to overflow from the heart center, begin to direct it down the spine toward the tailbone and up the spine toward the crown until you see the entire central channel illuminated a brilliant pink. Remain here as long as you like allowing the energy to course through your body and opening up to the innate intelligence of these two energies. Feel yourself as the meeting place, the bridge, for these energies to meet and co-create and feel your body as the vessel for this energy.

When you feel an expansiveness throughout the entire body, come back to an awareness of the breath and begin to slowly return.


Embodying the 1st Chakra

We were fortunate enough this week to have Summer Solstice fall on the day of our Chakra Yoga Practice at 8 Limbs Yoga. It was a gorgeous day and the sun was streaming in through all the windows. Days like that (especially in Seattle) make me feel more alive. I feel the dance of sunlight on my skin and I feel more connected with my breath and with my experience of the world around me as I perceive the world around me through my sense. This afforded us the perfect opportunity to connect more deeply with our 1st chakras.

The 1st chakra, is deeply connected to the physical body and to our experience of being in present in any given moment. The 1st chakra invites us into the laboratory our of bodies and invites us to fully experience each opportunity that comes along. Furthmore, we invite the essence of Shakti into the practice. We often speak about the 1st chakra as the home of Shakti, and the 7th chakra subsequently the home of Shiva. It is their union that animates all life and their meeting in our own bodies that invites Kundalini to awaken and rise up the spine.  In my own experience, I think of Shakti as this heavy, Earth Mama energy. She keeps us grounded and connected to all of life, and like the Earth, is the birth place of all living things.

Below you will find some practices from this week to further explore the 1st chakra:

The Body as a Field Meditation

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Close the eyes, connect with your seat. Feel the heaviness of the seat resting on the earth. Breathe down into your sitbones and connect with the resting place of Shakti. Connect with Shakti as Mother Earth, feel the deepness and richness that this energy offers you.  Connect with your breath and with each inhale and each exhale begin to draw this earth energy up the spine. As a fills you up connect with the sensations in the body. Become completely present to all the sensations you are experiencing: the movement of the breath, the seat on the floor. Become aware from tips of fingers to tips of toes.

Now, see yourself as a field. A dark, earthy, rich field. See the whole body as a field ready for planting. Set your intentions, plant them as seeds in the field of the body. As you set each intention, plant it in the body and invite it into your asana practice. Know that as you practice your intentions will be nurtured and fed. As you move your body, you feed the soil in which your intentions are planted and through your practice you can help manifest and realize your intentions. Once you have sat with you intentions and feel grounded in your body, let your eyes softly open and move into your asana practice.

Supta Baddha Konasana with Props

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This is one of my all time favorite restorative poses. Be sure to give yourself at least 5-10 minutes to relax in the pose. In order to set up for it, be sure you have a bolster and a strap. If you are working with knee or hip injuries, two blocks can also be helpful to slide underneath the knees for support. First, slide the bolster right next to your low back, with short end of the bolster pressing into the low back. Then, take the strap and make a large belt around the body. Bring the feet together in baddha konasana and loop the strap around the outer edge of the feet (be sure the buckle isn’t pressing on the feet). Cinch the strap down partially and then recline back, you may find once you are back you will want to tighten the strap further. Make sure that you are comfortable and allow your eyes to close. Take a few deep breaths first into belly and chest and feel the expansion and opening of the breath on the inhale, the softening and relaxation of the body on the exhale. After a few more breaths invite your focus to your sitbones. Feel their connection with the floor and breathe into your seat. As you are connected the sitbones visualize roots dropping down into the Earth, at the same time, visualize the body as a fertile field allow your intentions to grow and blossom.

Shivalinga Mudra

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Find a seat of meditation. Bring the hands into Shivaligna Mudra. The left hand rests on the bottom cupping the right hand. The left hand symbolizes Shakti, that fertile soil from which life is born. The right hand makes a “thumbs-up” sign and rests in the palm of the left symbolizing Shiva, the spark of the divine igniting all beings. Once the hands are set, close the eyes and begin to breathe. Sit with the mudra for 5-10 minutes and stay completely present in your body. Follow your inhale and exhale and if the mind wanders off, invite yourself back into the breath.