Living a Balanced Life

Last weekend I attended a YogaFit teacher training in Hood River.   The weather was perfect, sunny and warm, and our hotel overlooked the gorge!  I ate yummy food, did lots of yoga, meditated and met some cool people.  The focus of the weekend was meditation, and chakra balancing.

We discussed learning styles especially right brain vs. left brain.  Ideally we want a balance of left brain (where are my keys) and right brain (imagination, visualization, creativity etc).  This allows us to seamlessly move through our daily activities while feeling connected to those around us, having a sense of community.  Our instructor, Kristy Manuel showed us this video of Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist who while having a stroke watches her brain functions shut down one by one – motion, speech, etc…   Hers is a fascinating story.  I love her ideas about how to connect more with our right brain, or creative side.  As she says our right brain thinks “We are perfect, whole and beautiful”

Also during the weekend we did several chakra meditations visualizing the colors, shapes, and qualities of the energy throughout our body.  We also incorporated the colors and characteristics of each chakra into our vinyasa yoga flow.

For the uninitiated, chakras are energy centers that connect to major organs and glands which govern certain parts of your body.  There are seven major chakras and their locations correspond to nerve bundles branching out from the spinal column.  They can be visualized as spinning wheels or vortexes, and each one has a separate color and sound associated with it.  Ideally all seven chakras should be balanced.  If our surroundings are healthy and positive, we receive positive energy and feel good.

Sometimes of course we may become out of balance, having an excess of energy in one area, or a deficiency in another.  How do we solve this problem?  One way is to meditate and visualize your energy flowing evenly throughout your body, There are specific chakra meditations available (we were using a “Chakra Balancing Workbook” by Anodea Judith) but a good start could be sitting quietly for five minutes and just listening to your body.

Try resting your hand on your lower belly and see how it feels.  Rest your hand on your heart or on the top of your head.  Do any of these areas feel more vibrant, louder, softer, bigger, more fluid?  Imagine light or warmth spreading up from your feet all the way out the top of your head, then back down out the bottoms of your feet grounding you into the earth.

I have done a chakra meditation several times in the last few weeks – last night at a bachelorette party for instance (it’s Portland – go figure) and see different things each time.   Sometimes one color is more vibrant or feels stronger, some times I can barely sense energy moving.  Experiment with tuning into your body and see if you can start to pick up the messages it is sending you.