Posts

Mooladhara Chakra Explanation & Meditation

What is Mooladhara Chakra?

Mooladhara Chakra is the lowest of a series of 7 energy centres that run vertically through the human body down the spinal chord. In Yoga and traditional Indian medicine the body is believed to have channels of energy which, if blocked, will cause illness and disease. These channels are called Nadis, and according to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika there are 172,000 Nadis running around our bodies. The purpose of Yoga postures and breathing practices is to unblock the channels so that our energy flows freely.

Similar energy channels or pathway structures can be found in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Accupunture and reflexology.

The most important of these pathways is Sushumna which runs down the spinal chord. When other channels cross over Sushumna there is an increase in energetic activity and this creates a wheel or Chakra (the Sanskrit term).

The physical position of Mooladhara Chakra is thought to be in the centre of the pelvic floor, although this differs depending on yogic tradition, and could potentially differ from person to person. One great exercise for connecting to Mooladhara (sometimes called the Root Chakra) is Moolabanda, where you draw up the pelvic floor (you can read more about how to practice Moolabanda here).

The element that relates to this Chakra is the Earth. If this energy within us is out of balance then we can feel unsettled and insecure. This is the Chakra that need the basics to be covered – shelter, food, warmth, rest – and when they are in short supply this energy is depleted.

It’s important to have the basics covered, to feel secure and that you have somewhere to relax and be yourself; in this way you’ll be able to keep Mooladhara balanced and happy.

Mooladhara Chakra

A Meditation on Mooladhara

Sit comfortably, relax the legs and feel your connection to the floor.

Be still, feel the weight of the body sinking down.

Feel the pelvic floor and imagine that there is a glowing red ball of light there.

Stay with this for some time.

Now move your awareness to the ground you are sitting on and imagine you are sitting upon a yellow square.

Stay with this for some time

Leave the yellow square and think of all the things that the Earth gives to you for free – fresh air, lakes, mountains, home grown vegetables, trees, grass, hedgerow plants and berries. Give thanks for all these things and pledge to visit one today.

For more work on Mooladhara Chakra you can visit this site

Moolabandha (Pelvic Floor Exercises)

Easy cross legged pose

You can do Moolabandha (pelvic floor exercises) anywhere once you get the hang of them. But to learn them sit on the floor – ideally in a cross legged position. You can learn more about sitting comfortably in this post

First of all get comfy and relax. Let your body and mind know that you are doing something a bit new and different but that it will be good for you!

Now focus on your breathing. Let it be soft and gentle, in and out through the nose.

Next, take your awareness down to your pelvic floor and, as you breath in, draw up the pelvic floor. Then as you breathe out, relax and let go. Keep going like this. This is the basic pelvic floor exercise or Moolabandha as we say in Yoga.

As with all Yoga, start simple and don’t strain. Build up gradually, adding more repetitions or doing say 3 sets per day. This exercise will help with a number of common ailments such as stress incontinence.

You can develop the pelvic floor exercises in a few different ways.

Equal inhale and exhale

First of all equalise the breath – count the same number for the inhale and the exhale.

Then begin to work the Moolabandha/pelvic floor area in unison with the breath.

Holding the contraction

Watching the breath first and becoming relaxed.

Drawing up the pelvic floor and holding the contraction for 3 to 5 breaths then releasing.

You can learn about Mooladhara Chakra on this website

How to do the Tree Pose

Do yoga! How to do the Tree Pose
Take your time and focus the gaze on a spot ahead.

The Tree Pose looks simple but takes strength in the supporting leg and flexibility in the bent leg/hip. (That’s not to mention the concentration).

Try first off, balancing next to a wall so that you can place one hand on the wall for support – follow all the same directions for the Tree Pose but you will have one hand on the wall to steady you.

Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

Start off in Tadasana with the feet parallel and about 20cm apart. Our lady in the picture (fig. 1) has them a bit close together for my liking. If you have your feet too close together you can feel off balance before you even begin!

Warm up your feet and ankles by alternately peddling the feet 5 or 6 times.

Next take the weight down through one foot and then turn out the other knee pivoting on the big toe. You can keep the big toe on the floor and bring the foot to rest against the standing ankle, I recommend this if you haven’t done Tree Pose before. As you progress, pick up the foot and press it into the calf muscle and eventually coming in to the full posture that our lady is doing in fig. 2 with the sole pressing into the thigh.

Don’t and I repeat DON’T push your foot against your knee joint or this could cause an injury.

Focus the gaze on a spot ahead of you. Hold the hands in either of the positions in fig. 3 or fig. 4.

Try to hold the pose for 3 breaths at first – then change over and do the other side. Work up to holding for 6 breaths. Take your time and breathe deeply.

For the best benefit work 3 times on each side – you could work through all 3 foot positions, progressing to the full position.

For information about the benefits of this pose see http://benefitof.net/benefits-of-vrksasana/

The Benefits of a Pair of Yoga Toe Socks

yoga toes socks

Besides the obvious – THEY KEEP YOUR FEET WARM – yoga toe socks are very good for your feet. More specifically the ones with the awkward little individual toes and the sticky bumps on the bottom. This type of sock gives each toes their space and helps to correct all of those years of crushing the little toes into tight shoes and high heels.

It takes a while to put them on. And I know, they feel a bit uncomfortable at first. However, doing yoga in toe socks can help to alleviate a variety of foot problems –

  • bunions
  • joint pain
  • foot cramps
  • athletes foot
  • tired feet after long walks or shopping in the sales

For obvious reasons we need to have a good grip on the sole of the yoga sock – to stop us from slipping on our yoga mats! However, there’s an added bonus to using the socks in yoga postures because the toes are forced to spread out and this gives us more surface area to balance on.

So have a thought…TOE SOCKS… great idea and not just for yoga.

A wide variety of toe socks can be found on the Yogamatters website.

Or you can buy Toe Socks from me in class – they are £5 a pair and come in a range of colours. Have a look at my shop window here to see the socks and other items I can get for my students…

Gratitude

Gratitude – some say is the perfect antidote to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. I think being grateful is uplifting and healthy and for that reason I highly recommend it to you.

As a practice, gratitude can ease stress, boost happiness and even potentially improve health. In our sessions this term we have been giving thanks for the Earth. We’ve included our own little corner – Rutland – and all the 4 directions.

Deb King Meditation at Normanton
Normanton, Rutland Water, What a Wonderful Place!

I invite you to bring gratitude into your yoga practice with these quotes. It can be a beautiful way to begin or end your time on your mat:

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ~ Charles Dickens

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

“Forget yesterday–it has already forgotten you. Don’t sweat tomorrow–you haven’t even met. Instead, open your eyes and your heart to a truly precious gift–today.” Steve Maraboli

“When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?” ~ G.K. Chesterton

If you would like to see more quotes on gratitude you can find some here.

Another site with lovely poetry is Mindful Living.

Enjoy!

Janu Sirsasana – learn the benefits

JanuSirsasana

Last term we worked on grounding postures including ones which had lots of earth contact and ones that worked especially in the pelvis area. Hopefully this work gave an experience of feeling supported, having strong ground beneath us and good foundations on which to build both stable postures and a stable life. In the last couple of weeks we worked with Janu Sirsasana, a complex forward bend. Read on to learn the benefits of this posture.

Janu Sirsasana (JAH-new shear-SHAHS-anna), may look simple, but it combines elements of a forward fold, twist, and side body stretch. The Sanskrit name translates to ‘Head-to-knee pose’ and it stretches the hamstrings, back, and groin while offering the benefits of a twist, such as massaging and stimulating internal organs. Because it is soothing to the central nervous system, Janu Sirsasana is also a great way to relieve stress in the body and mind.

Due to the intensity of this stretch it’s not advised to practice it on it’s own at home – you do really need to build up to the opening of the hips and lengthening of the back and back of the legs. Also, for this pose especially, it’s good to take your time to prepare with the various modifications we have talked about in class. It’s always best to practice safely – if you fancy some home practice over the half term try the Cat Sequence that was handed out in week 4.

You can also work with the cat and cow postures as detailed in a previous post here

Simple Crochet Slipper Pattern

crochet slippers (2)

These slippers are just the job for yoga now that winter is on it’s way.

Size – make them a little smaller than the length of your feet as they stretch

Materials – Approx 160m arran style wool, small amount of eyelash or other oddment wool for the edging, 5mm hook

Instructions

Beginning – Toe – ch 4, join with sl st to form ring

Round 1 – ch 3, 7 dc in ring, join (8)

Round 2 – ch 3, dc in same st, 2 dc in each st, join (16)

Round 3 – ch 3, dc in same st, (dc in next 3 st, 2 dc in next st) around (20)

Round 4 – ch 3, dc in ea st around (20)

Round 5, 6, 7 repeat R4

Round 8 – ch 3, dc in next 19 st, leave last 6 st unworked, turn (14)

Round 9 onwards – ch 3, dc in each st, turn

Continue to work until the length comes down to your heal when stretched.

Fasten off, leave a long tail for sewing the back seam. Fold heal area in half and sew together. Sew in the toe loose end. Turn slipper right side out.

Edging – Working across end of rows, join with sc at heel, sc in end of each dc row, 2 sc in each of the corners at the front. Join with ss at end of first round. Repeat for a 2nd round.

Contrast edging. Join yarn at heel, continue to work as per edging, depending on thickness of your contrast yarn (2 sc may look better if it is a thinner wool or you could do hdc) see what it looks like. I did 2 rows of sc edging using the eyelash wool. Fasten off and thread in ends.

Foundation Stones

This term we have been reflecting in class ‘what is underneath us’. Learning to accept ourselves for who we are and forgive and love all our little foibles goes a long way to enable our enjoyment of life and to see the good in all those around us too. This poem is a lovely bringing together of these ideas.

Foundations Stones

Here is my past–
what I’ve been proud of,
and what I’ve pushed away.
Today I see how each piece
was needed, not a single
step wasted on the way.

Like a stone wall,
every rock resting
on what came before-
no stone can be
suspended in mid-air.

Foundation laid by every
act and omission,
each decision, even
those the mind would
label “big mistake”.

These things I thought
were sins, these are as
necessary as successes,
each one resting on the
surface of the last, stone
upon stone, the fit
particular, complete,
the rough, uneven
face of these rocks
makes surprising,
satisfying patterns
in the sunlight.

pg. 26, Go In and In: Poems from the Heart of Yoga

Warrior Works Wonders for Anti Ageing!

Warrior on the beach

Yoga keeps the mind and body young, 22 clinical trials show

(Reposting of Article Published Tuesday 4 June 2019 in Medical News Today)
A review analysing the results of 22 randomized clinical trials has found that yoga practice can improve many aspects of physical and mental health among older adults.

Yoga can be an effective option for older adults who want to maintain good physical and mental health.
Yoga refers to a series of mind-body practices that originate in Hindu tradition.
However, they are growing in popularity across the world as an alternative well-being practice.
Statistic show that in 2015 in the United States alone, as many as 36.7 million people practised yoga, and by 2020, estimates suggest that this number will have increased to over 55 million people.
People who practice yoga often share anecdotes regarding its beneficial effect on their mental and physical health. Intrigued by such reports, some scientists set out to verify whether the benefits are real.
Indeed, some studies have found that different yoga practices are able to improve a person’s general sense of well-being, as well as various aspects of their physical health.
For example, a series of studies from 2017 suggested that people who joined a yoga program experienced lower levels of anxiety and depression.
A study from 2016 found that practising yoga correlated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment in older adults, and research from earlier this year concluded that 8 weeks of intense yoga practice reduced the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Now, investigators at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom have conducted a review, analysing the findings of 22 randomized and cluster-randomized clinical trials that assessed the benefits of yoga practice for healthy older adults.
The trials considered the effects of varied yoga programs — with program durations between 1 and 7 months and individual session durations between 30 and 90 minutes — on both mental and physical well-being.
‘Yoga has great potential’ to improve health
In the review, which features as an open access article in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, the researchers conducted statistical analysis to assess the combined findings of the 22 trials. They compared the benefits associated with yoga with those of other light physical activities, such as walking and chair aerobics.
The team found that among people with a mean age of 60 years or over, practising yoga — compared with not engaging in physical activity — helped improve their physical balance, flexibility of movement, and limb strength. It also reduced depression, improved sleep quality, and boosted their vitality.
Also, the researchers noticed that older adults who practised yoga perceived their own physical and mental health to be satisfactory.

When compared with other light physical activities, such as walking, yoga seemed to more effectively improve older adults’ lower body strength, enhance their lower body flexibility, and reduce their symptoms of depression.
“A large proportion of older adults are inactive and do not meet the balance and muscle strengthening recommendations set by government and international health organizations,” notes Divya Sivaramakrishnan, the review’s lead author.
However, yoga can be an easy, adaptable, and attractive form of physical activity, and since the evidence suggesting that it can be beneficial for health is building up, joining a yoga program could be a good option for older adults looking to stay in shape — both physically and mentally.
“Based on this study, we can conclude that yoga has great potential to improve important physical and psychological outcomes in older adults. Yoga is a gentle activity that can be modified to suit those with age-related conditions and diseases.”

Published Tuesday 4 June 2019 Medical News Today
By Maria Cohut, Ph.D.
Fact checked by Jasmin Collier
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325374.php