Second Chakra Balancing – Yoga Challenge week 2

“Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.”

Vincent Van Gogh

second chakra - yoga challenge canada

Welcome to week 2 of our Chakra Yoga Challenge. This week we are exploring the Second (Sacral) Chakra.

What your Second Chakra might be telling you:

The Svādhishthāna Chakra lies about three centimetres above the Mūlādhāra Chakra between the coccyx and the sacrum. 

THE SECOND CHAKRA represents your sexuality, creativity, personal power, relationships, sensuality, and pleasure. Organs associated with the Second Chakra include uterus, ovaries, vagina, cervix, large intestine, lower vertebrae, pelvis, appendix, and bladder.

Spiritual and emotional issues that can block energy in the Second Chakra are balancing your drives toward sex, money, and relationships; co-creating with others; defining boundaries; and struggling with when to give and take and when to be assertive and passive. Physical dysfunctions that can occur are: lower back pain, sexual impotency, urinary problems, and appendicitis.

The Second Chakra governs and stirs our emotions, (most of which come from our subconscious mind) anything from joy, happiness to greed and jealousy initiates in your Second Chakra. And of course being able to control our emotions, and our mind is partly why we practice yoga – we want to be responsive, but not reactive. Reflective, yet grounded (and that’s why we balance our First Chakra first).

The yoga practitioner who has learnt to question and analyse everything that occurs within the consciousness, recognises the causes for the emotions and reflexes that surface from the subconscious and is therefore able to cope with them more easily. Otherwise it can happen that we fall helplessly from one emotion into another, and for a long time we are unable to find our way out of the “blind-alley” of the Svādhishthāna Chakra.

People with an imbalanced second chakra lose touch with their feelings and their creative expression.

Symptoms of an Overactive Second Chakra:
Greediness, Addiction, Tension, Compulsivity, Frustration
An Underactive Second Chakra:
Disinterest, Repressed Feelings, Self-deprivation, Depression, Sexual Repression

Yoga poses to balance your Second Chakra:

Shalabhāsana (Locust)
Shalabhāsana (Locust)

 

Dhanurāsana (Bow)
Dhanurāsana (Bow)

 

Setu Āsana (Bridge)
Setu Āsana (Bridge)

 

Chakrāsana (Wheel)
Chakrāsana (Wheel)

 

Join in the challenge:

  1. Follow us on Instagram > @YogaHiveCanada
  2. Show us your favourite pose to balance the Second Chakra
  3. Tag us on your photos + use hashtag #SpinMyChakras to inspire yogis in your community
  4. Three lucky winners will get awesome prizes that will help you to balance your chakras! 🙂

Chakra Yoga Challenge - Canada Keep moving. Balance your Second Chakra! 🙂 

Root Chakra Balancing – Yoga Challenge Canada

 

Here we go! #SpinMyChakras – week 1 is now on!

This week we are learning everything about Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra).

Mūla = Root, Origin, Essence
Ādhāra = Basis, Foundation

It’s also sometimes referred to as Earth Chakra or Foundation Chakra. The name speaks for itself – it’s the foundation of your whole chakra system, and the rest of your chakras will be as strong as your Root Chakra is balanced.

root first chakra - yoga challenge canada

What your Root Chakra may tell you:

Located at the base of your spine, this chakra is the centre for your feelings of safety and security. Your survival instincts originate in this chakra. When your chakra is healthy and balanced you feel your connection to the earth, and your feel comfortable in your own body. You feel physically healthy, financially secure and you have a strong sense of self. You know who you are and where you belong. (The truth is – it’s all in our perception. There are a lot of wealthy people walking around on this planet, who do not feel financially secure.)

Remember your chakras do not make you feel either secure or insecure, they are just the indicators of your energy level / state. If you don’t feel secure in this world, then your First Chakra is most likely out of balance, and by balancing your first chakra you may gain a much needed stability.

Everyone admires the petals of a flower, or the crown of a beautiful tree, but rarely do we notice and think about the roots hidden in the dark soil. Being grounded and rooted in your practice, in your daily life will allow you for that stability, that drishti point, to focus your life upon, so you move fearlessly in the direction of your dreams. From this strong, rooted space. You grow and you bloom.

Balance your first chakra with us this week:

  • Practice Hatha Yoga this week
  • Work on opening your hips (Pigeon Pose, Frog Pose, Warrior Poses, )
  • Be mindful and rooted your standing postures (Mountain Pose, Tree Pose, Bow Pose)
  • Drink lots of water
  • Play outside, walk barefoot, work in the garden (connect with the earth)
  • Eat root-based vegetable (beets, potatoes, carrots)
  • Spend some time with your “tribe” – family, friends (the circle that “defines” you, people of your “roots”)
  • Have a solid routine – being disciplined is one of the ways to keep things in order in your life.

Meditate on your First Chakra this week. Visualize its bright red colour shooting down to the centre of the earth, and back through your spine up in to the sky. Imagine a strong core, that supports your body.

Of course, visualizing your First Chakra won’t change your financial situation, but having clarity on what you are will sure add confidence to what you can achieve. 

We are made of energy, and if we move it in the right direction, we will get the desired outcome. 

Comment below: how do you balance your energy? What keeps you moving? Join us on Instagram (@YogaHiveCanada) to enter into the challenge. Join at any time, and tag us to be entered to the draw. 

Keep moving. Stay rooted.

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Chakra Yoga Challenge! Are you ready, Canada?

Have you noticed? Some days you feel centred and confident. Some days, you feel like it’s hard to concentrate and you are “floating in the clouds” all day. Sometimes we feel energetic, and sometimes we can feel other people’s good/bad energy!

But where does it come from? How is it measured? And how can we tweak it so we lead happier, more whole lives? If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while you might have heard about chakras already. Chakras are energy-infused areas of your body and they correspond to certain glands, nerve centres, and organs of the body. Chakras also correspond to various aspects of your body’s physical, physiological, emotional, and spiritual state.

Even if you don’t know much about chakras, most likely you have felt their energy before. Those butterflies in your stomach (second chakra), when you feel excited. The lump in your throat (firth chakra) when you are just about to say something important, or not saying something you want to express. Or that stabbing pain in your heart (fourth chakra), when someone has broken it?

chakra yoga challenge canada

There’s a lot of information available about chakras online, but the best way to get your chakras in balance, is to really feel them, listen to them, and be guided by their energy, so you become more balanced altogether. We thought what a better way to get to know our chakras than to practice listening to them together with you, and our community online? So, we decided to host OUR FIRST challenge – an 8-week chakra balancing challenge! Kicking off with the first chakra next Wednesday (August 20th, 2014)!


Here’s how it works:

  1. Follow us on Instagram@YogaHiveCanada
  2. Tune in to our blog here every Wednesday, to read up about each week’s chakra, and the ways we are going to balance it through the week. Remember, practice makes it perfect – so we will practice together. One chakra at a time! (Connect on Facebook, too, so you don’t miss anything important!)
  3. Post at least one photo per chakra every  week on Instagram, tag us and use hashtag #SpinMyChakras. Each photo will get you an entry into the draw – the more photos you post, the more chances you get of winning.

chakra yoga challenge - canada

What you’ll win:

At the end of this challenge, YOU might be one of the 3 randomly-chosen (lucky) *winners. And one of our prizes will help you to continue balancing your energy even after our challenge is over.

1st Prize – Mala  Collective’s Gorgeous Lava Mala Necklace 

2nd Prize – Mala Collective’s Chakra Bracelet 

3rd Prize – Mala Collectives Chakra Bracelet 

 

Tweet: The body never lies. ~Martha Graham — Join @YogaHiveCanada CHAKRA #yoga challenge > http://ctt.ec/0td02+ #canada

 

Please also, comment on our posts here to share your stories and what you noticed about your chakra. What is your “favourite” chakra? Can you feel your tiny energy wheels? Maybe after a good yoga class? Or after a good chat with a girl-friend? Do share in the comments below!

This week’s homework: during your yoga practice or your meditation – tune in to your body more than you would normally. Try to feel your energy move. Truly feel your body, how it responds to your movements, or stillness. Notice how you feel throughout the day – do you feel happy, anxious, excited, bored? Where do you feel it in your body? Please share your observations in the comments below, or share your mood photos on Instagram! #SpinMyChakras

Looking forward to learning with you! Talk to you next week, when we discuss the first chakra (root, or  foundation chakra).

Keep moving. Spin Your Chakras! 

Namaste! 

Important: everyone is welcome to participate, but the draw is open for Canadian residents only. This challenge runs until Wednesday, September the 8th. Winner will be announced and contacted on Instagram, within 7 business days. If we do not hear back from the winner within 48 hours, winners will be selected. 

Make time for your yoga practice, no matter what

How busy were you this week? Most people answer this question with ‘extremely’ . We all strive to balance our work and family and social life, moving through the week with the velocity that keeps us so very, very productive. We know the importance of taking care of ourselves, but it’s easy to get lost in the momentum of life.

Set a time for yoga

If your body can accommodate, make the decision to practice every day. Adopt a routine, and gently remind yourself that you will follow through every day. Commit.

Generally the best time to practice yoga is the morning or evening, but really any time that you can consistently devote to yoga is sufficient. By making it a goal to practice every day and following through, you’ll get a sense of accomplishment before you even step on your yoga mat. You’ll feel better every day — mentally and physically. You’ll feel it as soon as your body makes contact with the mat and throughout the session as your body releases endorphins from the asanas you move through.

Stay consistent

Set yourself up for successes. Prepare mentally for each session and wear comfortable clothing, especially yoga pants that allow you to move freely, and practice on a supportive yoga mat. Bring additional cushions or blocks of needed, and always practice on an empty stomach. Turn off your phone and focus on only the incoming messages inside your own mind.

It’s important to always finish with Savasana (corpse pose) no matter when you practice or what you have going on after your class. The importance of relaxing after your practice outweighs any other schedule, and you need to appreciate yoga in your life guilt free.

Practice with a partner or friend

Do yoga with a friend or significant other. Finding a companion for your practice will help keep you to keep you on track. Ensure you’re both on the same page and ready to make your body and mind a priority every day.

Take it outside of the studio

Practice small elements of yoga throughout the day — especially breathing. Inhale and exhale as if you’re in practice every chance you get, especially if the world tries to overwhelm you. Stretch in your chair. Stretch in the elevator. The more regular your practice the more you will benefit from it.

We have a tendency to become creatures of routine focused on putting mutual goals or the goals of others ahead of our own — our society demands it. Use Yoga to break the systems you may follow in work and other aspects of your life and thriving in all aspects of life will become easier. Making time for yourself is critical to sustenance, and there’s no better way than through the practice of meditation and yoga.

Yoga will keep you strong and balanced, both mentally and physically. Your body and your mind knows when you’ve been taking the time to breathe, so try it now — Breathe.

 Namaste.

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Grounding Practices: root down to rise up

Guest Post by Oksana Yatsenko | Founder UMA YOGA

One of the most important practices that I go through in my daily yoga practice routine and in my teaching is a practice of grounding. We live a very hectic lifestyle, and it is taking its toll on our nervous system and on our ability to feel strong and centred (even during our yoga class).

Grounding practice is referred to in many yoga styles and traditions of yoga, in Flow, Yin and Kundalini styles of yoga that I teach. I offer grounding exercises and poses like the following basic techniques:

  • First, become aware of the earth beneath you. Sit up tall in easy meditation pose and feel the support beneath you. Breathe your sit bones down into the mat, and breathe the top of your head into the sky… Feel like growing taller with each breath.
  • Second, balancing poses. Before coming into a standing balancing pose like Natarajasana (dancer), or Vrikshasana (tree) feel for the support of the earth beneath your standing leg and apply even pressure with all surface of the foot against the floor. Send your exhales down into the earth and your inhales up the whole body and through the crown of your head to stabilize your balancing pose.
  • Third, Shavasana (corpse pose). While laying in Shavasana bring your awareness to the nourishing and supporting qualities of the earth energy and absorb some of its strength and stability into your body and your awareness. Become still and stable like the earth. Keep your breath long and deep. Inhale and exhale completely with each breath.

Last, walking out of your yoga class and out into the world don’t forget to take grounding practice with you. As you go about your daily activities remember to refer to the earth when you need to feel strong and supported. All you need is to pay attention to how your feet are touching the earth and stand up taller pressing down and rising up at the same time. This will improve your mood, give you energy and will take care of any doubts or weaknesses you might be feeling in the moment.

Happy practicing, NAMASTE
Oksana Yatsenko | Founder UMA YOGA

About UMA YOGA:

Addicted to yoga. Is it a real thing?

I often say – if you need to talk to me about something, talk to me after I do some yoga, not before. Yoga simply turns me into a better person. And what happens if I don’t do yoga for a couple of days? Well, everyone notices the difference, let’s leave it at that.

Yoga is good for your overall health

I used to have major back problems, before I started doing yoga. Sometimes after a long day at the office, sitting in front of the computer for a while, my lower back would just start killing me at the end of the day. I was introduced to the world of yoga via Bikram Yoga, so after I went to a few classes, my back pain slowly disappeared. Now, this is in no way a medical advice here, but from my own experience, it did it for me. Just as they say it – you are as young as your spine is flexible.

Yoga calms your mind

Patience is not one of my (natural) virtues, and yoga is an excellent (non-invasive) tool, to get your “head-hotness” level down, especially if you have a meeting-heavyv day ahead, or if you are a parent – you’ll need a whole lot of patience to be able to think clearly and be a good leader / communicator in your career and in life.

Yoga delivers an increased level of happiness

Yoga makes me happy. It’s true. I love watching people who walk out of a yoga studio, and compare them to people who walk out of a court (I live near a law court). I guess to get an accurate result, I would need to do an A-B, and I would need to watch a lawyer walking out of a yoga studio, but so far, I cannot remember seeing a truly sad (pre-occupied-unconsious) person in a yoga studio. And I say “unconscious” because this is exactly what adds a bit more happiness to a yogi’s life – presence, awareness. When we are more present, more aware of every moment in our day; instead of going on an autopilot, we are more satisfied with what we already have, instead of constantly looking for “what’s coming in the future.” The benefits of yoga are, truly, endless. But the main one for me is, once you know how GOOD it feels in your body, you won’t be able to imagine your life without yoga. What about you? Do you find yoga relaxing, energizing, or calming? How does it help you live a happier life? Share in the comments below. As for me, yes I can totally say it; I am addicted to yoga, and I love it.

Namaste.

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Heart Openers – Wild thing – Camatkarasana

As we are starting this new Yoga Hive journey, I am thinking of new beginnings… The truth is, we start something new every day. We may not notice it – and it doesn’t have to be major, to be significant – but all the new beginnings open the door to the opportunities that could be so monumental, that we are afraid to actually launch that first step towards the new thing. It is wild out there. And all the new things, always feel a bit “out there”, don’t they? 

In order to have a smooth launch into whatever we are starting, we have to be physically present, and we must be mentally evened out. We must be open to receiving the goodness, the Universe is about to send our way. Sometimes we must surrender. Breathe through it. Allow.

Opening our hearts is one of the way how yoga practice can support us on a new journey. One of my personal favourites at the moment, ironically, is Wild Thing. I just LOVE how this yoga pose is so multidimensional, and intimidating at times, could also be so playful and full of light at the same time.

Heart openers - wild thing - Camatkarasana

 

Its strong foundation. The excitement of not knowing “how far you can go” this time. I sometimes imagine that I am a dancer performing an acrobatic trick, Cirque de Soleil or something. And even though the reality is far from it, I do feel a rush of fresh oxygen going through my body after I, lightheadedly, get out of the pose.

I usually get into this pose right after Downward-facing Dog. It feels like a good preparation, and an easy transition for the back. Transition from side plank pose could be another variation.

To end, release your back in Child pose, transitioning into Savasana.

To me this pose really signifies the preparedness to embrace the new. You have a strong foundation – your feet are strong and grounded. Your arms; one is supporting you strongly on the ground (to me this says – I’ve learnt from the past, and I am holding onto my lessons). The other arm is stretching, wide-open into the future. You are open, and ready to receive. You are leading your way with your heart – you are trusting the guidance. Your head is lower than your heart – your are not afraid being vulnerable, and you are making the decisions on the next step with a cool head, and a warm heart. And you smile. Yes, smiling raises your vibration, and sets you up for a positive start, which, some say, is half of the work.

Keep Moving. Be… brave.
Namaste, Helen Stepchuk, YogaHive.ca  Founder

{Photo – Kathryn Budig}