Somebody asked me this question during the week. What is yoga for me?
It got me thinking…
For me Yoga is my way to cope with life!
Yoga helped me (and still does!) every single day, to find myself, to put together all the broken parts of myself and learn how to react to life, to people, to circumstances...
It's like pouring gold (like the Japanese broken vases!) in all the wounds of my heart and soul and keep myself together adding value and beauty to my life.
It doesn’t matter how I am, how I feel that day, as soon as I am sitting in the mat to start the practice, everything become better, clearer.
Some days take more time than others, but even in the worse days of my life, yoga always makes me feel better. And by the time I finish my class I am sure that I can handle everything that life throw at me!
Thanks to yoga I survived the worst storms of my life.
It gave me roots when mine were severed and I didn’t know where to stand.
It gave me strength, resilience, faith and hope.
It gave me light in the darkest nights of my life.
And it always ready to catch me when I fall and to give me support when I can get it from anybody or anywhere else.
Yoga allows me to access and work in all the areas of myself, the ones that I like and the ones I don’t like too! Bit by bit, layer by layer, I can connect deeper and deeper to my core believes (the ones responsible for make me act as I am) and I can confront them to see if they are still supporting me or are working against my peace, grow and expansion. Yoga gives me the opportunity to review it and change it, if I need it, in a safe and protected environment.
Yoga help me, every single day, to be more kind and patient with myself and others (not easy sometimes!!) And reminds me that there is no need to push, to force, to compete, to be perfect, because there is no place to arrive. Our life happens as we live, in the process of living, not in the destination or the end (really hard for me to get this too!!)
But every day, thanks to yoga, grasping this idea is a little bit easier 😊
I know I can count in yoga always, through my whole life, no matter where and when. Always.
And that is what is yoga for me 😊
We can structure a yoga class to bring awareness and help to balance and open our chakras for a more deep and meaningful practice:
Centering and Grounding… Base Chakra… Physical Sheath… Earth
When you come to your class, when you seat on your mat, stop and peacefully let go of where you come from and where you going later. Be in the room, in your body, right here, right now, centering in the present.
Connect your body and letting your breath to take over your body and consciousness…
Limbering … Sacral Chakra, Empowerment… Energetic Sheath… Water
During this time gentle movements help to release stiffness and increase joint mobility. Slowly releasing out the joints and stretching the muscles, deepening the breath, generating heat, releasing stuck energy, slowing down the thoughts and gently concentrating the mind.
Energy begins to flow and there is a lifting of the spirit, a willingness to take on new experiences, movements, thoughts, sensations…
Strengthening… Solar Plexus Chakra, Vitality… Mental Sheath… Fire
These includes all standing poses and others such a Downward and Upward facing dog, plank. These are postures that strengthen the body and the mind, increase energy. We learn how to use the energy in a more efficient way how to store your energy to maintain your vitality. We are toning muscles, with strong concentration, letting go of superficial thoughts and clearing the mind.
This is the moment to celebrate your strength, power and vitality with each pose and breathe!
Opening… Heart Chakra, Compassion… Mental Sheath… Fire
Cooling the body down, easing the body out and settling into a higher state of energy. Calmly alert within body and mind.
Time for gentle reflection as the body eases itself out. The breath calms yet maintains depth.
After the shake-up comes the settling and clarity, an acceptance of what is and the way things are, time to let go. Compassion appears without effort, strengths and weakness are shared.
Calming… Throat Chakra, Wisdom… Intuitive Sheath… Air
This is a coming together of the session and a binding of energies to a finer rhythm. Combining the subtle energies of the body and mind, brings an awareness of the intuitive body; a body of knowing. Intellect is calm, and the heart is open, a state of being is experienced, the wisdom of being.
Focusing on the breathing here to clearly see what blocks the energy and what unblock it and holding the wisdom to be at peace with both
Relaxation (Savasana)… Brow Chakra, Understanding… Bliss Sheath… Ether
This is where renewal is completed, the physical body is grounded, the energy body is alight, the mental body is clear, the intuitive body is fluid, and the bliss body permeates. Conscious presence suffuses from the core of your being. The calm silence of understanding.
Feel the releasing and letting go, finding the body connecting into itself and connecting into the floor. Resting into the natural weight of the body and as you feel the natural weight without resistance the body becomes lighter and a sense of openness happens within the body, the body feels as if it is floating.
The inner world is experienced as a vast universe. Universal understanding is experienced, a profound understanding of the infinite, bliss absolute.
“Peacefully bringing ourselves into our body and peacefully let go when we are there”
The effects of a chakra-based practice can have a tangible, empowering ripple effect on your life.
(Join us in our Restorative Yoga and Chakra Meditation Workshops to learn how to get in touch with your energy system and how to activate and balance your chakras for a better, more satisfying life)
According to yoga tradition, the subtle body is a part of you that you can’t see or touch—it’s where your energy flows, which is why it’s also referred to as the energy body. There are seven key points in the subtle body that are thought to be vortexes of energy, known as chakras.
When energy becomes blocked in a chakra, it triggers physical, mental, or emotional imbalances that manifest in symptoms such as anxiety, lethargy, or poor digestion.
A well-tuned asana practice can free up energy and stimulate an imbalanced chakra, paving the way for that wonderful internal shift for which yoga is known.
With just a little bit of coaching, you can tap into the chakras as a potent way of harnessing and shifting your energy in the direction you want it to go.
Here's our quick summary:
1. Root Chakra — Represents our foundation and feeling of being grounded.
Location: Base of spine in tailbone area – Color Red
The root centre governs your family ties and feelings of survival, belonging, and guardedness. Your earliest memories are stored here, including whether or not your basic needs were met. When it is blocked or out of balance, you can become needy, have low self-esteem, or have self-destructive behaviors. When this chakra is in balance, you feel strong and confident; you can stand up on your own two feet and take care of yourself.
2. Sacral Chakra — Our connection and ability to accept others and new experiences.
Location: Lower abdomen, about two inches below the navel and two inches in – Color Orange
This chakra corresponds with your reproductive and sexual organs, and represents fluidity, creativity, and fertility. You can take a literal interpretation of this, or associate this chakra with whether or not you feel deserving of a pleasurable, abundant, creative life. When it’s out of balance, you can feel emotionally unstable, guilty, or hard on yourself. When it is in balance, you feel creative, positive, and receptive to change—like the ocean and its tides, you’re in the flow.
3. Solar Plexus Chakra — Our ability to be confident and in control of our lives.
Location: Upper abdomen in the stomach area – Color Yellow
You’ve heard the expression “firing on all cylinders.” When it is in balance, you feel alive and have the self-esteem and confidence to take action and be productive. When it’s blocked, you lack courage, have low self-esteem, and feel stagnant and inert.
By working on this chakra, you can awaken your true personal inner power and work through your fear of taking risks.
4. Heart Chakra — Our ability to love.
Location: Center of chest just above the heart – Color Green
Awaken to the power of unconditional love within you through compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance. When the heart chakra is blocked, you become possessive and codependent, and may form dysfunctional relationships. You may also stay isolated for fear of rejection. When you stimulate the heart chakra, you can heal past wounds by reopening your heart, learn to love unconditionally, and form healthy relationships.
5. Throat Chakra — Our ability to communicate.
Location: Throat – Color Blue
When it is blocked, you may feel like you can’t find your voice or your truth. You may also be overly talkative and not listen to others. When this chakra is open and stimulated, your voice moves through space to help you communicate your emotions in healthy ways. You also become better at listening to others and honoring their personal truths without judgment.
6. Third Eye Chakra — Our ability to focus on and see the big picture.
Location: Forehead between the eyes (also called the Brow Chakra) – Color Indigo
This chakra is associated with your intuition, or sixth sense, and governs how the rest of the chakras function. When this chakra is functioning well, you have insight, and you trust your inner wisdom to face life’s challenges and choices. When it’s blocked, you feel close-minded, too attached to logic, untrusting, and cynical. Working on the sixth chakra opens your mind to the bigger picture and different perspectives, and it helps you receive the wisdom that cannot be seen or heard by ordinary senses.
7. Crown Chakra — The highest chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually.
Location: The very top of the head – Color violet or White
The crown chakra connects to beauty itself and the spiritual realm. It helps you to understand who you are beyond your physical self—that you are a spiritual being having a human experience. It is not located in the body but actually hovers above the crown of the head. When it’s closed, you think happiness can only come from the outside, and you suffer.
Working on this chakra helps you to feel free in any situation.
Because the neck is the link between the head and the body in a physical sense, metaphysically it joins the spiritual and the material world.
The neck represents the ability to be flexible in our thinking, to see the other side of a question, and to see another person’s point of view.
You may be in a situation that you feel you can’t control as you wish. You may feel that someone or something around you has become a “pain in the neck”.
Perhaps you are uncomfortable with what you feel is going on behind your back…
Whatever the issue, you pretend it does not bother you, but in fact you feel as if stuck in an emotional roller coaster.
When we suffer with probably we have leaned toward a certain decision that you must straighten out by altering your belief system.
Tips for bringing relief and understanding to your neck pain:
Remember that your reality is based on your perception and is therefore completely within your control.
Check with yourself what thoughts and beliefs are holding you back or stuck in the situation and then search within yourself or carry out practical researches to see if you can find other points of view or perspective to arrive to different answers and solutions. Opening your mind and your heart, to different solutions can bring you the release on the pain.
Flexibility in your mind and heart can help you to release body stiffness and pain.
If your fear is related to what is going on behind your back, become aware that this is the result of your mind working overtime. Check with the people concerned and express your beliefs and fears.
As a simply rule you can check when you feel more pain on your neck moving your head (saying yes, so back and forward – saying no, so moving side to side) asking yourself what it is you need to make a decision about at this time:
If you feel more pain in the yes movements, your body is telling you that a decision you are postponing should be yes and that your inflexibility are the obstacles your face in making the appropriate decision.
If you feel more pain in the no movements, ask yourself what it is you are afraid of and evaluate this fear. Check with the person to see if you fear are justified.
Affirmations to help Neck pain:
I am willing to open my mind and heart to new ideas and thoughts.
I am willing to change.
I am open myself to new ideas and ways of being.
Shoulder pain signifies a feeling of being emotionally burdened. You have “the weight of the world on your shoulders”.
You want to do too much for others, so prevent yourself from doing what you want because of that inner obligation to them.
In focusing on keeping others happy, you fail to reach out and grasp your own happiness.
You have tremendous capacity for working hard. Your body isn’t telling you to stop doing so much, but to do it out of love instead of obligation.
If you have difficulty moving your arms, you may be apprehensive about embracing a person or a new situation.
Shoulder pain is a message that you are overburdening yourself for no real reason; you are taking burdens that do not belong to you. Liberate yourself by allowing other to live their own lives and make their own mistakes.
It is time to establish your limitations and personal needs and take on your shoulders only what corresponds to what you want for yourself.
Take care of yourself as if you were someone you cared about.
Other will respect your needs when you learn to respect them yourself.
Allow yourself to be flexible, embrace anyone or anything you want and let go of your belief that the consequences will be harsh.
Remember to relax often and ask to yourself and your body what is you need to know or change…
Affirmations to help shoulders pain:
“I love myself enough to respect my limits”
“ I respect myself and my needs and others respect me as well”
” I release, I relax and let go. I am safe in life.”
“I am flexible and I flow with life easily”
“I choose to allow all of my experiences to be joyous and loving.”
The arms represent our ability and capacity to embrace life.
Pain in the arms signals that you feel you are no longer useful and you doubt your capacities.
Or it could be that you have difficulty holding someone close to you.
You may feel some guilt surrounding this issue.
Which arm is causing you pain?
Be aware that the right arm signifies giving and the left receiving or acquiring.
Right arm is also related with the masculine aspect (in yourself or a masculine presence in your life or related with the doing or having)
Left side is related with the feminine aspect of your life (yourself, other persons, creative aspects)
It may be that you feel you have all that you need to embrace a new situation but you’ve been influenced by others or by your thoughts and you are preventing yourself from grasping the situation fully
Since the arms are an extensions of the heart region, they are used to express love. Rather than feeling the weight of the obligation, embrace the person or opportunity with open arms as this is the natural reaction of the heart.
Tips for bringing relief and understanding to your arms pain:
If you doubt your ability or your usefulness, realize that this mindset is the result of listening to a little voice in your head that is bred by the ego. Trust that the Universe only gives you what you can handle and that you will reach your goals with a confidence and capability.
Doubts and fears are your only obstacles to reaching your goals.
If you find it difficult to show affection and there is a resulting ache or pain in your arms, your body is giving you a signal to reach out and demonstrate how you really feel.
Affirmations to help arms pain:
I lovingly hold and embrace my experiences with ease and joy.
I am capable and worthy.
I have all the abilities and skills I need.
I say yes to life with open arms
The back provides the greatest support for the physical body, therefore, any problem indicates that you don’t feel enough support.
Too often we think we are only supported by our job or by our family or spouses. In reality we are totally supported by the Universe, life itself.
The power that creates us has given us enough breath to last as long as we shall live, can we not trust that everything else we need will be also supplied?
LOWER BACK PAIN (SACRAL REGION):
Indicates fear of losing your freedom when others needs your help or fear for your own survival.
LOWER BACK PAIN (LUMBAR REGION):
Lower back is connected with the HAVING of your life (home, money, spouse, children, a good job, a diploma, etc.)
You believe you must have it all in order to feel supported, but you don’t want to admit this to yourself or other. You want to do everything for yourself. You also tend to be very active because you think that it is the best way to have things.
Middle back pain has to do with guilt. All that stuff that is in the back of us. Are you afraid to see what is back there? Are you hiding what is back there? Do you feel stabbed in the back?
UPPER BACK PAIN OR NECK AREA:
Represents emotional insecurity. Doing is very important to you. It’s your way of showing and giving love to others. If someone does something for you, you feel loved and secure. However your back pain might provide the perfect excuse not to do everything for others as you may fear that doing too much, other won’t help you anymore.
You expect a lot from others and when your expectations are not met you may feel you have a lot on your back. You have difficulty asking for help or support from others.
When you do finally decide to do so and don’t receive the help, you feel stuck and your back worsens.
Upper back pain could also mean that your feel somebody is watching you, that they are on your back all the time…
TiPS TO BRING RELIEF TO YOUR BACK PROBLEMS:
Relax often and go inside to bring awareness and find out what your body is telling you through this pain. When we listen and understand the emotional cause of the pain it will be more easy take the necessary steps to release the pain and recover your personal power.
Acknowledge your limitations and express them to others.
If you feel your survival is at stake, realize that is your emotional dependence that generates this fear and keeps you from believing that you can’t survive alone. You have all the tools to take care of yourself.
Start voicing your needs and believe that you have the right to do so.
Stop believing that you need to expend all your energy to ensure other’s happiness.
Realize also that others don’t have to do everything in order for you to be happy!
Affirmations for back problems:
I am supported by life itself.
I now trust in the process of life.
I feel emotionally supported.
I release all fears.
I feel Loved and protected.
Life supports me and brings me everything I need and more.
Yoga Fitness Blog
I am Claudia Gutierrez, owner of Yoga Fitness, originally from Argentina and proudly Irish Citizen since 2012.