Category Archives: chakras

Ganesha : The Master of New Beginnings

Happy 2014 Yogis! A time to celebrate sweet endings and exciting new beginnings.

Who is Ganesha? Ganesha is one of the celebrity gods in Hindu philosophy. He is the destroyer of vanity, selfishness, pride and is the remover of obstacles. He clears the obstacles in your life, so there is nothing stopping you between you and your ideal life. I feel Ganesh is a kindred spirit to me because he loves sweets, and he loves to dance!

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He is half boy, half elephant, and the son of Shiva and Parvati. The head of Ganesh represents the Atman (ultimate reality), while his child’s body signifies the earthly realm of human beings. In his upper right hand Ganesh holds a whip or goad, which seems harsh but helps him propel mankind forward(like cattle) remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesh’s left hand helps him capture and restrain all difficulties.

In his lower right hand is a writing tusk he broke writing the Mahabharata, one of the two major sanskrit epics. The Mala beads in his other hand represents the endless pursuit of knowledge and being a student of life. The candy he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the life, he loves sweets! The snake that runs round his waist like a belt represents energy in all forms. He travels by mouse!

On December 31st I took my last yoga class of 2013. The teacher asked us to close our eyes and consider the question, “what would you do if there were no obstacles stopping you from your ideal life?”

Not enough time, not enough money, not enough energy, not enough this or that…. These are excuses we use all the time. In this time of new beginnings, let’s get really clear on our 2014 intentions by letting Ganesh demolish our obstacles and excuses and not waste another moment of 2014!

Ganesha’s Mantra. Ganesh resides in our firey root chakra, the foundation of our being, and we can ignite him by chanting his mantra or silently thinking it during meditation. “Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha,” which can be loosely translated to “Yo! Time to wake up Root Chakra! Let’s get the energy of transformation moving so I can kick my obstacles’ ass and live my ideal life!”

And now for all of you auditory learners, Ganesha’s story through the immortal words of MC Yogi!

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Chakras II: Sun Salutations

In my research for my post few days ago exploring Chakras, I found this great little chart that shows them in action. With this chart it’s easy to make the connection between the chakras used in a sun salutation and the chakras used in other poses. For instance, the Vishuddha (throat) chakra that is stimulated in your standing back bend is also used in fish pose when the head is brought back. The same chakra is suppressed in poses where Jalandhara Bandha,  or the chin lock, is used such as plow pose.

I also see the amazing benefits of Chakrasana for opening all seven chakras to the sky. The Anahata(heart center) chakra is said to control the balance of stress and anxiety. Standing with hands at heart-center is a pose we often come to in order to focus and calm the mind between sets of balances or sun salutations. I found it interesting that although there is no particular muscle being fatigued or stretched, this pose utilizes the Anahata chakra.

The pieces of the puzzle are finally starting to fit together…

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chakras I

I decided to anatomize myself in chakras in order to learn a bit more about them. What are chakras? Are mine broken? Can I see them? Can I feel them? Get ready for an information overload…

David Gordon White traces the modern popularity of the seven chakra system to Arthur Avalon’s The Serpent Power, which was Avalon’s translation of a late work, the Satcakranirupana. Below is his description of the seven chakras:
 Sahasrara, which means 1000 petalled lotus, is generally considered to be the chakra of pure consciousness, within which there is neither object nor subject. Symbolized by a lotus with one thousand multi-coloured petals, it is located either at the crown of the head, or above the crown of the head. Sahasrara involves such issues as inner wisdom and the death of the body. Its role may be envisioned somewhat similarly to that of the pituitary gland, which secretes hormones to communicate to the rest of the endocrine system and also connects to the central nervous system via the hypothalamus. Sahasrara’s inner aspect deals with the release of karma, physical action with meditation, mental action with universal consciousness and unity, and emotional action with “beingness.”

Ajna is symbolized by a lotus with two petals, and corresponds to the colors violet, indigo or deep blue. The seed syllable for this chakra is the syllable OM, and the presiding deity is Ardhanarishvara, who is a half male, half female Shiva/Shakti. The Shakti goddess of Ajna is called Hakini. Ajna (along with Bindu), is known as the third eye chakra and is linked to the pineal gland which may inform a model of its envisioning. The pineal gland is a light sensitive gland that produces the hormone melatonin which regulates sleep and waking up. Ajna’s key issues involve balancing the higher and lower selves and trusting inner guidance. Ajna’s inner aspect relates to the access of intuition. Mentally, Ajna deals with visual consciousness. Emotionally, Ajna deals with clarity on an intuitive level.

Vishuddha is depicted as a silver crescent within a white circle, with 16 light or pale blue, or turquoise petals. Vishuddha may be understood as relating to communication and growth through expression. This chakra is paralleled to the thyroid, a gland that is also in the throat and which produces thyroid hormone, responsible for growth and maturation. Physically, Vishuddha governs communication, emotionally it governs independence, mentally it governs fluent thought, and spiritually, it governs a sense of security. It plays an important role in Dream Yoga, the art of lucid dreaming.

Anahata is symbolised by a circular flower with twelve green petals.Within it is a yantra of two intersecting triangles, forming a hexagram, symbolising a union of the male and female. The seed mantra is Yam, the presiding deity is Ishana Rudra Shiva, and the Shakti is Kakini. Anahata is related to the thymus, located in the chest. The thymus is an element of the immune system as well as being part of the endocrine system. It is the site of maturation of the T cellsresponsible for fending off disease and may be adversely affected by stress. Physically Anahata governs circulation, emotionally it governs unconditional love for the self and others, mentally it governs passion, and spiritually it governs devotion.

Manipura is symbolized by a downward pointing triangle with ten petals, along with the color yellow. Manipura is related to the metabolic and digestive systems. Manipura is believed to correspond to Islets of Langerhans, which are groups of cells in the pancreas, as well as the outer adrenal glands and the adrenal cortex. These play a valuable role in digestion, the conversion of food matter into energy for the body. Physically, Manipura governs digestion, mentally it governs personal power, emotionally it governs expansiveness, and spiritually, all matters of growth.

Swadhisthana is symbolized by a white lotus within which is a crescent moon, with six vermillion, or orange petals. The Sacral Chakra is located in the sacrum and is considered to correspond to the testes or the ovaries that produce the various sex hormones involved in the reproductive cycle. Swadisthana is also considered to be related to, more generally, the genitourinary system and the adrenals. The key issues involving Swadisthana are relationships, violence, addictions, basic emotional needs, and pleasure. Physically, Swadisthana governs reproduction, mentally it governs creativity, emotionally it governs joy, and spiritually it governs enthusiasm.

Muladhara or root chakra is symbolized by a lotus with four petals and the color red. This center is located at the base of the spine in the coccygeal region. It is said to relate to the gonadsand the adrenal medulla, responsible for the fight-or-flight response when survival is under threat. Muladhara is related to instinct, security, survival and also to basic human potentiality. Physically, Muladhara governs sexuality, mentally it governs stability, emotionally it governs sensuality, and spiritually it governs a sense of security.

For a typical person- this shit is farfetched. How is it that the space between my eyebrows is indigo and plays an important role in balancing higher and lower selves? Beliefs that I did not grow up with are naturally difficult to accept. I know that yoga itself comes from the same origins that this does and that the energy in the body is greater than any doctor can explain. However, like a typical person in this day and age, it’s difficult for me to believe in something I can’t see, touch, and feel. The ‘science’ of going inward is something I think everyone can benefit from improving on, and I know learning things like this always broadens my perspective on my body and its limitless capabilities.

Namaste.

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