Posts Tagged ‘Chakras’

Lotus Love Blog

The Rainbow Bridge by Genevieve McClendon

Posted on: March 29th, 2017 No Comments

“May we live like the lotus, forever rooted in the muddy waters.”

-Judith Lasater

In every class that I’ve attended with my teacher, she states, “May we be like the lotus, forever rooted in the muddy waters.”  I appreciate this mantra and reminder because it allows me to honor the importance of being deeply rooted within myself and the divine.  A way we can create this relationship is through the rainbow bridge of the subtle body and chakras. Through alchemizing the chakras we can root into our own true nature and feel fully alive and present in our lives.  In yoga we honor the subtle body and belief that everyone has an energy field and aura.  We acknowledge that each being radiates their own unique vibration of life force. This subtle body is made up of an aura which is made up of layers around the body composed of energy from the chakras.  There are seven major chakras which are spinning orbs of energy that run from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. The chakras  are also connected to 12 meridian channels that move chi up and down the body through the fascia or connective tissues.  Within the fascia there are 72,000 tubular like structures connected to the circulatory system of our body called Nadis.  These seven major chakras are spinning wheels of light or “life batteries” that are our life force. At the base of our body we have feet and legs that root into the earth connecting us to the root chakra and drawing nourishment.  At the crown of our head lives the crown chakra, also known as the 1,000 petal lotus connecting us to the divine.  It’s as if our spine grows out of our pelvic bowl to reach the light of the sun.  From the roots to the crown there is a rainbow bridge or chakra system that draws connection of the earth self to the spiritual self.  The union of the individual and divine.

The Rainbow Bridge:

Root Chakra

On the rainbow bridge the Root Chakra’s color is red.  It is based at the bottom of tail bone.  The Root Chakra’s energy is stability, feeling safe, security, and standing up under pressure.  When Root Chakra is out of alignment one may experience fear, insecurity, no courage, muscle and structural weakness, hip, knee and foot problems.

2nd Chakra – Sacral Plexus

The Sacral Plexus is the color orange.  It is right above the Root Chakra in the pelvic bowl.  The Sacral Chakra energy radiates powerful emotional and creative forces, along with movement, sensuality, and relationship to ourselves and others.  When the Sacral Plexus is out of alignment we may feel controlling, guilty, frigid, dependent, a lack of creativity, close minded, emotionally stuck, difficulty in relationships.

3rd Chakra – Solar Plexus

The Solar Plexus color is yellow.  It radiates in the belly right above the Sacral Plexus. This energy center holds self-confidence, self-empowerment, honesty, digesting life easily, courageousness and authenticity.  When the Solar Plexus is out of alignment one may experience shame, powerlessness, shyness, worry, victimization.

4th Chakra – Heart

The Heart Chakra is green.  It shines at the heart and chest right above the Solar Plexus.  It is the energy center where the earth self and the divine self connect.  The Heart Chakra’s energy when in alignment is of love, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance of others, open heartedness, connected mind and heart, joyfulness, happiness, gratitude and grace.  When out of alignment the Heart Chakra may contribute to experiences of anger, hostility, resentment, jealousy, attachment to others, sadness, grief, sadness, rage and violence.

5th Chakra – Throat

Throat Chakra’s color is blue.  It is located at the throat and neck space above the collar bone.  The Throat Chakra’s energy is of honesty, mercy, compassionate words, positive words, speaking truth, being heard.  When out of alignment the Throat Chakra may cause babbling, verbal diarrhea, empty words, criticism of self and others, or victimized words.  

6th Chakra – Third Eye

The Third Eye’s Chakra color is indigo.  It is located between the eyebrows, on the forehead. The Third Eye’s energy is of wisdom, intuition, clairvoyants, clairaudient, heightened smell, clairsentience, all knowing, seeing beyond illusions.  When the Third Eye is out of alignment we may experience narrow mindedness, arrogant, narcissistic, stuck in structured paradigms, avidya (ignorance).

Crown Chakra

The Crown Chakra’s color is white light.  It is located at the crown of the head. The Crown Chakra’s energy is our connection to source and divine.  This energy center radiates self realization, self love, expanded consciousness, all seeing, all knowing, all feeling, all sensing, walking between the illusions of the world.  When the Crown Chakra is out of alignment we may experience lack of spirituality, underdeveloped higher self, addictions to substances, belongings and emotions.

Each of the seven energy centers are incredibly important as they dictate how we relate to the world, ourselves and the cosmos.  We can empower ourselves by learning about the chakras and which chakras within our own energy field need support and harmony. Through yoga and awareness of the Chakra’s we can root more deeply into our true nature and create inner peace, honoring our subtle body and giving it the support it needs so we can flourish and be fully alive. Living deeply rooted in the muddy waters so we can be the lotus.

“On our journey through life, the chakras are the wheels along the axis that take the vehicle of the Self along our evolutionary quest, across the Rainbow Bridge, to reclaim our divine nature once again.”

-Anodea Judith

Genevieve is committed to serving and helping others come into their wholeness. She is a compassionate teacher that invites all her students to live their truth and celebrate who they are as they are. She is a passionate Reiki Master/Teacher. Genevieve teaches Restorative Yoga with Reiki at Laughing Lotus on Friday from 6:45-8:00pm and Sunday from 6:15-7:30. Her website is http://www.InLightandSoul.com.


Road Map to the Soul by Alex Crow

Posted on: March 8th, 2017 No Comments

There’s no use looking for road signs.

The language of the soul is in waves

Pulsing and flowing, dancing through the body.

Channels of light and sound

Carving and curving 

Like the breath 

Through the lungs. 

To dance is to let the soul speak.

Poetry is where the abstract and the logical meet.

Inside, there are deep oceans, rivers, streaming back and forth from the source.

Spleen & stomach, a mountain range.

Brain, a far away galaxy.

Heart, a fire pit.

Intestines, undertows.

Womb,  a black whole.

Walking the edge of my spine, I rise through layers of Red Earth & Deep Water, until meeting the Sun in my belly.  Her fire gives life to the Green Forest of my heart and lungs. I rise through the blue of sky and sound until finally reaching the level of Eagle, his Vision seeing through all illusion.  Spirit reaches in, and I loose sense. 

All contained and yet uncontainable.

This invisible road map leaves subtle messages, visions, callings, colors, like bread crumbs to follow when the soul gets lost. Follow them home.  

…Waves crashing 

in(hale), and out 

Like the breath. 

Soothing us with that slow rhythm.

Guiding us home. 

Alex Crow teaches regularly at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in San Francisco. She is also a Reiki Master and a co-founder of vîv, an all female Bay Area dance collective.


Chakras: Working with Energy

Posted on: March 23rd, 2016 No Comments
by Alex Crow

alex

Everything in this world is made up of energy. In fact, it’s been summed up into a single equation by the genius himself, Albert Einstein, who found that everything that we call matter can be converted into energy according to the famous equation E=MC squared. We must assume that the same is true for our physical bodies.

“Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”
-Albert Einste

The first mention of the body as energy in the form of chakras, or “wheels”, was in the ancient Vedic texts. According to Anodea Judith in her book “Wheels of Life”, knowledge of the chakra system was passed down through an oral tradition by the Indo-European people, also called the Aryan people. These chakras, while often depicted as circles of vibrant color, I have found to be more like fields of information. Each layer of the chakra system is not isolated from the next, but indeed interlaced like thread in the layers of fabric, all making up the larger picture of who we are. When one part of the system is weak, or blocked, the entire system is compromised.

The practices of yoga (which have been known to link with the chakra system) have gifted us with many different ways to look at, learn about, work with, and heal ourselves (and so our universe) through the balancing of our energetic/physical/spiritual/mental/emotional body. The way I look at it, there is no real distinction between these layers or “bodies”; every part being interwoven with everything else. If energy cannot be created or destroyed as Einstein’s equation explains, then we can look at life as a sort of balancing act, so to speak, or an internal dance of energy and information.

Every experience we’ve had in our life has an impact on our body. From the food we eat and the tv we watch, to the people we surround ourselves with, everything has an energetic exchange within our own individual system, and can greatly inform the bigger picture of who we think we are. In my work as a teacher, and a student of the body, I have found in my own experiences that the body holds memory. I can feel the patterns of information from my childhood in my tissues, the pains and the joys. For example, the holding pattern behind my solar plexus (3rd chakra) I feel is a part of a history of many years of being told to “pull your shoulders back” compounded by over a decade of bra wearing. We all hold different patterns, it is what makes us who we are! We also have the power to transform and shift these patterns if we so choose. The question is, which patterns are worth keeping?

In this brief breakdown of the human chakra system, I will attempt to shine a little light on what kind of information can get stuck at each level, and what can be done to work with those layers for the purpose of transformation. (It is important to note that while I will only mention seven systems here, there are said to be over a hundred chakra points in the body with these seven being the major fields of information.)

1st Chakra: Muladhara: Earth: this chakra contains everything that makes up the foundation for our lives. Think of this field as the container for all other energy to be held and supported by. This is our root, our connection to the planet herself, our families, our larger communities, and is balanced by our ability to meet the needs for our survival. If we find ourselves stuck in a belief of “lack”, or “not enough”, this chakra will be out of balance, and we will continually find ourselves fighting for our basic needs to be met. The balance is held between the extremes of rigidity and instability, with the sweet spot being an internal sense of stability.

My favorite grounding practices include Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga, walking barefoot in the mud or grass, and of course finding opportunities to be with community!

A healthy first chakra leads to a strong container for the energy of the 2nd chakra to flourish…

2nd Chakra: Svadistana: Water: the realm of this field is fueled by our emotions, our intimate relationships, our raw creative desires, and our ability to FEEL. This is the space of our sexual energy, which is healthiest when flowing freely (and supported by the container of the 1st chakra). If we are stuck inside relationships that do not allow for emotional expression, this chakra will feel completely shut down where we might feel numbed to experiences. The opposite being, that there is not an ability to contain, and we lose our ability to choose and control how we express our feelings.

I absolutely love Lotus Flow as a 2nd chakra balancing practice. The vinyasa, dance-like sequences help my body to allow for energy to flow while also having the grounding repetitive structure to support me. Indeed, all dancing will free up this layer of our being!!

Water and Earth both move with gravity, with the current. When we come to the third chakra there is a radical shift…

3rd Chakra: Manipura: Fire: the light of the third chakra is through the power of fire. This is the realm of our personal power, self-esteem, and identity. This is the internal spark of WILL, of our ability to stand up for what we believe, to make ourselves known as an individual, which is why it is associated with the ego. This space has been known to get out of balance quite often, as the search for power has a tendency to lead people towards dominating over others (leaving others feeling unempowered) due to a feeling of powerlessness within themselves.

When I am feeling insecure, and lethargic, I use kapalabhati pranayama, surya namaskar, and uddiyana Bandha practices. When I feel overheated, and need to keep my ego in check, I use sheetali pranayama, and forward folds like uttanasana.

This space often receives a bad rap from the spiritual communities who wish to destroy all traces of egoism, but I personally feel that we must make peace with our individuality if we want to move into the space of the heart.

4th Chakra: Anahata: Air: this is the field of love, compassion, acceptance, unity, and harmony. This is the energy of air, that permeates into every corner of the room with it’s presence. This is the space of the heart, and our spiritual connection with our world. When we feel hurt, abandoned, or betrayed by people in our lives, this can shut down the heart and move us away from trust and towards resentment. We must continually check in with the balance of both giving and receiving if we wish to balance the heart, and let love flow.

When I feel that I need to let more love into my life, I use backbending of all variations, I sing mantras, and I do what I can to GIVE love in the ways that I know how: hugs, art making, dancing, sending love letters, and self-less service such as volunteer work or organizing free events. The beauty of these expressions leads us to the next realm…

5th Chakra: Visshudi: Space: Becoming more and more ethereal, this realm is the field of sound and the vibration of truth. When this chakra is balanced, we are able to express ourselves with the utmost clarity, speaking our truth from the core of our being. Again, these realms are even more powerful with the support of the surrounding chakras, so when the throat, head and heart are all aligned, there is incredible space for true and honest self-expression and transformation.

When feeling blocked vocally (even literally losing your voice) I like to use Brahmari Pranayama and spend more time with head and neck mobilizations like slow head rolls, and neck stretches.
When feeling overworked, or like you might need to reign in the amount of verbalization, there are quieting practices like shoulderstand and plow that I love.

6th Chakra: Ajna: Light: Also known as the third eye, this field of information includes our ability to dream, envision, imagine, and of course, to actually see. This is the space of wisdom, insight, and our psychic capabilities.

When this space is blocked, we might feel like we are stuck in the same thought patterns again and again, a lot like a broken record. Cleansing practices such as meditation, guided visualization through Yoga Nidra, and NadiShodhana Pranayama assist me with such circumstances. Although it is rare for the third-eye to be “too open”, feelings of anxiety can crop up when the psychic pillars begin to reveal themselves. The same cleansing practices can be applied in this situation.

7th Chakra: Sahasrara: Spirit/Consciousness: This is the entry way for spirit, and the organization of consciousness. This is the field of our awareness, the dimension of our highest Self. In yogic text, this the realm of Nirvana or Samadhi, pure self-realization. As Anodea Judith puts it, Sahasrara is Enlightenment: Home At Last.

“Enlightenment is not a thing, it is a process. A thing is something to acquire; a process is something to be. If enlightenment were a thing it would be a contradiction in terms to have “found” it, for it is inseparable from the self who is looking. Upon realization, we find that it was never lost!” -Anodea Judith

The moments of realization come like flashes, and sometimes like waves. Through the healing of the entire chakra system, the energy pathways become more and more clear, opening us up into higher and deeper realms of awareness. Lately, receiving Reiki has been a huge help in assisting my energetic body to heal and transform, release and renew at the level of spirit.

All threads in the fabric of our energy body are crucial in their making of the whole of who we are. This life is for exploring, and wow what landscapes the body carries. We get to choose which stories we want to keep, which memories we want to shape us, which thoughts we want to repeat. My prayer is for us all, that we may all feel empowered to write our own story, to heal our wounds, and mend the ways of our past. Everything is energy: when we heal ourselves, we heal each other.

Namaste. Peace. Love.


The Day My Heart Chakra Blew Wide Open

Posted on: March 9th, 2016 No Comments
by Robin Wilner

robin

I have a great friend and yoga teacher who can, with one intense Jedi-like stare of his giant, piercing eyes, bring me immediately to tears. He has a way of looking through me rather than at me…I’m talking about seeing into the depths of my soul with a gaze that speaks a thousand words. It’s equally both creepy and amazing!

He was leading an intensive training on the study of energy and the subtle body. On a break, he caught me asking a series of profound questions about our homework assignment in my passionate, fast-paced speech pattern. How could I bring more life into my blocked chakras? What postures did he suggest I practice to fix the imbalance in my left-side body? Should I even be practicing postures or just doing breathing exercises? Blah blah blah… And then the EYES – that long, deep stare into my being, burning a soft hole through my energetic armor, and he simply said, “Robin…”

Whoa.

I wasn’t breathing, apparently. I was speed talking with an anxious desire to fix myself, like I was a car and he was the mechanic. He said my name slowly, deliberately, and waited. I used to fear silence in conversations, but I knew at that moment what he was trying to tell me. Stop. Breathe. Listen to your Self. You know what to do. Allow the vulnerability to surface, and see what happens. And you know what happened? I burst into tears.

I absolutely despise crying in public. I always thought that crying showed a sign of weakness in me that I would refuse to let others witness. As a woman, I have been conditioned to think that shedding tears makes me less capable of handling pressure, of performing well in the workplace, or of communicating without letting my girlie emotions get in the way. So for years, I had shut off the part of me that desperately needed to express vulnerability…my heart chakra.

A chakra, or “wheel of light” in Sanskrit, can also be described as a vortex of spinning energy that emanates from the spine. Chakras are said to serve as the place where subtle (metaphysical) energy and concrete (biophysical) energy come together and then disperse throughout the body. According to the Hindu Chakra model, there are seven chakras found along the spine, from the base to the crown of the head, all of which are interconnected with 72,000 nadis or meridian-like channels that spread energy in all directions.

Each chakra is affiliated with a color, an element in nature, a vibration or sound, a major bodily organ, and relates to the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of being human. In the case of the heart chakra, called Anahata, the respective color is green, the element is air, and the seed sound is “Yam” (which reminds me of yum or delicious, appropriate words to describe how it feels when your heart is full); the organs include the lungs and heart, and the Anahata chakra relates to love and compassion and a feeling of great joy for life.

When I burst into tears, it was as if the floodgates of my heart chakra had sprung open. I suddenly had permission to connect to my truest self, to allow emotions (read as vulnerability) to cleanse my innermost being and leak out through my eye sockets. Tears that result from strong feelings like stress, pain, anger, and sadness are even classified by scientists – they are called psychic tears and are known to carry leucine enkephalin, which is a natural painkiller. That would explain why I felt a million times better after I actually released whatever was pent up inside of me!

As peers and fellow yogis rallied to my side during my sobfest, I realized that my wide-eyed friend (the subtle energy yoga-guru-Jedi-master) had been guiding our group so deeply into our subtle bodies that there was bound to be an explosive opening. Through the power of asana (movement), meditation, pranayama (breathing), and mantra (sound healing) the smallest shifts were bringing about profound transformations. And I made some great discoveries in regards to my personal yoga practice:

Breathe into the back of your heart. I’d been missing out on the finer elements of heart opening. For years, I had just been overworking my already flexible spine, pinching my shoulders together to lean further into a backbend, and letting the front of my heart do all the work. In other words, how I project myself into the world (by way of the front of my heart) as a loving and kind being was being reinforced, but how I felt about my Self and my connection to the Divine (via the back of my heart) was disconnected. The real work was in standing still with my arms elevated and breathing into the space between my shoulders…the BACK of my heart…the depth of my soul…and I need to continue to work with that simple action every day.

Touch and be touched. Let your arms and hands be conduits of your beautiful heart, so that that spark of Divinity within you is caressing everything and everyone that you touch. This loving kindness and compassion will come your way too if you let others do the same for you.


Cry in front of others. Yes, there it is. Allow those around you to see your vulnerability and let them in on the big secret…that you’re HUMAN! It will feel incredible to shed some tears (remember that natural painkiller?) and connect to compassionate beings that understand whatever you are experiencing. I promise they will have felt it at some point as well.

The beauty of the yoga practice is that it contains so many layers. You may come to your mat at first excited by nothing more than the physical practice…then you come back hungry for that natural high that accompanies each class…and then you start to tap into the subtle realms of the deeper practice, the realization that the high you seek is simply you discovering the real you…that your subtle energy body is igniting and slowly creating profound shifts in your life. And one day, your heart will burst wide open, too!

Robin Wilner is a former Broadway dancer/singer/actress who took a leap of faith, moved to the west coast, and is devoted to teaching and practicing yoga. Mixing her dance background with a love of chanting, meditative healing, and philosophy, she strives to lead her students to a state of being that reflects their own inner radiance. Flow with Robin on Mondays & Fridays at 12pm, Tuesdays & Thursdays at 9am, or Sundays at 10am


An Embodied Tech World

Posted on: March 26th, 2015 1 Comment

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by Roche Janken

I have a confession to make: I work in Tech. Outside the Lotus temple, when I’m not practicing or sharing asana, I sit in front of a computer and manage IT projects–I talk to folks about why their email isn’t working and what kind of server they should invest in. And, I like it! And, I like my co-workers! The engineers who I work with are sweet, smart, hard-working guys. I see a very interesting trend with these guys–it’s INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT for them to slow down to the speed of their bodies when their livelihood comes from working with their minds. In short, you could not pay one of these lovely gentleman to go to a yoga class–most of them even forget to eat!!!

What does this have to do with the chakras? In my experience of the chakras, some may be very strong and healthy while others are in need of some TLC–you may have a sharp intellect (6th chakra) but not feel that creative (2nd chakra). You may be a super ambitious go-getter at work (3rd chakra) but not make time for romance (4th chakra). My goal is to feel somewhat balanced–like I have space in my life for each of these parts of myself to flourish.

To be honest, some part of me is frightened about what it means for our world to be run by a tech-savvy elite–men and women who are incentivized to live in their heads and not in their bodies are in power, and making decisions that affect all of us. Can we possibly have a deep consideration for our impact on the environment if we aren’t actually physically connected to ourselves? I don’t believe we can.

And so we come to the heart of my question: How can the invitation to be embodied possibly compete with the seductive glow of the computer screen? Yoga or any kind of physical play is by it’s nature ineffable, hard to understand, challenging to describe and mysterious. It is an experience to enjoy not a problem to solve. In contrast, computers give us tasks, buttons, solved problems and rewards. So how can we as yogi’s possibly draw our techie brothers and sisters into the delightful world of the body?

If we want our world to thrive and to live in communities that are soaked with creativity, love and communion with the divine, we must find a way to bring folks back into connection with their earthy, rooted lower chakras.

[Disclaimer: sure, I know lots of wonderful yogi-techies and rock-climbing-techies and soulful-techies…but I also know lots of soylent-techies and I believe that this inquiry is valuable for all of us.]

Roche’s mantra is Have Fun, tempered by the knowledge that having fun relies far more on how she guides her mind than the task she’s engaged in. She teaches from a sense of delight in the miracle that muscles and bones work so well together, a belief that devotion easefully enlivens any practice, and gratitude that we humans have the ability to dance. The play between rigorous study, brazen sensuality and deep wonder is the grounding for the work that she does in all the forms she loves.

Catch a class with Roche for Happy Hour from 5:30-6:30PM on Monday and Tuesday, and Alignment lab on Sunday from 11:45-12:45PM.


The Day My Heart Chakra Blew Wide Open

Posted on: March 18th, 2015 1 Comment

by Robin Wilner

-3

I have a great friend and yoga teacher who can, with one intense Jedi-like stare of his giant, piercing eyes, bring me immediately to tears. He has a way of looking through me rather than at me…I’m talking about seeing into the depths of my soul with a gaze that speaks a thousand words. It’s equally both creepy and amazing!

He was leading an intensive training on the study of energy and the subtle body. On a break, he caught me asking a series of profound questions about our homework assignment in my passionate, fast-paced speech pattern. How could I bring more life into my blocked chakras? What postures did he suggest I practice to fix the imbalance in my left-side body? Should I even be practicing postures or just doing breathing exercises? Blah blah blah… And then the EYES – that long, deep stare into my being, burning a soft hole through my energetic armor, and he simply said, “Robin…”

Whoa.

I wasn’t breathing, apparently. I was speed talking with an anxious desire to fix myself, like I was a car and he was the mechanic. He said my name slowly, deliberately, and waited. I used to fear silence in conversations, but I knew at that moment what he was trying to tell me. Stop. Breathe. Listen to your Self. You know what to do. Allow the vulnerability to surface, and see what happens. And you know what happened? I burst into tears.

I absolutely despise crying in public. I always thought that crying showed a sign of weakness in me that I would refuse to let others witness. As a woman, I have been conditioned to think that shedding tears makes me less capable of handling pressure, of performing well in the workplace, or of communicating without letting my girlie emotions get in the way. So for years, I had shut off the part of me that desperately needed to express vulnerability…my heart chakra.

A chakra, or “wheel of light” in Sanskrit, can also be described as a vortex of spinning energy that emanates from the spine. Chakras are said to serve as the place where subtle (metaphysical) energy and concrete (biophysical) energy come together and then disperse throughout the body. According to the Hindu Chakra model, there are seven chakras found along the spine, from the base to the crown of the head, all of which are interconnected with 72,000 nadis or meridian-like channels that spread energy in all directions.

Each chakra is affiliated with a color, an element in nature, a vibration or sound, a major bodily organ, and relates to the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of being human. In the case of the heart chakra, called Anahata, the respective color is green, the element is air, and the seed sound is “Yam” (which reminds me of yum or delicious, appropriate words to describe how it feels when your heart is full); the organs include the lungs and heart, and the Anahata chakra relates to love and compassion and a feeling of great joy for life.

When I burst into tears, it was as if the floodgates of my heart chakra had sprung open. I suddenly had permission to connect to my truest self, to allow emotions (read as vulnerability) to cleanse my innermost being and leak out through my eye sockets. Tears that result from strong feelings like stress, pain, anger, and sadness are even classified by scientists – they are called psychic tears and are known to carry leucine enkephalin, which is a natural painkiller. That would explain why I felt a million times better after I actually released whatever was pent up inside of me!

As peers and fellow yogis rallied to my side during my sobfest, I realized that my wide-eyed friend (the subtle energy yoga-guru-Jedi-master) had been guiding our group so deeply into our subtle bodies that there was bound to be an explosive opening. Through the power of asana (movement), meditation, pranayama (breathing), and mantra (sound healing) the smallest shifts were bringing about profound transformations. And I made some great discoveries in regards to my personal yoga practice:

Breathe into the back of your heart. I’d been missing out on the finer elements of heart opening. For years, I had just been overworking my already flexible spine, pinching my shoulders together to lean further into a backbend, and letting the front of my heart do all the work. In other words, how I project myself into the world (by way of the front of my heart) as a loving and kind being was being reinforced, but how I felt about my Self and my connection to the Divine (via the back of my heart) was disconnected. The real work was in standing still with my arms elevated and breathing into the space between my shoulders…the BACK of my heart…the depth of my soul…and I need to continue to work with that simple action every day.

Touch and be touched. Let your arms and hands be conduits of your beautiful heart, so that that spark of Divinity within you is caressing everything and everyone that you touch. This loving kindness and compassion will come your way too if you let others do the same for you.


Cry in front of others. Yes, there it is. Allow those around you to see your vulnerability and let them in on the big secret…that you’re HUMAN! It will feel incredible to shed some tears (remember that natural painkiller?) and connect to compassionate beings that understand whatever you are experiencing. I promise they will have felt it at some point as well.

The beauty of the yoga practice is that it contains so many layers. You may come to your mat at first excited by nothing more than the physical practice…then you come back hungry for that natural high that accompanies each class…and then you start to tap into the subtle realms of the deeper practice, the realization that the high you seek is simply you discovering the real you…that your subtle energy body is igniting and slowly creating profound shifts in your life. And one day, your heart will burst wide open, too!

Robin Wilner is a former Broadway dancer/singer/actress who took a leap of faith, moved to the west coast, and is devoted to teaching and practicing yoga. Mixing her dance background with a love of chanting, meditative healing, and yoga philosophy, she strives to lead her students to a state of being that reflects their own inner radiance. A true seeker of knowledge, she is also pursuing a Masters Degree in Holistic Nutrition. Come play with Robin on the mat on Mondays at 12pm, Wednesdays at 4pm and 6:45pm, Fridays at 7am, and Saturdays at 6:30pm!


Love School Chakra Rap

Posted on: September 16th, 2014 No Comments

by Josh Ehrenreich

In celebration of the first week of yoga school for the fall 2014 class, we thought we’d bring back Josh Ehrenreich’s chakra rap that he created for his final yoga school project during spring of 2014!


Grounding Down.

Posted on: July 9th, 2014 No Comments

by Dana Marie Nielsen
Goddess Earth Image
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
― Henry David Thoreau

As someone who is only recently truly finding my feet on this beautiful Mother Earth, I couldn’t be more enamored with this month’s theme at the Laughing Lotus; the Divine Mother. To me this theme celebrates all Earth Energy, all things grounding, the Goddess in her many forms.

In the yogic culture and almost every ancient culture, the feminine form of God (Goddess) is representative of Mother Nature in all of her beautiful, real and at times even destructive manifestations. I have a deck of Goddess tarot cards and each day during my morning spiritual practice or Sadhana, I draw a new card and soak in the card’s wisdom. And each Goddess that I read about, regardless of cultural heritage, represents a cycle of birth and death, of creation and destruction. Through these cards I am reminded daily of these beautiful cycles, which I as a human being on planet earth cannot run from, or bypass.

The Goddess energy of the Divine Mother teaches me the power of being with each and every life experience, each and every human condition, emotion and moment. It reminds me of the importance of coming back down to earth and learning how to be in My Own Body. Here. Now. The energy of the Divine Mother inspires me to pay loving attention to my lower three chakras:

1) Muladhara: my primal earth energy that connects me to my physical existence
2) Swadhisthana my fluid and watery experience of emotions
3) Manipura my relationship with my ‘get up and go’ fire where I cultivate courage to live my life each day and believe in myself that I am enough.

Without the energy of these first three chakras, human beings don’t have the capacity to authentically and powerfully connect to others through the heart chakra, nor to transform, transcend, or grow in the upper chakras. For without the foundation and container of our physical body connecting us into the earth, how can our relationships, messages, and Divine connections have an impact on the very real human world that we live in today?

It’s taken me a long time to believe the above statement about the importance of grounding. I’ve spent some time of my life hopping from one thing to the next, floating along the path of spiritual bypassing, a term first coined by psychologist John
Welwood in 1984 to describe using spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing
with painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs. Spiritual bypass shields us from the truth, it disconnects us from our feelings, and helps us avoid the big picture. It is more about checking out than checking in—and the difference is so subtle that we usually don’t even know we are doing it. (Ingrid Mathieu, Ph.D.)

For me, this subconscious bypassing has been easier than actually dealing with the hum drum “stuff” of life. I’ve spent a lot of time daydreaming up in the stars to avoid the “stuff.” Yet, my life isn’t in the stars. My life is on this beautiful, amazing and very tangible Divine Mother Earth. Yes the stars exist and are also incredible! And don’t get me wrong – anyone who knows me will agree that I still love being ‘up there’ celebrating the ethereal, but just as the Buddha said, “Before Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” I am learning to honor the earthly experience of feeling my feet in the dirt and the tears on my face. I am channeling Mama Earth and all of her many cycles of birth, preservation and death that exist in each sunrise and sunset. And, I’m finding that life is so much sweeter with a little dirt in it.

Through believing that God takes form through the physical Earth, Water and Fire in the greater world and inside ourselves I believe that all cycles of life become Divine. Just like a seedling, I feel that we too need to grow our roots, our connection down to the Divine Mother Earth and allow all cycles of creation and destruction to take place so that we can evolve. For, just like a tree can’t outgrow it’s roots, we can’t outrun our own feet!

Dana teaches at Laughing Lotus on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9am, and Wednesday at 4pm. (Sign Up Here) She is currently studying a Masters degree in Somatic Psychology at the California Institute for Integral Studies, and aims to support people to reclaim their own embodied selves.


Opening our Energetic Pathways of Creation: Liberation and Manifestation

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 No Comments

by Inbal Meron
Ace of Pentacles

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!

Our Chakras

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!

To read more about Inbal visit www.inbalish.com
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