Monday, September 28, 2009

Sacral chakra- Svadhisthana- Emotions are just energy in motion- E-motion

Sexuality, feelings, passion: All words that can make a person uncomfortable in Western society. Carrying a social stigma, the education on these matters is often sparse and incongruent. When we are children questions about sexuality are answered quickly and with little detail, to avoid any discomfort of the adult, and as these children grow up the problem persists as they carry this inherited discomfort on with their own children. Emotions don’t fair much better, while pleasant emotions are encouraged to some degree, even at a young age emotions that cause more of a scene or disruption are often ended quickly for fear of embarrassment. And so the main issues of the second chakra are continually swept under the rug, creating vicious cycles of suppression and outburst with no control. Little can be improved in this area until we are comfortable enough to bring our issues into the light and begin to truly express ourselves.

The Sacral Chakra Summarized:
Moving up from our Root Chakra along the nadis of the energetic body we soon reach the Sacral Chakra located in the pelvic region. Characterized by its orange glow, this chakra is the home of our self expression and it expresses itself in the physical world. Once we’ve created a firm base through our Root Chakra we begin to feel grounded enough to begin moving out from this safe base, and these movements become our self expression. These movements can be anything, the way we walk or talk, pictures we paint or whether we decide to dance or not. What we express has little significance compared to the importance of just being able to express ourselves as these energies come up and move through us. Having a healthy amount of energy flowing through the second chakra allows this energetic expression to happen.

Sacral Chakra Issues:
The issues of the second chakra tend to fall into the extremes. Either a person feels they should not express their emotions and as a result become a mechanical creature, rigid in their own thought control as they suppress any emotion that enters their body, or in the other extreme there is the person with no emotional savvy at all. This person becomes a weeping wound of emotion, leaking their energy at the slightest upset. In either extreme the same problem persists (a problem that is a common human belief), we associate emotions as us. People who suppress their emotions fear the expression of them because they don’t want to be seen as an angry/weepy/exuberant/out of control person. People who express their emotions in abundance also take their emotions to be who they are and sometimes revel in their emotional abundance (although this may be a subconscious enjoyment). One of the most beneficial things a person can do for their second chakra is realize that emotions are like the weather patterns of the body. Some days it rains and some days its beautiful sunshine but whether it shines or pours isn’t a direct representation of what kind of person you are, only what emotion is passing through your body at this time. Some people think that it’s their thoughts causing their emotions and sometimes it is but just as often the emotions occurring create the thoughts as a result. And really which comes first is irrelevant as long as we perceive both thought and emotion as temporary occurrences and don’t get attached to them and try to hold them and make them our own or push them away and deny they exist at all. Sexuality, creativity and passion are all a part of this, energy moving through the body and in order to heal the second chakra we work to perceive these energies correctly and then move them in a healthy way through the body.

Healing our Sacral Chakra- New perspective and allowing movement:
Since a lot of issues in this chakra relate more to our perception than the actual emotions or urges the first thing we work to do is change our perception. Just as we did with the Root Chakra emotions are best handled if broken down into their physical sensations. For sadness we may notice the tightness in the throat, turning of the gut, or burning of the eyes. Looking at emotions through their physical sensations is more manageable then becoming overwhelmed in what the thought of that emotion means. It is the brain that is naturally conditioned to take a list of physical sensations and provide them with a label. And once the brain has labelled you as sad it starts drawing up memories and personal stories to support this label. When working with the second chakra it sometimes helps to take a step back and see the emotion as it’s physical symptoms and just watch them. As we first begin to do this it is not unusual to find it initially challenging, especially for really strong emotions, the mind will keep pulling us back into the story of how the emotions are us. But as we practice stepping back and looking at the energies passing through our body it gives us a little more space and perspective to figure out how to let these energies keep moving. When we exist in the emotions or deny them all together the emotion decides how it will express itself, whether it is through shouting or weeping or whichever. As we learn to sit with the emotion (Which is different than thinking about them, your mind’s talking very rarely helps the process) sometimes the energies just move right through and out of the body on their own. For some emotions all they needed was some conscious attention without judgement. For emotions that are strong some sort of physical release is often needed, but because we begin to practice creating space around our emotions we now have more room to come up with healthy releases. Instead of shouting we may channel our anger into writing something or maybe a sport or training exercise. There is a strong belief that we need to understand our emotions in order to handle them. Sometimes this is true, but a lot of the time an emotion is just an emotion, just as a rain cloud is just a rain cloud. Understanding the weather does not necessarily make us experts at predicting or preventing it. And because energy can be released through physical motion sometimes some simple sun salutations can have the same effect as an hour long psych session. Sometimes. But the only person who can figure out what works is the person experiencing the emotion, which is why we start the process simply by becoming aware of the emotions in the body and letting the space we create lead us from there.
OMG, that was a struggle (The sign of blocked energies? Maybe). Emotions are such a touchy subject it’s hard to say what I mean with out feeling like I’m stepping on toes. There was probably a million little more things I could of said but that was the best summary I could come up with.
In the mean time I’m working on arranging a Chakra/Emotions/Illness workshop sometime before Christmas and will update you when I have a little more set up.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"What's that for?" "Don't know, just put it on top of the pile labeled 'useless'."

*Neurons and Glia just chillin'*

Well, I am industriously (replace with the word "slowly") working on my posting on the Sacral Chakra but due to a present case of coming under the weather I'm having trouble flowing big words together so I thought I'd post something in the interim on how some scientific minds seem to have the urge to keep things simple all the time. How hypocritical of me *Wink*.

So I'm lying in bed trying to promote the healing process and finally finding time to look at my much neglected Discover magazines and I'm finding some interesting stuff. I read through this article called The Brain: The Dark Matter of the Human Brain which talked about how for decades scientists have been focusing on the neurons of the brains because when they stuck electrodes in them they could easily observe the electrical synapses. And I think because of the big focus on Neurons a lot of us picture our brains as being full of these synaptic cells, turns out not so much. Ever heard of the glia? Ya, me either, turns out there's about ten times as many of them in our brains as there are neurons but since they don't react to electricity scientists decided they were just the glue holding the brain together. That's a lot of glue. And of course now they're beginning the find out these cells are way more important, which is funny because for years they were considered the junk they had to slice through to get to the good stuff.

Reading that reminded me of so many things yoga and human health. When I took my Yin teacher training we talked about fascia and how if exist throughout the body, in and around all the other tissues, and it has so many purposes and functions, but even a few years ago when I was in university for nursing we never mentioned it. In videos of anatomy it was the stuff we scrapped away to get a better view of the muscle.

Maybe not in all sciences but largely in health sciences we're always looking for the simplest answer. When someone has lung cancer the first thing we ask them is if they smoked, deciding there must only be one culprit to this condition. If someone says they have depression we hand them a pill and say "There you go, that'll fix you." I see a lot of health care professionals become frustrated when it's not that simple, people return with the same issue again and again and instead of considering that life is holistic and things are rarely simple we categorize these people as 'difficult'.

And to tell you the truth I find it all so fascinating, the human condition to look for the simplest answer and throw the other 'stuff' away. So are people going to continue the search for the quick fix or is the fact that scientists are finally taking time to study multipurpose systems like glia and fascia a good sign that maybe we're evolving enough the be ready to handle a life a little more complicated. I hope we are...

As my systems get back up to 100% I'll keep working on the Second Chakra stuff, hopefully for the next post. And in the meantime if you get a chance stop to listen to some Aqualung, its good stuff for addled brains, been working for me anyways.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Facebook- The Death of the Awkward Silence

I finally signed back up for Facebook. When I got back on my account was in the same condition it was when I left it over and year and a half ago. Kind of an interesting snapshot of me in a past time, although not necessarily a 100% flattering one. And even though I’ve decided to go through with getting back on the site for many different reasons I still feel myself conflicted with whether it’s a good idea to support such a site.
I’ve been noticing a lot lately that people are becoming more and more telephonaphobic. On multiple occasions in the past few months I’ve left a voice message on people’s phones only to get an email back. And when I think about it I don’t see people talking on their cell phones half as much as they used to. Now everyone is texting or on the net through their phones. So I guess that’s good news if we’re trying to decrease the number of people with brain cancer but watching the evolution away from really talking to people is a little nerve racking.
I mean, I completely understand it on one level. It’s hard talking to people on the phone, especially if we don’t know them that well. We find ourselves with our minds racing through awkward silences as we try to find a topic to carry on the conversation. We often feel like we could have said things better after the conversation is done. For many of us phone calls are stressful. But I doubt phoning people less often will help the problem. And if we find phone conversations awkward I think the same is true for meeting in person.
I find it interesting that we are willing to be honest over the net and say what we feel there but the minute we’re speaking in person we become afraid to say what we are truly thinking and afraid to be seen as we really are. Afraid of what? Rejection? Anger from the other person? And I know I’m under the influence of this fear too.
So now we’re communicating through ‘status updates’ which creates as little room for conflict as possible and I wonder how much further this can go.
Trying to think of ways to open the lines of communication again… It gets harder the more I realize most people would prefer if I didn’t.

So there I go ranting about the disconnect again. What is new eh? Just have to keep looking for the answer…
Hopefully have my stuff up on the second chakra next week. Still loving Anodea Judith’s book and starting to listen to Eckhart Tolle’s CDs on presence in the car.
Always trying to keep moving forward even if life’s gravity wishes otherwise. Ah, the opposing forces that make us stronger…

Monday, September 14, 2009

Did you know "Junkiness" is not a real word? Oh well, it is now...

It’s strange to think that we’ve known for at least the past century that if we put junky food into our bodies too much and too often that we’ll feel pretty junky ourselves and stranger still to think that we still haven’t figured out that the same is true for the things we let enter our bodies emotionally and mentally.
I’ve been having trouble falling asleep again, which stopped being a problem a few years ago but in unfortunately starting up again. The tricky part about insomnia is that the anxiety of not knowing whether or not you’ll fall asleep is often the same anxiety that keeps you up at night. Practicing the art of self sabotage last night I found myself staying up late watching TV just to avoid finding out if I would or would not actually have trouble falling asleep once the lights were off. And this is where I had the opportunity to remind myself that putting crappy stuff in my body isn’t just an issue with eating. So last night I stayed up watching Criminal Minds (A great show for people who are always worried there’s a psycho around every corner, no I’m joking, you paranoid people should stick to watching something less neuroticism creating like Treehouse, oh wait, maybe not Treehouse...) It was a two hour special about a young guy with a split personality disorder who kidnaps and tortures one of the main characters in the show, in the name of God. Considering the young guy was played by the blond kid from Dawson’s Creek I wasn’t expecting the acting to be so convincing or to feel quite so stirred up by the end of it, but I was up the next two hours tossing and turning following the episode. The funny thing is that most of us are so used to this high adrenaline inducing stuff that we don’t even notice all the junk it’s accumulating in our bodies and minds. I think of all the paranoia in the world today, all the talk of terrorism and perversion, and I wonder if the world is really that much worse than it used to be. Has the world really become populated by dangerous, crazy people who wait to pounce around every corner or are we just focusing on the stories that make our hearts race more and more. Obviously I have no way of knowing but it’s hard for me not to feel that much like we can become addicted to the same foods that make us feel gross and sluggish maybe the same thing has occurred with our choices for mental and emotional stimulus. Sure the rush is awesome when it’s happening but is it worth all the “junkiness” we feel after?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Root chakra- Muladhara- Grounding, not just for rotten children anymore.

In Western culture today, speaking energetically as well as on other levels the human species seems to be becoming more and more ungrounded. As we move away from family dinners and stable homes we create new challenges for our species to find ways to be a part of something physical and real as we move deeper and deeper into our own thoughts and the imaginative world created by society around us.

The Root Chakra Summarized:
From a yogic viewpoint, looking at the 7 main chakras in the body, assessing for deficiencies and excesses as chakras are known to have, its pretty common to find issues in the Root Chakra in many Westerners. The Root Chakra, located at the area of the tailbone, is our power center for all our physical needs for survival, food water, shelter and in today’s society money which is necessary to meet these needs. The Root Chakra provides the foundation for all the other chakras much like the roots of a tree are necessary for support of the trunk and branches above it. Also like the roots of a tree the Root Chakra is responsible for pulling up energy into the system from the world beneath it so that this energy can be manifested into growth for the systems above it. Energy is also brought down through the crown chakra but if energy is not being received from both ends the system isn’t complete and functioning as well as it could be.

Root Chakra Issues:
As the world moves further towards what I like to call a ‘Cyber State’ people find themselves having more trouble understanding their own bodies. As demonstrated through repetitive strain injuries, chronic back problems and chronic fatigue, issues like these (which take a long time to be created in the body) show how little we hear what our bodies have to say until they are shouting at us. People may not understand what being aware of the physical body has to do with having enough money, or getting a stable job because they don’t see the connection but becoming more aware of what’s happening physically with ourselves connects us with the profound knowledge the body already possesses which we can not gain access to unless we begin to hear what the body has to say and trust in its message. If you don’t know what your body needs then how can you expect to make the right choices in the physical world around it to gain the physical things you need to survive? Today’s society seems bent on thinking its way out of its problems, assuming the mind has all the answers, and certainly there are answers in there but if there is a disconnect between the mind and body your mind is operating with out all the information.
Another issue with our lack of connection with the physical and the poor energy flow through the Root Chakra is a feeling of floating and an inability to create. Without being grounded in the physical world around us people commonly feel lost, resembling helium balloons without a tether they float from one thing to another unable to figure out why they can’t connect with the world around them. Some people theorize this relates to the obesity epidemic. As people feel more and more disconnected from the world around them their first instinct in to weight themselves down in a subconscious hope for feeling some sort of grounding or permanent belonging. Inability to ground into the physical also means that while our minds are active with imagination and ideas it is becoming increasingly challenging to make our thoughts manifest into something real and tangible. Without a physical connection our thoughts become nothing more than vapors that slip through our hands.

Healing our Root Chakra- Finding Grounding:
Luckily, many issues of this chakra are not as complicated to start healing as other chakras can be. The main focus of the Root Chakra healing process is finding ourselves in our bodies again and feeling our connection with the physical world around us. One of the first easiest tips is finding our connection with the ground just as we do in Tadasana. To simplify what I’m saying “Notice how the bottoms of your feet feel connected to the ground.” Noticing where the body connects to the physical world around us we begin to take our awareness into these areas and notice the ground holding us up and our firm connection with it. A lot of times this becomes tricky if we find ourselves ‘thinking’ about our connection with the ground which is yet again rerouting the experience through our minds. Instead simply ‘feeling’ the connection without mental judgment opens up our awareness that we are really here. A second idea is to take all situations to a physical level. Are you feeling angry? What does that feel like in the body? What are the physical manifestations? Heart is pounding, muscles are clenched and so on, and then just taking the time to exist in the body with these sensations. Absolutely any physical activity you would like to participate in offers a chance for grounding if you take the time to ‘feel’ what’s happening instead of ‘thinking’ about what you feel. And the real trick is not to be discouraged if you don’t feel the connection right away, it takes time to reopen the paths of communication with the body, but as your physical awareness and connection improves stability in your life from your new, stronger root foundation will bring changes with it.

-So a long winded summary of the first chakra. Most of the info was collected from different sources I’ve been reading, most lately from Anodea Judith in Eastern Body/Western Mind who provided a lot of the information on healing, which strangely echoes a lot of the stuff I’ve read from Eckhart Tolle and other people I’ve met on the yogic path.

I’m hoping to keep moving through the chakras as I move through my this book, I apologize for the long windedness of the write up.

Otherwise I’m starting yoga at Algonquin College next week. I got to help out at the frosh this week and met tons of the new students so now I’m super pumped to get to put them through some poses and see where we go with that. This weekend is supposed to be beautiful and I get to take my nephew Conner out for his birthday on Sunday. So excited about that. I’m hoping to get him outdoors in the nice weather even though I know he’ll just want me to take him to Midway. He’s only 6 but he’s already a world class negotiator so we’ll see who wins this one.
Have an awesome one!!
*Conner and I playing that game where you cover your eyes and the other person tells you what to draw, I guess Conner didn't trust me not to cheat, good idea.*

Monday, September 7, 2009

Life in my little boat...

I’m back! Two weeks away and it feels like I left yesterday. Proof that time is a relative thing.
To start myself off I jumped right into a revamp of the blog site. Not only is it newer and blue-er but I added some features down the left side. If you take some time to scroll down you will notice a question/answer section because I really want to help people get their yoga questions answered, but always if you have a bunch of things you want to say or ask feel free to email me at Also I have a “What I’m reading” section to get people into some of the stuff I’ve been finding interesting on my yoga path, and lastly I added a photos section, right now it’s mostly pictures from my trip but I hope to add some more as I go along of just random things to make people smile and think…

So of course my first day back has been crazy, I started the morning with a little Mommy/Baby yoga, which was pretty neat, I think it’s amazing to have mommies and babies right next to each other doing yoga because on the one hand you get the one group of people known for putting everyone else’s concerns in front of their own and commonly not taking care of their own needs and then you have these little babies who no nothing better than to ask for their needs to be met and express their emotions and needs freely. Such a neat contrast and hopefully the yoga will help us all move towards a happy medium of considering our own needs as well as others equally (at least for the mommies).
Then it was off to work work, which included multiple phone/email/computer program messages that needed follow-up. And every ten minutes I’m reminding myself to breathe.

I find it all reminding me of when I was in grade school and we’d have the summer off. I never much liked grade school mostly because I got picked on a lot and felt self-conscious and high strung most of the time. So summer was always neat because it was all this time where I didn’t have to care what other people thought of me or if I’m pleasing other people and by the time school started again I always felt pretty Zen and confident and calm. And then I’d go back to school and like a ship sailing out of port into the waves again I’d return to practicing navigating the waters of life. Vacation is like that a bit for me too, not because I get picked on at work, but because you leave the safe place of being who you need to be, when you need to be it, and enter the realm of “What does everyone else need”. So a lot like the contrast between Mommies and Babies I’m entering these waters again and trying to remember that there’s a “Me” too and I’m always going to get rocked by other people’s waves but the storm isn’t a permanent thing. So I need to just breathe and keep the Zen as long as I can.

I’ve been reading Eastern Body/Western Mind by Andeo Judith and getting into some really interesting chakra healing techniques. I’m hoping to post about the Root Chakra later this week.
Tune in and have a smooth sailing kind of week.