In my beginner classes, I always tell my students to work with the chakras; to take a chakra test and find out which ones are in balance—and which ones need work.
It is a valuable tool in learning about yourself and just to find out what makes you tick.
I have also talked with them about the first chakra, the root chakra and how it is so directly related to our relationships within our family. One of my favorite expressions with this particular chakra is to say to them, if you really want to know yourself, trace your roots, which is something I have been doing over the last few months.
I had found a wonderful online tool for this called ancestry.com; I took the two week free trial and traced back about three generations, just in time for our annual family reunion.
Now, mind you, I am the youngest of eleven children; my mother died when I was 24 and at the time, family bloodlines were not important. As I had children and grandchildren, they became more important but there was really no one to ask now (I have an aunt that has filled in some blanks—but again, only a few generations back.)
As my work progressed, I traced my direct family tree back to 1580, when we came here from England; I found that we settled in Massachusetts. But, then in 1635, we were asked to leave, with a man named Roger Williams. We were banished to Rhode Island, where we were one of the first settlers of Providence, Rhode Island.
Okay, everybody got a good laugh and said things like “I knew there was something about you.”
Then, upon further investigation, I realized that Roger Williams was the minister at the Church of Salem—and he was banished with twelve of his “loving friends”—my great grandfather, to the 12 power, being one of them.
They were accused of heresy.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. We were actually banished from Salem in 1635…for heresy, no less!
When I first discovered this I laughed and thought how funny—but then, after thinking about it, another chakra rocked—my heart chakra.
For those of you who know me personally, you know that a few years ago, my family was terrorized by a neighbor; to the point where we, finally had to move our home…the home that we had built. It ended up being the best thing for us but the anguish that went along with being forced out of my home was almost unbearable, at times.
You may also know that when I first opened my yoga studio, many people accused me of witchcraft and worshipping a false idol; it hurt me terribly to know that the people I grew up with could be so misguided.
So, when I found out that my ancestors had been falsely accused and forced out of their home, I couldn’t help but feel their pain and anguish.
They had moved to this new land for a new way of living, just to be forced away.
We have learned, since then, that most of the people accused were land owners, several of them single, female land owners—and when they were accused and convicted, the accuser would get half of their land—and the court would get the other half.
It was, in fact, for several people, murder.
My family got away, by God’s Providence, hence why they named the settlement Providence; if they had not, I might not be here today.
I decided that maybe I should get some verification of this, so I contacted an organization called Bloodlines of Salem and their historians checked it out. I sent them everything I had found during my search and they contacted me a few days later, saying without question, I was in fact a direct descendent.
I cannot express the emotions that came with that knowledge; mainly pride, in how they had gotten away and started over…just like I had.
That they were falsely accused…just like I had been.
And they still put one foot in front of the other and moved forward in life…just as I had.
When the organization asked me if I would like to be placed on the registry with other notable descendents I proudly said yes!
Now I am on it, as is my oldest daughter and my granddaughter; my son, grandson and youngest daughter have not gotten around to it yet—but as soon as their life allows a few minutes, I know they will get on the registry too.
We have been verified that we belong to an elite club, along with presidents, scholars, royalty, celebrities of all kinds and just plain old everyday people, like ourselves.
It was indeed an honor.
So, as I go forth teaching my students about the root chakra, my mantra will remain, “If you want to know yourself, trace your roots.”
Kat Robinson is the owner of Active Kat Yoga and the author of “I Almost Died! Reinventing Yourself With Yoga and Meditation After Traumatic Illness or Injury.” She and her husband Brett live in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks where they are “reinventing” a 100-year-old hospital into their home and studio. She is an avid embroiderer and is the developer of Sewing Yoga, a therapeutic yoga program for those who sew or work at a desk for extended periods of time. She also self-produced the corresponding DVD Sewing Yoga.
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