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As I prepare to teach a yoga class for the first chakra, I review Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa’s chapter on the first chakra in his intriguing book Meditation as Medicine (2009). I am curious and can’t help but smile at his description of “consciousness constipation” to reflect those of us with stuck energy in the first chakra. When this occurs, people become fixated on physical survival at the expense of spiritual survival. Health, money, and status are a constant worry. Feelings of isolation ensue as negative emotions such as jealousy, anger, and greed surface.

The first chakra is about elimination. Physically, it relates to the bowel, specifically the descending colon, sacrum, lower spine, rectum, and anus. Inadequate elimination of toxins can lead to a variety of health problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, and chronic constipation in addition to more systemic diseases.

I have been told in many of my mind/body classes that our bodies are windows to our emotional and spiritual blockages; physical ailments perhaps reflecting the “consciousness constipation” that Dr. Singh Khalsa writes about.  We get stuck in unhealthy habits and beliefs as we try to navigate through life. Perhaps we can go within and undo the tightness (or looseness) of our innards as we release our rigid thinking that keeps us bound up.

Tomorrow’s class will incorporate the Healthy Bowel Kriya as an exercise to physically promote the health of the colon followed by a meditation to release anger and a mantra to support bowel health.

These exercises are easy to do every day and promote acceptance and neutrality along with a sense of wellbeing. We benefit from the elimination of negative thoughts and bad habits as well as a healthier functional bowel. Our sense of security comes from having a strong sense of self in contrast to the weak, threatened identity laden with security fears and feelings of lack.

How do you view the health of your first chakra?  Every party has a pooper, maybe it will be you?

Kundalini Yoga Classes offered at Fit, 62 Rockford Road, Wilmington  Wednesdays 6:30 p.m.

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I invited my class tonight to post their feelings, thoughts, and overall experience. I am teaching a three session Kundalini Yoga Class for the summer. I have been feeling a bit drab, perhaps the sweltering heat having much to do with this gloom.

Anyway, tonight we concentrated on balancing the adrenal glands and energizing the kidneys for detoxification. It is fun for me to experiment with all the poses offered in Kundalini. Some are recognizable universal hatha poses such as cat/cow and child’s pose. More often than not, however, the sequence of the night involves some type of pumping the body or gesticulations that are suppose to energize or subdue.  Tonight’s class was no exception as we created a lotus flower shape with our hands expanding our arms out then drawing them in repetitively.

It’s quite fun to feel the body awaken as the mind slips into an intoxicating lull. The poses are followed by a meditation; tonight’s an alternate nostril breathing exercise. The bonus for this series is the gong. The reverberations of the gong cause me to sink deeper in my bliss.

 

I look forward to hear about others’ experiences. I envision a time when I can share these classes on a much larger scale. It is tantalizing to think of the possibilities of connecting in large group. Regardless, I leave my small class with an expanded sense of community and love for all.

I look forward to a deep sleep followed by a day of true purpose and vision. I look forward to your thoughts.

This week, I began teaching Kundalini Yoga again. The yoga class highlighted balancing the pituitary gland. I always tell my class that I like teaching this set of poses since I learned that the pituitary usually shrinks as we age. Actually, the shrinking causes the aging as hormones diminish and bodily functions change. Can we really prevent this deterioration from occurring or at least slow it down? This set of postures includes a rapid shallow breath called the breath of fire, followed by simple inversions such as a forward bend from the standing or kneeling position. The intention of this pairing is to send energy to the area where the pituitary lies. In yoga, this area between the eyebrows is called “Ajna”, better known as the 3rd Eye or the 6th chakra.

The 3rd Eye is considered the seat of intuition and knowing. The upshot of fueling the pituitary is that it allows the clear thought and vision of Ajna to surface. These moments of awareness are tantalizing.  Like on that adorable AT&T commercial, “we want more, we want more!”

Last night I shared in a yoga class taught by 95 year-old Tao Porchon-Lynch. She incited the group to live life to the fullest. She to me exemplified the great life one can have when we allow ourselves to

“want more” for our lives or rather “expect more” for our lives. She awakens each day expecting the beauty and grace of life to surround her without limitations.  In fact, she is still competing in ballroom dance competitions although I suspect she always wins for her age group!

As I work to allow the surfacing of my own inner essence and knowing, I hope to participate in life fully. I know others are on similar paths. I would enjoy hearing your thoughts.

…if you are feeling unmotivated, depressed, or just a big sluggish.Here is my prescription for the week: shaking and dancing. Before you brush the idea off, thinking you’ll look or feel silly, hear me out.

Shaking and dancing are means of breaking patterns. Not just physical patterns, but mental and emotional ones as well. It is OK to feel embarrassed or doubtful when you first start doing this exercise but if you notice a postive change, keep doing it! Some people practice it daily, even more than once a day!

Start by playing music that you yourself really enjoy. It should be energetic, something that puts you in a good mood. It’s usually easier for people to move freely when they are enjoying the sounds around them.

I know that many people associate shaking with anxiety, or fear and that many people feel silly shaking voluntarily. But don’t. Shaking will help you release some tension and it may even energize you. That’s why you should consider this exercise even if you are feeling tired or fatigued. If your practice this regularly, it can also help you become more at ease and at home with your body.

After about five to ten minutes of shaking you can move onto five (or more!) minutes of dance!

Here’s how to go about this expressive meditation:

There are three parts: shaking, stopping and remaining still for a minute or two, and dancing.

Prepare a fast paced rhythmic song followed by dance music.

Begin by planting your feet shoulder-width apart, bending your knees slightly, relaxing your shoulders and breathing deeply. Then shake your whole body from your feet, through your knees, hips and shoulders, to your head. If you have physical limitations, shake to the best of your ability. You may need to shake slowly or while sitting down. Listen to your body. Do not push too hard.

Turn on some fast music:

Shake for seven to eight minutes. Then when the music stops freeze in place and just notice how you feel. Hold that pose and pay attention to your breathing and to your physical sensations. Begin playing your new music and let the music move you…in whatever way feels good and right.

During this exercise it helps to keep your eyes closed, so you can focus on yourself and your experience. Allow the music to move you. Dance your own unique dance for about five minutes. Don’t follow a particular pattern or dance step just let your body move as it will, freely and spontaneously.

Remember….there is no right way to do this. Just having the experience is all you need to do.

Now consider these questions:

What was it like to shake? For me it feels freeing and rejuvenating, especially when I wake up feeling overwhelmed about the day ahead.

What kinds of thoughts or feelings did you have? I realize how tight my muscles are. By the mere “letting go” action of shaking, I feel them loosen up. When my body opens up, so does my mind.

How did it feel to dance? I enjoy dancing. I always have. My mom and dad would dance every day when I was a child. No wonder they had such a great marriage.

How do you feel now? I am smiling. This exercise feels really good.

Do you notice any physical, mental, or emotional changes after this exercise? I feel much more excited about my day!

I feel connected to all of you who are shaking and dancing with me.

Please let me know about your experience with this exercise. Tune in next week for a new activity.

Have a great day.

Those who practice Kundalini know it as the Yoga of Awareness because of the effects that it has on the practitioner. It is a mental, spiritual, and physical activity that develops spiritual awarenss, improved mental focus and physical fitness, and increased individual consciousness. But how?

Kundalini Yoga is a combination of both yoga and meditation. It focuses on the ideas of upholding values, speaking the truth, and encompassing compassion for the self and others. The methodology is where it gets a bit tricky, especially if you’re new to yoga in general. I’ll break it down as simply as I can for you.

Technically, kundalini is a spiritual energy located at the base of the spine. Picture it as a serpant that is coiled up, resting. Sanskrit – Kundala – that which is coiled. The practice of Kundalini yoga is meant to awaken that serpant via six chakras and to pierce the seventh, “the crown.” A chakra is known essentially as a point of energy in the body. Most practitioners describe chakras as wheel-like or flower-like, meaning each of the seven have several aspects to them (spokes of a wheel or petals on a flower). Take a look –>  Ok, so imagine a serpant coiled up at the bottom and then slowly rising up by means of practicing Kundalini yoga until it reaches the crown. As the serpent awakens, so does your consciousness, awareness, mindfullness, happiness, you name it.

Some understand Kundalini Yoga to be a “tri-fold” experience. Depending on your instructor, it may pull techniques from Bhakti yoga (“spiritual practice for fostering love and devotion for a personal God”) for devotion, Shakti yoga (“to be able” – sacred force) for power, and Raja yoga (“royal union” – focus on meditation) for control.

Kundalini classes will vary in frequency depending on your instructor but the Kundalini journey is a daily life style. Those who are dedicated will practice daily kriyas, “powers of thought,” and meditation in sadhana. Sadhana is basically a means a accomplishing something.

Beyond the benefits already discussed regarding the practice of Kundalini Yoga, many people also experience what they describe as “pure joy, pure knowledge, and pure love.” It helps those who practice to get to know themselves in a deeper and purer way which then allows them to interact with others in a sincere and compassionate manner. The physical benefits are equally as rewarding as your body will become more fit and crave healthy options in other aspects of you life.

For information on my Kundalini Yoga class schedule please check out my website! www.wellnesswithinbe.com or email Becky at rebeccam@udel.edu to be added to my Yoga and Wellness mailing list!