Posts Tagged With: spirituality

Being you and me

577761_522360167783886_1674499311_n

 “The closer people get to self-realization the more ordinary they become”

– George Feuerstein –

Recently I came across this beautiful quote. For me this is so true. The more you discover who you really are, the more likely you are to live a peaceful and content life. You don’t have to be a famous guru, yoga teacher or healer to make a difference and inspire others. If that is your dharma in life, you can of course, but it is not a necessity. It is less important what you do, than how you do it. For example, you can run a small café in a remote village and create a loving, inspiring and warm atmosphere for your customers. You don’t sell yourself as an enlightened person, you’re just you and you do your best in whatever you’re doing. During my time in Africa, I experienced the most beautiful moments with the most ordinary persons.

For me it is a perfect realization, when I’m eager to take up more yoga training’s and workshops. I’ve just completed my 200 hour Purna yoga teaching certificate and I’m already thinking about more training. I hardly stand still to celebrate this completion point, my head is thinking ahead. As usual, I start to compare myself with others and feel an urgent need to do more study. It feels like I’ve been on the top of the iceberg and now I’m so keen and curious to experience and learn more about the rest of the mountain. On the other hand, I know that we’ve just moved to another city and I’ve hardly any income. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like the right time yet to undertake and pay for more study.

My doubts fade away when I read the quote about self-realization. It made me realize that it doesn’t make me a better person if I do more study. I’m not going to become enlightened faster (or at all) by paying for another yoga training or spiritual course. All those training’s, workshops and studies around yoga, mindfulness, meditation, spirituality are trying to teach me one and the same thing: it is already here – inside me. Stop the search and the ‘shopping’ instead enjoy this moment, this life, right now. Everything is already here – you only have to realize it. And by realizing and living that you become a true inspiration for others and an enjoyable presence. Just being you; as simple as that.

keep-calm-and-love-being-you-1

Categories: Inspiration, Sharing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sahasrara Chakra

The seventh and last chakra is the Sahasrara chakra or the ‘crown chakra’. This chakra resides at the crown of the head and connects you to higher consciousness and pure awareness. The Sanskrit word Sahasrara means ‘thousand fold’ and therefore this chakra is also known as ‘Thousand Petaled Lotus’. This lotus burst open when you remember your true nature and experience enlightenment. The crown chakra is the foundation of your spiritual body and links you to the highest spiritual consciousness. This chakra relates to spiritual will, inspiration, idealism and intuitive knowing. It is about integrating your consciousness and subconsciousness and living in the NOW. The associated glands and body parts are the pineal gland, brain and central nervous system. The element of the seventh chakra is thought or cosmic consciousness. This cosmic consciousness can feel like an ultimate intelligence and a sense of all knowing. The associated colour can be violet or white, a combination of all colours. This is in line with the chakra as an integration center of all the other chakras.

A white lotus, the symbol of the crown chakra

A white lotus, the symbol of the crown chakra

A blocked Sahasrara chakra

A blocked crown chakra can result in the following physical and mental problems: diseases of the muscular system, skeletal system and the skin, depression, chronic exhaustion, headaches, coordination difficulties, poor balance and clumsiness, sensitivity to light, sound or the environment. Emotional issues related to an out of balance seventh chakra can be; lack of purpose, loss of meaning or identity, trust, selflessness, lack of devotion, inspiration, values or ethics. If you have a closed crown chakra, it is highly likely that you are unable to live in the present and unable to gain closure on unfinished business. You always seem to be either revisiting your past or looking ahead to the future. You are normally confused and have no purpose in life. You may live on poor quality food, exhaust yourself and are probably ignoring your bodily needs. Fear of religion or spirituality and frustration can also be experienced. There is little joy in your life and you are afraid of things that cannot be understood with the physical senses. It can lead to unwise decisions, unhappiness and a sense of indecision. You can feel alone and separate and feel cut off from spirituality. An excessiveness in the seventh chakra can appear as being overly intellectual and feeling superior to other human beings. It can be described as ‘being in your head’ and you may possibly show some hysterical, psychotic and/or manic-depressive behaviour.

In the Here and Now

In the Here and Now

Yoga and other stimulants

There are different ways to balance your crown chakra for example through prayer, (chakra) meditation or colour and sound therapy. The Tibetan Bowl creates sounds that can help you to achieve a balanced seventh chakra. In terms of nature, viewing mountain tops can be helpful. Supporting yoga poses to balance this chakra are Padmasana (Lotus Pose), Salamba Sirsasana (Supported headstand) and all meditation poses. Since meditation is the yogic practice for this chakra, it clears and quiets the mind and connects you with the higher self. A daily head massage is also a good method towards balance of the crown chakra. In addition, you could focus on your dreams and write down your visions. You could also consume violet foods and drinks, wear violet clothing and use violet oils such as lavender or jasmine essential oils. Foods that can help to open up the seventh chakra are foods that generate space, for example raw green veggie juices. Moderate fasting can also activate the seventh chakra. One of the most important elements of physical, emotional and spiritual health is being inspired by your own life and live in the present moment.

Tibetan Singing bowls

Tibetan singing bowls

Balanced crown chakra

If your crown chakra is balanced, you are released from ego driven desires and you are able to trust in your highest guidance. Your sense of empathy and unity expands and your consciousness raises. You can experience another person, place or object as if you are inside of them or as if you are ‘being’ them. You will have wisdom, trust, selflessness, humanitarianism and the ability to see the bigger picture in a spiritual life. You feel calm, deeply at ease and fully aware with a gentle and compassion nature, free of worry. You show the ultimate goal of every human being: inner peace and satisfaction. You are truly in the present moment, living in the ‘Here and Now’. You reach a state of ‘being’, rather than a state of ‘doing’. There is no longer a sense of division, the macrocosm becomes the microcosm and all is in unity and you are in optimum balance. Compassion is the main sense that develops if you crown chakra opens. This ‘crown compassion’ is more about perception and communication, compared to ‘heart compassion’ which is more about emotions and empathy.

Union or Yoga

If all your energy centers are open and balanced, all selfish desires disappear. You are grounded, grateful, peaceful and visionary. By opening your crown chakra, you have reached the highest state of consciousness. Through firm grounding into the earth (first chakra), opening up your creative energy (second chakra), manifesting your dreams in the world (third chakra), opening your heart (fourth chakra), expressing your true voice (fifth chakra) and connecting with your inner knowing (sixth chakra), you are finally experiencing total unification or yoga by activating the seventh chakra.

Compassionate communication with lightness

Compassionate communication from the heart and with lightness

Categories: Chakra, Food, Freedom, Happiness, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Vishuddha Chakra

The Vishuddha Chakra is the fifth energy center and is referred to as the throat chakra. The fifth chakra is located in the throat region and communication, truth and self-expression are associated with this chakra. Vishuddha means ‘purifier’ and forms the gateway to the chakras devoted to spirituality. It governs your ability to discriminate between right and wrong, speak the truth and give your dreams ‘a voice’. This chakra also deals with creativity, learning to take responsibility for your own needs, confession, faith, self-knowledge and intuition. The associated colour is blue and the element is the space or ether. The sense related to the fifth chakra is hearing. The glands, organs or body parts associated with the Vishuddha chakra are the throat, (para)thyroid gland, trachea, cervical vertebrae, vocal cords, neck, shoulder, arms, hands, esophagus, mouth, teeth, eyes, ears and sinuses.

Throat chakra symbol

Throat chakra symbol

Blocked fifth Chakra

If your fifth energy center is blocked, you can feel anxious about how other people will react to your views and therefore it is difficult to speak your truth. You may also be unable to listen to others and to your own higher self. This can result in a lack of personal expression, creativity and faith, difficulties in decisions making, and addictions. If your throat chakra is obstructed, you can develop several communication difficulties such as lack of tact, timing and expression and finding it difficult to maintain a balance between speaking and listening. Excessive talking, inability to listen, hearing difficulties, stuttering and a fear of speaking may all be signs of an out of balance throat chakra. Physical problems which may be associated with a blocked fifth chakra are thyroid dysfunctions, throat ailments, stiff neck, shoulder tension, teeth grinding, jaw disorders, mouth ulcers, gum or tooth problems, scoliosis and swollen glands. There could be lumps or tumors on the vocal chords and you may experience trouble swallowing. A person who talks very softly and a person who talks loud and boisterous can both indicate an out of balance fifth chakra. This energy center can be damaged by all that passes through the throat including, lying, gossip, alcohol, smoking, drugs and overeating.

Do you live your truth?

Do you live your truth?

Balanced Vishuddha chakra

If your Vishuddha chakra is balanced, you are easily able to communicate with others and you are able to express the truth without worrying about what others may think. A healthy throat chakra allows you to connect with your inner guidance and to live your truth in daily life through creative and positive self expression. You are able to give and receive the truth and are in touch with your playfulness, joy and innocence. Through constructive communication, contentment, centeredness, wisdom and conscious listening you are able to reach the peak of your creativity and inspiration. So what to do to balance this chakra? Purification is a key word in terms of opening the throat chakra with the aim of achieving sensitivity needed for the subtler upper chakras. You can attain purification through a healthy diet, yoga, meditation and exercise among others. Other ways towards an open and healthy fifth chakra are literally opening up to your thoughts and emotions (including releasing past emotions), speak and live the truth, stimulate your creativity and deep breathing exercises. Become aware of all the thoughts you don’t express and the moments you don’t speak the truth. Breath in some courage to express your innermost beliefs and speak words that come directly from your heart. A healthy Vishuddha chakra will result in a fulfilling life and a true connection with yourself. You will be an excellent listener, speaker and/or writer and often able to inspire others.

Yoga

Yoga is a perfect way to purify the body and mind and thereby opening up the fifth chakra. Postures that are balancing this chakra are neck stretches and shoulder openers like Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand), Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose), Halasana (Plow Pose), Ustrasana (Camel Pose) and Matysasana (Fish Pose). The sounds of the Ujayii breath (Victory Breath), chanting and Simhasana (Lion Pose) can also be helpful to balance the Vishuddha chakra.

Shoulderstand

Shoulderstand

Towards balance

So besides speaking the truth and expressing yourself clearly and honestly what else can you do to clear your throat chakra? You could for example write in a journal to express your feelings and thoughts. The challenge is to start writing at a deeper level: ‘What really needs to be said or heard?’ Singing, humming or chanting with your true voice can also be helpful to open up your fifth chakra. Another challenge: try to listen to someone with your whole being and complete presence for at least five minutes and then change roles. Try not to interrupt each others or provide feedback through facial expression, just be and listen. And at last, read and say this wonderful healing blessing:

“May you hear and speak truth. May your life and your creations express the fullness of who you are. May you know ever deeper levels of truth.”

Express yourself through singing

Express yourself through singing


For more inspiration go the following website about two people who follow their dreams and the dreams of others:

I Believe That Dreams Can Come True

Categories: Chakra, Inspiration, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yoga of Awareness

Kundalini yoga is an ancient and unique form of yoga and is also called the yoga of awareness. It is the most spiritual type of yoga I have practised. It is brought to the West in 1969 by Yogi Bhajan. The focus is primarily on expansion of self-awareness and realizing your true potential. Kundalini literally means ‘the curl of the lock of hair of the beloved’. This metaphor refers to the flow of energy and consciousness that exists within each of us and enables us to become one with the infinite consciousness. In other words, Kundalini is the untapped energy or prana at the base of the spine that can be pulled up through the body and awake each of the seven chakras. When this prana reaches the crown chakra at the top of your head, enlightenment occurs. However, for most of us, this potent energy lies dormant at the base of your spine. Through the practice of Kundalini yoga, you can release this energy by breaking through emotional blocks, energy imbalances and addictive behaviour. For this reason Kundalini yoga can be highly transformative, since it releases held issues whether body or mind.

Each Kundalini class typically includes six major components: mantras, pranayama and/or warm-up, kriya, relaxation, meditation and closing with a song. The class starts with a short chant followed by a warm-up to stretch the spine and improve flexibility. The main part of the class is called a kriya. This is a complete set of exercises including pranayama that focuses on a precise area of the body. The kriyas are precise and bring the body and mind to a state where deep meditation is easily achieved. The goal of a kriya could be clearing the heart chakra or increasing spinal flexibility for example. There are hundreds of kriyas and therefore no class will be the same. The class ends with a meditation and song. Most Kundalini teachers and devotees wear white clothes and wrap their heads with a white turban or other head covering. The white clothing is worn to support both the body’s energetic field or aura and the nervous system functions. The white headband is believed to protect the crown chakra and improve the experience of meditation.

Since the emphasis is on breathing, meditation, mudras (hand gestures) and chanting, a Kundalini class could be intense and odd for newcomers. The breath and movement are often very dynamic and will be unfamiliar to more conventional Hatha yoga practitioners. Though, the use of mantras could support you if you are new to meditation and find silence challenging. Mantra meditation can result in clarity, balance and equanimity. This type of yoga appeals to you if you are up for both mental and physical challenges. I have tried different Kundalini yoga classes and I always love the use of mantras and sounds, because it supports me with the transition from a busy work day to a quiet yoga practice. I am quite used to physical challenges, but Kundalini yoga provides me with a whole new kind of challenge. The combination of specific pranayama techniques and asanas requires me to be focused and attentive. After practising some more physically focused forms of yoga, I felt at ease to spend time and energy to develop myself spiritually as well. My first steps in the world of Kundalini yoga were quite magical experiences; it brought me to stillness and peace, my true self.

Categories: Inspiration, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Asana

Asana (postures or poses) comprise the third limb of yoga. Traditional usage defines asana as both singular and plural. It addresses physical limitations so you may cultivate more comfort during the limbs that follow. In the yogic view, the care of your body is an important stage of your spiritual growth.

Originally, in the context of yoga practice, asana refers to two things: the place where a yogi sits and the manner or posture in which he sits. Patanjali describes asana as ‘to be seated in a position that is firm, but relaxed’ for extended, or timeless periods. According to the Yoga Sutra’s, the only requirement for practicing asana is to be steady and comfortable. Asana later became a term for various postures suitable to restore and maintain a person’s wellbeing and improve the body’s flexibility and vitality. Through the practice of asanas, you develop the habit of discipline and the ability to concentrate, both necessary for meditation. 

Yoga in the West is commonly practiced as physical exercise mainly. Thus focusing on the asana especially and thereby neglecting the other limbs. In contrast, the yoga practiced in the East is more associated with spirituality, meditation and growth. It quite appeals to me to imagine the eight limbs as an iceberg. Typically only one-ninth of the volume of an iceberg is above water which can symbolize (part of) the third limb. Practicing and learning yoga postures and the result – a healthy and fit body – can be easily seen with the naked eye. However other limbs include consciousness, meditation, concentration, enlightenment or control of the breath which are less visible and rooted from within primarily. If you just practice the ‘visible’ asana it equals a fitness class or gymnastics practice. While on your yoga journey you can develop and establish the relationships with this – on first sight – invisible part of the yoga philosophy. If you start to look at a deeper level, you can discover a whole new world and surprise yourself with the enormous amount you can learn and grow. Enjoy the journey!  

Categories: Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.