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It is synchronistic that this week in yoga class we will be working on the 5th chakra, the throat chakra, the very same week the Academy Awards will be airing. The 5th chakra, Vishuddha, pertains to speaking our truth. The movie world is an art form that can send many messages through the power of words. Are these movies being lauded sending messages we need to hear? It is in the throat chakra that we find our authentic voice, that is, what we are meant to say during our time on earth. I am looking forward to seeing which movies resonated with the masses.

            “Words are not a small thing. Words are the real power.

The whole universe is a magnetic field.

If we create positive words, we feel love,

If we create negative words, we feel hatred.

-Yogi Bhajan

            The Fifth chakra includes our neck and shoulders, mouth, nose and ears. How many of us have issues in this area? I know I do. I’ve walked around with a tight neck and shoulders most of my life. I think that this chakra was affected by messages I received early on to “be quiet and nice and people will like you”. I think many of us received similar messages.

During my work in massage therapy, I find so much tightness in my clients in the muscles of the neck and head, especially around the jaw. It is like a vice, closing off the free movement of the mandible, as words and opinions are held back. When this area is closed off more and more, the risk of addictions increases. Addictions can range from alcohol, and drugs to smoking and overeating. The shadow emotion is denial. As we deny what out true voice is, we tend to find other ways to separate ourselves from our soul’s voice, which leads to depression and a lackluster life.

“When you speak, it should be as if Infinity is speaking.”

-Yogi Bhajan

             I was intrigued when I heard about Dr. Emoto’s work when I watched the film What the Bleep in 2006. Dr. Emoto decided to study how thoughts and words affected the formation of distilled water crystals. He typed words onto paper, and then taped the paper onto glass bottles overnight.

Thank you ‘Love and appreciation’ ‘You make me sick, I will kill you’

The water exposed to positive words such as “thank you,” “love and gratitude” formed beautiful geometric symmetry when frozen, unlike words “You make me sick” or “I will kill you” formed dark misshapen crystals. Just imagine what harsh words do to our bodies, which are about 85% water? How many negative things do we tell ourselves throughout the day or say to others throughout our life. You know as well as I do that a harsh word said over 10 years ago can still carry the same potent sting as it did on that very day it was uttered. It may take a lot of practice and patience to change those knee jerk reactions of harmful responses, but it is definitely worth it. I am sure that living of life full of grace and peace is much more gratifying than one with drama and hate.

So, what can we do? Begin today to change the inner conversation. When a harsh thought comes up about the way you look or think, replace it with an opposite, positive one. Make it a daily practice and it will become a new habit. How we think about ourselves directly affects how we treat others, the domino effect of love breeding love.

“To know you is to love you and I do.”

Bobby Vinton

            A simple thing I did is based on Dr. Emoto’s work. I have the words love and gratitude taped on my Brita water pitcher at work. Just recently I added a Vitajuwel gem wand filled with amethyst gemstones (exposing the water to beautiful gemstones is also based on Emoto’s work to enhance the energy of the water). My clients love it and so do I. Drinking water that has been enriched energetically is powerful. It also inspires me to drink more water, which is good thing!

What other ways can we empower the 5th chakra? Perhaps it is as easy as starting to open up this area physically by doing slow fluid neck circles. Warming up the neck and at the same time massaging the thyroid and parathyroid glands to bring balance back into the body and mind. Along with the movement, allow a tone to be released. Gurmukh in her book The Eight Human Talents (1997) suggests chanting the mantra “Ong”.

Ong (Infinity in its most creative form)

Breathe in and out deeply though your nose a few times

Scrunch your shoulders up tightly to you ear, and then relax and lower your shoulders (5 times)

Close you eyes and roll you head around to the right and to the left, inhaling and exhaling through the nose.

Bring you head back to neutral.

Focus between the eyebrows (the third eye)

Chant “Ong” Curl the tongue and press the back of the tongue against the back of the throat firmly.

Practice 3-7 minutes.

You will begin to feel a slight buzz in the back of the throat.

            Enjoy the effects. Allow your voice to be free. As you begin to find your authentic voice again, you will find other areas of creativity being cultivated beyond the spoken word such as painting, drawing, and photography. Cultivate kind thoughts, make it a daily practice, and watch the world around you become loving and alive. Unite with your inner Wisdom, your True Voice. The world is waiting to hear your song, your message of love, your own wonderful award-winning life film.

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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.

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!