Shake Your Chakras

“One becomes in some area an athlete of God.” Martha Graham

This is a continuation of a series of articles based on our Dance the Chakras Yoga Workout DVD in which we’ll be exploring the chakra system from the perspective of movement.

First Chakra: Stability & LiberationThe First Chakra is located at the base of the spine. Physically it relates to all of the pelvic floor, pelvic muscles, legs, and feet. This is our root chakra and its function is to root us to the earth and ground us. It is healthy to dance (or walk) barefoot as often as possible, mainly, because it connects us directly to Mother Earth. We can trust that the earth is always there for us. As babies the floor was our guide and friend. We learned we can never fall too far since the earth is reliably just below, ready to catch us. When we did fall, we stayed soft and trusting and never got hurt; our innocence protected us. The earth also helped to raise us up. Babies are excellent physicists. They instinctively know to push and push and push against the earth in order to get up and go see what is happening around them, and most importantly to join their “tribe,” or family. When we reestablish that connection as adults, we feel secure enough to accept the gifts of the earth: support, food, shelter, and a healthy connection to others. None of us really desire to live in isolation, which is a sign of imbalance. Connecting to others is healing for us and them.First Chakra movements are strong, deliberate and earthy. With a wide stance we establish our solid connection to the earth. Just as in Native American culture when stamping feet were believed to awaken the ground in spring, a strong foundation supports a dynamic presence. A presence secure in the belief that we can survive and thrive.When we ground down into the earth we establish balance. We tend to think of balance as holding a position i.e., Dancer Pose. This often creates tension and we find ourselves holding our breath as well. Then we fall. Balance is actually a rapid succession of adjustments. A dancer holding a perfect arabesque on the tips of her toes is actually doing millions of lightning fast adjustments, falling and catching herself over and over, so fast we see nothing but a fascinating beautiful stillness.Once we feel balance we can let go of control. When we dance we allow ourselves to feel what off balance is like. This is the dance of life, falling and falling again. When we accept this pattern of falling and catching ourselves, then we are in accord with the natural pattern of life’s ebb and flow. It is very freeing to let oneself go. There is abundant joy in being grounded and centered and in allowing ourselves to be vulnerable enough to fall and fall again, confident that we will find our equilibrium in the face of uncertainty. First Chakra & Self ImageA firm foothold in self is something that is becoming more and more elusive in our culture today. The First Chakra relates to body image, our basic sense of self. There is always one “ideal” body type in fashion and everywhere we look we are hit over the head with that image. If we don’t, and most of us don’t, conform to this ideal we suffer. One way to avoid this constant deluge is to turn off the TV set and never ever pick up a Fashion Magazine. Barring isolation, we need to accept our physical world, as flawed as it may be, and embrace our own spirit and the physical body it arrived in. In reality there is no one image to conform to. There is only one of you and that is the beauty of your life! The less you are like others the more unique and essential you are. A strong first center will let us be more present to our own inner wisdom so we can fully blossom in this lifetime.Shake Your Chakras : Standing ExerciseBalance is being grounded enough to let movement happen. Movement is everywhere. The earth is in constant rotation. If we try to go against all this natural pulsing we fall. We can experience this constant movement even standing still. Close your eyes. Feel the earth supporting you and the sky above. Feel your feet grounding down. Scan the body for tenseness and let it go. We want to find relaxed engagement.

Feel the movement of your body with your breath, expanding and contracting. When your eyes are closed and you soften yourself, you may feel a large shift as the body finds its natural un-tense alignment.You may notice that you feel calmer and more centered after doing this exercise.The big lesson of the first chakra is though we are all connected and we must depend on each other for survival. We must also learn to be secure enough to leave the tribe and the familiar and venture off. So that ultimately our adventures may add to the wisdom of the tribe. “When the energy of the first chakra is stimulated and distributed to the body, you will find a newness in you. Then the earth element, the strength, the grit, the bullish part of you will come alive. Whenever you need the earth element, all you have to do is mentally contract this area. Then you can be on top of yourself. Your own chakra will serve you.” -Yogi BhajanABMEDITATION OF THE MONTH: FIRST PLANE MEDITATIONThis sophisticated meditation was taught by Yogi Bhajan in April of 1976. Sit straight in a comfortable meditation posture. Align the inside edge of the first section (from knuckle to fingertip) of your left little finger against the inside edge of your right index finger. Hold both hands palms down between your sternum and throat. Press these two fingers into each other with firm pressure. These two fingers will be at a 45 degree angle to the other fingers. With this pressure a pain may be felt in the nerve that runs along the arm and stimulates the brain. The remaining fingers of your right hand are adjacent to each other and extended parallel to the ground. Point your right thumb away from your body, underneath but not touching your right hand. The fingers of your left hand are also together and extended. There is however a slight difference in their position when compared to the fingers of the right hand. The left forms a little “hut,” as the up stretch of your left thumb causes them to bend slightly at the base knuckle. Extend your left thumb out and up from your hands towards your body. It is important to keep your elbows parallel to the ground. Do not bend your wrists. “If this position doesn’t hurt you’re not doing it right.” Close your eyes. Inhale deeply and chant this eight beat mantra: Gobinda 6x Gobin-da. 4x per breath. Each cycle of the four repetitions per breath will take about 11 seconds. Begin practice slowly. When you lose the delicate balance of this mantra or mudra, relax, then begin again. Start w/11 min. of practice and build up the time over time. To end, inhale, hold the breath and stretch your arms up overhead. Then relax the breath and shake your hands and arms. Then meditate and come out of this slowly. If someone or something disturbs you in the course of this meditation, please ease out of it rather than end abruptly. This meditation is powerful yet subtle. It will help you transition from a one dimensional reality to a more expansive and far reaching state of being. Self-medicating is, of course, a very limited way of trying to find your equilibrium. Techniques such as this have been designed by the Saints and Sages of the ages to give us the capacity to master every facet of our lives. Kundalini Yoga was lost to humanity because people, although they had access to the scriptures which outlined this type of technology, they stopped practicing. If you take the time to delve into this technique it will prove to be a very rewarding and meritorious endeavor.

All Best to You,Ravi Singh & Ana Brett

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.