In my other life, I am a yoga instructor. It balances out the late nights, the wild times, the unpredictability of the music business. Plus, it helps to keep me sane.
In my class on Tuesday night (I teach a handful of community therapists at their workplace), a dear student asked if I would be interested in incorporating chakra teachings into my classes. I jumped at it and wove it into my class design for the night. I love requests and I love challenges – and this one seemed very pertinent. In the next series of blog posts, I’m gonna delve into some simple things you can do at home with your breath, body and music and how they relate to our chakra system.
Chakras are energy centers in our body. Spirals, vortexes, places where energy flows. This might sound a little “woo woo” to you, but just hold on! Even if you don’t believe in chakras (or Santa Claus), there may be some nuggets of goodness in this for you. Yogis suggest that if our chakras are blocked, this can cause all sorts of imbalances, depending on what’s going on where. Ideally, as we become more self aware, we can tune in to how we are feeling and if we’re feeling imbalanced, we can do something about it. YES! Sounds good!
There are 7 main chakras in the body. Today I’m going to write about the first chakra, located at the base of the spine, known by the color red and the element of earth: the Root Chakra or Muladhara. This is what I call the “Basic Needs” chakra, related to survival, belonging, family ties and gaurdedness. Your first memories belong here. When this chakra is blocked or out of balance, one might feel insecure, needy or self-destructive. When balanced, you feel strong, confident and firm – standing on both feet. Musically, I would relate this chakra to root notes: the foundation of chords, drones and bass notes. Also the earthy weight of the instrument you’re holding – the wood of a guitar or piano, the deep rich tone of a voice.
1. To start to work with your root chakra, begin by tuning into your breath. Watch your breath flowing naturally in and out. Begin to make your exhale longer than your inhale. As you exhale, gently pull your naval towards your spine, contracting the abs + gently engaging the core. As you inhale, get tall and extend through the crown of your head. With every exhale, feel firmness and a sense of grounding.
2. Come to standing. Feet 4 inches apart or so, right below your hip sockets. Keep your knees soft, not locked. Gently tuck the tailbone under, engaging your core. Shrug your shoulders to your ears gently and relax them back and down. Return to your breath. Find your gaze on the floor and keep it steady. Focus on feeling your weight evenly distributed on both feet. Every exhale, feel as though you are rooting down, into the earth. This is Mountain pose / Tadasana.
3. Balance – Tree pose (pictured below): Shift your weight onto your right foot. Turn your left knee out to the side, bended, and place your left heel against the ankle of your right foot, toes on the floor. If you feel stable, bring the sole of your foot to the inside of your right calf and press equally against each other. Even more challenge? Bring your foot to the inside of your right thigh. Make sure not to press against the inside of your knee. Stay for a number of breaths. Hands can be on your hips, together at your heart, to the sides palms up, or reaching towards the sky. Slowly, gracefully lower your foot and hands. Switch sides.
To finish, bring hands to your heart, feel weight planted on both feet. Close your eyes and visualize the color red, warmth radiating from the base of your spine. You are stable, you are secure, you are standing on both feet.
If you have an instrument nearby, grab it and hold it. Sit down with it and just admire its structure and form. Meditate on its shape and the person who crafted it. If it’s wooden, think of the craftsperson as well as the tree it came from. If it’s electronic, place your hands on it and marvel at the intellect of the inventor. Play a low root note – the E string, a bass clef C on the piano, a low drone sound on the synth, or sing a low “hummmmm” or “ooohhhhh.” Feel the depth and richness of the tone. Close your eyes and hold it.
Now move on with your life! Stronger, more meditative and calmer than before!
Namaste! XO mary
If you would like to practice yoga with me, I start a few series of classes in Duluth starting Sunday of this week – more info here: www.marybue.com/yoga/ and I also do pop-up yoga classes in the venues & cities where I tour if the space is available. Next time I’m in your town, request a class! Heck, request that I come to your town to perform and we’ll work something out! 🙂 Happy trails …