"Let's not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it." - Vincent Van Gogh
Ah the Chakras.
Such magical power centers, and the space from which we create our existence.
Have you heard of the chakras?
It is commonly recognized that there are 7 main chakras, while Kundalini Yoga recognizes an eighth.
They start with the first chakra just below the base of the spine, and run up the physical body to end just above the crown of the head with the seventh chakra. The eighth comprises all of the first seven and creates your aura.
They cannot be seen with the eye, nor do they live directly on your spine. They live in the realm of subtle energy. BUT, they do tend to line up with nerve ganglia that you CAN see.
I wont go into the deepest of details, but the first chakra, Muladhara, corresponds to all things foundational of your being. Your right to exist, your physical space, your physical safety.
The second, Svadhisthana, the one that we work with the most in today's class, resides in your lower abdomen and pelvic region, and corresponds to emotions, creativity, feeling, and sexuality. It's your right to feel.
Third, we have Manipura, which resides in the solar plexus. This is your power center. Your will power, core values, self-esteem, ego identity. This is your right to act.
Fourth, the heart, Anahata. This chakra lives, unsurprisingly, in the heart center and controls everything having to do with love. Not just romantic love, but platonic, familial, self, etc. All relationships stem from here. This is your right to love and be loved. "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be love in return." Now tell me what movie that's from!
Fifth, Vissudha, the throat chakra. Expression dwells here. Your voice. But also the expression of your creative ideas. This is your right to speak and be heard. So if you notice you have a small voice, or lots of throat issues, it might be worth looking into where you feel you're not being heard in your life.
Sixth, the third eye, Ajna, pronounced Ahg-nya. This is the space above and between the eyebrows, and is the seat of intuition. Knowing that you know. It's also where your imagination comes from. This is your right to see.
And finally, the Seventh, Sahasrara, which I always struggle to pronounce. Your crown chakra, located just above the crown of your head. This is where you connect with source, whatever that means to you. Wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual connection. Your right to know.
The beautiful thing about these energies is that they don't have to be tied to any sort of religion or belief system. They exist. By whatever name you call them. That understanding is a powerful thing.
Finally Finally for real, as noted in Kundalini Yoga and according to Yogi Bhajan: “The Eighth Chakra is located in the aura. the magnetic field generated by a human being that surrounds him or her up to nine feet in every direction. The quality of the aura reveals the personality in the projection of power or the depression of defeat.”
Ok, I know that was a lot. I love everything having to do with the chakras, and always love learning more. And I thought it beneficial to at least share these basics, before we move on to the class!
Which is mostly about the second chakra, Svadhisthana, but also includes the lower triangle, which is the bottom three chakras.
You can't really work with one without affecting the others.
So, without further ado! Let's get into the class!
You've waited far too long...
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ― Leo Tolstoy
But, changing ourselves is where we start.
Because, when you become aware enough, you begin to realize that the world that you see in front of you is vividly colored by your perceptions.
The world that you are living in is in fact called Maya, in sanskrit. Illusion.
That is not to say that you're living a lie, or that the wall in front of you is not actually there, or that you're living in a movie set.
It means that the life you are living, and the experiences you are having, are based on how you perceive the world to be. This perception is based on your past experiences, your upbringing, societal expectations, and the lack of ability or willingness or understanding that you are just an observer in this body in this lifetime.
I could smell a perfume wafting by and think it smells like summer and happiness. You could smell the same perfume and be transported back to your grandmother's deathbed and feel sorrow. (I took it dark there, I know. I'm sorry.) The smell is the same. Our experiences of it are different. Therefore our responses to it are different.
I don't hesitate to reach my hand out to a new dog, because history has shown me that I can trust dogs. You may have been bit as a child, and your history tells you you can't trust dogs. We will see a dog in the street and have different reactions.
It's the same reason we close our hearts off the love when we've been hurt, why we settle into our ways and refuse to believe that anything could be different, why we don't even know that we have the ability to change.
Yoga taught me that we can change the world. Starting with ourselves. Because the world relies on US to exist in the way that it does. In our eyes, rather. The world will go on existing with our without us, but we have the ability to view the world through our perceptions. Change our perceptions and we change the world.
So I encourage you to begin to find that change in yourself. Begin to work on who you are and how you see things from the inside out.
Use the tools that yoga gives you to take a step back from your thoughts and notice what they're telling you.
Notice how you respond to things, how you react.
Sit in meditation and contemplate.
Or move your body, like in today's class, and FEEL the changes settling in.
It all starts with you taking that first step. And I hope it's as transformative for you as it has been for me!
This week's class is a full length Fluid Interval Yoga for Change.
Make sure you carve out an hour to challenge your body and mind and I'll meet you on the mat!