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If you read An Introduction to the Chakras you’ll know that the chakras are seven energy centers situated at certain points in the body. These centres are like transport hubs for your energy — they receive, restore and direct energy through the 72,000 nadis (energy channels) that run through you.
Here we look in more detail at Ajna, the Third Eye Chakra. It’s actually the sixth of the seven chakras. But it’s useful to study Ajna first, because it allows you develop the transformative and regulatory ability to observe and process emotions.
This means that when you go deeper into the other chakras you will be ready to manage any deep emotional shifts that may arise.
Asana means ‘seat’ in Sanskrit, and in yoga it is used to refer to any physical yoga posture. Asana is just one of the eight limbs of yoga. But it is perhaps the most well known, as most people in developed countries think of postures when they think of yoga.
So why is yoga asana so important? Can moving your body through a series of poses really make that much difference to your health and wellbeing? To your quality of life?
Delving into the wonders of pranayama is amazing, because you come to realise not only that your breath can change your physical, emotional and mental state — but also that different breathing techniques have completely different effects.
You can use pranayama to create heat, energy, calm — and even coolness.
Summer is Pitta
Each of the year’s seasons is associated with a dominant dosha in Ayurveda; a characterisation which outlines the key qualities which must be balanced in order to maintain good health and steady energy. Summer is dominated by the Pitta dosha.
This means that the qualities of the season are hot, sharp, forceful and penetrating. Summer is intense! And so the secret to staying well during these warm months is to balance the heat and sharpness with food and activities that are imbued with different qualities: cool and gentle.
Do you feel as though the chakras are a bit of a mystery — or perhaps too ‘out there’ to be relevant to you? Don’t write them off just yet.
When you spend a little time getting to know what the chakras really are, they actually become an incredibly useful way of thinking about your energy and your body. Crucially, you discover how a deeper understanding of chakras can, in turn, help you deepen your yoga and meditation practice and enhance your wellbeing.
The chakras are seven energy centres located at different points through the body; they radiate, receive and direct energy through all of the nadis, or energy channels.
We live in a fast-paced world, so much so that it is not uncommon for most of us to live a life constantly on the go…
Running from here to there engaging in one thing after another - at the end of the day, it stops one from being able to just be….
Does getting caught up in all the things you “must do” sound familiar?
When I’m asked “Why Bali? Why do you love taking people there so much?” it’s hard to know where to start!
Bali is a beautiful and inspiring place. It’s not trying to be anything other than its authentic self, and it makes you want to be your authentic self too.
No one speaks in quiet whispers about their spiritual practices here. Spiritual life and personal growth are valued and respected. It is assumed that everyone is making efforts, every day, to live with dedication to a higher way of being.
Daily life is marked by rituals — some big, many small — which reconnect people with their deeper purpose in this world. Over and over again: connection, reconnection, connection. Spiritual life is not separate from work or education; family or friendships. Spirituality, prayer and meditation are a part of everything.
Kapalbhati is a powerful pranayama practice which, traditionally, is used before meditation. It’s also one of the Shatkarmas — a series of traditional cleansing practices. This is because its forceful and cleansing effects allow any pent up emotion to be released, and clear the mind of repetitive thought patterns — leaving you feeling calm and ready to focus.
In Sanskrit, kapal refers to the cranium, and bhati means light, perception, or knowledge. Kapalbhati, then, is often translated as frontal cleansing breath. It awakens and moves energy through your brain, and both the subconscious and conscious mind. At the same time it revitalises the entire body by generating heat and building a rhythm from which momentum and motivation can grow.
When working with this technique, you put emphasis and force on the exhale, pushing the air actively out of the lungs; and allow the inhale to happen as a natural reaction to this forceful exhalation action. This is the opposite of our natural breathing process —
It’s that time of year when we could all do with an energetic pick-me-up. And your pranayama practice can do just that; filling your body and mind with vibrant energy and warmth.
According to Ayurvedic ( Yoga’s sister science), the mild months of spring time are heavily weighted towards the Kapha dosha — which means you are more likely to feel tired, lethargic, and might be prone to digestive issues.
This is especially so as the after-effects of winter are still present in us during spring time during the winter months we nourish ourselves with heavier foods and tend to do less exercise. So the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda teaches us to balance this heightened kapha energy by including pita foods and practices — like bhastrika pranayama — in our routine.
“The more we can begin to exert control over the finer details of the breathing process, the more possible it then becomes to control the finer details of the mental process”
- Saraswati Niranjanananda
Have you ever stepped into conscious, present moment awareness while performing an everyday task? And realised that your awareness allows you to develop skill and precision — which transforms that mundane task into something amazing?
Well; viloma pranayama is a little bit like that.
Viloma means to go against the natural flow. And in this pranayama technique, we interrupt the natural flow of our breath to cultivate skillful breath control and awareness.