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Balancing the Chakras

The success of the recent chakra balancing workshop I led in Montreal prompted me to write this post and share the information more widely. I was amazed how this work instigated a profound shift in all of the workshop participants.

Chakras, for those new to the term, are powerful energy centres located along the spine. There are seven charkas, each associated with specific physiological and psychological functions. The word ‘chakra’ in Sanskrit means ‘wheel’ or ‘circle’. Often they are described as ‘wheels of light.’  Whenever there is stress or dis-ease in the body or mind, the chakras are involved and affected. Over the years, I’ve found that working with chakras is greatly revealing and can radically improve healing. Although I offer chakra balancing sessions using gemstones and mantras, experience has shown me that the most effective way to increase energetic flow through the chakra system is by asking some tough questions.

Below is my chakra chart. Here’s how I  suggest you use it:

  1. Begin with a simple meditation. Sit comfortably and focus on your breath.
  2. Centre yourself: Feel the ground below you and connect to the ‘God of your understanding.’
  3. Bring your awareness to area of the first chakra and observe the sensation, color, shape and general energetic impression.
  4. After a few minutes, write down your observations.
  5. Then ask yourself the first question. (see below)
  6. Pay attention to what comes up. It may be an image, emotion or memory.
  7. Without analysis, write down your observations.
  8. Then ask the next question and follow the same procedure.
  9. When you’ve completed the questions for the first chakra, bring your attention back to the area of the chakra.
  10. Visualize the color associated to it and incorporate one of the suggested balancing tools: mantra, mudra or gemstone. (Do not do all three. You will be overwhelmed.)
  11. After a few minutes, set aside the visualization and tools and observe  the sensation, color, shape and general energetic impression of the chakra
  12. After a few minutes, write down your observations.

If you are up to it, you can then move on to the next chakra and do the same process. However, if this work is new to you, I recommend giving yourself at least a day in between each chakra session.  You may feel emotional or strange after this work. It can even be alarming. Breathe and let it go. Do some yoga and drink water to cleanse. Writing out what you’re feeling and your reactions then burning the pages is also therapeutic.

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CHAKRA

BASIC PROPERTIES

QUALITIES & FUNCTIONS

QUESTIONS

TREATMENT

chakras_1

1. Muladhara Chakra

First or Root Chakra

Location: Base of spine or coccyx

Color:  Red

Element:  Earth

Basic survival needs for food, clothing, security and shelter, as well as to earthly pleasures. Out of balance, we feel fear and disconnection. In harmony, we feel safe & grounded. What brings me security?

Where do I feel most at home?

What do I need to survive?

Mantra:   LAM

Mudra:  Ring & thumb

Gemstones:  Garnet, Smoky quartz, Ruby, Bloodstone, Black tourmaline, Obsidian, Red Calcite

chakras_2

2. Swadhisthana Chakra

Second, Spleen or Sacral Chakra

Location: Below the navel in the lower abdomen

Color:  Orange

Element:  Water

Directs our reproductive organs, sexual expression, and creativity. The health of this energy center indicates the ease or dis-ease we have with intimacy & creative power. What are my passions?

In what area(s) does my creativity flow?

What is intimacy to me?

How do I create intimacy?

Mantra:   VAM

Mudra:  Pinky & thumb

Gemstones:  Blue-green Turquoise, Blue-green Fluorite, Amber, Orange Calcite, Vanadinite, Orange camelian

chakras_3

3. Manipura Chakra

Third or Solar Plexus Chakra

Location: Just above the navel in the solar plexus

Color:  Yellow

Element:  Fire

Described as a ‘shining gem’ & the center of personal power, it governs digestion, self-esteem & emotional balance. This is our source of  confidence, courage and vitality. What brings me strength & confidence?

What do I want?

What is my ‘shinning gem’? / What am I great at?

What stands in my way?

Mantra:   RAM

Mudra:  RT hand  LT, thumbs touch; Pinky, ring & thumb.

Gemstones:  Yellow Jasper, Golden Calcite, Citrine, Lemon quartz, Topaz, Moonstone

chakras_4

4. Anahatha Chakra

Heart Chakra

Location:   Heart or center of the chest

Color:  Green

Element:  Air

Connected to breath, feelings of compassion, understanding, forgiveness & acceptance. Preserving this center allows us to know unconditional love. Who was I before my heart was broken?

Who or what can I forgive?

What do I want most in my life?

What do I love about myself?

Mantra:   YAM

Mudra:  Palms touch in prayer position

Gemstones:Malachite, Jade, Green Peridot, Rose Quartz, Kunzite, Morganite, Green Tourmaline

chakras_5

5. Vishuddha Chakra

Throat Chakra

Location:  Throat

Color:  Blue

Element:  Ether or Space

This chakra governs personal expression, communication, and the thyroid gland. When free from obstruction, we feel at ease to speak our truths, to trust and to let go of tension. What do I want to get off my chest right now?

How do I express myself in my highest state?

What gifts do I have to share?

How do I want to express my creativity?

Mantra:   HAM

Mudra:  Middle & thumb over knuckle

Gemstones:  Sodalite, Blue Calcite, Blue Kyanite, Angelite, Blue Turquoise, Saphire

 

chakras_6

6. Ajna Chakra

Third Eye or Brow Chakra

Location:  Forehead, between the eyes

Color:  Indigo or Midnight blue

Element:  n/a

No element is associated with Ajna other than light itself. The act of seeing, both physical and intuitive, stems from this energy. When balanced, we have clear thoughts imagination and wisdom. Who am I?What guides me?

How do I know if something is right for me?

Where & how do I rest my mind & allow my creativity to flow?

Mantra:   KSHAM

Mudra:  Interlace fingers, indexes extend

Gemstones:  Lapis Lazuli, Azurite, Sugilite, Iolite, Turquoise, Tanzanite

chakras_7

7. Sahasrara Chakra

Crown Chakra

Location:  Top or just above head

Color:  Luminous colors

Element:  n/a

Described as a one-thousand petal lotus of rainbow colors so luminous, it turns white. This is our gateway to the divine. This centre is connected to spirituality and cosmic consciousness. It governs our sense of belonging. What is divinity to me?

How and when do I interact with the divine?

What is enlightenment to me?

How can I be of service?

Mantra:   AUM

Mudra:  Index & thumb

Gemstones:  White Calcite, White Topaz, Amethyst, Selenite, Celestite

 

 

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What’s my Dosha?

What’s my dosha? is a rather complex question, because every living creature is composed of all five elements and all three doshas– vata, pitta and kapha.  Each of the ayurvedic constitutions (doshas) have distinct attributes and responsibilities in the body. You cannot survive without them. This said, we are not one-third vata, one-third pitta and one-third kapha. There is an infinite number of doshic combinations and no two individuals are exactly the same.  We all have a unique balance that makes me, me and you, you. One’s essential nature is inherited from our parents and does not change.  This is Prakruti.

When we are healthy and balanced, we experience the favorable qualities of the doshas and our Prakruti is revealed. When we are imbalanced or sick, we experience Vikruti, the shadow or unfavourable qualities of the doshas.  Vikruti (imbalance state) can also be inherited from our parents and grandparents. Since we only treat vikurti in Ayurveda, what’s important to determine are what doshas are out of balance. Why? Because we don’t fix what ain’t broke!

Here’s how to tell when a dosha is out of balance:

VATA (air & space)

Vata character when balanced

•  Vibrant, lively, enthusiastic
•  Clear and alert mind – fast learner
•  Flexible
•  Adaptability
•  Imaginative, creative, artistic
•  Sensitive/ clairvoyant
•  Talkative, energetic, quick to respond
•  Social butterfly

What aggravates Vata 

•  Irregular routine – irregular meals & sleep
•  Staying up late
•  Multi-tasking & excessive mental work
•  Cold, dry weather
•  Bitter, astringent, pungent or cold food
•  Traveling, injury, trauma
* Bitter emotions like grief or astringent emotions like fear, aggravate Vata. 

When out of balance – Symptom –> Pain

•  Restless, unsettled, forgetfulness
•  Light interrupted sleep, insomnia
•  Tendency to overexert then crash
•  Fatigued, stiff, dryness
•  Anxious, worried, lonely, depressed, unstable
•  Underweight, malnutrition
•  Poor digestion, gas, bloating, constipation

Conditions: arthritis, dehydration, mental illness, anorexia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease

To balance Vata – Calm & soothe

•  Create routine for meals, work & sleep
•  Favour warmth & rest
•  Reduce stress, travel, disturbing sounds & loud music
•  Favour warm lubricating, nourishing food
•  Favour soft colors, calming music
•  Gentle flowing yoga & restorative poses
•  Guided meditation & rest

PITTA (Fire & water)

 Pitta character when balanced

•  Warm, loving, passionate, contented
•  Enjoys challenges, motivated
•  Strong digestion & immunity
•  Lustrous complexion
•  Good concentration
•  Articulate and precise speech
•  Courageous, bold
•  Sharp wit, intelligent, focused

What aggravates Pitta 

•  Excessive heat or exposure to the sun
•  Alcohol, smoking, drugs
•  Time pressure, deadlines, competition
•  Excessive activity – physical or mental
•  Too much spicy, sour or salty food
•  Skipping meals
* Sour emotions like envy or pungent emotions like anger, aggravate Pitta

When out of balance – Symptom à Inflammation

•  Demanding, aggressive, perfectionist
•  Tendency towards frustration, anger
•  Tendency towards skin irritation & infection
•  Extreme hunger, allergies
•  Prematurely gray hair /early hair loss

Conditions: ulcers, heart burn, IBS, OCD, high blood pressure, acne, liver issues, addiction, hypoglycaemia, auto-immune diseases
To balance Pitta – Refresh & release tension
 •  Reduce stimulants, spicy foods and pressure
•  Favour coolness, leisure, natural beauty, rest  & moderation
•  Favour sweet, bitter & astringent taste
•  Work on letting go of anger & cleanse blood
•  Gentle yoga in nature with some challenge
•  Mantra meditation & rest

KAPHA (earth & water) 

Kapha character when balanced 

•  Affectionate, compassionate
•  Nurturing, calm, relaxed
•  Forgiving, loyal, Emotionally steady
•  Good listener & good memory
•  Slow, methodical, reliable
•  Strong stamina
•  Natural resistance to sickness
•  Soft skin, melodious voice

What aggravates Kapha

•  Oversleeping
•  Overeating
•  Insufficient exercise
•  Too little variety in life
•  Heavy, unctuous foods
•  Too much sweet, sour or salty food
•  Cold, wet weather
* Sweet emotions like desire, or salty emotions like greed, aggravate Kapha.

When out of balance – Symptom –> Swelling

•  Complacent, dull, boring
•  Sluggish, lethargic, lazy, no ambition
•  Oily hair & skin
•  Coughing, phlegm, congestion
•  Slow digestion & metabolism
•  Heavy, overweight, emotional eater
•  Possessive, over attached, needy
•  Tendency to oversleep

Conditions: obesity, chronic fatigue, kidney issues, blocked arteries, diabetes, growths (tumors)

To balance Kapha – Motivate & encourage

•  Reduce sweets & heavy food
•  Regular exercise – daily
•  Favour stimulation, new experiences, variety
•  Sleep less, eat small meals & let go
•  Favour pungent, bitter & astringent taste.
•  Active, invigorating & stimulating yoga
•  Mantra meditation or walking meditation

Related Articles

What is Ayurveda?

10 Ways to Improve Digestion

Green Juices for Vata, Pitta & Kapha

Natural Remedies for Stomach Flu  (Kitchari recipe featured)

 

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