muladhara chakra heal|yogi surprise

Muladhara (Root Chakra): Heal Your Anxiety with This Guided Meditation

DO YOU FEEL ANXIOUS, UM, BASICALLY ALWAYS?

It’s something so many of us are totally used to and we don’t even realize that we’re walking around in a constant state of stress and worry. And that it’s not ‘normal’. It’s our normal. Damn.

If you smile at a stranger and they don’t smile back, are you deflated?

If you text a friend and they don’t reply that same day, are you convinced the friendship is dead and maybe you imagined it after all?

Okay, aside from the melodrama, these are indications that anxiety is a driving force in your life and it’s a really tough way to live second to second. There is, thank the stars, a deeply practiced and proven solution for the relentless stress of anxiety.

Choose to heal

Oh, okay, super easy. I’ll get right on that. Healing only takes ALL the energy and tools at our disposal. Healing means we have to get up and over what stands in our way and change, even positive change is scary.

But it’s totally worth it. Once we heal. We don’t have to go back and do it all over again. It’s not like our hamstrings. They need constant attention and diligence. Healing old wounds means we can move up and on. We’ve shifted our chakra system and we’ve started at the root.

Always start at the root of the issue, not the symptoms

Muladhara is our first chakra. Its located at the very base of our spine and it’s main responsibility is offering us a sense of security and safety. So much can happen throughout our lives as a result of shocks to our sense of security and what we believe we can rely on in this world.

Muladhara is all about grounding. Our upbringing can offer us a deep sense of this or quite the opposite. And if the opposite is our basic understanding of the world – that security is an illusion and everything can fall apart at any given moment, it’s pretty darn difficult to feel any sense of peace and surrender to trusting that the universe will provide.

Anxiety is powerful, but so are we, and we’re stronger than any one emotion. Every emotion only has the depth of power and intensity that we attribute to it. Grounding and developing a sense of rooted support from the earth and those around us as well as the ideas and moral compass we’ve created help to dissipate this sense of instability.

Try this guided meditation to put your anxiety in perspective and work in the direction of healing your root chakra and creating the foundation for grounded strength that you both deserve and has been there all along.

(Muladhara chakra is connected to the color red, associated with the earth element, and to our sense of smell. Fear is the roadblock in bringing balance into this chakra. Anxiety is just another name for fear. Let’s go.)

Lay down on the earth, preferably outside to create a more keen sense of being connected to the earth’s floor. Find a grassy, dry spot that lets the sun peak through the trees. Press your hands directly into the grass or dirt. Dig in. 

Make sure the color red is represented either in the form of jewelry, clothing, a blanket you’ve placed under your knees or a crystal such as red jasper. Red jasper is powerful in its ability to create a more receptive and open sensation within the root chakra. It also connects the root to the sacral chakra, stimulating connection there. Place the crystal right at on your pelvis about 3-4 inches below your belly button.

Choose wise words of encouragement Breath in serenity, breath out fear. Breath in empowerment, breath out insecurity. Continue to pursue your breath feeling it become wider, more vast and offering a stronger sense of clarity. Keep finding more words to represent who you are right now and who you continue to become Defy old, destructive identifying words that do not serve you or your purpose and desire for security and a strong foundation. 

Visualize an image that offers you comfort. Color this image red. For example, if that image is a lotus (the symbol for the root chakra), on the inhale allow the color of the lotus to get deeper and more vivid in your mind. On the exhale as you’re sending the old thoughts away, see the color of your image waning and dissipating in depth. Take away it’s power. Send your energy to the new ideas and thoughts you’re cultivating as present truths. Breath and be.

As you complete your meditation. Move slowly away from the space, being mindful to touch the earth meaningfully. Perhaps you even bring a little with you to serve as a reminder as you move through your day. Namaste. 


3 Ways to Harness the Power of Yoga to Balance Food Cravings

3 Ways to Harness the Power of Yoga to Balance Food Cravings

Everyone knows what it’s like to crave something yummy without actually feeling hungry for it. Whether it’s sweet and decadent or salty and crunchy, sometimes our cravings cause us to lose our grip on our self-control and indulge in those guilty pleasures.

Food cravings are especially difficult to keep under control during the holiday season when baked goods, alcoholic beverages, and heavy comfort foods are abundant. Combine that with the stress of having to get all the holiday shopping, event planning, decorating, entertaining, and other tasks done in a matter of weeks and you’ve potentially got a high-sugar, high-fat recipe for disaster (no pun intended).

Believe it or not, yoga can help. Some research has shown that mindfulness-based interventions like yoga can help to enhance treatment, prevention, and recovery of addictions. And yes, that includes those food cravings that make us feel like we're practically addicted to eating.

So next time you find yourself pining for a bag or chips or an extra large piece of chocolate cake, look toward your practice. Here are three ways you can tweak your yoga practice to help you get through the holidays without packing on too much extra weight.

 

Practice Yoga to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety and stress cause us to reach for tempting foods in hopes that they’ll soothe (or at least dull) our emotions. They may work temporarily as a distraction, but you\re likely to end up feeling worse than before.

As a preventative strategy, you can target anxiety and stress imbalances by integrating yoga sequences into your practice designed to help you wring out negative energy from the body and mind. Think restorative poses like forward folds and empowering poses like the warrior poses.

 

Breathe to Mindfully Observe Your Cravings

In yoga, we move our bodies to the rhythm of our breath, but conscious breathing alone increases awareness. Sitting in easy pose while focusing on your breath may be all that you need to become aware of where your cravings are really coming from.

If you’re interested in trying other forms of pranayama, nadi shodana (alternate nostril breathing), is a powerful breathing technique worth trying. It’s thought that this breathing technique helps to restore balance between the two hemispheres of the brain to promote greater physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

 

Meditate to Focus on the Foods You Desire

You’d think that to avoid giving into cravings, doing your best to ignore and avoid temptation would be the key to success. Interestingly, a study suggests that the opposite may be true.

When study subjects consciously imagined food first before given the opportunity to indulge, their food cravings were curbed and they indulged in smaller amounts compared to subjects who were asked to imagine scenarios unrelated to food. This suggests that using mindfulness meditation to focus on tempting foods before actually eating them may actually help you want less, so you can eat less.

 

While we always encourage our readers to do their best at seeking to balance their indulgent food choices with moderation, we understand that many could use a little extra help around this time of year. For this reason, Yogi Surprise members will be receiving their very own copy of Sugar Detox: Three Weeks to Healthier, Happier, More Balanced Life by Filippa Salomonsson in their December Lifestyle boxes to help them star the New Year off right.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


5 Stress Relieving Yoga Poses to Relax Your Mind and Body

5 Stress Relieving Yoga Poses to Relax Your Mind and Body

Worried? Tense? Or just plain old stressed out?

We’ve all been there. December is an especially stressful month for many yogis—especially since most of us finding ourselves trying to balance our healthy lifestyle habits like healthy eating and fitting our practice into the day with seasonal tasks like shopping, decorating, cooking.baking, entertaining, and attending special events.

Next time you step onto your mat for your yoga practice, or anytime you just need a quick stress reliever, try the following poses.

 

Low Lunge Pose (Anjanayasana)

We carry a lot of emotional stuff in our hips, which is why some yogis experience emotional release (sometimes even through tears) when they work on opening their hips. Low lunge pose is great for targeting not only the hips but also the quadriceps, groin, and hamstrings to promote full range of motion in the lower body.

 

Photo via Daku Resort Savusavu Fiji

 

If you want to get into a deeper stretch from this pose, you can reach back and grab your foot to pull the heel as close to your glute as you can. Try extending the other arm upward to challenge your balance.

 

Extended triangle pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

Extended triangle pose offers a full-body stretch that is well known for relieving stress, anxiety and in some instances physical pain too. In addition to stretching the hips, groin, hamstrings, calves and spine, this pose also opens your chest while strengthening your legs, feet, ankles, back, and abdominal muscles.

 

Photo via Tom Britt

 

If you experience neck pain or discomfort in this pose, you can easily turn your gaze to face downward while focusing on relaxing your neck. If that goes well, you can gently shit your head so that that you’re gazing forward.

 

Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana) with Eagle Arms

Although it can be an intense seated pose, cow face pose is known to help induce relaxation by releasing tension. The hips, thighs and shoulders will be stretched while the squeezing of the eagle arms will help to stimulate blood flow for for improved book circulation.

 

Photo via Daku Resort Savusavu Fiji

 

Hint: Full eagle pose (garudasana) is another well known stress reliever, so you may want to try that one as well. Because it involves balancing on one leg while the other is crossed over it, you’re forced to focus on a single point to keep your balance, which is a big component of the pose that makes it effective for stress reduction.

 

Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

For a soothing, restorative effect on both the mind and body, look no further than legs up the wall. This one is ideal for those who aren’t in it for flexibility or strength and helps to reduce stress by renewing blood and lymph drainage back toward the heart space.

 

Photo via kellinahandbasket

 

You can do this one up against any wall, but many yogis love to do it in their beds for a cozier feeling. Combine it with controlled breathing to help lower the heart rate and enhance relaxation.

 

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Good old child’s pose. How can you go wrong? A true resting pose, placing your third eye down on your mat or the floor is instantly calling for the mind. It also soothes the adrenals, opens the hips, improves digestion, and stretches the back.

 

Photo via Daku Resort Savusavu Fiji

 

Hold child’s pose for as long as you want while taking slow, deep breaths. A few minutes later, you’ll feel less stressed and more rejuvenated so that you can continue taking on the day’s tasks with confidence and purpose!