Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 29 - Express thyself (Chakra #5)

It's about 3pm on Sunday afternoon. The sun is shinning and it feels like summer. I'm sitting in Mount Royal Park with about 4000 other Montrealers. This is our inner-city beach without water. It's a giant celebration here every Sunday afternoon. We call this event "TamTams", because of the huge drum circle in the center of the Park near the angel monument. I thought I'd come here to write this afternoon so I can be inspired by all the wonderfully expressive people. This is fitting because today we are onto the fifth chakra, our throat chakra, the centre for communication and expression.

It's a wonderful atmosphere. Next to me, there is a group of people juggling bowling pins. In front of me, there are two girls painting. A little further on, I see some acrobats playing around and there is even a bunch of slak-liners practicing between the trees. (Slak-lining is similar to a tight rope walking, but the rope isn't tight.) There are people of all ages, lots of different kinds of pets, guitars, drums and tamborines everywhere. Of course, there also dozens of hacky sacs and frisbees being tossed about.

Craig is off exploring with his camera and I am gearing up to complete my last 48 sun salutations for the day. I'm having a hard time getting started. This a great place to people watch and the heat from the sun is making me feel a little sleepy, but I'll get to it in a moment.

This morning, I led 24 sun salutations at my Ayurvedic school for my teacher's Sunday group. I thought it would be nice to integrate the chakra mantras with surya namaskar as I've been writing about these last few days. But, Anita, my teacher, came in part way through the practice and said it is better to hold a stable position when repeating the mantra for the root chakra (Lam), the heart chakra (Yam) and the third eye chakra, which we will get to tomorrow. So, I will have to correct a few of the sun salutations I've posted. My suggestion for the Root Salute from day 25 is to repeat "Lam" in mountain pose while focusing on the stability of your legs and feet on the ground. Anita says this will be much more effective than saying the mantra throughout the salutation. She says the same for the Heart chakra Salute. However, Anita says it's ok to do sun salutations with the mantras for the second and third and fifth chakras as those energy centres need movement.

The throat chakra, or Vishudha, is located at the throat and is connected to our ability to express ourselves. When this chakra is balanced, we speak truthfully with compassion. When it is blocked or out of balance, we have difficultly communicating and taking responsibility for our actions. To effectively strengthen the throat chakra, repeat its mantra "HAM" in a meditative position while visualizing the color light blue. Another great way to clear this energy centre is to express yourself through writing, art, music and dance.

Drumming is a great way to express oneself and I must point out that drums are also very
grounding and good for the root chakra. Listening to the tamtam drums as I practiced on the mountain gave my sun salutations a nice earthy rhythm.

Surya Namaskar Recipe: Day 29 - Express Thyself Salute (5th Chakra)

In an effort to open up and free my throat chakra, I substituted ustrasana, the camel pose, for cobra in the basic sun salutation. Ustrasana is known to open up the chest and throat and clear congested energy from the fifth chakra. Here's a description of the pose and its progressions:

Camel Pose {Ustrasana}

Camel is a back bending posture. It provides a stretch for the front of the body, groins, ankles, neck and thighs and a stretch the deep hip flexors. It helps improve posture by opening the front of the body and stimulates the organs.

TIPS: press down through the tops of your feet and bring your hands to your heels at the same time. You can also rest your hands on blocks.

Beneficial for:
  • Mild backaches
  • Menstrual discomforts
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Respiratory ailments
Not beneficial for:
  • High and low blood pressure
  • Migraines
  • Lower back or neck injuries
  • Insomnia
  • Knee injuries
My dedicated yoga student, Amber is featured in these camel posture photos. She has been practicing at Om West for nearly three years and is currently in my Advanced Student Teacher Apprenticeship Program.

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