Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Have you pointed your fingers today?

Dear Yin Weaver,

Yesterday I had an interesting experience while practicing the Usha mudra.  As I held it for a few minutes, I found my stuffy (allergies acting up, I think) nose clearing up!  Before you write that off as a meaningless coincidence, let me tell you which acupuncture meridian governs the sinuses.  Stomach.  Which chakra governs the stomach?  You guessed it.

How about you?  What are you noticing as you balance your Solar chakra?


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Have you pointed your fingers today?

Dear Yin Weaver,

In case you are dropping in for the first time, welcome to the seven week Chakra Challenge series. If you’ve been participating all along, please bear with me as I offer this overview of the chakra system. Think of it as a super-mini review course.

Chakras act as energy stations. The word “chakra” means disc-shaped or circular (think of a wheel). It describes vortices for energy exchanged between the environment and the body. There are seven chakras: root, sacral, solar, heart, throat, third eye and crown.

We are currently working on balancing the energy in our third, or solar chakra. (If you’d like to join in on the fun, please follow the link to my blog from last Friday.) Today I’d like to discuss with you in brief physical diseases and disorders associated with the solar chakra. These included stomach ulcers, intestinal tumors, diabetes, pancreatitis, indigestion, anorexia/bulimia, hepatitis, cirrhosis, adrenal imbalances, colon diseases and stiffness of the joints. Addictions, depression and insomnia are several other notable solar chakra disorders.

People don’t throw too much money at chakra research these days but I was recently reminded of one study reported in Richard Gerber’s book Vibrational Medicine. It showed that electromagnetic frequency measurements recorded at each chakra will vary in oscillations from 100 to 1,600 cycles per second (each chakra functions within a certain frequency range) in a physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy person. However, in an ill person, little oscillation will be detected at one or more of the chakras.

Do you have any of the problems listed above? If so, the solar chakra should hold a great deal of interest for you. Do not neglect getting appropriate medical care. But balancing this chakra on a consistent basis can quite possible contribute to improving any of these problems. The mudra you are practicing is a good first step. You might also want to consider adding other CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) modalities, such as massage, Healing Touch, Touch for Health, Reiki, Acupuncture and, of course, Eden Energy Medicine.

I look forward to hearing your comments and questions. By the way, I have a few questions for you. Has anyone had success using CAM to deal with any of the diseases mentioned here? I’d love to hear! Does anyone know of any recent studies done on chakras? Or on any aspect of our energy anatomy, for that matter?


Friday, March 26, 2010

The Seven Day Chakra Challenge--Keeping the Light in Your Solar Chakra

Dear Yin Weaver,

How did you do with the Usha Mudra? Eve shared “(i)t makes me feel calm and centered. When I am under stress I often find that I will sit with my hands together in my lap. Even as a child.” I especially enjoyed how easy it was to practice this pose in any social situation.

Now it’s time to talk about our third chakra. It sits in the solar plexus and is also known as the solar chakra. The Sanskrit name is Manipura, which means “city of gems.” It is truly a gem of a chakra! As our fire center, it is the energy of combustion and transformation. A healthy third chakra will release energy for vitality, inspiration, creativity and transformation, physically and spiritually.

Psychologically, we find in this chakra the energy to transform the world by our thoughts and actions. That is why it is also associated with self esteem issues. If we feel good about ourselves and powerful, we are likely to have a positive impact on the world around us.

If we lack confidence, our inner fire will be banked, so to speak, and we may feel disempowered and easily overpowered by others. We will lack the motivation, will-power, self confidence and creativity to make a difference through sharing our gifts and talents.

On the other hand, if the energy of the third chakra is too strong, we might be angry, competitive, jealous, and have an inordinant need for power, status and recognition. Do you have trouble letting go? Are you obsessive, singleminded, bossy? Call the fire department! Fire in the hole!

So what’s your Challenge? Well, this week you get a choice. If you think you have a wimpy third chakra, and would like more self confidence, go for the Matangi Mudra. It’s one of my favorites. I used to practice it daily for years back when I had a wimpy third chakra. It really made a difference for me. However, if you need to tone it down a bit, try the second exercise. It’ll help you remember what it means to be a child again, humble and at rest.


The Matangi Mudra promotes inner power and enthusiasm. Interlace the fingers together and extend the middle fingers. Hold your clasped hands in front of the solar plexus, just below the rib cage and in the center of the torso, the middle fingers pointing outwards.


Bala means child. Asana means pose. The child pose is meant to be a resting pose in yoga. If you happen to have a very, very good memory you may even remember resting this way in your crib as an infant. Let it soothe you and connect you to feelings of trust and calm.

Have you joined The Eden Project Fan Page on Facebook yet? Please do, and don’t forget to post your thoughts, comments and questions here or there.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Have you folded your hands today?

Dear Yin Weaver,

I've been folding my hands a couple times a day this past week.  Honestly, I don't find it as effective as the Alternate Nostril Breathing.  This doesn't mean the mudra is ineffective.  It may mean my second chakra is doing just fine, thank you very much.  A few times I've combined the two (ANB first for three rounds and then the Usha mudra following), and I really like that.  It feels like a cool breeze is flowing into my second chakra.

So how about you?  Have you noticed any benefits from the Usha Mudra?  Do you feel more creative?  Productive?  Are your senses more alive?  Your emotions more available?  Is it doing anything for your libido?  Tell all. 

Thank you, Theda Marie, for pointing out my readers might want to understand why I said women should fold their hands with the left thumb on top and men should do the opposite.  The left side of the body is considered the yin, or feminine side.  The right side is considered the yang, or masculine side.  When the left thumb is on top, it's a way of accessing yin energy, and vice versa. 


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Keeping the Light on Saturday: Crohn's Disease & Your 2nd Chakra

Dear Yin Weaver,

I want to share with you the definition for Crohn's disease I found at Nutriage. Crohn's disease is a chronic form of inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn's disease causes severe irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. It usually affects the lower small intestine (called the ileum) or the colon, but it can affect the entire gastrointestinal tract. Also called regional enteritis and ileitis.

Let me draw your attention to the word ileum. The ileum is the lower end of the small intestine. The iliocecal valve is a small sphincter muscle found between the ileum and the large intestine. Its function is to prevent colonic material from backing up into the ileum, where it could cause inflammation. When the valve gets stuck open, it can cause more than just a waste management problem. In fact, it can imitate a variety of seemingly unrelated symptoms. It's known as Ileocecal Valve Syndrome. I call it the "who knew?" syndrome, because who knew a rusty ileocecal valve could cause pain in the right shoulder, right side of the pelvis, the low back and around the heart? Who knew it could cause flu-like symptoms, tinnitus and nausea?

If you have Crohn's Disease, or any inflammatory bowel syndrome, or any of these symptoms, and you can't seem to get relief from all the normal routes, it's possible you have Ileocecal Valve Syndrome. In addition to practicing the Usha mudra this week, I also recommend resetting the Ileocecal and Houston Valves (the Houston Valve is another sphincter muscle that is responsible for pushing waste from the large intestine into the anus).

Here's how: Take a look at the picture on the left taken from Donna Eden's book Energy Medicine. Place both hands inside the hipbones, fingers pointing down towards the groin. Push your fingers in deeply and pull up towards the waist line. Shake off your hands and repeat two more times. After the third time, smooth your hands down over your pelvis towards the groin.

Feel free to leave any questions or comments regarding this exercise. Let me know if it works for you...or doesn't!


Friday, March 19, 2010

The Seven Day Chakra Challenge--Keeping the Light in Your Second Chakra

Dear Yin Weaver,

Last week I shared with you how to balance the left and right brain hemispheres using the Alternate Nostril Breathing exercise. I also wrote about the root chakra. On reflection, I’m not sure I made the connection between the two as clear as I’d hoped. I wrote about how ANB improves creativity and problem solving. But I forgot to mention it also affects the subtle energy flowing through the etheric spine. So, the point of the exercise was not only to balance your brain, but to generally tonify all the chakras, including root. This way, moving forward into the next six exercises, you’ll be able to draw upon energies moving freely through the root to the rest of the chakras.

On to week two of the Seven Day Chakra Challenge series! This week let’s focus on the second chakra. In Sanskrit it is called Swadhisthana (swah-dis-tana). Some people call it the sacral or womb chakra because of its location. This chakra is associated with the color orange and the water element (did I mention the root is associated with the earth element?), and sits half way between your belly button and your pubic bone (the root sits at the very tip of your tail bone). It represents your sexuality, creativity, finances, relationships, sensuality and pleasure. It is associated with the health of the sexual organs, large intestine, lower back, pelvis, appendix and bladder. If you are having “second chakra” issues, you may be having trouble with sex, money and relationships, establishing boundaries, expressing your creativity, overcoming fear and hopelessness, or physical problems such as lower back pain, impotency, infertility, menstrual and menopause issues endometriosis, prolapsed uterus an bladder, bladder infections, constipation, Chrones disease, ulcerative colitis, and appendicitis.

So what’s the Challenge? This week I’m going to ask you to balance your second chakra with a Mudra. Mudras are simple hand positions, also known as yoga for the hands. According to an ancient yogic understanding of the body, each finger represents the energy of a planet which in turn represents a specific quality and emotion. Mudras redirect the unique energy of each finger to a specific part of the brain. In addition, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, each finger is the end or starting point of a different meridian. These meridians deliver vital life force to specific organs and also have an emotional polarity. I've listed below a brief overview of each finger.  Hopefully it will deepen your appreciation for the Mudra you'll be practicing this week.

  • Finger     Planet      Quality/Emotion       TCM Meridians
  • Thumb    Mars       Willpower, eog         Lung; grief, acceptance
  • Index     Jupiter       Knowledge, justice  Large Intestine; holding on, letting go
  • Middle   Saturn       Patience, control      Circulation/Sex; panic, joy
  • Ring       Sun           Vitality, health,         Triple Warmer; fight or flight, safety
  • Pinky      Mercury    Communication        Heart & Small Intestine; Love, indecisive, decisive
I’ve said it before and I’ll again. We often practice energy medicine on ourselves without realizing it. For instance, right now I would like you to fold your hands in your lap as you seen in the picture to your left. Congratulations. You are now doing the Usha Mudra, also known as the Venus Lock Mudra. I will make only one small point of clarification. If you are a man, your right thumb should be on top. If you are a woman, your left thumb should be on top. However, feel free to experiment. Close your eyes and inhale, imagine you are directing the energy stimulated by this Mudra directly into the second chakra. Do this one or twice every day for three minutes. The Amit Online Yoga Center says this Mudra concentrates the sexual energy of our second chakra and directs it into the energy centers above it. It gives us mental alertness, pleasure, and new impulses. In addition, it harmonizes our hormonal system.

I’ll be practicing along with you this week. Don’t forget to watch for updates on my Facebook Fan page and here. Please share your experiences with me! I love getting comments.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Keeping the Light on Thursday

Dear Yin Weaver,

I have good news for you.  According to an article I just read, Zoning Out is a crucial mental state.  Zoning Out, when you allow the mind to wander without awareness (think trance state, daydreaming, head in the clouds) "may be important to setting goals, making discoveries, and living a balanced life."

Alternate Nostril Breathing may be a perfect way to consciously stimulate a period of Zoning Out.  During those few minutes, you improve communication between the two lobes of your brain, which I think of as a way of hitting your own personal "refresh" button.  When you come back, you'll be ready to move ahead with your day. 

Try ANB as a conscious way to move through transitions in your day.  See if it doesn't renew your persepective and zest. 

Tune in tomorrow for a whole new Seven Week Challenge!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Keeping the Light on Wednesday

Dear Yin Weaver,

Babies were born breathing from the diaphragm.  But as we get older we lost the ability a little more with each new stressful event.  If you are a shallow breather you might be finding the Alternate Nostril Breathing exercise a challenge.  Training yourself to breathe from your diaphragm again would be a big help.  Not only will it help you with the ANB, all by itself it is a great stress buster. 

Here is a YouTube link to a video which teaches you how to breathe from the diaphragm.

Keep breathing,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Keeping the Light on Tuesday

Dear Yin Weaver,

Below are 12 Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing I found at the Rejuvenation Lounge.  Are you experiencing any of these benefits yet?

1: Revitalizes you: Feeling flat, tired, stressed?  ANB gives your body a much needed dose of energy.
2: Improves brain function: ANB brings equal amounts of oxygen to both sides of the brain for imprived functioning.  Use it right before an exam or interview.

3: Cleanses your lungs: Yogis from "way back when" used ANB to cure asthma.  Can't hurt.  Might help.
PS:  70% of our body’s waste products are eliminated via our lungs.
4: Calms an agitated mind:  ANB can calm the overthinking mind and tendency to worry.

5: Merges the left “thinking” brain and right “feeling brain:  ANB optimizes both sides of your brain so you can access your whole brain, and all the benefits that go with it.

6: Encourage a calmer emotional state: ANB will soften the intensity over over reactive emotional states. 

7: Improves sleep:  If you can’t sleep at night lay on your right hand side, gently close your right nostril and breath through your left nostril. This will allow you to access the right hemisphere of your brain which is calming.

8: Great preparation for meditation:  Alternate nostril breathing is a simple little trick that can be practiced for a few minutes before you begin your meditation practice.

9: Soothes your nervous system: ANB trigger the parasympathetic nervous system. You have effectively switched your nervous system from a stressed response, into a relaxation response.

10: Regulates the cooling and warming cycles of the body:  Left nostril is feminine, nurturing, calm and cooling. Right nostril is masculine, heat, competitive and force. Favouring one nostril more than the other can effect the heat or coolness of your body.  A miracle cure for hot flashes? 

11: Clears and boosts your energy channels: ANB oxygenates your blood and allows the energy in your body to be strong and flowing through the meridians and chakras.

12: Enhances rest and relaxation:  ANB melts away an imbalances between the right and left hemisphere of your brain and calms your thinking. This is perfect for helping you access rest and relaxation far more efficiently.  This can help people with Hypertension.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Keeping the Light on Monday

Dear Yin Weaver,
This post is especially for you scholarly Yin Weavers. If you have a few minutes for some extra reading, I have found a number of articles on line that discuss the value of the Alternate Breathing Technique. It's good for a number of things,apparently, including Bronchitis and COPD:

Effect of alternate nostril breathing exercise on cardiorespiratory functions

Keep breathing,

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Keeping the Light on Saturday

Dear Yin Weavers,

I've been practicing my Alternative Nostril breathing several times a day.

What I like about it so far is the fast result I get. Within three rounds I find my breath slowing dramatically and a deeper sense of calm.

What I don't like is counting the 4/16/8 pattern as it keeps me too much in my logical left nostril, so to speak! So I've changed it and wanted to suggest it to anyone else having the same issue.

I've always been very fond of the mantra Sat Nam. It means "Be" or "I AM" or "Truth is my identity." The first two translations in particular remind me to stay in the present. It's a mantra that can be said in two words or by breaking down the syllables. So here is how I'm now doing my Alternative Nostril exercise.

Breathing in I repeat inwardly the four syllables Sa Ta Na Ma one time.
Holding my breath I repeat inwardly Sa Ta Na Ma four times.
Breathing out I repeat inwardly Sa Ta Na Ma two times

After three rounds, when I take my first ful breath, I say inwardly "Sat Nam."

How about you? What's the news?


Friday, March 12, 2010

The Seven Day Chakra Challenge--Keeping the Light in Your Root Chakra

Dear Yin Weaver,

For the next seven weeks I’m going to write about chakras. Each week I will focus on one of the seven chakras. In addition, I am going to issue a “Chakra Challenge.” The Challenge will be a simple exercise lasting no more than two to three minutes. I’ll be taking the Challenge too, and writing daily about it here and on my Fan Page. If you can, post your experiences here (you need a profile on to be able to do that), or write about your experiences on the Fan page. If you’ve never worked on opening your chakras, I hope you’ll have fun with it. If you’re a seasoned chakra-opening pro, well…have fun anyway!

The Sanskrit name for the root (or base) chakra is Muladhara. It sits at the base of the spine, and is traditionally associated with the color red. To borrow a landscaping term, think of the Muladhara as a root ball. Say you are about to plant a young tree. The root ball sits at the base of the trunk and is the network of roots and soil clinging to them. The Muladhara--your “energetic root ball”--has two main jobs. One, it sends the “roots” of energy (what is sometimes called the “grounding cord”) deep into the earth. Two, it pulls the “sap” (which has many names, but for the purpose of this series I will call it Kundalini) up those roots into the chakra. From there, it sends the energy through the etheric spine to nourish all the other chakras.

The etheric spine is composed of central trunk and two main branches. The trunk is called Shushumna (shoe-shoe-mna, emphasis on the second shoe). It runs along the center of the spinal column and is a channel for Kundalini. The left branch is called Ida (Eye-da). It is said to carry the energy of the Moon, which is receptive and cooling. Pingala is the right branch, and the energy of the Sun flows through it. It is active and warming. The branches cross the Shushumna seven times as they travel up the spine in a serpentine fashion. When the energies of the Sun and Moon meet transmutation occurs and a chakra is continually generated and regenerated.

Much has been said and written about the dangers of engaging Kundalini energy. I do believe there are times when caution is the better part of valor. However, we wouldn’t be alive if we hadn’t already engaged Kundalini to some degree. So, although it can be a risk very occasionally, on the whole nurturing the flow of this energy on a regular basis is as important to good energy hygiene as brushing your teeth is to good oral hygiene.

So what’s the Challenge? This week I want you to practice pranayama. Quite simply, pranayama is a method of controlling prana (or Kundalini) through the regulation of breathing. There are many breathing techniques. Let’s try Anuloma Viloma, or Alternate Nostril Breathing. The directions are written below. Practice it once a day and find your own pace. Try to do it for at least two to three minutes (about three rounds) which might be easy for some of you and an end goal for others. It is said the benefits of the Alternate Nostril Breathing exercise are equally balanced functioning of both sides of the brain, leading to greater creativity and problem solving ability. It is considered one of the best techniques for calming the mind and nervous system.

One of my favorite poets, Theodore Roethke once penned, "Deep in their roots all flowers keep the light." I hope this little seven day Challenge will help you to find and keep the light deep in the root of your being, the Muladhara!


One round of Alternate Nostril Breathing is made up of six steps, as shown below. Start by practicing three rounds and build up slowly to twenty rounds. 

One Round of Anuloma Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

  • Inhale through the left nostril, closing the right with the thumb, to the count of four.

  • Hold the breath, closing both nostrils, to the count of sixteen.

  • Exhale through the right nostril, closing the left with the ring and little fingers, to the count of eight.

  • Inhale through the right nostril, keeping the left nostril closed with the ring and little fingers, to the count of four.

  • Hold the breath, closing both nostrils, to the count of sixteen.

  • Exhale through the left nostril, keeping the right closed with the thumb, to the count of eight.

Friday, March 5, 2010

How Nature Nurtured My Chakras Today

Dear Yin-Weaver,

I want to talk a little bit about chakras today. The word chakra means disk, vortex or wheel. It is a center of electromagnetic energy and vital life force. Cultures worldwide recognize these centers in different ways, according to William Collinge: "in the Huna tradition of Hawaii, they are called auw centers; and in the Cabala, they are called the "tree of life" centers. In the Taoist Chinese tradition the term is dantien, and in yogic theory they are called chakras." Donna Eden calls them energy stations. Carolyn Myss (check out her cool flash presentation) calls them power centers and compares them to the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church.

There are seven chakras which emanate from the body from the base of the spine to the top of your head. Chakras have many functions. They generate the aura which surrounds you like an energetic space suit. They bathe the physical organs with their energy, helping to keep them healthy. They record our personal history and help to regulate specific psychological functions. They also help us to deepen our spiritual life. You can learn how to awaken your chakras many different ways, such as with reiki energy healing. But today I was reminded how being in touch with nature can awaken the chakras without any special effort on our parts, except perhaps the effort to be present to the moment.

It all began early this morning. I was talking to a friend about the weather. We were both hoping the reports were true that the temperature would rise to 50 degrees in Chicago. I told her I had spotted the beginnings of the first Dafoddil in our yard, and she said she was on the look out for the first Robin, but was not hopeful. Now, I happen to know something about my friend. I know her oldest daughter has been out of work for about two years, and has been living at home with her, and that they both have felt frustrated and discouraged by the present economic crisis.

Later on, my husband John and I went for a walk. At the end of our block is a beautiful Catalpa tree that stands about four stories high. As we passed under its bare branches, we heard a Robin singing. It stopped us in our tracks. We tilted back our heads and found the bird seated way up at the top of the tree, framed against the clear blue morning sky. I thought of my friend and her need for hope, and felt certain this synchronicity was meant to be shared. I made a mental note to email her as soon as I got home.

Chakras aren’t usually opened on the mountain tops of mystical moments. They are mostly opened by the bread of daily life. I didn’t feel my crown chakra opening to divine inspiration or my root chakra grounding into a sense of community as I stood beneath the Catalpa tree. But I did for a few moments share an awareness of my oneness with all of life, including my friend, her daughter and their dilemma. Taking the time to look and listen, I witnessed a moment of inspiration and hope to share with them.

Energy healing isn’t something that just happens in an office, or at a workshop or during the Daily Energy Routine. It happens all the time. Sometimes we instinctively do it on ourselves or for others. For instance, when we have a problem, we naturally tend to cradle the forehead with a palm which brings blood flow to the head and helps us think more clearly. Sometimes healing is done for us--and through us--without our really noticing it. But wouldn’t it be fun if we did notice it?

How has nature nurtured you today?


ps  a teensy request.  I'm trying to determine if people are trying to post a response to my blog and are unable.  If this has been your case would you please email me directly?  Tell me what you tried and what happened.  Thanks!