This random thought is not one of full explanation. There are going to be many terms and concepts you may not understand. The purpose of this random thought is to share what I experienced in Yoga Teacher Training the other day. For more information about chakras, please click here.
On Monday, we learned more about chakras and Kundalini in Yoga Teacher Training. I will let you in on something... I used to be very afraid of Kundalini Yoga and playing with my chakras. The reason was simple: my head would hurt anytime I would try to read books on Kundalini. I have passed Kundalini classes at Yoga conferences and my body would twitch and start to burn in certain areas. I know it's weird. I couldn't explain why and didn't try to...to me, that was a sign to leave it alone.
Since Yoga Teacher Training, I have become more comfortable with the concept of Kundalini and the chakras. I even finished that book that used to make my head hurt everytime I read it. I became so comfortable, that I started to play with clearing my chakras so that the Kundalini energy can start to flow freely within me.
This is the symbol for the root chakra, called Muladhara. Once I found my muladhara bandha, I would activate it with the breath. Tadasana would keep me grounded but I would actually feel grounded once I would activate this bandha.
Chakra 1 deals with guilt and anger. It also deals with feelings of being rejected/abandoned in childhood.
As we went through class, my instructor asked us to do Sun Salutations to have a better understanding of our chakras through asana. He came over and corrected me on my downward facing dog.
Now downward facing dog is one of my favorite poses. However, I cannot hold it for too long. I either get embarassed or I get angry. I never told anyone this and kept it to myself because I didn't understand the feeling and why it was there.
During our break, I asked my teacher what was wrong with my down dog. He explained that I hyperextend my back (meaning that my chest goes too low and it bends downwards too far) and because of the massive opening of my chest, I either feel too vulnerable or I would get angry.
How in the hell did he know?!
He walked me through the proper positioning of my chest and further explained what is going on....with me! I never told him any of this stuff but here he is, telling me my life story from one pose! Tears started to stream down my eyes. Before I went to him to inquire about my pose, I was very angry. I was angry that I felt like a loner in my class. Like my peers ignore me while connecting with each other. It's not only YTT that makes me feel that way. I usually feel that way in any situation, with most people from time to time. I didn't know why, and for the most part, I would ignore the feeling or just chalk it up to being an asshole in a past life.
Do not repress your feelings.
My instructor said this to me as I was fighting back the tears. In the past, I would repress and repress. Because of this, when I would get angry, I would blow up like there is no tomorrow. Now, I found myself frustrrated at this "delayed emotional response" that I've been having when faced with issues that calls for certain emotions to be evoked - anger, guilt, fear, passion.
As I went back to my seat and finished class, the tears continued to flow. I didn't fight them nor did I try to analyze them. I was just happy to finally understand something about myself. Like why I always feel this way when I do downward facing dog.
This is the symbol for the 2nd Chakra, the Swadhisthana Chakra. I have a feeling that this chakra is located in the same spot as the Tan T'ien, an area of the abdomen where you breathe from in Tai Chi. When my teacher would correct me on downward facing dog, he would also tell me to engage my abdomen. Not the upper part, but the lower part - in my tan t'ien area.
Chakra 2 deals with sexuality/sensuality (how do we use it?). It also deals with relationships/feelings (mostly one-on-one relationships) and affects the need for position in society, the need to control other people and acceptance.
The first three chakras apparently deals with human emotions. When you talk about "going with your gut" or anything with intuition, you're usually within the realm of the 2nd Chakra.
I no longer have a problem with my sexuality or my sensuality. When I talk about these things, I do not mean my sexual orientation. That has never been questioned. I always had a problem with accepting my femininity. I had a bad childhood and all of these factors played a critical role in my tomboy years. I always knew I was a girl. I just didn't like it. I didn't want to be a girl. I felt like my reproductive organs were a curse and not a blessing. Menstruation was the worst for me...and back then, if I could throw away my feminine energy, I would in a heartbeat.
Flower Essences have helped with that. I am a much softer and gentle feminine creature. I love being a woman and no longer have physical issues with sexual intercourse (I know, TMI...but it needs to be said). I still have problems with my menstrual cycle but compared to 5 years ago, the symptoms I have seem really minor and totally treatable.
So what is my issue then?
Before class was over, I moved from the muladhara bandha to my tan t'ien. I would engage my abdomen and breathe into this area. I haven't done this in a long time. After class was over, visions came into my mind and opened up a door of sorts. I was in the locker room crying. A classmate of mine came over to console me and I told her that I just had a breakthrough:
When I was very young, I had some "girl friends." Everyday, they would play with me for about an hour and then the next thing you know, they would tell me that they're not my friend anymore. They would berate me and make fun of me and right before I start to fight them, they would say, "we're only playing" and play with me again. This would happen at least 4 times a day for many months.
However, it left a samskara in my mind (samskara is an impression left in the mind. The 'total of these impressions becomes the tremendous force which is called “character.”' I realized that because of this experience, I would never feel accepted by anyone. Any little thing - people connecting with each other more than they do with me, a glance, something you said or the tone with which you said it - would make me feel like you don't like me and this scenario would come into my subconscious. My conscious would put the face of whoever is present onto the bodies of those little girls and I would feel like a 6 year old child again. Scared of the pain of rejection and not being accepted when I did nothing wrong. (Folks, my ego loves playing the victim...bear with me).
What does this have to do with the Chakras, See?
Well, I came to the realization that my breakthrough is a purge. As I understood certain aspects of my root chakra in regards to asana, it opened up the door for me to free up my Swadhisthana Chakra. I finally was able to see a fear, face it and let it go...at least for a moment.
Now does this mean that I will never feel this way again? Nope. I may feel this way a number of times before it is truly purged from me. But this awareness is key for me to properly heal. Now all I need to do is be mindful of it. If I start to feel like I am abandoned or not accepted by my peers for whatever reason, I can always say, "this is based on my samskara and now I must release it."
Release is not an immediate thing. Sometimes it can take a long time to release. Here are some tips to release whatever you are holding onto (emotionally and mentally):
I don't need a psychiatrist to help me with my issues. I've been crazy for too long and am doing very well with figuring out things and healing myself. Continuing my Yoga practice and strengthening it by doing more Grounding Poses (such as Tadasana and the Warrior Series) as well as seated poses and forward bends (such as Janusirshasana and Pachimotanasana) will benefit me. Look at what it's doing for me already!!
If you feel like a Hatha Yoga practice will also be good for you to calm the mind and heal you, then do not forget to include meditation, chanting and pranayama in your practice (a Yogic diet also helps). A well balanced practice leads to a well balanced mind.
Thanks for letting me open my heart and share. Until next time...
stay strong, stay healthy, and fight dis-ease!