Yogafly Roots Down in Austin, Texas – Muladhara Chakra

chakras

Yoga and the 7 Chakras – Series at Caste Hill Yoga

I am currently hosting a 7-class series at Castle Hill Yoga in Austin, Texas from June until November this year on Yoga and the 7 chakras. You can browse through yogafly.com to learn more about class times and sessions. The first session was held in June and we focused on the 1st Chakra – Muladhara chakra.

What is a chakra?

Chakra means “wheel” – it represents a sphere of energy in and around the body. In Yoga, we study 7 major centers of energy of the body, but it is also thought that there are centers of energy that emanate from the human system – 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th chakras. What I focus on in my teachings are the 7 chakras that emanate from the central spinal column of the physical human body.

The first chakra is called Muladhara chakra. “Mula” in Sanskrit means “root.” Anatomically, Muladhara chakra has its center point at the perineum and emanates energetically in a sphere from this center point into the legs and the lower hips. As you can see from the illustration attached, the color of the root chakra is RED and the corresponding bija mantra or seed sound that goes with the first chakra is LAM, pronounced “lum”. Lam is written in Devanagri as the letter “la” with an anusvaara or dot on top to signify the “mmm” sound.

In our world of Western chairs where we sit in front of computers, televisions and devices for much of our days, what we have is a prevalent “Vata” imbalance. “Vata” means “air” and “atmosphere” or “space”. With computers, televisions, media mass consumption and the like everywhere, we are often not IN our bodies but energetically moving upward and in all directions as air and space do. Rooting down into the legs and into the pelvic floor then becomes an entire yoga practice on its own and our seated postures on the earth and on the ground take on a whole new meaning.

The asanas that help out with grounding the 1st chakra are any of the seated postures such as:
1) Baddha Konasana (bound angle pose)
2) Agni Stambhasana
3) Janu Sirshasana
4) Seated Dandasana
5) Virasana
6) Paschimottanasana

Caroline Myss, explains that the 1st chakra represents the energetics of how one fits into a “Tribe.” In our modern world, we all belong to many tribes, the first tribe we all incarnate into is that of family – mother, father, sister and brother. But your family can belong to a tribe of a certain nationality. And then we form tribes in school. The corporation you work for is a tribe. The Yoga community is one big, giant tribe – with many small tribes, depending on where you live and which yoga studios you choose to attend on a regular basis.

Powering up your legs and lower hips through Yoga practice helps you feel grounded and steady in your body no matter which tribe you walk into. I like to give the example of a Yoga teacher (myself) walking into a financial corporation (where I work full-time). When I am in one tribe – the Yoga tribe – I dress in spandex, shorts, T-shirts and tank-tops. When I walk into the financial tribe, I wear heels and dresses. But in either tribe, I am still myself (which is the whole subject of the practice of Yoga). Well, who am I? I-am that I-Am that I-AM. To identify with one’s Self and not everyone else’s projections of who you are is very important in Yoga and in life in general.

In the Muladhara class at Castle Hill Yoga, we started with a simple mantra to Ganesha. Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha. The seed sound “Gam”, pronounced “Gum” – represents the elephant-headed diety whose giant belly holds the entire Universe. Ganesha, representing the elephant’s strength in Human form, roots you down. We then moved into a simple seated pose and practiced Nadi Shodhana – alternate-nostril breathing Pranayama. Pranayama is the 4th Limb of Yoga and represents all Yoga techniques that work with the breath.

Nadi Shodhana is incredibly calming. It helps center the body and pulls one deep into the Shushumna – or the central channel of energy in the body. Truly one of the best practices for grounding one’s self.

I have always found that Yoga helps this little Yogafly Vata body root down in order to fly. I love having a very comfortable home nest to root into. And from this root, I can fly. The balance we seek in Yoga is attainable with some very simple Yoga asanas, simple breathwork and a little help from our Yoga tribes.

This coming Saturday, we will delve deeper into the 2nd Chakra – Svadhistana chakra and how to power up the hips, sexual/genital area, lower back, sacrum, psoas for greater Creativity and Wealth. Join us at Castle Hill Fitness, on July 6 from 2-3:30 pm in the Lotus Room.

Until then, keep chanting: Lam, Vam, Ram, Yam, Ham, OM internally, silently and mindfully.

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