October 02, 2016

Lovely Little Brain

We’ve moved from earth to water to fire and now to air. We make our way from the tangible to the intangible. Air will be the focus for all of my classes this week. Air is the element associated with the heart chakra or Anahata. Anahata loosely translates as “centre of unstruck sound.” It is our own unique vibration that emanates from our heart, which coincidently is the physical location in the body for the air element. The area of the heart, the chest and the lungs represents air in our body - the lungs which we use to breath in oxygen, and the heart which has the power to produce a light, airy quality in our body, mind and spirit. It is our heart that allows us to connect to such intangible things as our genuine and authentic thoughts. Due to relatively recent research, the heart is beginning to be referred to as the little brain. It was mostly believed up until this point that the mind was what controlled the brain, when in actuality the heart has it’s own ability to learn, remember and act independently of the brain.  In fact, the heart is being shown to send more information to the brain on a daily basis, than the brain sends to the heart. The air element is the element that represents things such as possibilities, inspiration, joy, and freedom. What better way to achieve these things than by allowing ourselves to be led by the heart. This week we will focus on feeling lighter by taking those amazingly deep, full breaths, and opening up our hearts in order to access the wisdom of our little brain. See below for further ways to work with this chakra.

Why not bring your little brain into your work with your mandalas this week? The heart responds well to being in a state of gratitude and can actually help to lower blood pressure. While working on your pictures, why not think about all of the things, both small as well as big, that you are grateful for on a daily basis.  Notice how bringing yourself into a state of gratitude can almost instantly shift your attitude and emotions. 

In order to further focus your colouring or drawing on the Anahata chakra, you can:
  • include intersecting triangles (forming a star which is a symbol for the heart chakra) or upright triangles (symbol for the air element)
  • use various shades of greens or pinks (colours for the heart chakra), blues, yellows or white (colours of the air element)
  • the seed sound for the fourth chakra (yung/yam) can be included in the picture physically or mentally
  • direct your mind to the heart chakra by asking questions and observing what words, answers, phrases, pictures, etc. show up for you
    • How do I show myself love and compassion?
    • What am I grateful for in this moment?
    • What prevents me from fully opening up my heart?
    • What makes me happy?

Any poses that work to open up the chest and expand the lungs are helpful when working with the heart chakra. We’ll concentrate this week on Salabhasana also known as locust pose, and/or Dhanurasana otherwise known as bow pose. Both postures focus on leading with the heart.

Start in a position lying on your stomach. Bring your arms by your sides with palms facing down towards the floor. Your chin or forehead (whatever is most comfortable) is on the mat. Have your big toes to touch and begin to rotate your thighs inward and engage the glutes. On your next inhale, lift your head, shoulders, thighs and feet off the mat. Think about length as opposed to height – the chest reaches forward as the shoulders, and toes reach back. You can keep the arms parallel to the floor, or you can clasp them behind you. Gaze foreword in order to keep the back of the neck in line with the spine. 

Start in the same position lying on your stomach. Bend your knees as you reach back to grab onto either the outer edges of your feet or ankles. If grabbing onto your ankles, flex your feet. Keep your knees at about hip width apart for the duration of the pose. As you inhale, press your feet towards the back of the room and lift your thighs off the floor. Let it be the backward motion of the feet and legs that pull the hands, arms and shoulders back in order to lift the shoulders and head away from the mat. Draw the shoulder blades back and away from your ears, and let the chest lead and draw forward. Gaze forward instead of down. Continue with your deep breath which may cause you to rock a bit as you are on the stomach.

There should be no pain that occurs in the lower back. If there is any crunching or discomfort (know the difference between pain and sensation), lower yourself closer to the ground.  Stay in either pose, or do both for 5-10 breaths. Take a few breaths on your stomach, and then press back into child’s pose for a few breaths before you do any stretches, counter stretches or flows you may need to release sensations that have arisen. 

There are a few earlier posts labeled 4th chakra if you want to learn more about the Anahata energy centre, or feel free to message me for more details. Enjoy your week of love, inspiration and joy as you practice leading with the heart and get into the feeling of being led by your little brain.

See you on our mats,

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