Meditation Into the Chakras

Why an Audio Meditation on the Chakras

When someone begins to experience their subtle body or energy body, whether it is through an assisted healing modality like acupuncture or reiki, or in a yoga class, skepticism turns to curiosity. I am often asked for recommendations on books about the chakras.  Despite my collection of worthy books by knowledgable writers about chakras, nadis, kundalini, marma points, tantra, etc, personal and professional experience have taught me that meditation is the most creative, authentic way to introduce oneself to, explore, and expand the seven energy centers. Reading books on the chakras without experiential play time is like reading a cook book and never getting the satisfaction of eating any of the recipes. The intellectual knowledge a book provides on the subtle body only finds its power when it is in harmonious relationship with our intuitive perception. I believe intuition is organically accessible through sound healing and meditation.

Mind Body

Unlike when many of the ancient spiritual traditions were developed, we now have a scientific explanation on how the brain works.There is excellent research being done on the benefits of meditation all over the globe (and at our very own Center for Heathy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison). Written words are fodder for the left brain, which intends to intellectualize and rationalize the information that comes through our five senses. Just as the five senses are gates of perception for the mind, the chakras feed the body information about the the world around us by metabolizing energy. To heal all levels of our being, we need to enter the expanded state of consciousness of the right brain. Where the brain goes, energy flows.

“ I maintain that cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest incitement to scientific research” – Albert Einstein

Energy Body

Called Chi, Qi, astral light, Prana, the field, or depicted as a halo as it often was in ancient paintings, all religious and spiritual traditions recognize our bodies as light energy. Spiritual awareness is a transformational process that takes place in this realm. Even in conventional medicine, we see the use of sound and light for both evaluation and treatment of the physical body. When we block experiences from our mind (often unconsciously), we also block the electromagnetic energy flow of the experience. To use a term I don’t particularly care for, energy gets “stuck” in our bodies, causing pain, physical and emotional discomfort and disease. Our bodies naturally attempt to remove these blockages; an example of this is the flow of tears, yet we are taught from a young age not to cry. Sound healing and meditation are safe acceptable ways to release physical and emotional trauma and agitation from the body. They can also help to balance an overreactive energy system.

Disbelievers

In my field, I compassionately excuse cynics. They do not have the ability to believe in something they have not experienced for themselves. Undoubtably, it is not because they can’t. We all have higher states of consciousness available to us. It is our mental conditioning, the gluttony of information flooding our sympathetic nervous systems, and the way in which modern society holds intellect above intuition that prevents us from reaching our energetic potential. Expanding our state of awareness is a matter of accepting our unlimited potential and being still with as few external distractions as possible.

Motivators

This project is for all of my students who have journeyed into their subtle body, perhaps unintentionally in a yoga class or sound healing; you are my instigators. With every awakened encounter you experience, my inner child jumps for joy! We are ALL always healing from something; only the significance and awareness varies. Remember to set your books and phones down and put technique and tradition in the back seat. Study your heart. Love is the universal healer.Thank you to all my teachers in the fields of Yoga, Ayurveda, and the Healing Touch Program for making me see that there is more than one way into the subtle body – and there is no right way. In gratitude to my gifted musical counterpart, Michael, for exploring planet earth with me from the inside out.

Utilize

I value the Western medicine model, but the bio-mechanical paradigm is about curing. Healing occurs separate from curing. It can take place within any level of our being – physical, psychological and spiritual. Start by utilizing this meditation for your own healing. Keep it simple – we are energy and awareness. Enter the subtle body. When you are ready to be your own greatest healer, bring your energy to the level of the heart. Share that with others through a gentle touch or hugs. And never stop wondering, growing and believing we are infinite.

With Love and Light,

Megan

Gratitude Meditation with Tarjani Mudra

Tarjani Mudra – Gently press the tips of the index fingers together, allowing the other fingers to relax inward.  Release the shoulders back and down, with the elbows held slightly away from the body and the forearms parallel to the earth, as if you are spaciously framing your heart.

Take time to settle in and relax.  Pick a place where you will not be disturbed by anything or anyone.  You may choose to be seated or lie down. Make sure the body is comfortable; support the body in any way that helps you relax. Allow your eyes to close and keep them closed until the meditation is over.

Become aware of the natural breath as it flows in and out of the nostrils.  Witness how steady and gentle it is. Notice how it moves in and out of the nose without any effort.  There is a sense of coolness on the edges of the nostrils and the throat as the breath comes in.  Follow the cool inhale from the nose to the back of the throat and into the lungs.  Then notice the sense of warmth on the exhale.  Follow the exhale out of the body.  There is a natural rhythm to the breath.  Connect to this rhythm. Then allow the breath to become longer and slower. Notice the slight pause at the end of the exhalation. Continue to breathe in this way for 8-12 more rounds of breath.

Now go back to the natural, easy breath. Release any control over the inhale or the exhale.  Take a moment and bring your awareness to the heart center.  Think of someone or something you are grateful for.  Or think of the idea of gratitude.  Experience the energy of that gratitude in the heart.  With each soft inhale, breathe the image of gratitude into the heart.  With each exhale connect to the feelings associated with that image and allow the heart to absorb them. Continue to breathe the image and feeling of gratitude into the heart for 8-12 more rounds of breath or as long as you would like.

You can access the energy of gratitude any time throughout the day just by being present in your breath and the heart center.

The Why and How of OM

Even if you have never entered a yoga studio, you have probably heard of the sound OM.  OM or AUM is the most frequently used sacred sound on earth, and the mantra often chanted in yoga classes.  Though it is meaningless, there is deep significance and healing power in this primordial vibration.

So what does it mean and how can we use it as a healing tool?

Sound is the essence of all energy. The whole universe is formed from energetic vibration and OM is the sound made by this cosmic energy.  If we could hear the universe, it would make a ‘hum’ like the OM sound.  Additionally, the root sounds of human speech are in AUM. Think of a baby learning to speak.  As humans, we are capable of producing 3 fundamental sounds: A, U and M.  All other sounds are combinations of these three made with the help of the tongue and oral cavity. If that sounds unreasonable, try holding your tongue and making any sounds other than A-U-M.

Are your fingers dry? Lets move on. Simply put, humans are matter and states of energy.  And as Einstein equated, mass cannot be destroyed or created, but it can change from one form to another. In chanting OM, all three of the root seeds are pronounced to vibrate the entire body from the inside out: from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, permeating all seven chakras.  OM awakens and transforms every atom in our body.  It clears, balances and energizes the entire electromagnetic field.

Some additional significance to the AUM:

A – represents wakefulness we experience in the outer world through our senses, or conscious state and present realm

U – is our dream state of inward experiences or subconscious state and past realm

M – is deep sleep or unconscious state or future realm

What is not heard, is the silent pause at the end of the OM which transcends the previous states and symbolizes the spiritually awakened state. In silence, energy returns to the heart where matter and spirit meet.

Ready to try it? Find a comfortable seated position with a tall spine and soft gaze or closed eyes. Invite your senses into your body by scanning it internally. Keeping the throat soft and oral cavity spacious, take a full breath in through the nose, and on the exhale, make the sound “Aaaaaaaa”.  Notice the inner vibration in the abdomen and the core center.  On the next exhale, make the sound “Oooooooo” and notice the vibration in the chest and throat.  Finally, gently touch the lips to make the sound “Mmmmmmm” on an exhale and notice the vibration in the head.  When you are ready and if your breathing allows, make all three sounds on one breath out.  Listen to your intuition. Linger in any of the three sounds longer and play with the volume etc.  Repeat as you feel comfortable and focus on the sensations and sounds made within the body.  You are now practicing Nada yoga, the yoga of sound!

OM Shanti,

Megan

Anniversary Blog

A Year of Gratitude
This week, BFYH starts its second year in business.  What did the first year bring? Not to keep you waiting, I will skip to the thesis statement;  Yoga brings out the best in people. Forget the physical aspects. It is the human side of the story.  The power we hold to hurt or heal each other.  In the studio this past year, it was a story of how we bring Light to each other.  A term I call Generosity of Spirit;  The idea that every interaction is the opportunity to improve the day of the person you come in contact with. Sometimes as simple as a smile.

There were unexpected twists that were not in the business manual – months of distracting train whistles, interesting neighbors and shady deals going down in the parking lot behind us, and most recently, lots of shoveling, ice and a polar vortex. (Even as a snow lover, the current temperature of -2  makes this a particularly good week to practice cultivating positive thoughts and perception – and I realize I take my chances saying that!)

Difficulty came in losing the clients, friends and family that transitioned this past year.  There need not be an agreement where they go to when they leave their bodies, only that we continue to send blessings in our own way.

I cannot express the gratitude in my heart for all you have taught me this past year, but thanks go out to:

  • The students who followed me from the Aurora Wellness Center and helped to make BFYH our new home.
  • The prayer pot that overflows with selfless thoughts and greets me each day.
  • All the intentions set by and for each of you in class.  We are energy and awareness and energy follows intention.
  • Meeting and making new friends… and meeting your support team: parents who attend with their children, couples, sisters and friends all practicing together. Keep bringing your visitors for free!
  • The teachers who are yoga students at BFYH. Thank You for taking care of yourselves because you help our kids.
  • Workshops and events with fantastic guest facilitators sharing their knowledge and energy. And for the attendees who open their minds to holistic methods of health and healing.
  • The clients who supported me during my Healing Touch certification. Next goal: making the word “chakra” a household term in Burlington!
  • Dog lovers who greet and treat Luna and Bodhi. Bodhi is starting his therapy training and appreciates your patience and affection.
  • Those who participate in, and Janine for teaching our Friday community class.  We raised $1,986 for the Transitional Living Center in 2014!
  • Lots of savasana – student or teacher, always my favorite pose 🙂
  • Mostly, Thank You for the countless hugs and for sharing your “Selves”.

As a friend wrote recently, “life is just a really big project, isn’t it”?!  A project where my hope is more things happen FOR you instead of TO you in next year.  Either way, life is a project we can work on together.

Namaste,
megan

Why Kids Need Yoga

There are plenty of reasons why I practice yoga.  My choice to teach, however, came from the desire to share the healing aspects and the belief that the earlier in life we learn the mind/body connection, the better. I spent my late teenage years with a paper bag close at hand.  Breathing into a paper bag to stop anxiety attacks is not cool when you are in college.  Fortunately, I went to school in “granola head” Boulder where meditation and pranayama (breath regulation) were all the rage.  So I slipped into yoga though the backdoor. I did not even qualify it as yoga at the time. Asana (physical poses) were not mentioned, nor did I need them since I found plenty of pleasurable ways to get my heart rate up outside in the mountains.  Yoga was all about calming, centering and allowing myself to slow down.

As babies, we all come out breathing fully in and out of the belly.  By the age of twenty, when I was instructed to inhale and fill my belly, it felt completely awkward. At some point in childhood, my natural breath stopped flowing below the lungs. And worse, but also common, was that  I was a reverse breather which means the abdomen went in on inhalation; one of the side effects of stress.  Thankfully, I had a holistic doctor and just enough hippy in me to enroll in a class called SMART (Stress Management and Relaxation Technique) for actual college credits.  As humiliating as breathing into a paper bag was, imagine my distrust and pessimism when I was told plugging one nostril and breathing out the other would calm the anxiety.  The idea that my breath was was not just oxygen and carbon dioxide but a powerful universal energy source was difficult to fathom. I had reached the age of skepticism. Dorothea Hover-Kramer explains the difference between skeptics and cynics: “ Skeptics are persons who ask a lot of questions and evaluate results for themselves, so healthy skepticism is a good stance toward any new or unusual approach…  Cynics, on the other hand, are people who deny the existence of anything they do not understand.”   Skip ahead twenty five years.   After successfully controlling panic disorder with meditation and pranayama, even through two hormonal pregnancies including twins, there is no skepticism surrounding the healing power of yoga. Like most people, I could make all the excuses in the world not to practice, but know the alternative is returning to prescription anxiety medications.  The Alternate Nostril breath that was once ridiculously uncomfortable is as natural as brushing my teeth now – and I can tell if I forget to do either.

The body’s ability and desire to resort to a healing state at any age is amazing. The trick  is to reach inward and find the method that works.  Even old dogs can learn the tricks of intentional breathing and meditation if we are open and willing. But kids intuitively get it. They still know who they are. They can watch the attached Avatar video explaining the Chakra energy centers with open-minded amazement instead of cynicism.  The research side of me wants to know if there is an average age when we begin to doubt the universal connection. The mother in me knows it is my job to help my kids remember who they are.  As a yoga teacher, the motivational “what if” that perpetually goes though my mind is:  If someone had taught me before I was twenty that learning to control the breath controls the mind, would I have had full blown “I think I’m having a heart attack” panic episodes? And if we can share this tool with our children, shouldn’t we?