Posts Tagged With: birth

Behind every successful man stands a strong woman

Parvati

From Ganesha, Shiva and Hanuman we move to Parvati. Parvati is known to be the most important wife of Shiva. Shiva and Parvati have two sons together Ganesha and Skanda. Together with Shiva Parvati symbolizes the strength to create and destroy. Only Parvati’s presence is enough for Shiva to bring about uncontrollable desires. Parvati symbolizes the marriage and the well behaved wife. She is also the goddess of beauty and often symbolized with beautiful round curves and full features. Parvati, like Shiva is known in many different forms: Durga (the brave goddess) and Kali (the black goddess) are well known incarnations. Parvati has to watch how Shiva easily plays adultery on a regular basis, but he always returns to Parvati.

Prana shakti

Parvati represents our longing to unite in the form of a romantic relationship, as well as to unite/connect with our own essential nature, a vibration we can call consciousness or the “mother energy” that holds everything together. This energy vibrates and pulsates and is also called prana shakti or life force. Through the practice of yoga especially meditation we can reunite with the prana shakti in us and around us. We can recognise and see the prana shakti in the cycles of the moon, the seasons, the rhythm in our ocean tides, the cycle of day and night and the sparkle in the stars. In our bodies the prana shakti is experienced with the blood running through our veins, the beating of our heart as well as the continuous cycle of the inhale and exhale. It is that energy that brings about continuous movement in our bodies, conscious and unconscious movements.

Power of the breath

Our ever present breath represents this ‘mother energy’ or prana shakti and is the life force that keeps us alive. Through our breath we can actively influence our nervous system and thereby affect the way we feel emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Our breathing is such a normal, regular, automatic activity and at the same time such a powerful tool in many ways that goes beyond words. It brings me back to that time I was in the midst of giving birth to my first son and the focus on my breath was the only grip I could hold on to. I went into a meditative state is what the midwife later wrote in her report. Luckily I had my mum (an experienced yogini and mother of four) nearby and guiding me with breathing when the moment was there to push. She reminded me to relax my jaws (something I remind my yoga students of all the time, but forgot to do myself in this intense experience) and there he was and he took his first breath! Magic has happened yet once again. In an instant I became mother and my mother became a grandmother. The ‘mother energy’ that all gives us life and keep us living.

Parvati and Shiva reunited

Prana shakti is a reminder that everything is constantly moving and changing. All is coming and going. This realisation is a way to connect with the life force within us. In our patriarchal society, humans often feel more like rocks and we have lost the sparkle in own eyes, we have forgotten about the passions we had as children and we are unable to connect with the flow in us and around us. Being in nature, moving, dancing, meditating and practicing asanas are all ways to connect with the prana shakti. I think the world could use some more softness, compassion and love that comes with a more matriarchal society. In many cultures and countries women are honoured for their ability to give birth. For example within the Maori culture in New Zealand, but also in the old cultures in Europe before other religions took over. It is not without reason that we call our planet mother earth and the connection of a mother to her child(ren) is unbelievable powerful and based on unconditional love. Some say that man might have been intimidated or jealous by the power of women and therefore try to repress this female energy. We all know the saying: behind every successful man, stands a strong woman. Prana shakti or parvati doesn’t imply that woman are superior over man. This female energy (parvati) when reunited with the male energy (shiva) creates a healing and creative magnetic energy in us and on the earth. We all have the shiva and the shakti energy within us. It is our invitation to connect, accept and embrace both of them. It is my belief that this will bring more balance and healing on our planet. When practicing yoga, you can invite both the female (yin, softening, receiving, cooling) and the male (strength, power, heat, yang) into your practice. I truly believe when you can connect with your own true essence or your prana shakti, it is also easier to connect on a deeper (romantic) level with another person and experience union.

Pregnant with my second son embodying the so-called mother energy (2017)

 

 

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The Svadhisthana Chakra

The second chakra is the Svadhisthana or sacral/pelvic chakra. ‘Swa’ means vital force or soul and ‘adhisthana’ means seat or abode. This chakra is located at the tailbone, about two finger widths above the root or first chakra and about an inch below the navel. This chakra is associated with the emotion, passion and it represents desire, pleasure, sexuality and procreation. The element for the pelvic chakra is water, referring to change, fluctuation and movement. The location in the body can be related to movement as well, since the sacral plexus is a collection of nerves located in the lower spine which control movement in the legs and pelvis. The colour for the second chakra is orange and the sense is taste, especially a sweet taste. The organs, glands and body parts associated with this chakra are the reproductive organs, all liquids in the body (blood, urine, menstruation, tears), hips, sacrum, low back, adrenal glands, kidneys, spleen and lower bowel. The symbol for the sacral chakra is a six petal lotus flower.

Six petal lotus flower

Six petal lotus flower

A blocked second chakra

This chakra is primarily associated with creativity and sexuality. When energy is not flowing freely from this chakra it can lead to loss of creativity, low sexual energy, a feeling of dullness, loss of emotion, low negotiation skills and depression. You can be stuck in routine and sameness and you don’t feel good about who you are. On the other hand, signs of an excessive second chakra could be overly emotional behavior, sexual addiction or poor boundaries. It may be the result from a family environment where there’s a constant need for pleasurable stimulation, such as entertaining or partying or frequent emotional drama. Besides overindulging in pleasurable things such as food, drugs, alcohol or sex, you could also denying yourself pleasurable activities resulting in blockages in the second chakra. If you grew up in an environment where emotions were repressed or denied, you are susceptible to have deficiencies in this chakra, resulting in signs such as fear of pleasure, being out of touch with one’s feelings and resistance to change. Suppressing your emotions is another way to create blockages in the pelvic chakra. When this energy center is weak you are susceptible to lower back and hip pain and prostate, emotional and sexual problems. If this chakra is blocked, you can become over-sensitive, develop feelings of guilt (for no apparent reason), become extremely hard on yourself and ultimately become sexually frigid or impotent.

The seat of life

A key to open up the second chakra is to maintain balance when it comes to pleasurable, worldly things. This means don’t deny it, but do not overindulge either. In addition, feed your creative side and take care of your body. You could for example find a hobby or activity that provides you with pleasure; paint, draw, sing, act, dance or exercise to express yourself. If you are not sure what you could do, then go back to your childhood. What did you love doing and what made you happy and fulfilled? Our passions take birth in our second chakra – in fact any kind of birth takes place in this chakra: whether the physical conception of a baby, the birth of a new idea or the birth for a new song or book. Since the Svadhisthana is such a life giving chakra, some refer to it as the seat of life.

Relationships and the pelvic chakra

Relationships and the pelvic chakra

Relationships, boundaries and responsibility

This chakra is also the place where you connect and respond to others and build relationships. It includes reproduction and self-indulgence and relates to issues such as blame, guilt, money, sex, power, control, creativity and morality. It is the place where you can experience your sexual energy. If this chakra is balanced you will experience an enormous capacity for creativity and partnerships with others. If you have a strong second chakra, you have no problem saying no, since you are aware of and listen to your boundaries. You can balance this chakra by developing support systems and taking responsibility for what is happening in your life. Optimism, self-confidence, enthusiasm and courage are qualities which can arise from a balanced second chakra.

Ever changing water

Ever changing water

Constant Change

This second energy center is the chakra of emotion, sexuality, pleasure and nurture and all of these things are fluid and ever-changing, like water. This constant change is both the source of pleasure and the source of pain. A lot of people fear change – including myself – and therefore try to grip the present moment. Though, without change there is no pleasure, since if nothing ever change what would you have to be excited for? Meditation can be a perfect method to work through emotions and allow them to rise to the surface and go again. This chakra encourages us to open to life just as it is and if you allow yourself to accept what is, you taste the sweetness of life. If you let go of your resistance to life, your hips will let go, you reproductive organs become less tense and you’re open to experience your sensuality and sexuality.

Towards freedom, passion and growth

Foods associated with these chakra are orange foods, sweet foods (such as carrots, oranges and squash) and liquids. Drinking lots of liquid and using herbs as cinnamon and ginger can help to balance this energy center. The practice of pranayama can also be very helpful in creating balance in this chakra, especially alternate nostril breathing. Ideally, this should be done in quiet space and twice a day. In terms of yoga asanas, backward and forward bends and squatting strengthen this chakra. As well as any hip and groin openers, since they provide freedom of movement in the pelvis, such as Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose), Pavistha Konasana (Open Angle Pose) or Dhanurasana (Bow Pose). These hip and groin openers should never be forced, since they require the subtle feminine tough of sensitivity and surrender. This second chakra helps you to let go of control as it guides you to see life from a different perspective. From your first primary grounding chakra, you have the possibility to move forward into a world of freedom, passion and growth through a balanced second chakra.

Bow pose

Bow pose

 

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