A couple of years ago, I decided to have a monthly Intention that I, and my classes, could keep in mind, on and off the mat. We worked through concepts such as “be strong“, “be brave“, “be playful“, etc and I blogged about them on here each month. Over the past year, I decided to have a different focus, a different Intention each week, and my reason for doing so was because I was launching my Ambassador Teacher Training course and I wanted to play around with different focuses so that I had more to share with the lovely yogis who would be attending the course.
As it is my birthday today, I felt that change was needed. I also wanted teachers to realise that if we desire our students to create change both on and off the mat, time and patience is needed. Most students come to class once a week and have yoga “done to them”. Some will have the inclination to do something at home, and a handful will establish a daily yoga practice. So, whilst we do not need to stick to the same lesson plan each week, having the same Intention for at least a month may help move them towards change.
So, what should my Intentions be? Well, several occurrences have swayed me to focus on the Chakras.
Firstly, a number of people have asked about the Chakras, and when we touch on the subject on my Intensives and Ambassador Training, it tends to spark quite a bit of interest. Secondly, there always seem to be quite a few people in class who are experiencing back and shoulder pain. Are these related to the Chakra system? I leave that for you to decide, but for me, it is worth exploring.
The word Chakra means “wheel” and very simply, from how I have been taught, yoga is about getting these wheels to spin smoothly so that energy flows well throughout our bodies. For most of us, our wheels are clogged up with gunk. Now, I know there are lots of other theories behind the Chakras, however, coming from a scientific background, I can appreciate energy flow. I also wonder if each Chakra is also a junction of nerves along the spinal chord, and therefore, any disturbance to the junction, communication along the nervous system and therefore the rest of the body is affected.
With that in mind, my feeling is to work from the bottom up. We will start with the Root Chakra, or the Base Chakra and over the next seven months work up towards the Crown Chakra.
The Root Chakra is associated with the earth element and is directly linked to your ability to dig in and feel firmly rooted in your life. It is associated with physical identity, instinctual nature, survival, self-sufficiency, stability, and ambition. It represents our foundation and feeling of being grounded.
This base Chakra governs the anus, prostate, adrenals, kidneys, lower digestive functions, excretory functions, and when out of alignment, may result in:
- Weight gain or loss
- Pelvic pain
- Poor sleep
Its imbalance can result in a feeling:
- Being ungrounded
- Low self esteem
- Lack of financial security
- Full of rage and anger
- Busy bouncing from one thing to the next, in a rush without appropriate attention or intention
- Being stuck
- Unable to take action
A balanced and open Root Chakra leads to:
- Feeling grounded, centred, committed and independent
- Having energy and vitality
- Good digestion
When the first chakra is in healthy alignment, you will be able to tap into its graceful stability to support a calm and steady energy.
Are these claims founded by research? Is there scientific evidence for this? Scientific research as I am used to, no. However, I can rationalise in mind and in my heart that there is something profound at play here and with more research being conducted in the mind-body medicine field, who knows what may emerge in the future.
So as you work with this chakra in mind, cultivate a sense of earthiness in your feet, legs, and pelvic floor. Let each exhale land you in the moment. Aim to feel radiant instead of rushed and stable instead of stuck. Here is a short yoga flow Youtube clip to balance your Root Chakra.
Be rooted. Be connected. Be grounded.
Know that YOU ARE enough.