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.