So far in the Yoga & The Chakras workshop series we have looked at the qualities of Grounding & Pleasure in chakras one and two: the sense of being able to stand your own ground and take pleasure in your existence. Next we covered Personal Power & The Open Heart in chakras three and four: specifically focusing on the relationship between a healthy sense of self and the capacity for genuine compassion.
Using the chakra system as a way of mapping out two things: how the mind lives in the body, and the stages of personal growth and healing available to us all, we are on a journey of self-discovery, healing and deeper embodiment.
In the workshop setting we utilize a fascinating slideshow lecture, tailor-made yoga sequences and meditative writing exercises to explore the mind/body relationship.
Think of each chakra as a kind of mythopoetic symbol for how we express our life force in different ways through different areas of the body. In the throat and the jaw we are obviously concerned with sound, self-expression, and speaking what is true for us.
The brain and the eyes are the organs of vision, insight, discernment, meditative contemplation and creative inspiration.
So in these areas of the body we are engaged in the process of self-actualization: What is the gift I have to give the world? How do I live authentically, honestly and in a way that brings my innermost being into contact with the world around me? What is my vision for my life and how do I bring it to fruition?
The anatomy of the neck and jaw is fascinating and complex and an area of stiffness, tension and even pain for many of us. We will look at key muscles in this area and engage in both tailor made yoga sequences to release the neck and jaw as well as self-massage techniques to address the area. Powerful.
Vipassana meditation is the centerpiece of the teachings of Buddhism, and the word vipassana literally translates as “insight.” The radical assertion is that by sitting in patient and compassionate awareness of the sensations of the body, each of us can come to deep insight into the nature of being human. The fascinating thing about vipassana meditation is that the more we learn to sit in steady awareness of the body, the more we find that our physical tension patterns are related to our emotional contractions, the unresolved feelings and memories in our minds. By bringing mindful compassion to this material we find healing and insight naturally arises and we become more liberated and integrated.
An important but often overlooked aspect of this area of development is critical thinking. I like to use Manjusri, the Buddhist bodhisatva of discernment as the archetype for awakening an intelligent, existentially honest awareness as part of adult spiritual growth. Manjusri wields a flaming sword of discernment that basically cuts through the bullshit to find out what is really true.
Please join me on Sunday March 25th 2012 for the latest in the Yoga & The Chakras workshop series – or get the complete audio program via my website here.