Archives for posts with tag: depression

I was leafing through my yoga literature while contemplating my upcoming yoga class on the 3rd chakra, Manipura Chakra. Associated with the color yellow as in the tip of a flame, this chakra correlates with the element of fire and is involved in self-esteem and the power of transformation. Churning movements of the belly can help balance this area where the spleen and liver reside, enhancing digestion and personal power. We can literally and figuratively “digest “ things in life better when this area is balanced.

This center is our seat of self-power or how we view ourselves. Every time we judge or criticize ourselves we weaken this center. When it is weak, we may find ourselves coasting through life without motivation. In the winter months, especially, I resonate with this apathetic feeling. It’s cold outside and my business is slow. Even though I have more time to practice yoga and meditation, I slump deeper into the drudgery and put off those daily practices that nourish me and keep me feeling alive.

As I read, I come across a description I had not heard before. According to Wikipedia, this chakra is the site of deep belly laughter. We all know where that is, don’t we? Deep belly laughing has to be my favorite thing to do. It is one of the reasons I like hanging out with my family. My mom, brothers and sister are natural comedians. No matter what the circumstance, each one’s viewpoint always has a unique comedic twist. What a gift! Even though from the same genes, I tend to be more serious and not as funny, but I really appreciate those who are and like being around them!

A few years ago, I ruled out watching anything violent on television. This decision wiped out many choices with so much violence on shows and especially the news. I would have difficulty sleeping thinking about all the killings I had witnessed on the small screen. Recently, I decided to take a cue from my brother David who, before work, would watch old episodes of Get Smart. For those too young to remember, Get Smart aired in the 60’s and centered around Maxwell Smart a bumbling secret agent, assigned to foil KAOS’, (an international organization of evil), latest plans for taking over the world. Invariably, Smart’s bumbling antics got him in trouble. He had a “shoe” phone, which was probably the first known cell phone (or should I say “sole” phone?)

It’s interesting to note that simply writing about this program makes me feel lighter. I laugh as a few episodes come to mind thinking more about my brother’s contagious belly laugh more than the show. Nowadays, I watch anything funny on TV from Modern Family to old episodes of Gilligan’s Island. I listen to Comedy Radio in the car, thanks to my sister, Kathy.

I happened to catch Oprah’s interview of Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest on Super Soul Sunday this week. Fr. Rohr talked about our true self versus our ego self. He said a true sign that we are functioning from our ego self is when we feel offended by someone’s actions or words. Our pure essence can never be offended. It is what we are, pure and perfect, our “inner diamond”. When Oprah asked how to best manage our reactive tendencies, which are innately part of being human, he said, just laugh about it. Be light in the recognition that something in our ego self is being triggered. That even with all our faults, our true essence is unchanging and connected to Source.

I look forward to class this week. I hope to introduce the lightness of being and encourage “fun” in balancing the Manipura Chakra, which means “City of Jewels.” One of the gems of this energy center is to live life fully, with enhanced will power and self esteem. I hope to not let another day pass by languishing in disengagement and laziness but instead thrive in feeling of love, purpose, and the pleasure of a good belly laugh.

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…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.