Emotional Alignment Part 2

Ravi SinghMany people do spiritual work for years and never scratch the surface of the emotional level. That is where most of the work on ourselves really needs to be done. We don’t want to try to rise above our humanity. The interrelationship of all our aspects: emotional, spiritual, physical, is the true essence of yoga.In part 1 we talked about the body as a map of our emotional history and orientation. When we walk or dance this landscape is constantly seeking its balance. We often see people who appear to be leading with their heads, their navels, pelvis or their hearts. All of these give a person a certain odd character and in a sense “give them away,” by showing where their energies are concentrated in the body and how they compensate in their walk through life. When we stand and move correctly, the energy is distributed equally among all the chakras and it is impossible to discern where the movement actually initiates, except to the most trained eye.Actually, it is our feet which lead us. They give us direction, mobility, and balance. Feet and legs relate to the first chakra. Misalignment of the feet will reflect itself in misalignment of the ankles, knees, and right on up thru the pelvis, sacral joint and beyond. When the feet are placed well the pelvis exist in balance between strength and flexibility and the energies of the 1st chakra can flow from the tailbone, down the legs and feet and back up. There are tremendous stores of energy in the legs which are otherwise stored as tension in an unbalanced body.Feet also signal body “intelligence.” When dancers go to see other dancers perform it is the feet they watch. They don’t need to see anything else to know if a favorite dancer has performed beautifully or not. Some common misalignments are pigeon toes, knock knees, duck feet with collapsed arches, bowed legs, and sway backed knees. All these signal infant mode which is a first chakra block. When we have not formed a connection to the earth to ground and balance us we are unable to feel grounded enough to “grow up” and take responsibility for our own actions.When a tall building is being demolished, the first explosions are set in the foundation. Our feet are our foundation. Thus, tired feet, tired body. Without a secure foothold we never quite feel present and fear is a constant emotion. Fear is one of the strongest and most limiting of our emotions. It causes gripping in the body, effectively cutting off the flows of energy and limiting our forward momentum. When we feel powerless we experience rage, like an animal with its foot caught in a trap. It’s been said that fear is actually excitement without breath. There are always polarities present in every chakra and every emotional tendency. Kundalini Yoga uses breath and sensitivity to help accentuate the positive.Civilization is partly to blame for misalignments emanating from the feet. Shoes cramp and inhibit the free range of motion in the foot. Walking barefoot stretches, massages, and strengthens the foot. A toned foot with a healthy lifted arch is reflected right up through the body and affects the flow of energy in the entire body. If you’ve ever had a foot massage you’ve probably had the experience of your whole body buzzing with new energy.All standing poses are great opportunities to work on the feet. Proper alignment of the feet starts with feeling the weight distributed equally through the arches. This means lifting the arches and grounding the four corners i.e., big and little toe mounds and inner and outer corners of the heels. The pelvis weight should be balanced directly over the arches. It can be easier to sense this with the eyes closed.Kneeling with the toes tucked under (sit on heels as in rock pose) can be pretty intense but great for increasing flexibility of the arches and breaking up tension.Rock Pose (sitting on the heels) is good for toning the arches and stretching the tops of the feet and ankles. Many people mistakenly curl their feet and sit on the inner arches which blocks the flow on energy. The tops of the feet should fully face the floor with the energy of the heels drawing them towards one another like attracting magnets.Triangle pose (Down Dog) is another great stretch/strengthener for the entire feet and legs and a good way for you to get an intimate view of what your feet are doing. Check that they are parallel with the outside edges of your mat, arches are lifted. Over time the heels will lengthen towards the floorAny chance you get to massage your feet will improve the health of your feet and entire body. You can massage manually or roll the arches over a tennis ball. This will stretch the connective tissue, break up calcium deposits, and increase circulation in the body. When we increase circulation to our organs, musculature and the nervous system the deep seated emotions which are stored in the body can begin to release. Feet are easy to overlook but once you start to take care of them, they will take care of you!Ana BrettMEDITATION OF THE MONTH: As we head towards the Winter Solstice we become more susceptible to depression and emotional upheavals. This is the time of year when the sun energy is at its lowest ebb. It’s no coincidence that ancient cultures held celebrations and festivals of light at year’s end. Winter is an opportunity to delve into the shadow areas of one’s psyche and do some important inner work. This is effectively a rebirthing meditation. The traumas we incurred in the rude transition from a warm and safe place to a cold, fluorescent lit hospital room, is a shock most never recover from. Kundalini Yoga offers techniques to help us regain our sense of security and peace.Interlace your hands over your solar plexus. Your eyes are 1/10 open looking down and in towards the tip of the nose. Pull your chin back slightly like a soldier at attention. Breathe in and out powerfully through puckered lips. A complete inhale takes about 3 seconds. The exhale takes about 4 seconds. Breathe in this manner for 1-3 min. Then inhale deeply through the nose and hold the breath. Focus at the brow and visualize a candle flame. See the flame getting brighter as it consumes anger, negativity, doubt, and fear. Exhale when you need to. Inhale again and repeat the visualization. Continue this visualization with the breath held for up to 5x total. For Part 2 breathe long and light through the nose. See if you can inhale for 10-15 seconds and exhale for 10-15 seconds with no strain. Your eyes are focused up and in towards the brow. Continue to visualize the candle flame at the brow. Go into the heart of the flame and let your soul burn brightly and illuminate your life. As a form of prayer you can also see the flame getting brighter as it consumes the stress, pain, or challenges of the people you’d like to heal or uplift.

Have a joyous holiday season. We look forward to seeing everyone soon.All Best to You,Ravi Singh & Ana Brett

www.raviana.com / contact us at 1.800.243.9642 / ravianayoga@aol.com

by Ravi Singh & Ana Brett
Ravi and Ana been featured presenters at the Midwest Yoga Conference, The Toronto Yoga Show, and the Six Days on Freedom Retreat. Their clients have included Olympic Athletes and celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Lou Reed, Carrie-Anne Moss, Donna Karan, and The Red Hot Chile Peppers. They’ve taught in many diverse contexts: from Iceland to Maui, Canada to Costa Rica, from boardrooms and Park Avenue Penthouses, to scientists at Bell Labs, from Opera Singers at the Aspen Music Festival and street kids in Los Angeles to backstage at Broadway plays. They are Authors of the Fat Free Yoga DVD series and the forthcoming book Fat Free Yoga.