by Inbal Meron
I like to reminisce: thinking back to when I was a little girl, gushing with creativity. I had such a vivid imagination, and was always busy with projects. No setbacks or fears…my mind was free, my heart was big, and I was inspired by everything.
Looking back, it seems that as I grew older this free-flowing energy of creativity and manifestation really slowed down. I had less creative ideas, and the ones I did have would just float around in my head. For the most part, nothing ever came out of them.
When I started practicing Yoga, I noticed a lot of changes in myself. I was inspired again! Where I had been feeling stuck and frustrated with life, I started to feel alive, and with that, creative ideas began to flow. However, a new frustration was arising: I was inspired, and ideas were coming, but nothing was happening. I was too afraid to follow through. In the same way that our arteries can get blocked, or clogged from unnecessary substances, so can our energetic channels and hubs: the nadis and the chakras. Boy, was I blocked!
At the base of our spine we have our First chakra that corresponds with the energy of Earth. Our Second chakra is in the area of our hips and reproductive organs, and corresponds with the energy of Water. Our Third chakra is in our core: the center of strength, and corresponds with the energy of Fire. Our Fourth chakra is in our heart center, where we open to receive others and corresponds with the energy of Air. Our Fifth chakra is located at our throat, our center of expression and communication and corresponds with Vibration. Our Sixth chakra is located just above the center of both eyes, known as our third eye, our center of perception and sight, and corresponds with Light. Lastly, our Seventh chakra is located at our crown: it is our center consciousness and is expansive. It corresponds with Space and Ether.
Liberation and Manifestation
As the energy moves up our central column, it gets less condensed and more spacious and expansive, from Earth to Space. This current of energy is that of liberation. When our channels and hubs are open, our energy can flow. Instead of being concerned solely about our survival and our needs, we can be open to bigger and more expansive experiences. Our perspective changes, and we feel the vastness of our possibilities and opportunities. Just like a child we can be open and inspired; creative energy can flow through us freely.
The upward moving energy, the current of liberation, is exciting and inspiring; however, with the downward moving current of energy, there is a quality of manifestation. From very vast and expansive ideas, we begin to have a vision: we define it with our words, we share with others, we find the confidence and strength to birth our ideas, bring them into form, and offer them up in the world. Both currents of energy are vital.
One of my favorite Tarot card is the Ace of Pentacles. I draw so much inspiration from this image. The pentacle is a coin and it reminds me of a chakra, round and pulsing with energy. It symbolizes the quality of Earth and manifestation: actual things in this world that have form and can be seen. The coin itself is so simple, the star in the middle represents the vastness of our possibilities. It is encompassed by two circles showing that something vast and expansive has been brought into form. The hand that holds the coin is our very own: we all have so much to give, every single one of us!
So, how do we do it?
We open ourselves, we clear out the passageways. Through the practice of Yoga, we work hard to open our bodies, hearts and mind. We twist and turn upside down and inside out, in order to detox and cleanse. We cultivate awareness and new perspectives. We become sensitive to ourselves. We begin to sense where a blockages might be.
In my own experience…the more I opened, the more aware of myself I became. I could see very clearly where I was blocked, and with the same clarity, could see what to do in order to move through the blockages. The beauty of it all is that the smallest change, a shift in our self-awareness, can bring such big change into our lives! These days, I’m so inspired, just like when I was a kid. Only now, I am much more open and able to bring my visions into form and so are you!
by Yael Kievsky
March this year began on a New Moon, precisely at 12am and zero minutes on March 1st (for us West coasters). A New Moon is the exact alignment (from our perspective) of the Sun and the Moon on the sky. It is the beginning of a new moon cycle -the word “month” derives from the word moon-, a cycle of 29 days.
It is a time when thoughts and actions carry potential for manifestation, and thus it is the time to purposefully weave the song of the life we want to live, articulate our intentions, pronounce the sounds of what we want.
All across the planet, most earth-based systems of belief and spirituality honor the new moon as the time keeper of the monthly cycle. The New Moon is that magical time when everything is pulsating, full of potential, seedful. Farmers know to plant their seeds at this time, priestesses know to cast their prayers at this time, holy men smoke their holy smokes at this time.
Why is this time believed so powerful in cultures far and wide? The Sun and the Moon represent the Masculine and Feminine, Day and night, Hot and Cold, Right and Left, Fire and Water, Positive and Negative polarities. They are, in themselves a model cosmology, a polarization and symbol of all that is and could be. When aligned together, they create a symbolic mini Big Bang all over again, a new birth; the ever turning yin-yang becomes One energy circle, neither black nor white. A magical full-spectrum wheel. When activated, it gives birth to the following 29 days to come.
As with everything in this ever-unfolding prismatic Universe, the cosmology of the bigger world finds a mirrored cosmology in our inner world: our anatomy.
In our energetic anatomy, Moon and Sun, Left and Right, are represented by the Nadis, the meridians that travel up and down the subtle body. “Ida” is the meridian associated with the feft hemisphere of the body, the lunar, darker, yin qualities. “Pingala” moves through the right, bringing solar, bright, yang qualities. Ida and Pingala are like archetypal lovers that travel up and down the spine, beginning at the base of the system and traveling up through the crown. But here’s the really interesting part: Ida and Pingala cris-cross on their travels, drawing apart and then aligning in a perfect spot, creating nodes and sine-like wave patterns…. not unlike the cycles of the celestial Moon and Sun. The point where Ida and Pingala meet happens 7 times, and at each spot, a wheel is created… not yin not yang, but a perfectly ever-spinning whirl carrying a full spectrum of potential.
The medicine of subtle energetics believes that by fine tuning and balancing the energies of Ida and Pingala, their cris-crossing becomes focused and precise, creating healthy, full-powerd, brightly churning wheels (chakras).
Just like we experience externally on a monthly basis on the new moon, the energy channels of the body are moving and churning up an down our spine’s central axis, cris-crossing and creating “new moons”, the magnetic co-mingling of solar and lunar forces, as they go. Each of the seven are the 7 chakras, each expressing properties of their own, all of which combined create a complete journey of experience from base to crown.
For me, honoring the new moon every month is a little bit like paying attention to Ida and Pingala; tuning the master key for healthy vibrant wheels of energy in every aspect of my life.
So, during the New Moon, I choose to be mindful of my thoughts and language, knowing that words carry power on these days, as if each word were in itself a magic spell. It is a time to feel the buzz of energetic opposites coming together in the Sky, a time to glean their medicinal energy and perceptible vibration into intention-setting activities and simple ritual, like writing down a personal prayer and honoring the physical elements of Fire and Water. I like to inhale and exhale knowing that this too is a symbol for the bellows of all of creation, masculine and feminine, dancing together.
Wherever there is a meeting of two opposites, there is an alchemy that takes place, carrying potential for transformation. It acts like a whirlpool of energy. In the sky, the lining of Sun and Moon carries the whirly potential for real magic ( traditional “witches” and “wizards” of lore would brew their spells on the new moon, not full moon as we were made to believe!) In the body, this whirly potential is the Chakras, activated like muscular lights by the kissing of Ida and Pingala (the kiss that activates the spell… much like fairy tales, the symbols do come to real life inside the body!)
Our cosmic sky within our own spine shines 24/7…. no need to wait for a specific time of the month to work with Ida and Pingala, yet the reminder is strong, in my own personal practice, when the outer-space calendar hits alignment time as well. On March 1 at midnight I was reminded this month of the healing beauty and powerful medicine of working with left and right hemispheres of our bodies to honor, from within, the outer alignment: left and right, Moon and Sun, our whole energetic body is the Cosmos as a whole.
Here are some ways in which our Yoga practice gives us tools that focus specifically on cleansing and fine-tuning the cris-crossing of Ida and Pinala to brighten and heal our energy wheels. I did these at home by my altar at Midnight at the beginning of this lunar month, as my personal ritual, but I invite you to try these anyday, anytime!
-Practice Nadhi Sodhana, a pranayama that clears and balances the left and right nadhis quite deeply. We inhale through one nostril and exhale through the other (use the thumb and ring finger of either hand to block one nostril at a time), then reverse the flow, holding our breath gently in between each inhale or exhale. You can’t help but feel it’s effects after a few minutes of this practice!
-A hand mudra/excercise that will create new pathways of connection between left and right hemispheres of the brain: Clasp your hands, interlacing all the fingers, then re-clasp with the opposite index finger on top (the claps looks the same but feels very awkward!). This is non-habitual routing for left and right hemispheres, and simple as it sounds provides a radical shift in how right and left talk to each other inside the body. Try clasping your hands in your non-habitual way each time you practice from now on, and you might notice a shift!
-Eagle arms. The windy, twisty quality of this arm and hand placement brings anatomical attention to the weaving of left and right energies.
Are there any other practices, physical or mindful, for balancing left and right energies that you can think of? All is valid exploration in the ever-flowing healing medicine of the Sun and the Moon!