Sahasrara Chakra

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Building on the last post and drawing on more info from this Yoga Journal article, the final seventh of seven chakras is the Sahasrara chakra, or the chakra at the top of the head, and is associated with the highest functions of the mind.

“The seventh chakra is located at the crown of the head and serves as the crown of the chakra system, symbolizing the highest state of enlightenment and facilitating our spiritual development. The seventh chakra is like a halo atop the head. In art, Christ is often depicted with a golden light surrounding his head, and the Buddha shown with a lofty projection on the top of his head. In both cases, these images represent the awakened spirituality of the Sahasrara Chakra.”

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Our mind creates our belief system and thought patterns, which causes our behaviors and actions.  As we think, so we do.  As we think, so we create our lives.

As with all chakras, the crown chakra can be excessive, deficient, or balanced.

“Excessiveness in this chakra appears as being overly intellectual or feeling yourself to be a member of a spiritual or intellectual elite. Deficient energy manifests as difficulty thinking for yourself, apathy, spiritual skepticism, and materialism. Meditation is the yogic practice best suited for bringing this chakra into balance.  All the various forms of meditation, including both concentration and insight practices, allow the mind to become more present, clear, and insightful.”

There are so many wonderful instructions, books, blogs out there for how to start a meditative practice.  Find a comfortable place to sit, and either close your eyes or focus your vision on something like a candle, and just sit there thinking of your breath moving in and out.  Follow the path of the breath with your mind, and notice the details of the breath, the smoothness, the length, the temperature, the resonance, the areas in your body it travels to.  When you feel your mind wander to thoughts of your day or things you need to tackle, don’t reprimand yourself, but just gently bring your mind back to the breath.

It might sound simple, it might not seem too profound, you likely won’t see visions or have a miraculously enlightening experience.  But taking 10 minutes or more to clear your mind daily is a way to unload and invite calm to your otherwise always running brain, a way to hit your reset button. “Just as our body needs a shower frequently, the busy mind filled with so many thoughts and concerns also needs a cleansing.”

The outcome of balancing this final highest chakra? The mind will become more present, clear, and insightful. We experience whole body happiness.

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Final thoughts on the whole chakra system: all seven whirling disks of energy that run from the base of our spine to the crown of our head.  We all need a strong foundation of safety, friends, family, support, and self-love before we can feel fully expressed, present, insightful, and enlightened.

The coolest part of it all? You don’t have to memorize this sanskrit ancient mumbo jumbo.  Just get on your yoga mat, and through physical poses/movements and quiet meditation, feel how your body is more balanced in every sense of the word, feel how flighty things are grounded, feel how heavy things are released, feel how things feel emotionally aligned, feel for yourself all of this in action.

Simply put, just get on your mat because it feels good to your body and soul.

Ajna Chakra

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Building on the last post and drawing on more info from this Yoga Journal article, the sixth of seven chakras is the Ajna chakra, or the chakra at third eye center between your eyebrows. It is at the center of psychic power and higher intuition. The sanskrit word Ajna means “perception center” and “command center.” It’s aspects include all of our imaginative abilities like dreaming, visualizing the past, creating positive views of the future, and fantasizing.

All chakras can be in balance, excessive, or deficient. “When the third eye is excessively abuzz with energy, we experience headaches, hallucinations, nightmares, and difficulty concentrating. When this chakra is deficient, we have a poor memory, experience eye problems, have difficulty recognizing patterns, and can’t visualize well.”

Yoga poses that help to regulate or balance this chakra are any that press on the forehead, third eye center, like child’s pose, forehead to knee pose, sleeping pigeon pose, or embryo pose.  Another great idea is to try blindfolding yourself during your yoga practice so you can’t be distracted by others in the room or self-criticizing your own body, but you must turn all your senses inward.

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The outcome of balancing the third chakra? You’ll gain insights about your body and your life by drawing your senses inward. You will see things beyond what the physical eyes see. Your true self will attract unlimited resources, power, and compassion to realize your desires.

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Visuddha Chakra

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Building on the last post and drawing on more info from this Yoga Journal article, let’s explore the Visuddha or throat center chakra, fifth of seven energy centers. This one is the center of communication and resides in the neck, throat, jaw, and mouth.

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This chakra resides at the bridge between the lower physical chakras and the upper metaphysical chakras. “The Visuddha chakra resonates with our inner truth and helps us find a personal way to convey our voice to the outside world. The rhythm of music, creativity of dance, the vibration of singing, and the communication we make through writing and speaking are all fifth chakra ways to express ourselves. Visuddha means ‘pure’ or ‘purification.'”

Each chakra can be in balance, deficient, or excessive.

A deficient visuddha or throat chakra shows itself in neck stiffness, shoulder tension, teeth grinding, jaw disorders, throat ailments, an underactive thyroid, and a fear of speaking. Ways to loosen this chakra up include eliminating tobacco and dairy products, clearing the voice through chanting, singing, or or reading aloud.

An excessive visuddha or throat chakra shows itself in excessive talking, an inability to listen, hearing difficulties, stuttering, and an overactive thyroid.

When I was going through my yoga teacher training, one of my mentors told me that when you have tightness in the front of your neck that it means you have something to say that you’re not letting out. Maybe that’s a sorrow to voice, a difficult conversation to have that needs to be had, or a forgiveness to grant.

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Physical ways to balance out this chakra include neck stretches and shoulder opening.  Try camel pose, bridge pose, shoulder stand, and plow pose. I also really like chicken wing stretch (explained in P90X) in its variations of head to side, head tilted up to corner of room, and head tilted down towards your knee.

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The outcome of balancing your fifth chakra? You will be drawn to meet new and wonderful people. You will embrace experiences that will encourage your spiritual growth. You’ll feel that you’re expressing yourself, feel authentic, and won’t feel pent up or like you’re biting your tongue.  Your body will be positively affected down to the cellular level. You will feel connected to the subtle vibrations that pervade the universe.