Yoga + Self Healing
with Nicole Lynne Hooley
with Nicole Lynne Hooley
Weekly Practice Nov. 15-21: Getting Grounded & Restoring our Foundations
Early last week I decided I would create a grounding practice for this week's healing investigation. I had no idea how much we would need it. At the time my focus was on using grounding yoga to help us create more of sturdy & secure foundation in our lives and as a result create more abundance in all of the sweet area's of life. I did not realize that our global community would be in such a place mentally, emotionally and physically due to the recent attacks around the world. However, now is when we really do need to ground and connect to the earth! We need to recognize that we are safe, secure and have a place in creating a thriving and happy life for ourselves and the greater whole.
When something terrible happens we often do not know what to do with ourselves. We can see this from the countless passionate social media posts. People are sharing their sadness, hope, anger and frustration. Something happens to us when we see our foundation, the earth, and its inhabitants threatened. We are a global community and for years now we've been watching the members of our community and the actual foundation that provides us life being threatened. It is no wonder so many of us are having difficulty making ends meet, keeping our feet on the ground and trusting that anything we do "will really matter".
However, with practice we can heal even the worst case of "giving up". This week's practice aims to bring healing and balance to the Root Chakra. According to the study of the Subtle Body in the ancient science of yoga, the Muladhara Chakra is the first energetic center in the body and is located at the base of the spine (tailbone). It is considered "the root of your being" and is where we establish our deepest connections with our physical body, our environment and the Earth itself. It is our primal, instinctive center and it rules our sense of survival and self-preservation.
When our root chakra is out of balance we can experiences many different physical difficulties such as: Difficulty with the legs, feet, rectum, tailbone, immune system, male reproductive parts and prostrate gland, degenerative arthritis, knee pain, sciatica, eating disorders, and constipation. Some 1st chakra emotional imbalances include negative or unhealthy feelings around our basic survival needs like: money, shelter and food, the ability to provide for ourselves, feeling alienation, and a sense of not belonging.
When this chakra is balanced or we are GROUNDED, we tend to feel supported and at ease in our environment. There is an overall sense of connection and safety to the physical world. The lesson from the 1st chakra and grounding practices is to teach us self-preservation, self-confidence, and self-reliance. If the 1st Chakra were to have an affirmation it would be, "I have a right to be and thrive here!"
10 Yogic Practices for Grounding,
Abundance and Root Chakra Healing.
Start with Grounding Breath-work with Visualization:
Sit tall, feeling your spine reaching long in both directions. Take in long breaths through your nose imagining your breath traveling all the way down past your tailbone toward the core of the earth like the roots of a tree. As you breath out through your nose imagine your breath traveling up your spine and out through the crown of your head like the branches of a tree. Play with this breath meditation for 5-10 long breaths. Allow your exhalations to be as long or longer than your inhalations.
1. Thread the Needle
3-5 Breaths on each side
Warms up Knees & Hips. With both feet flexed, actively pull the thigh you have your hands interlaced around toward you as you gently reach your folded knee away.
2. Malasana - Deep Squat
3-5 Breaths in both
This pose is incredibly grounding and detoxifying. Take the time to set your self up so your feet can be on the ground. You can sit on a block or books or place a folded blanket under your feet. This pose helps to eliminate stress and agitation in the body and deeply connects us to the earth. Added benefit: Relieves Constipation. If you are feeling playful, try coming up into Crow Pose after! Women in first trimester & late 3rd trimester of pregnancy should use much more support as to not induce labor. People with knee issues should also use a lot of support, or avoid until healed.
3. Prasarita Padatanasana - Wide Legged Forward Bend
5 Breaths with legs straight or bend
There is a ton of different ways to do just about any posture. However, I really love doing this one with my hands interlaced behind me, to me it is YUMMY! If you would rather have your hands on the floor, on blocks or a chair go for it. While you are at it, check out all the different variations in a google search. Allow your main focus be on feeling your feet on the ground. Challenge your balance a little by keeping your heals grounded while shifting some of your weight into the balls of your feet. If you have tight hamstrings, please consider bending your knees while keeping them in the same direction as your toes. You've got this!
4. Vrksasana - Tree Pose with Half Lotus Variation**
5-10 Breaths on each side while keeping eyes focus on one spot (or with eyes closed)
Like I said, lots of different ways to play with our asana's however, for a grounding sequence leading to Lotus Pose, it makes a lot more sense to warm the knee and hips earlier in your practice. Therefore, try the half lotus pose variation of tree. If you feel really sturdy, you can play with foward folding in this position or even coming into toe stand! For an added challenge see if you can float back from Tree into Warrior II! It's a lot of fun!
5. Utkata Konasana - Goddess Pose (with Moon Salutations optional)
Hold for 3-5 Breaths or Flow with Breath From Straight Arms and Legs into the pose 3/5x
When in Goddess Pose, do your best to keep your knee's over your ankles and your toes pointed in the same direction as your knees. If you would like to play with the Moon Salutations, I highly recomend them! They create a grounded & calming sensation in the body and also help to warm the areas of the body needed for Lotus Pose. If you would like to see an easier variation of the moon salutations check out this video: Moon Salutations.
6. Parsvottanasana - Pyramid Pose (with twist optional)
5 to 10 Breaths on each side
Parsvottanasana is one of my favorite poses and it always leave me feeling calmer and more grounded. I love the challenge it provides for me as far as balance, and the delicious stretch I receive in my outer legs and hamstrings. You can do this posture in many different arm variations. However, the most relaxing is with your hands on the floor or blocks and with your head rested on or toward your leg. If you would like to add a twist for more of a challenge and outer hamstring stretch try and reach your back leg as far back as it will go while still keeping your heal grounded. Then lift your top hand onto your hip or to the sky. Be mindful of your Knee's and Hamstrings.
7. Forward Folds:
If you are comfortable sitting in Half Lotus, take your forward folds in that position. Other wise, take the easier variations. Please be mindful of your knees.
8. Viparita Kirani Mudra - Half Shoulder Stand (with support of hands or block on sacrum)
1-2 minutes while breathing deeply
I prefer this pose to the standard shoulder-stand. My back feels much less tender afterwards. It also have a lovely impact on your nervous system, and similar energetic yet calming effects to the body and mind. Best is that it help to increase your focus so you can complete the tasks needed to create stronger foundations in your life. It is easiest to come into either version of this pose from bridge pose. You would lift up into bridge and then either slide your hands or blocks under your sacrum and then lift you legs. Do your best to keep your tailbone heavy, creating a grounding sensation in the body.
9. Closing Poses: Supine Twist, Goddess Pose, Corpse Pose
5-10 Breaths on each side & each pose. Corpse Pose 5-15 Minutes.
These are grouped together because they flow very easily while laying on your back. Take your time in them and do your best to support yourself for luxurious comfort. You can put blocks or blankets under your knees, use a fold blanket under your head, support your back and even cover yourself. When creating stronger foundations in our life for grounding and abundance we first need to learn to support ourselves. This can be taught to us in our restorative portion of practice. Be creative and treat yourself like you are a divine and loved being! Allow your time on your mat to be a sacred metaphor for whatever your are working on in your life. Better yet, let it be a microcosm for the world at large!
10. Mediation in Lotus, Half Lotus with Mudras
Prithvi Mudra, Apana Mudra, Gyan Mudra
Find a comfortable meditative seat. Try using a seat coushion, pillow or blanket under your sitsbones for more comfort. If you cannot comfortable sit in Lotus or Half Lotus without knee pain please sit in "Easy Pose". Then choose one of the following mudras. You can sit for 5-30 minutes. If you would like to play with 1:2 breath go for it, other wise just try taking in long breaths in through your nose and slightly longer breaths out. I find it most helpful when using mudra to keep my eyes closed and focus my attention on my nose or center of more forehead.
Mudra Options and Benefits:
Prithvi Mudra - Reduces all physical weaknesses. Increases energy, and fosters a sense of inner stability and self-assurance. Helps to increase weight for weak life-force people. Improves the complexion of skin and makes the skin glow. Promotes body functionality
Apana Mudra -Gives energy and makes one more self-confident. Stimulated the downward energy of the body. Moves energy to the periphery of the body. This may help with constipation and urinary problems. Relieves constipation & helpful for diabetes. Plays an important role in our health as it regulates the excretory system.
Gyan Mudra - Stimulates the Root chakra, creating a grounding effect. Calms and improves concentration and focus. it eases tension and depression. It relates to expansion and knowledge. This mudra boosts the air element (Vaayu), thus stimulating the brain, empowering the mind, nervous system and pituitary gland. Stimulates the endrocrine system and can help relieve joints and cartilage pain and stiffness.
Additional Practices for Grounding, Abundance & Root Chakra Healing:
1. Long Mindful Walks, Jogs or Runs
When you are feeling ungrounded, undernourished or unsupported you need to connect to the earth. The best way to do this is through your feet and your legs. Take some time outside (bundle up if its cold). If you can't take a long walk outside, get a gym membership but move and use your legs. It will help!
2. Dance or Listen to Drum Beats
Go on Youtube, Spotify, Itunes, Pandora, Soundcloud or any other music source and find music with rhythm. Get a little funky and maybe even look into more tribal drum music. You could even down load a Shamanic Journey! The sound of the drum is incredibly grounding. You can feel the vibration in your legs and lower chakras. Let yourself move to it! Enjoy!
3. Black, Brown or Red Gem Stones or Healing Jewelry
Stones like Hematite, Smoky Quartz and Jasper have been found to have incredibly grounding effects on the body and promote healing in the Root Charka. Find a Gem Stone that stimulates your Root Chakra. If you find one that also stimulates the heart center even better. Try and shop in person for your stones. Research shops in your area. You want to chose a stone that feels good when you hold it. There should be an energetic connection. Also, supporting a local business is good for financial karma.
Research mantra's that feel food for you. Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of abundance. I recommend looking into her. Also the Bija Mantra for the Root Chakra is LAM. You can chant this out-loud or say it silently when you are mediating or doing daily chores & tasks.
5. Essential Oils
Geranium Rose Oil & Vetiver has been very helpful for me for grounding. Both can be applied sparingly to your feet.
6. Massage & Reiki
Touch has a fantastic way of bringing us into our body therefore making us more grounded.
7. Cooking & Cleaning
Taking the time to clean your living space and preparing food for yourself is incredibly grounding. Your body and home are your foundation. This is earth. From above you do not see people. Just earth, one big celestial body. So taking care of your physical body and surroundings is one the best ways to get grounded and to connect to Earth. Connect to the food (earth) that you put into you body (earth) by preparing it with care. Connect to where you live (earth) by keeping it clean and cozy. The practice is helpful on many different levels. The tasks themselves are grounding, but also the completion of the tasks create more appreciation, security and a sense of belonging. It's fabulous and incredibly rewarding. Treat this as yoga/spiritual practice.
8. GET DIRTY: Gardening/Hiking/Time in Nature
Spending time in nature is obviously grounding! Actually putting your Feet & hands in the dirt, and feeling the parts of our environment that are not man made can be incredibly healing to the root Chakra and spirit. It is like downloading root chakra energy right from the source!
9. Take the Steps to get Your Affairs in Order
If you are stressing about money, you are distracted and therefor not grounded, and not living abundantly. Do not worry about paying off all of your debt today. However, make a list of what you owe. All of your different bills and work on setting up minimum payments for all of them. Take a day or two to just spend the day on the phone. Set the intention to not solve everything, but to do what you can for now for each thing. You will leave feeling more in control and you will be on your way to living more secure & abundantly. In this day and age we are all in debt. So rather than focusing on what you can't pay, try and shift your attention to what you can. Baby steps.
10. Asking for help when you need it!
When I graduated college I entered a jobless job market. I've literally needed to invent my own career and do my best to not get overwhelmed by how sometimes bleak and seaminly hopeless the situation could be. For years I let debts pile up because I was sure there was nothing I could do about it. Then I realized most the country was in a similar situation. Because of this reality there are tons of programs out there to assist you. Look into income based repayments programs for your college loans, ask about workstudy opportunities for programs you are interested in and don't be afraid to write a sweet letter asking others how they did it! We are a community, if these people are living abundantly they will respond without hesitation. If not, keep searching!
With so much love & abundant blessings,
Yoga & Reiki Guide
Brooklyn based Yoga & Reiki Teacher, Cole Hooley, specializes in Personal Empowerment & Self Healing inspired Yoga Classes, Workshops, Retreats & Reiki Trainings. Her Reiki & Intuitive Healing sessions have been called "an hour of unconditional love". Nicole has been highlighted by Huffington Post and YogaCityNYC.
Easy Moon Salutations & Good Mood Yoga: