September 11, 2016

Get Grounded

This week, we’re directing our focus and practice to the first chakra or Muladhara.  Muladhara means root support and is about getting grounded, and feeling secure and supported where we are.  All of my classes this week will focus on this energy center through the earth element.  Whether you are able to come see me in class this week or not, I’m including below a couple of different practices that you can do to feel more grounded and centered.  As the chakra energy centers affect us both mentally and physically, let’s focus on different ways that we can reach both.

One practice that I was introduced to and worked on in my teacher training, at various retreats and at home when I get a chance is drawing or coloring mandalas.  I have found that this practice helps to clear my mind and allows insights to rise to the surface more easily.

If you google “root chakra coloring mandala,” there are different options of pictures you can print out to color.  Alternatively, you can make the practice about drawing your own mandala.  A few things to work with as you are coloring or drawing to direct your focus to the root chakra include:
  • using square shapes, or basing your mandala on a square (square is the symbol for the earth element which is associated with the first chakra)
  • using various shades of reds (which is the colour of the root chakra) and yellows (the colour for the earth element)
  • including the seed sound for the root chakra (lung/lam) in the picture either in English or Sanskrit (again, Google can help you find the symbol that represents this) or simply repeating this word to yourself as you work
  • directing your thoughts and asking questions that have to do with the root chakra as you work and seeing what shows up.  Some questions you could ask include:
    • Why am I here at this point in my life?
    • Where do I feel safe?
    • What keeps me grounded?
    • How do I connect with my physical body and my physical surroundings.

Any yoga poses, or exercises that target the legs and feet are good to do when focusing on root chakra work.  This week, we’re working towards the pose Hanumanasana or splits.  This posture may seem inaccessible, especially if you have tight hamstrings or hips, but every pose starts somewhere and any variation or modification is great to work with.  It doesn’t matter what the pose looks like, as long as you are working at your edge and feeling it in those target areas.  Ideally, you will be well warmed up before trying to attempt this pose, so do a few sun salutations or any other poses and stretches to get warmed up.

Ardha Hanumanasana
Kneel on the floor and step the right foot forward to come into a low lunge.  Straighten the front knee until your hips are above the left knee (you may need to bring the right foot a bit more forward).  Flex the right toes and lift the kneecap to engage the quad.  You can stay here folding forward with a straight spine (hands on the floor or on blocks), or you can make your way towards the next expression of the pose.

Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose or Splits)
Draw the right heel forward and the left knee back until you reach your edge.  Maybe you can reach all the way to the floor, maybe you come close, maybe it feels like you are very far away.  Doesn’t matter!  Do you feel it and can you focus on the target areas?  You can place a block underneath the right sit bones (there are three levels you can place the block, so lots of different options).  Only if you feel secure and supported by the block will you lift your arms up to the sky. 

Stay in either version or variation for 5-10 breaths, and then make your way out (there’s no real graceful way to get out of this posture!)  Do any stretches or counter stretches you feel you might need, then begin to make your way to the other side.

There are many other ways to get grounded and work with Muladhara, or the root chakra.  Feel free to check in with earlier posts labeled 1st chakra or ask me for more suggestions.  Enjoy your week of getting centered, getting grounded and feeling secure in your roots.

See you on our mats,

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