Archives for posts with tag: anahata

I have not been writing for a long time. I do not know but I think this is a process. I have quit writing for some time, calmed my mind down and started writing again. Can I manage to go on writing without any intervals from this day on? I do not know that. I am not thinking about the future. I just wanted to write now and now I am in front of my computer,

Actually there are many things to write. Many experiences I gained in my classes. All physical, emotional and mental but I cannot make up my mind, relax and calm my mind down in order to write. Today is the right time and now I am writing.

A student who is interested in energy came to the class recently. Even though she wants to join every yoga class, she cannot since that class is taking place at an office during lunch time. Therefore sometimes some students can join and sometimes they cannot. When I woke up that morning, I was sure that this student would show up in class. It was the new moon time and I planned to do something related with the new moon. But in fact, I wanted this student who is dealing with healing and energy to do this. We had earlier talked about such plans but did not schedule any time. That morning I woke up and said, “this is the day.” I knew that the student was not always showing up in class but I had the instinct that she would that day. I was not wrong,

When I was about to enter the gym hall we were practicing, that student was getting out of the hall. She said, “teacher, I am coming today. I will join the class.” I said, “I had known that you were coming. I felt it because I would ask you to heal us if every one agrees. It is the new moon, new beginnings and for everything new.” The student could not object us and accepted the offer.

We began with meditation. Every one sat in a comfortable position. We wore socks and put on blankets in order not to be affected by the cold and the mind which could be affected by the cold. We began the healing with “Gayatri Mantra”, which has always been my favorite. I closed my eyes, focused on my breath, began watching my inhales and exhales and I relaxed my body. I leaned on a wall to feel more comfortable. I had been teaching yoga for so long time that I had forgotten to “take.” I was just giving energy but not receiving any. I reallly was in need of “taking” and “receiving.”

The new moon was happening in Taurus and its planet was Venus. So, we would work on “svadhisthana” (sacral) and “anahata” (heart) chakra, the student said. Listening to mantras and guided by the students, our bodies, minds and souls were flowing. My breath was calm and even stopped, I remember. I could not feel my body as if I had no body. There were colors and geometrical shapes in front of my minds. I thanked god, “my brain waves were moving from beta (stress mode) to alpha (meditation and savasana mode). This was the last thing I realized. Then I let myself totally be present with the mantras, the knowledge of my student and the flow. When mantras were following each other, the shapes and colors in front of my eyes changed. First two red lines came from right and left and hit each other in middle. Then colors softened and turned to parliament blue and just blue. I could not keep my head straight and still. It was dropping to right, left, front and back. Then there was no body. I was like flying. Some say that people rise from the floor when practicing yoga and meditation, which I have not witnessed myself, but if you ask if I had been off the floor, yes I would say I had that day. When my eyes were closed and my body was so light and listening to those mantras, I felt so light. As if I was a feet above the floor. That was really what I felt.

We laid down in “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose) at the end of the healing. When we were resting, the student came beside us. When she was with me, I felt energy spreading to my entire body from my crown chakra (sahasrara), from the top of my head up to the tips of my toes. I shrank and felt a vibration on my body as if my body was electrified. It was an unbelievable and amazing experience. I had not felt such an energy for a long time. Since I was a person who was always giving energy but forgetting to get, this healing was so fruitful and beneficial to me. I think energy givin people should sometimes remember themselves and join such practices.

I did not want to wake up after “savasana.” Unfortunately it was time to return to the real world and get away from that peaceful world. The student said,” actually it is not the right time to do this healing because the new moon has not been realized yet. It is about to happen one and a half hours and the effects will be better then. Normally I would not do this healing before the new moon happens because you cannot healed enough and benefit from it. But I felt that everybody needed this practice and therefore I did it. I had not thought that the outcome would bso good. Actually the moon has not entered the new moon phase and I could not be so giving and fruitful but I think that this is because you were so willing and in need of this energy and therefore we all benefitted. I am so glad.”

After that day, I made up my mind that I would start “taking” and “receiving” from time to time. In order for the cycle to operate well, we should sometimes take not always give. It was necessary to keep the give-take cycle equal. Neither giving more nor taking more. And one should always get healed, purified, refreshed, renewed and give time to herself/himself for peace and to try different practices.

My favorite yoga classes were those on backbends before and after I became a yoga instructor. When the teacher said “we would practice wheel (urdhva dhanurasana) or bow (dhanurasana)” in the days I was joining yoga classes as a student , I think I was the happiest person in that class. When I backbended as I stretched my chest and shoulders, I would feel not only physical relief but also emotional and spiritual relief. I felt the same after I had become a yoga instructor. Whenever I picked a backbend as the peak pose of a class, I could never know how time flew. It seemed that I had a special connection with backbends. Maybe because backbends were reflecting the emotion of love and affection or maybe what attracted me was bending to the unknown. The physical benefits of the asanas were enough for me. Moreover their spiritual emotions were an extra benefit.

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In my previous posts, I have mentioned that I re-started to be interested in yoga philosophy recently. Unfortunately, I had been away from philosophy in daily routine and busy schedule. I have forgotten how indispensable philosophy is for yoga classes. I have started to brend philosophy into my classes in recent days. Focusing on chakras was one of the best ways to do that. It was “anahata chakra”s (heart chakra) turn in last week’s private and group classes.

According to a book I was reading, heart chakra was the place where “compassion” lived. If the chakra was not functioning well, we could easily feel afraid and anxious. We could transform from the concept of “I” to the concept of “we” through this chakra. Every emotion was coming out of heart chakra and we were the ones to decide on whether to show good or bad emotions. Therefore, “anahata chakra” was the most dangerous part of the body. If there was an imbalance in this chakra, that person could be overdependent to anything or anybody. If fear prevails a person instead of love due to an imbalance in heart chakra, that person could be afraid of losing the loved ones and thus start protecting him/her and regard his/her needs over hers/his. In order for this chakra to work well, a person should learn to love himself/herself. A person who loves himself/herself could also love others. Loving ourselves was so easy: “One can start loving himself/herself by just taking a deep breath.” Love was the opposite of fear and gratitude was a way to get rid of fear. When you really feel grateful, you could not fear anything. The most striking point of the book on “anahata chakra” was its pointing out that being worried was a choice. “How important was the thing you were feeling worried about? What’s the use of that worry for me?” When we stop for a while and think on these questions, we can see that the thing we are feeling worried about are not so important at all.

Let’s get back to my private and group classes on “heart chakra.” In my previous classses in which I focused on heart and backbends, I only talked about the physical benefits of asanas. After giving more importance to philosophy, I decided to talk about emotional benefits of backbends. Therefore, we began the class with a different meditation. We joined palms in the prayer pose (anjali mudra), lifted the hands between the eyebrows and put the thumbs in-between the eyebrows. Thus, we started meditating. We thought of something we were grateful for when inhaling and held the breath and when exhaling, we gave out the fear and worry. We tried to bring peace to our hearts with this meditation.
In the private class, we focused an a few more meditation. One of them was to inhale through the nose and exhale totally through the mouth. Then inhaling through the nose and exhaling totally through the nose. When exhaling through the nose, chanting “Sat Nam” (Truth is God’s name. Truth is my identity) in our minds. The aim was to overcome all hostile emotions and replace them with compassion. After practicing abdominal breath and focusing particularly on exhaling, we joined the hands straight in front and opened them to the sides in order to open heart chakra. Thus, the chest stretched. Last meditation was to chant “hummmm” (we) mantra and then we started “vinyasa” flows.
We should open the chest, shoulders and quadriceps muscles as the peak pose would be “urdhva dhanurasana” (wheel).  We backbended in “tadasana” (mountain pose) and we stayed long in “bhujangasana” (cobra). Oıther preparatory poses were “ashva sanchalanasana” (high lunge), “uttan pristhasana” (lizard), “half saddle”, “urdhva mukha svanasana” (upward facing dog), “camatkarasana” (wild thing) and “sphinx”. When it was time to try the peak pose, a good idea came into my mind. So that we had focused on philosophy and emotions through the class, why didn’t we do the pose in a new way we had not tried before? The theme of the class was to backbend, love more, overcome fear and increase compassion. So why didn’t we fall into “wheel” from “mountain pose” and try to overcome the fear of bending to the unknown? “Fear”, “overcome”, “backbend” and “urdhva dhanurasana.” What could I want more?
As it was a private class, I was standing beside the student. I placed my hands on her lower back. She took a deep breath, she straightened all her spinal curves and extended her spine (axial extension), she rolled her shoulders back and fell into wheel. When she got into wheel totally, I left her alone with her own experience and she enjoyed going to the unknown and stretching her chest in wheel. The end of the class was obvious. After neutralizing the spine with two forwardbends and twists, we ended the class with “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose).
In the group class, we did the first meditation where we kept the hands in prayer pose and placed the thumbs between the eyebrows. Then we sat in a cross-legged position, stretched the “scapula” (shoulder blades) with “garudasana” (eagle) arms. In order to stretch the same part of the body and soften the shoulder girdle, we interlaced hands at the back of the body and bended forward as we distanced the arms from the bodies. Lastly, we stretched the shoulder girdle with “gomukhasana” (cow face) hands.
We warmed the bodies up on all-fours. We stretched the heart region with “vyaghrasana” (tiger) and activated the spine with “marjaryasana-bitilasana” (cat-cow stretch). We warmed the bodies more with “vinyasa” flows and practiced “bhujangasana” (cobra), “ashva sanchalanasa” (high lunge), “uttan pristhasana” (lizard), “half saddle”, “urdhva mukha svanasana” (upward facing dog), “camatkarasana” (wild thing) and “sphinx” in-between vinyasa flows in order to stretch the chest and quadriceps muscles. We bended back in “tadasana” (mountain pose) to stretch the chest more. In order to stretch shoulder muscles, we interlaced hands in “uttanasana” (standing forward bend) and tried to distance arms from the body. In order to open heart chakra more and more, we tried “salambhasana” (locust) variations. Only lifting the arms, only lifting the legs, lifting both legs and arms at the same time, swinging in locust pose.
“Dhanurasana” (bow) was the peak pose of the group class. The class had different alternatives for this pose also. Only lifting the legs, only lifting the chest, lifting both of them. Lifting both legs and chest and waiting in this pose for a few breaths, then swinging the body to the right and left (parsva dhanurasana–side bow pose).
After all these backbends and experiencing the emotions that came with opening the chest and opening the heart to love those around us more, we neutralized the bodies in “dandasana” (staff pose) and bend the spine forward with “janu sirsasana” (head to knee pose). We twisted the spine with “marichyasana” (Sage Marichy twist). We laid supine, pulled the knees to the chest and rolled the spine to right and left (apanasana) and relaxed the body more with “jathara parivartanasana” (abdominal twist). Now it was time for a long “savasana”.
Following “savasana”, we sat in a cross-legged position to once more practice the “gratitude” meditation we did at the beginning of class. Taking a deep breath and thinking of something we were grateful for, holding the breath, and when exhaling throwing a worry or fear out of our bodies. How did I end the private and group classes? We wished to replace fear and worry with compassion. To kill “I” and become “we” through “anahata chakra” and to get from individual consciousness to divine love by establishing a connection with the Supreme.