There’s no time like the new year to make a fresh start.
The past few months have been hectic, and I’ve felt disconnected from my yoga and mindfulness practice. I have to remind myself that, no matter how busy I am, mindfulness has to be a priority for at least 10 minutes each day. Otherwise, I feel disconnected from my self, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
In truth, sometimes it’s easier to feel disconnected because we don’t want to hear what our bodies are saying. We don’t want to try new things, be vulnerable, or even to rest because we’re afraid of what will happen if we do.
To start 2019 off right and connect with my self, I am committing to a 7-day meditation practice. I would love for you to participate in this meditation challenge.
For the next 7 days, I’ll post a framework for a guided meditation that you can spend 5-10 minutes on each day. Each post will be centered around one of the seven chakras in the body. Pick a time that works for you and find a place that’s quiet. There’s no end goal or level of success to measure against.
Benefits of Meditation
If you’re a beginner, meditation may seem like an esoteric concept - something those trying to be hip tout, but difficult to actually practice regularly.
It doesn’t have to be difficult. All it takes is a few minutes a day and openness to a new experience. Meditation isn’t about wiping all thoughts from your mind necessarily, but removing judgement as thoughts pass. Simply observe what comes up and don’t tell yourself you’re doing a bad job.
Chakra translates to “wheel” in Sanskrit. There are seven major chakras in the body, located in a line from the crown of the head to the base of your spine. Prana (energy / life force) flows through each chakra, like a spinning wheel, but sometimes the wheel may get blocked, leading to detrimental effects on physical and emotional health.
The point of the chakra-themed meditation is to connect our minds with our bodies, so we are aware of how we’re feeling.
1. Root Chakra (Muladhara)
Located at the base of the spine, our root chakra represents stability and being grounded and is associated with very basic needs (family relationships, money, survival, food). When your muladhara is out of sync, you can feel lethargic and over eat or conversely, you may feel like you’re bouncing from one thing to the next and forgetting to eat. Finding balance in the muladhara brings a steady, calm energy and reduces fluctuations in our weight. Listen to day 1 here.
2. Sacral Chakra (Svadhishthana)
The sacral chakra is located in your lower abdomen (just below your belly button). It is known as the creative and sexual chakra and when aligned, helps us be open to new experiences, emotionally stable, and passionate. Listen to day 2 here.
3. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
Located in the upper abdomen, our solar plexus chakra can bring us confidence and will power when aligned. When it’s overactive, we may be egotistical and lack humility. Under-active energy in the solar plexus can mean we feel like we’re not in control of our lives and lack the confidence to execute. Listen to day 3 here.
4. Heart Chakra (Anahata)
The heart chakra is at the center of our line, with three chakras below and three above. When it’s open, we are compassionate to ourselves and others and are able to love and forgive freely. When it’s out of line, we are jealous, anger quickly, and hold grudges. Listen to day 4 here.
5. Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)
A free throat chakra allows us not only to communicate effectively and honestly, but also to listen to others. The beauty of communication is that our expressions don’t always have to be verbal, but might be artistic. When it isn’t aligned, we are arrogant and don’t take the time to listen to others or we are scared / timid to speak the truth. Listen to day 5 here.
6. Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)
Have you ever placed your palms at the top of your forehead and bowed in a yoga class? In this move, we are honoring our seat of intuition, or the ajna chakra. Our third eye allows us to imagine and gives us the wisdom to make decisions. With an open third eye, we are able to be mentally flexible and concentrate. When it’s imbalanced, we may become agitated or experience insomnia. Listen to day 6 here.
7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
Finally, the last major chakra we’ll meditate on is our crown chakra, which represents true oneness with the universe. Our crown chakra is associated with being spiritually connected with our inner selves, others, and possibly a higher being (based on what you believe in). When our energy flows freely, we feel present and at peace. This is a complicated chakra, since we need to let go of ego and learn to be empathetic. Listen to day 7 here.
I’ll provide more detail on each chakra over the next week, along with the guided meditation and even a few yoga poses associated with the chakras. Feel free to reach out with any questions.