Archives for posts with tag: kundalini
I had decided to focus on chakra balancing meditations instead of asana workout in my private and group yoga classes last week. I had taught chakra balancing flows in my private classes before but this would be the first time I would teach such a flow in my group classes. It was easier to experience chakra balancing meditation with a few people. How would I practice such a flow in a yoga classes attended by at least 15 people? Moreover, we were used to “yang” (male energy) classes with challenges asanas in my group classes. We had once focused on “ajna chakra” (third eye chakra) , tried “trataka kriya” (gazing at candle in order to silence the mind) and meditated. This chakra balancing flow would be our second meditative class with the same group. Let’s see how it would progress.
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We began the class with meditation. I asked the participants to watch their breath. To feel their inhales and exhales and what the inhales and exhales were doing to their bodies. How the breath was flowing in the body and what parts of the spine was moving with each inhale and exhale… How the spine extended with each inhale and how it grounded to the earth through sit bones with each exhale. How the chest was expanding with the inhales and how it was narrowing with the exhales… I recommended that they realize their bodies and silence the mind by watching their breath. “Do not squeeze your teeth. You may half open your mouth. Let your cheeks be relaxed. Now turn your attention between your eyebrows. Are they relaxed? Now once more watch your spine. If you feel as if you have collapsed, extend your spine with the next inhale but do not lift your chin. Continue keeping the chin parallel to the ground.” Before the flow began, I wanted to relax the class totally. Therefore, I kept the opening meditation long.
The chakra balancing flow is an asana and meditation workout including all seven chakras from the “muladhara chakra” (root chakra) to the “sahasrara chakra” (crown chakra). With this practice, the body was getting purified and relaxed with several asanas and “mantra”s (sacred syllables uttered to free the mind).
We began with “muladhara” (root) chakra. As how we were aligning the asanas from the feet to the top of the head, we would also practice the chakra balancing flow from the root to the top. “Muladhara chakra” was situated below the coccyx and regulates blood, bones and cells. It affects adrenal glands. Its color is red and the lotus blossom of this chakra has four pedals. The main symbol of “muladhara” chakra is elephant with seven trunks. It symbolizes the hidden wisdom in ourselves. Like how the roots of the lotus is mud, this chakra is our “mud.” The karmas of our past lives rests in this chakra. From these karma arise the happiness or unhappiness in our current lives. We plant a seed in this chaka with every move we make in this life and sooner or later this seed determines our fate. The snake named “kundalini” symbolizes the “shakti” (male energy) believed to be dormant in this chakra. The aim in chakra balancing flows is to wake up the “shakti” energy or “kundalini”, raise it to the top of the body and reach higher consciousness at the crown chakra. This chakra is the place of unconsciousness. It is dark. There can be valuables or dangerous snakes and scorpions in this chakra. The muladhara chakra may seem harmless but in fact it is dangerous. It can be neutralized, regulated and cleaned by the mantra “lam”.
As the “muladhara” is the root chakra, we should feel the energy of the earth beneath our feet when balancing this chakra. The aim is to get rid of fears and bring stability and balance to our lives. Therefore, we use standing asanas to purify this chakra in order to feel the earth beneath our feet.
We began the flow with “adho mukha svanasana” (downward facing dog). In each exhale, we tried to get rid of fear and in each inhale we invited balance and stability to our lives. By watching the breath in this pose, we thought about our home and expressed our happiness and gratitude to have a home. We sang the mantra “lam” when doing all this flow. Then, we got into “virabhadrasana I” (warrior I) with the right foot in the front and expressed our love, gratitute and prayers to our father. Then came “trikonasana” (triangle) to express gratitude to our source of income. With the left foot in the front, “virabhadrasana I” and “trikonasana” to express gratitude to our mothers and to our occupation respectively. When doing all these, we chanted the mantra “lam.” Finally we stood in “tadasana” (mountain pose) to re-connect with the earth. We closed our eyes and tried to feel balanced, stable and confident. We tried to stay balanced and feel the earth beneath the feet by keeping the eyes closed. Grounding, roots and balance…
After a “vinyasa” (fulow) we jumped from “adho mukha svanasana” to “dandasana” (staff pose). Now it was “svadisthana” (sacral) chakra’s turn. This chakra was situated between the coccyx and sacrum. In ancient times, kundalini was believed to seat in this chakra. However in time, this energy regressed to “muladhara” (root) chakra, i.e. to “unconsciousness” due to materalism and egoist behaviors. Its color is orange and it symbolizes sweetness and creativity. When progressing from the root to the second chakra, we are progressing from unconsciousness to subconsciousness. The consciousness that lies between sleeping and waking. The kundalini has waken up and reached the second chakra. However, it is face to face with a danger here. The jealousy, anger, greed and desires accumulated in the sacral chakra prevents “shakti” energy from moving to upper chakras. The energy is blocked here and can return to the root. The element of this chakra is water and being soft and flowing like the water is among the characteristics of this chakra. The animal symbol is crocodile, which represents the karma lying dormant in the subconscious. The crocodile is lazy and lethargic, but once it becomes active it develops enormous power and speed and can be extremely dangerous. This chakra can be balanced with the mantra “vam” and  lotus blossom of this chakra has six pedals. The affected organs are liver, spleen, intestines, kidneys and urinary bladder and the chakra affects sexual glands. We can regulate the “svadisthana” chakra with hip opening asanas.
Sitting in “dandasana”, we imaged that we left behind sorrow and brought creativity in our lives. We closed the eyes with hands, chanted the mantra “vam” and tried to feel the vibration of the mantra in our bodies. After chanting the mantra for a few breaths in this pose, we exhaled and got into “paschimottanasana” (sitting forward bend) and thought of an ex-lover. Or just an old buddy with whom we still have some issues. This person could be an ex-girlfriend, ex-boyfriend, an old business partner or an old loved one who has gone out of our lives. When staying in the pose, we cut all our ties with that person and expressed our gratitude to him/her chanting the mantra “vam.” A few breaths later, we got into “dandasana”, interlaced the fingers at the top of our heads and kept the hands like a gun. Inhaling we kept the spine straight and bent a little bit backward and exhaling we bent forward. In every exhale we chanted “vam.” The next pose was “janu sirsasana” (head to knee pose). In this pose, we imagined that we purified from all negative emotions like anger, sorrow, jealously and rage and resolved all our relations. When inhaling, we thought of such people in our lives and we expressed our gratitude and love for them when exhaling. Again with the mantra “vam.” Finally we sat in “baddha konasana” (bound angle pose). We inhaled and sent the breath to hips, groins and our internal organs related with the element water (kidneys, urinary bladder and sexual organs) and wished them to be cleaned.
Now it was “manipura” (naval) chakra’s turn. The Manipūra Chakra is situated in the middle of the abdomen behind the navel. The word “manipura” literally means the place of pearl, jewel. This chakra is related with self-confidence, determination and willpower. This is the seat of our consciousness. The “manipura” chakra is also related with our psychological issues. When we feel psychological problems, we can have stomach problems. When we are afraid or stressed or nervous, we can have stomachache or other stomach problems. The lotus blossom of this chakra has ten pedals and it affects spleen, liver, gall bladder, nervous system and pancreas. The affected glands are pancreas. The animal symbol is a fiery and lively animal, “ram”. Its color is yellow, the color of energy and light. Its element is fire and mantra is “ram.” We can regulate the “manipura” chakra with twists.
We began to balance the third chakra with “gomukhasana” (cow face pose). We twisted to the right and left to avoid anger and to ensure self-confidence. When inhaling we thought of some people we upset and when exhaling we apologized and got rid of guilt. We could not be happy by making other people happy. We should not harm anybody and therefore we should apologize to people who we hurt. We went on with “marichyasana” (sage Marichy pose) and felt grateful to have the opportunity to apologize to people whom we had hurt. We tried to re-build self-confidence by feeling that we have moved from unconsciousness to subconsciousness and from subconsciousness to consciousness. We had the power in ourselves, not out of our bodies. We should feel the power and strength in ourselves and we should do everything with determination and ambition chanting the mantra “ram.”
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It was now the third chakra’s turn: The “anahata” (heart) chakra literally meaning “unlimited”. It affects the heart, lungs, blood circulation and timus glands. Its color is green, light blue and pink and the lotus blossom of this chakra has twelve pedals. Our real self lives here. Our heart and conscience. The animal symbol of this chakra is black antelope, which is fast and powerful but at the same time sensitive and delicate. It can see dangers in advance thanks to its refined senses. It is awake day and night. When we start to live from the heart, when we listened to our heart and made decisions from the heart not the mind, we could see that life was easier. When we started to live from the heart, we could feel that the divine power and the infinite consciousness were speaking to us. The mantra of this chakra is “yam” and its element is air. We would balance it with backbends.
We began to regulate the “anahata” chakra with “sphinx” pose. In every inhale we invited love to our bodies and in every exhale we threw away hatred. When balancing this chakra, we remembered a person who had hurt us and we forgave them to free ourselves. When there were negative emotions in our bodies, we could not set ourselves free. Forgiving did not mean that we had forgotten what had done to us. It meant that we had avoided the negative energy created by those people and set ourselves free. Only this way we could move on. We could not take a step forward by being connected to the past agonies and sorrow. Forgiving meant liberalization. Liberalization meant stretching the chest and opening the heart.
In the “sphinx” pose, we inhaled and invited love and compassion to the bodies and we exhaled, thought of people who had hurt us and forgave chanting the mantra “yam.” The next heart opening asana was “dhanurasana” (bow pose). With this pose, we aimed to repair our broken hearts. Lefting behind what we had experienced and getting rid of their negative emotions. Letting go and surrendering. Re-opening our hearts to new experiences, new loves and new relations.
Getting into “adho mukha svanasana” (downward facing dog) for another time we re-connected our bodies with the elements earth, water, fire and air and the chakras of these elements by chanting the mantras and taking the energy from the ground and sending to all these four chakras… “Lam, vam, ram, yam.”
We kneeled down for “ustrasana” (camel pose) and once more reviewed all people who had hurt us and forgave them in each exhale. With “setu bandhasana” (bridge) or “urdhva dhanurasana” (wheel), we cleaned the heart, avoided negative karma, guilt, sorrow and pain, forgave what we had hurt us, inhaled just to become happier chanting the mantra “yam.”
We laid supine, hugged the knees in “apanasana” and expressed gratitude that we were alive and healthy. We relieved, relaxed and stretched the heart and chanted “lam, vam, ram, yam” for seven times.
Now it was time for the fifth chakra, “vishuddha” (throat) chakra. With the element “ether”, “vishuddha” chakra is located in the larynx and related with physical and spiritual purification. It affects throat and neck and tyroid and paratyroid glands. With the color blue, the lotus blossom of this chakra has sixteen pedals. When we got to this chakra, we began to get more and more conscious. The animal symbol of “vishuddha” chakra is white elephant, which symbolizes luck, wealth, power, wisdom, purity and clarity. The mantra of this chakra is “ham”, its color is violet and it is a chakra between physical and astral dimensions and consciousness and higher consciousness. When we climb upper this chakra, the doors of wisdom and higher consciousness open. The throat chakra is the center of clean and accurate expression and communication. If what we think in our minds and what we feel in our hearts are not the same, we can have blockages in this chakra. When we do not express how we feel, this chakra can get blocked. Therefore, it is important for the mind and heart to think and speak the same and to bring out good words from our lips. Shouting or arguing are not accurate and clean expression. Can I express myself accurately? Am I being understood by everyone?
We got into “sarvangasana” (shoulderstand) to avoid bad expression and to bring accurate communication in our lives. When inhaling in this pose, we started to realize that we are a part of God and we are wise and divine people. Chanting the mantra “ham,”, we got into “halasana” (plow pose) and tried to avoid hazardous blockages in the throat. In order to erase all negative thoughts about ourselves and walk towards enlightenment, we exhaled and thought how divine and wes we were. With “karnapidasana” (ear pressure pose), we exhaled and got closer to the idea how divine and wise we were. With “matsyasana” (fish pose), we cleaned up the throat we had blocked with the previous three asanas and let the energy flow there. We cleaned, purified and healed the throat. Now we had started to see ourselves as wise people. As people who could help others, who could express accurately and whose words were listened.
Relieving the neck by turning from right to left in “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting) pose came “ajna” (third eye) chakra cleansing. This chakra located between the eyebrows was related with senses and perception. It was affecting eyes and brain as well as pituitary glands. With the indigo blue color, the lotus in this chakra has two pedals. It does not have an animal symbol. When we come to this chakra, we are closer to higher consciousness. The mantra for this chakra is “aum”. Now we were turning into individuals with strong senses and a strong clairvoyance.
We worked this chakra with “balasana” (child pose). We invited humility in our bodies in each inhale and sent away doubts in each exhale. In child pose, we thanked all our teachers on our path to yoga and expressed our gratitude to them chanting the mantra “aum.”
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 Now it was the turn of the “sahasrara” (crown) chakra where “shiva” (male energy) meets with “shakti” (female energy) and we reach higher consciousness and “samadhi” (bliss). Located on the crown of the head, the lotus in this chakra has a thousand pedals. At this point, the lotus had grown up from its muddy roots and blossoming white flowers on the top of the head. Associated with the color white, this chakra affects brain, nervous system and pineal glands. Now we were becoming light and higher conscious. The “shakti” located in “muladhara” (root) chakra would meet “shiva” in the “sahasrara” (crown) chakra. We had defeated ignorance from the root to the crown and now it was time to reach higher consciousness. Now we would be one and whole with the divine power. The mantra of this chakra was “aum.”
We got into “sirsasana” (headstand) and we cleaned and purified our relationship with our divine force, whatever or whoever we believe each time we ihnaled and exhaled. There were no more dualities in our lives. Everything was one. We had been enlightened. We were a whole and connected. The breath, mind, body and soul were a whole. After this pose, we neutralized the body in “balasana” (child pose) and once more expressed gratitude to our teachers on the path of yoga. Then we ended the class with “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose).
In “savasana”, we once more reviewed the body from the feet to the top of the head and visited all seven chakras. Eyes closed, the body surrendered and resting on the ground, we inhaled and visited all the chakras from the root to the crown. We stayed in each chakra for a while and cleaned them with our breath and with the mantras “lam, vam, ram, yam, ham, aum and aum.”
After the deep relaxation and resting pose, we sat in a cross-legged position and closed the ears with hands and chanted the mantra “aum” for three times. The mantra of existence and universe. Chanting all three letters one by one, feeling the vibration in our minds. To be awake, to be in a dreaming state, to be in a meditative state… The mental life, mind and intellect… Light, water and food… Word, life and mind… Future, past and present time… Preservation (Brahma), creation (Vishnu) and destruction (Shiva)… Male, female and neutral… And chanted altogether, the Creator. The asana (pose), pranayama (breath regulation) and pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses). Chanted altogether, “samadhi” (bliss and peace).
From mud in our coccyx, from the hidden and dark center in our bodies, to the flower, enlightenment… From unconsciousness, from the conciousness between animal and human, to the higher, universal and divince consciousness… Becoming aware of the power within ourselves and rising up with the help of that power… We have the power in ourselves… We just need to become aware of it…

 

PhotoFunia-b3b943Here comes a special day again… I also wrote in my post focusing on February 14 Valentines Day. Why do we show our love and affection on only one day. Everyday is special. We should show our love and affection every day. It is again a special day. March 8 International Women’s Day. I am a woman so I should write a post on the women’s day. Let’s see what comes out!

According to yoga belief, human body sets up of two energies. Feminine and masculine energies. Masculine energy starts from the coccyx and ends in the right nostril, whereas feminine energy also begins at the coccyx but ends in the left nostril. The male part is hot and active while the female energy is cold and passive. The male side is solar energy but the female side is lunar energy. This is how hatha yoga came out. Simply, ha means sun and tha means moon. Body is formed with the unification of these two dual energies. The aim is to balance the masculine and feminine energies, awake the divine force believed to live in the root chakra (muladhara chakra), help rise this divine force through the seven chakras, join the female and male energies in the third eye chakra (ajna chakra) and get enlighted.

As you can see, in yoga, particularly in hatha and kundalini yoga, we have to talk about masculine and feminine energies. In fact, female energy is an energy humanity has attached importance for centuries. However, female energy was oppressed and tried to be ended in certain ages. Wichery in the Middle Age Europe can just be an example. However, it is not a coincide that in many cultures, fruitful soil is defined as the Mother Earth or goddess of prolificacy were women in many Anatolian civilizations and their hips and breasts were stressed in sculptures as an indicater of prolificacy.

When it comes to yoga, the lunar energy is yin or female energy. It is passive, accepting, cool, creative, fertile, soft, compassionate and it surrenders.

In today’s world, are we aware of our female energy? Or at what extend are we aware of it? Do we respect it? How much do we love ourselves and try to understand ourselves? How much do we listen to our body and soul?

Until I started yoga, I was a person who never listened to the demands and wishes of my body and tore my body off. I was a woman but not a woman. I was like a man and I was proud of feeling so. I was glad that I did not ask for help from men. I could carry bags, open the bumper and check the needs of the car and I could repair certain things at home.

After I started to experience yoga, I became more aware of my womanhood and I loved it. I made peace with my female energy. Before I started yoga, I was having problems with my left leg, which would not surprise you. My left leg was swollen and I had problems in the left ankle. Surely, all these happened before I accepted my womanhood and loved it.

Similarly, I was hurting myself and being so tired during the menstruation period before yoga. Even my menstruation period was at odds with me and I was having severe headaches. What happened after yoga? I started to live more relaxed during these periods. I refrained from challenging sportive activities or daily things. I was doing inversions whether I am on my period or not when I first started yoga. In time, I quitted inversions in my periods and focused on yin yoga, particularly forward bends and hip openers. I started to feel more relaxed and this regulated my periods. My headaches were gone. My temper was gone. I was less angry and stressed. All these happened as I accepted and appreciated my womanhood and female energy.

Now, you may think of me as a “wild girl”. No, I am not so. I love to get dressed and wear jewelry since I was a child. I can be considered fairly womanish when compared to some others. However, being womanish is one thing and flowing with the female energy is another.

After yoga, I started to be one with the female energy, lived and flowed with it. It became me, I became it. We were a whole. Before yoga, I was a firm person with several principles. I was not flexible. I  could not get used to changes so easily. If I had made a plan and I had to change it for a reason or for somebody, I would have been disturbed. What has changed in my life? Not only my body but also my mind stretched after yoga. As my mind stretched, I started to be more flexible in life. As Lao Tzu said, I started to be flexible as water, I bent and changed shape when necessary. I changed myself according to current conditions. I adjusted to changing conditions. I left aside principles and saw that it was more peaceful, happier and easier to live this way. Why have I forced myself this much for year? A friend of my called after we decided to meet and asked if we could delay our schedule for an hour. In the past, I would be nervous and angry that our program had changed. But now? So what? I can find something to do till we meet. Maybe this delay has a reason. Everything happens for a reason.

Being a woman? Bending, stretching, creating, accepting and surrendering… Moving with the flow of life… Accepting everything as it comes to you and just the same as something leaves you… Being one with the life, flowing with life.. Melting and eradicating the stiffness of masculine energy in the compassion of the feminine energy…
Awakening the female energy? March 8 International Women’s Day… Women! Let this magnificent energy flow out of you! What is my suggestion? Of course, yoga and particularly yin yoga. A yoga class or practice which awakens your second chakra, swadisthana chakra. That is, a yoga practice focusing on hip openers. The second chakra, including our sexual organs, is associated with sweetness and creativeness, which is not something that can be ignored. A chakra associated with the element water. As Lao Tzu said, “The best of man is like water,  Water is good; it benefits all things and does not compete with them. It dwells in (lowly) places that all disdain.
That is why it is so near to Tao… Bend and be straight; Empty and be full; Wear out and be new; Have little and gain.” Hoping that female energy sees the support and attention it deserves in the world…