Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chakras, Energy, Posture + Fulfilment in Life: a surprisingly simple primer

For the discerning modern person, very busy, atrophied attention-span and all, here is all you need to know about chakras, energy and posture- the Reader's Digest version! ; ) But more seriously this is a good review or beginning point for those interested in learning how philosophy meets practical application in our lives.

It is a very complex interaction- the body, mind, energy interface that is the human experience. We are not informed or prepared in public schools to actually understand how to take care of ourselves and trouble-shoot illness, discomfort, and negativity. So here is one small point that makes a huge difference it my physical, mental, emotional well-being on a daily basis...

Most people, even those of which practice decent posture, don't stop to be conscious of how they direct energy/the force of gravity through their bodies. Unless you are trained in yoga, or perhaps ballet, you never would think that such an opportunity even exists... However it does, in each moment, and if we are unconscious about it, we slowly deteriorate the quality of our bones and joints, and our overall health.

The chakras are subtle (invisible to the eye, or pretend for the skeptics!) energy centers along the spine corresponding with major glands throughout the body. When we sit or stand unconsciously, we compress the entire abdomen with more pressure then our structure is meant to support. Energetically speaking, this obstructs the flow of energy, life force, diminishing our vitality. On the physical side of the very same experience, we deteriorate the quality of our spinal column with this extra pressure, and we greatly reduce both nerve function and blood supply to our major organs. This causes degenerative and "chronic" disease and lots of discomfort- bloating, heaviness, digestive issues and so on.
Ideally, energetically, we want a free flow of energy from the lower chakras up through all of the upper chakras, which simply isn't possible with this caveman-collapsing-into-gravity syndrome we have going on.

So how are we supposed to be doing our thing, us human beings? Here's the rundown from the ground up!
First of all: our connection to the earth is crucial- this is our foundation. When sitting your main connection is through the pelvis, the hip bones, or sitting bones as yogis often call them. Standing, obviously, the feet form the foundation. Use the whole foot evenly, without collapsing the arch. PRESS into the earth just a bit. You will already feel the energy lifting up through your body- you will sit or stand a little straighter.

Then keep your pelvis neutral, in other words don't let your lower back round out or belly hang out, balance in the middle. Draw the navel toward the spine. This helps with digestive health, proper alignment, core strength, and promotes confidence. By doing this, you should still be able to breathe smoothly, and it directs the energy flow up from the lower chakras to the upper chakras.

From there, open your chest fully, don't let the shoulders round forward- it is like caving in your heart. Instead keep your chest high, shoulders relaxed down, shoulder blades a little bit drawn towards the ground behind. Breathe well, freely and smoothly.

Try not to let your head slowly creep forward into your monitor. Like I so quaintly joked in my personal trainer days, "you're neck ain't nothin' but a part of your spine!" (Ha ha! I am a lovable goof ball!).

All of our strength and ease currently lies in our default posture, so it takes patience and diligence to retrain the body to a healthy posture, but the results physically, mentally, emotionally are incredible. Also, we have to become more present, more aware in each moment to do this work, so our mindfulness grows. Mindfulness, or presence, is the single most powerful catalyst for creativity, joy, and fulfillment in life.

So there is it, in a nutshell- how and why bother to stand up and sit up like good human beings, from the subtle and physical perspectives. If the body feels terrible, if energy flow is blocked, our happiness and ease are sharply reduced. We feel happier and better at every level when we can move and use our energy the way it is meant to interact with the body for ideal fulfillment in life.

With love for all life~ laura

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