Resonate: Colors, Sounds and Visualizations for the 1st Chakra

This week marked the second week of Chakra Yoga at 8 Limbs Yoga in Wedgwood. I have truly been enjoying this class as I feel like it gives me the opportunity to present something I’ve been playing with for a long time and its fun to see it reflected back to me in new ways now as the teacher instead of the student. This week, our exploration of the 1st chakra moved into the realm of colors, sound and visualization.  We stayed deeply connected to the Earth element from last week and began to weave some other elements into our practice. Below you will find some highlights from that exploration that you can explore and take into your own practice to continue finding your connection to the 1st chakra:

LAM: The Seed Syllable of the 1st Chakra

image courtesy of centrodharmayoga.it

Chanting LAM, the seed syllable of the 1st chakra can help you connect with and activate the 1st chakra. It can be used at the start of practice, much in the same way we chant the sound of OM, beginning first with a drawn out “L” sound, moving to the “AH” sound and then to the “MMM” sound. We also explored using the mantra as a way to extend the breath in a pose and a way to activate the energy of the 1st chakra while moving into that pose. While chanting LAM and moving into asana, I encourage students to also find Mulabhanda (drawing in and up on the perineum) to further activate the 1st chakra. When chanting LAM and engaging Mulabhanda, two sequences I like to flow between are:

  • Cow → Cat → Prayer
  • Arms alongside ears with belly button lifted, flow from uttanasana to urdva hastasana. If there are considerations for the low back, please put the hands on the hips instead.

Seeing Red

image from serenityexpressions.com

The color red is assigned to the 1st chakra. It is a deep earth red, and the color red, much as the chakra it rules, is associated with life, vitality, strength and the physical aspect of human beings. Visualizing the color red at the 1st chakra is another way to activate the energy of the chakra. When visuazling the 1st chakra, I invite students to do the following:

Close your eyes, visualize an orb of light at the base of the spine, at the perineum. Focus on that orb of light and allow it turn a deep crimson red. Take 8-10 breaths bringing your focus deeper and deeper into the red orb of light. Once that image has become clear for you, envision the orb of light extending red light downward from the perineum through the center-line of the legs. Allow it to travel down between inner thighs, inner knees, inner calves, inner ankles until it extends down below the feet. Allow that light to shine down into the floor, imagining its connection with the Earth below you. Take 8-10 breaths running crimson red light down the legs and into the floor. As you’re ready, release the visualization and take a few breaths to feel your experience of the feet on the floor, the energy in the legs and when you’re ready let your eyes open.

Finding your Foundation

image from wikipedia.com

When you see the image of the 1st chakra, no matter how it is depicted, there is always a square inside the image somewhere. The square is a symbol of structure, foundation and stability, all positive characteristics of the 1st chakra. To connect with this energy, close the eyes and take a few deep breaths. As you breathe, feel the heaviness of your sit bones resting on the floor and start to feel the connection points of the sit bones and that on which you are resting. As you become more aware of the sit bones, visualize a line running from sit bone to sit bone — the top of the square. Drop two lines down from each of the sit bones to create the sides of the square and then see a line connecting these two sides to create the bottom of the square. Breathe into the square, feeling the sit bones resting on this structure. Feel yourself, held up, supported and grounded. Stay here as long as you like.

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.