Anja, the Third Eye Chakra

The next chakra we come to is Anja, the third eye located between and a little above the eyebrows. This chakras colour is indigo and according to different interpretations it either has no element or it’s element is light.

Anja is where our intuition, instincts, innate knowledge and higher wisdom reside. The things we just know without having learned them. Often we doubt these feelings or instinctive impulses, especially when they seem to go against the common sense or obvious path to take.  It is helpful to explore them however as many times we find ourselves looking back thinking,  “I should have trusted my first instinct.”

Trataka is a great practice to tune into and open ourselves to the wisdom we all have in this chakra. To practice this meditation find a comfortable seat, close your eyes and slightly cross them while looking upwards, so they are gazing towards your third eye chakra. Rest your awareness as well as your gaze on this point. If there is a situation in your life which needs resolution you might like to bring that up in your mind, without any expectations but with the possibility that a solution may arise. If you find your attention wandering simply draw it back to Anja chakra again. When you feel ready gently expand your awareness from the third eye back into your whole body, then your surroundings and gently open your eyes.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Vishuddhi, the Throat Chakra

Working up through the chakras we now come to Vishuddhi, the throat chakra. Here  the colour is sky blue, the sense is hearing and the element is ether.

This chakra relates to communication and truth, the word vishuddhi translates as purification so think of working to keep your  communication honest and truthful. Words have much power to heal and to harm and often we use them simply to fill silence, to gossip, to share our opinions whether they are welcome or not.

I am heading off to teach my Getting to know your Chakras retreat at Clearview today. During the retreats we have periods of mouna (silence) during which the students refrain from talking or engaging with each other. This can be very challenging as in our society silence can be uncomfortable and often people feel rude not engaging in conversation. After some time however many people begin to welcome the silence, seeing it as an opportunity to listen to their inner voices, permission given to be with themselves without distractions.

If silence sounds a bit much for you try setting yourself a period of time, perhaps one, two or three hours when you are going about your day to day activities. During this time be very aware of every word you say and hear. Try to speak only truth and only when necesary – no idle chit chat. Try to listen with your full attention, not filling in the gaps or thinking of something else but being completely present with the person you are hearing, whether they are a good friend or a complete stranger. You might be surprised at how challenging this can be. It is good to try at a time when you will come into contact with at least a few different people – notice when it is easier and when it is harder. Notice how you feel just being quiet with another person.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

Anahata – the Heart Chakra

This is the central of the seven main chakras. The lower three are related to denser, earthier more tangible elements while the higher three move into more subtle, heavenly, spiritual realms. Anahata is the bridge between the two, as such we can work here to unite and access them both.

Being located in the centre of the chest, the region of the heart and lungs it is no surprise that the element for the heart chakra is air, the colour is green, though according to some texts and traditions it can also be pink or magenta. 

When you think of your heart you almost always think of love and this is where our love resides. Anahata is related to being able to give and, equally importantly, receive love. On a broader spectrum the heart chakra relates to taking in what we need and giving out what we have in abundance, sharing open heartedly with the ones we love and the whole world. Balancing our giving with our receiving so we neither give nor recieve too much.

A lovely practice for the heart chakra is the simple meditation of becoming aware of what you need more of in your life, be it love, joy, strength, courage or anything else that comes to mind. On each inhalation feel yourself taking in whatever it is you need. Then bring to mind something you have to offer the world, again it can be love, joy, caring or anything else you feel you have to share. On each exhalation send that quality out into the world. Keep your in and out breaths of equal length so you are both taking in what you need and sharing what you have to offer equally.

After 5-10 minutes release the practice and notice how you feel.

Follow your heart.

Love and light,

Belinda.

xxx

Manipura, solar plexus chakra

Manipura is the chakra related to our self esteem, sense of identity and personal power. This is the one that enables us to feel empowered and in control or disempowered and out of control. In your life do you feel like you are in the drivers seat or that you are a passenger being carried along?

St Johns Wort

Manipura’s colour is yellow and it’s location is the solar plexus, a network of nerves between the naval and the base of the sternum (breastbone). It’s element is fire (a big hint here in the term Solar Plexus)  and it is related to transformation. The digestive system transforms food into energy, heat, new cells for our body, we can transform situations into learning experiences – not labeling them as good or bad but using the challenges we come up against to increase our sense of personal power. All of this work relates to Manipura chakra.

A great way to fan your fire, increase your energy levels and activate and clear Manipura chakra is with bhastrika pranayama, the bellows breath. This practice heats your whole body, shifts energetic blockages and creates lots of energy. Please note this is not recommended during pregnancy, for those with high blood pressure or heart problems and, as always, if it doesn’t feel right for you withdraw from the practice. As it is very heating and stimulating it’s also best to avoid this one if you have a fever or are overheated, on very hot days and after 5pm or you might have trouble sleeping.

To practice take a comfortable, upright sitting posture, in a chair or on the floor with support if needed. Start with a few full deep breaths and bring your hands to rest on your solar plexus, below the ribcage but above the naval. The bellows breath is fast, short and sharp so when you are ready to begin exhale and inhale fast, only a second or two for each part of the breath.The breath sounds quite loud, like a pair of bellows being pumped and beneath you hands you should feel the upper abdominal muscles moving in as the breath goes out then out as the breath comes back in. After 10-15 bellows breaths release the practice and notice how you feel, the energy and temperature of your body may well have changed. Repeat two more rounds with some full deep breathing in between.

Happy transforming!

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Svadhisthana, Sacral Chakra

Next we move up the chakra ladder to Svadhisthana, the Sacral chakra. This one is located between the naval and the base chakra and relates to our creativity – both procreation through the reproductive system and other aspects of creation. It also relates to the colour orange and the water element so in our yoga we work with it through flowing breath and movement practices.

Cross stitch embroidery

Cross stitch embroidery

I am a creative person, always making something like the cross stitch embroidery pictured, others often tell me they are not at all creative but if you think about it we all create something every day. It might be a work of art or piece of music or poem, or it might be something around the house like a meal, some clean clothes or dishes.  It might be whatever you do for a living – healthier patients if you are a doctor or mowed lawns if you are a gardener, every career or job involves creating something whether it is a happy team of people for managers, profits for bankers or children who can read and add up for teachers.

Even if you do not currently have a job as such think about the activities you do each day and what they create. Calling a friend for a chat creates good relationships, working in the garden creates flowers or plants which can thrive and brighten the world, going for a walk creates better health for your body, even just offering a smile to a stranger can create a better day for someone you might never see again.

A lovely meditation for Svadhisthana is to close your eyes, rest your hands on the belly below the navel and reflect on what you would like to create in your life. More joy, peace, calm, love or something concrete like a home or job, anything that comes into your mind. Think about how you can work towards creating this within your life – it might not be instant but over time you can build a little bit more or work towards your goal  a little further. Every journey begins with one step so setting an intention to create something is the beginning, that first step. Creating anything worthwhile takes patience and steady effort, the pictured cross stitch is made up of thousands of stitches and took a lot of time, effort and concentration, but it is always within your power to move towards any goal you set yourself. The reward after all of that effort is well worthwhile and the sense of satisfaction in having achieved this goal yourself.

Happy creating!

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

Mooladhara, base chakra

So our chakra exploration begins with the base chakra, Mooladhara.

Mooladhara’s colour is red, beautiful bright and vibrant and it’s element is Earth, solid, deep and grounded.

Solid Rock

This chakra is located at the perineum, the lowest point of your torso between the genitals and the anus. It is all about grounding, support and survival so in your life it relates to having the basic essentials to survive. Shelter, food, health and so on.

To connect with Mooladhara stand in tadasana (mountain pose) and feel into your feet, feel your connection to the earth and the support it provides you.  As you exhale fell grounding energy travelling from the crown of your head down through your body and through the soles of your feet into the earth. This is lovely practiced directly on the earth or on a rock like the one pictured but still works in a yoga studio, home or even office building high in the air. The  Earth is still beneath you, you just need to feel the connection.

Once you feel really well grounded bring your awareness to Mooldahara at the base of your torso, close your eyes and picture a beautiful vibrant red colour swirling and spreading down into the earth through your legs and up into your torso from that point.

This is great to practice at times when you feel a little unstable or lack support. It leaves me feeling much more solid and grounded.

Enjoy.

Love and light,

Belinda.

xxx

 

Get to know your Chakras

I am planning for my next yoga retreat, Getting to know your Chakras which is coming up on the last weekend in February. We will be practicing asana, pranayama, chanting and satsang (discussion) as we learn and share our chakra experiences.

Before I did my teacher training I knew very little about chakras, had heard the term but had no real concept of what it meant. As a yoga teacher I now work with awareness of my chakras all of the time. I adapt my yoga practice, activity levels and everything else around balancing, conserving and directing my energy to where it is most needed. I am looking forward to sharing the knowledge and skills I have gained over the years with my students on retreat in a few weeks.

As a sneak preview here is some basic chakra information, my next few posts leading up to the retreat will be on each of the major chakras and some of their qualities.

Each of the seven main chakras is connected to different aspects of our life, systems within the physical body, emotions and personality traits in the mind as well as elements in the world around us. Just as our blood travels through veins, our prana or life force travels through nadis. Where the nadis intersect we have chakras, picture them as like roundabouts on a map of the nadis where the energy spirals and forms a vortex.

If you would like to join me or find out more about my Getting to Know your Chakras retreat you can book or enquire here.

Clearview sunrise

Looking forward to sharing some info on Mooladhara, the base chakra in my next post.

 

Love and light,

Belinda.