Month: February 2020

Muladhara Chakra

Muladhara Chakra, as seen above with its Bij Mantra(Seed sound), emanating vibration color, specified number of petals to its Lotus flower, is the first of the seven main wheels of life force spinning within all of us. Chakra, pronounced with a hard “ch”, like ‘chalk’, means wheel or disk.  These are energetic centers of organization that receive, assimilate, and express prana(life force/chi/ki).  They live within the subtle layer of our bodies, our energetic bodies, yet do have correlations to a myriad of things within our physical bodies. For example, the first chakra pertains to our feet, legs, and pelvic floor, as well as our coccygeal plexus.  

There are HUNDREDS of things associated with each of the seven main energy portals.  They are portals between our inner and outer realms, as I call them.  They cannot be seen by the physical eye, but they can we felt and experienced in all levels of our being.  Their energy might come up as a tingling, a numbness, and a whole vast array of expressions, even happenings like visions, colors, sounds, and feelings can come up.  They are a system thru which we can heal ourselves, work with all that lives within us and around us, and to begin the journey towards balance, peace, and fluidity in all aspects of our lives! 

So, one IMPORTANT thing to remember, is that even though we are going thru each of the main chakras separately, they dance and interact with each other.  This means, for your best assessment upon your Self for healing, remember to look to the Whole of the system.  And then, may you remember yourself as Whole.  Work with each chakra as you need, and know you can work with two together, or a few together, and even the whole system together.  You can balance your own chakras!  And, you can send the essence of a chakra to someone or someplace that is need of that energy!

Also keep in mind that you may be balanced in one are of a chakra, and out of balance in another aspect of the same chakra.  We talk about a chakras “charge” in bioenergetic languages, meaning, you may feel an excess of energy and life force in one aspect of a chakra, and in another aspect of the same chakra, you might feel depleted.  How will you know what you have?  USE YOUR OWN INTUITION!  Start to trust your intuition, and in working with your intuition thru the chakras, you will also be building your intuitive capabilities! lol, its all a win-win. 😉

A great place to start is your body.  Take a moment, sit still, and breathe.  Now, how do your feet feel?  Want to run?  Want to do yoga?  Want to rest with your legs up the wall?  How does your stomach feel?  Hungry? (Get a snack and keep reading!)  Thirsty?  How does your Spiritual heart feel?  This is a more subtle body, or prana body question, but how does it feel?  Is your chest tight?  Take a deep breath.  Is your chest feeling “full of light and love”?  I think you’re getting my point now. To listen to your body. It holds great wisdom and will always share that wisdom with you.  These questions bring you to embody what you are feeling and experiencing in the moment. It is this listening to our bodies intuition that is a great place to begin the journey. Also because the first chakra IS your body!  Your physical body.  First chakra pertains to the feet, legs, and pelvic floor, but it embodies your entire physical form.  

First chakra is all about survival, physical health, materialism, grounding, trust, stability, and prosperity.  So, you can imagine eating healthfully, exercising, doing breath work, and more, are all great actions you can take to support health in your first chakra. And there’s the first chakra word, ‘support’!  Muladhara Chakra, “root support” wheel of life force.

More aspects of the first chakra are:
-The right to be here.
-The right to have.
-Its “shadow” side is fear.
-Element related to muladhara chakra is Earth.
-Animals are the elephant and ox.
-Vowel, emanating sound, of first chakra is the long “o”, like in ‘home’, or ‘hope’, which happen to be two more first chakra words!
-Bij mantra for first chakra is “Lam”, pronounced like “lum”. Repeat it in your minds eye to bring universal life force into you muladhara chakra.
-Development stage of life is in utero and until about the age of around 12 months; but it can be focused upon again when we leave home, or when we loose stable foundations in our lives.  It could even be when we travel because we need to make sure our basic survival needs will be met.
-Excessive qualities are heaviness, monotony, hoarding, materialism, greed, fear of change, rigid boundaries. So, you would work to move energy out from this chakra, such as using its vowel sound.
-Depleted qualities can show up as restlessness, fearful, undisciplined, spacey, poor boundaries.
Roots can mean your physical form, and it can mean your family ancestry, your past memories, and even your own inner foundations. What “support systems” have you implemented in your life so that you feel you are safe and welcomed and always supported in this world?  Is it family, friends, a garden you tend to, and supportive affirmations you speak to yourself?  I hope so.  May you always remember how the Universe supports you always! Perhaps you use the seed sound, bij mantra, of this chakra to bring energy into it.

Here are some first chakra affirmations as offered by Anodea Judith, whom I have studied under and who has written many great books on the chakras;
“I am Here and I am Real”
“I am immersed in abundance”
“I love my body and trust its wisdom”
“It is safe for me to be here”
“The Earth supports me and meets my needs”

There is SO much more we went thru in our classes, and SO much more I could write here, but for now, I just want to get your “wheels” turning! Like how I did that, lol! 😉

Here are some ideas you might implement this week to support your root suport:
1. Practice trust. Whether towards yourself, your intuition, or someone else.
2. Listen to your body.
3. Nourish ALL your senses in one way or another.
4. Dive into your family history.
5. Create a healthful boundary where you need one.
6. Do something that you have wanted to do but are afraid to do.
7. The bioenergetic experiences we used in the classes.
8. Try my meditation below that came to me in my Saturday restorative yoga class!:

Muladhara Meditation:
Get quiet. If possible, ly down and let your body rest. Close your eyes.
Physically let go.  Allow all your muscles to release, and enjoy the weight of your body on the Earth.  Let gravity be your grounding friend for a moment. 
Begin to take long deep breaths, experiencing the energy of these breaths within your whole self.
In your minds eye, as best you can, imagine yourself as an infant.  Precious, new, tiny, and peaceful.
You are swaddled in a blanket made of the cosmos, and the stars are softly singing your name like a lullaby.  You are a seed of possibility and hope.  You are light and love itself as the Universe cradles you in its arms.  Breathe deeply, and rest in its safe support.
Rest here as long as you need, envisioning the blanket of the cosmos and watching yourself as the precious, little one that you are, and will always be.  
When you feel a natural ending, give thanks to the Universe for such support, and give thanks to yourself for your efforts in giving love to your first chakra.

If you ever need support from me, let me know. 🙂
Let me know how your journey goes!  And, let me know if you would ever want to go even deeper in the chakras with me?!  I have an idea that is brewing, so give me some feedback and let me know if you would join me in that deeper dive.

This newsletter was already too long, so if you wanted any of the quotes from class, email me privately with the essence of the one you wanted and I will send it. 

Breathe and Believe.

True Love/Understaning/Buddha

I could tell you all about that moment along the Hudson River.  The room I was renting out at the time in Washington Heights, NYC.  The number of sunsets I watched and didn’t watch because I was out dancing and performing, rehearsing, or working. I could tell you all about my coffee shop job(shout out to my dearest friends who are still with me since those Oren’s Daily Roast days), and how I slowly said goodbye to it as I started teaching yoga.  I could tell you stories of failure, heartbreak, success, confusion, uncertainty, love, loss, and more. That was over ten years ago and pre-marriage, miscarriage, and children.  Why am I telling you this?  You’ll see…

 

For now, pause, one of those “sacred pauses”, as I call them, where you put everything down. Close your eyes(after you read the following instructions, lol!), and take some slow, deep breaths. Let go of all your thoughts, and empty out. Now, for a moment, consider HOW FAR YOU’VE COME.  The past hour, the past day, the past week.  Consider how far you have come in the past month, 6 months, and year.  And, continue considering how far you’ve come, but in a way that CELEBRATES HOW FAR YOU’VE COME.  Journal it if you can.  And then, come back here to read the rest. 😉

 

Did you celebrate some amazing events?  Some positive experiences?  Did you celebrate how you made it thru difficulty?  How you navigated stormy waters without capsizing? I hope so. Don’t worry if this was a hard practice at first. Give yourself another attempt tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.  Because I am a believer in acknowledging how far we’ve come. I believe it can be an enlightening practice where we get to become more aware of who we are and how we are; how we make decisions and the ways in which we move in the world.  I believe it can support us in truly understanding ourselves in all dimensions. And isn’t that the path of yoga!  To know thy Self.  To become Self-realized, and to fully understand who we are, in that “I am That” and “That I Am”.

 

For those reasons above, that is why it was our meditation in this weeks classes during savasana and final relaxation to contemplate “how far you’ve come”.  And to celebrate it.

 

It all started with this quote from Buddha, “True love is born from understanding.”  He also said, “If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another.”  I applied this to self-love.

 

If we are to truly love our Self, then we must understand our Self and self better.  We must start at the beginning, to even offer our Self time, space, and effort to journey into the ‘getting to know ones self’!  And to continually show compassion and consideration towards our Self in the journey as we get to know our Self more fully.

 

Just like a journey into the center of the Earth, the journey into the core of our own Being will hold barriers that need to be drilled threw, and hot molten lava that is going to burn us.  But, the Universe has equipped us with ALL we will need in this adventure/process/journey!  And, the burning away holds great power in burning away our unsupportive thoughts and actions. 

 

Rumi wrote, “Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

 

Yoga tells us we have all we need within us.  We will always be able to withstand the ‘heat’, the ‘depths’, and then the resurfacing, or call it a resurrection, the Phoenix from the ashes, or the “Great Remembering” of who we Are, as I call it.  “Great Remembering” because who we are at our core has never changed and will never change.  We Are Bright, We Are Luminous, We Are Light, We Are Love, We Are That, which at best is indescribable and unnameable! 

 

Interesting I am talking about lava, because all this week my family has been watching this WONDERFUL song about love, I mean, lava, I mean love you, I mean, lava you!
ENJOY! WATCH HERE!

 

Breathe and Believe.

Hafiz: Jim Crotty: Poetry and Yoga

First of all, if you have never seen the photography of Jim Crotty, PLEASE go see it HERE!  He is absolutely amazing in his work and also has a deep, spiritual heart. So, I also recommend following his writings in LinkedIn or Facebook.  He is an award-winning, published photographer whom I have the honor of calling my friend!

Let’s begin.  With that moon in Jim’s photograph. Circular, magnificent, ethereal!  I asked permission to use this photo because when I saw it, it really spoke to me.  It also seemed to be a beautiful addition to the words we heard from the Sufi Poet, Hafiz, in our classes this week.

“The place you are right now God circled on a map for you.”-Hafiz

He also wrote this poem, to which I will attempt to write it in the form I first saws it:
All the Hemispheres
Leave the familiar for a while.

Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season

Onto the meadow and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.

Make a new watermark on your excitement

And love.

Like a blossoming night flower, 

Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness

And giving

Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence

Lie beside an equator

In your heart.

Greet Yourself

In your thousand other forms

As you mount the hidden tide and travel

Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven

Are sitting around a fire

Chatting

While stitching themselves together

Into the Great Circle in side of 

You.  -Haifz

Such imagery I receive when I read these words.  Such grace and peace I feel.  Such freedom and welcomeness I receive.  I love when yoga and poetry come together!  And so, we embodied circles and hemispheres and the ‘equator in our hearts’!  We moved in complete circular flows on our mats and became the Infinite.  We used the sacred geometry of our bodies and allowed them to ‘stretch out’.  Our movements created a mandala, geometric pattern that represents the cosmos.  And where we were became a Mandala, a map representing the temples of our bodies.

May you remember and explore your Self this week in all your hemispheres, geometry, and sacredness.  And, no matter what your circumstances in life at this moment, will you allow yourself to feel that God circled this place for you?  That you have a right to be here? That you have a purpose on this Earth?  Because YOU DO!  

Breathe and Believe.

Allow, Patience, Leafless Trees

Do you have a favorite word? Words?  One of my favorite words is ‘allow’.

Definition of allow: 1. To give (someone) permission to do something. 2. To give the necessary time or opportunity for.

As I continued to consider this term again in my life, another word kept popping up.  That word was ‘patience’.  

Definition of patience: The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

I found it of no surprise when I allowed myself to heed the call from my intuition that Mark Nepo’s book, ‘The Book of Awakening’, was calling me over.  I opened it, read the days passage, and cried.  Yes, cried because it’s something I needed to hear.  It was something my own heart needed a reminder of; of abundance and of being enough, and of the light and being carried. *Note: I am giving select parts from the book.

“”If you can’t see what you’re looking for, see what’s there.”
One of the most difficult things for us to accept is that beneath all our dreams and disappointments, we live and breathe in abundance.  It is hard when in pain to believe that all we ever need is before us, around us, within us.  And yet it is true.

Like leafless trees waiting for morning, something as great and as constant as the Earth holds us up and turns us ever so slowly toward the light. Our task is only to be rooted and patient.”

He goes on to write, “Mysterious as it is–no matter our pain or excitement, our drama or circumstance–all that we could hope for is here.  We lack nothing.

The humble challenge of being human is not in agreeing or disputing this truth.  That is as fruitless as arguing against gravity.  Our humble way, if we can open it, is to root ourselves beneath the thousand dreams and excuses that keep us from the ground we walk.  Time and again, we are asked to outlast what we want and hope for, in order to see what’s there.  It is enough.”

As I led the physical parts of my yoga classes this week, I really tried to support everyone in embracing this message.  I invited them, as I always do, but especially this week, to allow themselves to rest when needed, AND to move into postures where they want to go, even if I had not cued it.  So, to really allow themselves to follow the light within, to move to embody their desires, needs, and wishes, and simultaneously remembering that as they gave themselves the NECESSARY time and opportunity to do so, that no matter what happened, they were enough/they had all they needed within them self/they ARE the Light!

To allow our practices, whether physical, breath, meditation, or anything else uplifting, to guide us towards the light is a blessing.  We might not always be able to see the growth, I know I don’t, but it is there. We can trust that.  But, can we do so with patience?  Without getting upset, without allowing anxiety to rush in when we haven’t completed something we want/need to do?  When we haven’t accomplished something that someone else has?  When we don’t have what someone else has, whether we need it or not? 

Can we allow all things to grow by giving that necessary time and opportunity?  

Can we just allow our own lives to unfold within the light!? Can we allow our practice to unfold and trust the the ‘Earth’?  Can we allow our lives to unfold into the flow of the Universe?  Can we do this and allow ourselves to not turn our back to the Light when we perceive failure?  Can we do this and not turn our back on our Self?  Can we have the patience to see what happens?  Even when we are called to action, can we have patience that things will turn our as they will?  Can we keep being like the tree, so supported by the constant Earth, carried towards the sun?

You don’t need my permission, go!  Love!  Be!  Allow! Grow!  And, remember your abundance today and always!  You lack nothing!

Mark Nepo’s Meditation:
-Choose a favorite tree or plant, and though you may not see anything, watch it grow.
-Know that as you watch it grow, the Earth is carrying it toward the sun.
-Imagine yourself as such a tree or plant.
-Close your eyes and know that though you may not see anything, you are growing, and that something larger than you is carrying you toward the light.

Breathe and Believe.

Trust in Bryant Park, NYC

We can never imagine how the practice of trust will show up in our lives. And, yet, we can practice it daily. Towards our Self, the Divine, and to others.  It can certainly feel difficult at times, but, as in yoga, with practice, it becomes easier.  And, it is said that when we trust ourselves more, it is easier to trust others.  

Take that picture above, do you see the teacher?  If you look almost dead center, you can see her standing, and it looks as if her top is white.  If you guessed its me, you’re right. That was a free yoga class offered in Bryant Park in 2012.  I had been asked weeks before if I wanted to teach one of these open classes, and of course I said yes!  It was one of the, if not THE, largest class I have taught to date!   I have no idea, maybe 200 people?  Can you imagine?  I was terrified and thrilled all at once!  I had to wear one of those “Brittany Spears” microphone headsets so my voice would be projected out to the yogis and everyday New Yorkers just eating in the park.  Yet, I knew I could do it.  How did I know?  I prepared an all levels class because I had no idea the types of bodies I would be teaching.  And, I also made it all levels so that eveyone would be able to enjoy the class and make it theirs to explore.  I trusted myself, and I trusted those in attendance would make their practice the healthful dance they for themselves that they needed in that moment.  It was amazing. But, more than anything, as happens every time I teach, I trust God.  I trust that Source will use me as a vessel for healing, connection, and service for peace, love, and healing.  I trust that so deeply.  I trust the words will come, the movements will connect, and that things will turn out fine.  Yes, I prepare also, AND I trust and surrender.

But that story is small bits to bigger things in life for all of us. Like I said before, I knew I could teach that class because I trust Source. I trust that God is always working in me and others.  See divine grace blog here.  And, though I wont diminish my own feelings in the story above, what happens when when we are suffering? When we feel things are falling apart?  When we experience a great loss?  How do we trust then?  What do we trust?…

Here is where the very definitions of trust can come in handy.  I had never actually gone to look for the definitions.  When I read them, I was blown away, for the first words in the definitions are ‘to blieve’, and ‘belief in’. Wow. I mean, my company IS called ‘Breathe and Belive’, lol!

Trust, noun, definiton: “firm blief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.”
Trust, verb, definition: “to believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of.” -Oxford

I started this weeks classes off with the definitions and asked everyone to begin the practice to trust themselves. We also explored what it would mean and feel like to trust our bodies, our hearts, our intuition, and that divine grace within.  We heard these quotes:

“Trust is not an obsession, it’s an extension of love.  When we truly love someone, we give them our heart to hold in their hands.  And, when that love is returned, that very trust is balm to our souls.” -Julie Lessman.  What if you offered this trust/love to yourself as well?

“Don’t let insecure thoughts ruin something amazing.” -Kushandwizdom.tumblr.com.  I just really liked this one in relationship to trust!

“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water.  When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown.  Instead you relax, and float.”-Alan Watts.  How beautiful.  Each time I read this in savasana, corpse pose, I was feeling how the ‘water’ is the Divine.

What do you trust, dear reader?  You trust your toothpaste is cleaning your teeth?  Do you trust your yoga mat loves you no matter what?  Do you trust your whole self completely?  Feel free to write and let me know.

Breathe and Believe. *Amazing, believe, haha. Trust.*