For the second year in a row, I’ve taken a seven-week sunrise chakra yoga class (6 a.m. – this morning, it truly was sunrise). Each week focuses on a different chakra, starting at the root and ending at the crown. We work through each one, trying to find it, connect with it, and make it function better to enhance overall health, well-being, and for me, creativity.
Here are the seven chakras with their associated body positions: attributes: color: and element.
- Sahasrara: Crown: Spirituality, Universe: Violet: Thought, Ether
- Ajna: Third Eye: Awareness, Intuition: Indigo: Light
- Vishuddha: Throat: Communication, Articulation: Blue: Sound
- Anahata: Heart: Love, Healing: Green: Air
- Manipura: Solar Plexus: Wisdom, Power: Yellow: Fire
- Svadhisthana: Sacral: Sexuality, Creativity: Orange: Water
- Muladhara: Root: Grounding, Basic Trust: Red: Earth
Today we focused on Sahaswara, which is the crown or the top of the head, but actually floats over the head. The attributes associated with it are spiritual connection, higher consciousness, enlightenment, unity, and intelligence. Our movements focused on channeling energy through the central channel, starting at the root and ending by pulling all the energy together at the top. This is the chakra that pulls all the others together, connects all our pieces-parts within us and to the universe. In thinking about the yoga practice this morning, I realized that if anything is gummed up from the feet to the crown of the head, it will get in the way of our creative process.
All the chakras are connected so if someone is ‘constipated’ in one chakra, it will impact the other chakras. For example, the throat chakra is related to communication. If one is hoarse or has a stiff neck or a sore throat, that could get in the way of communicating, both verbally, non-verbally, and even in the written word or creatively. Think about it , if you feel like crap, you’re not going to feel like creating (unless it’s creating a sick character). If something in your root chakra is out of whack, like a sore knee, you limp throwing the rest of your root chakra out of balance.
The point here is, if all the chakras are in good working order, and we can pull the energy up through the central channel, up to and through the crown, we can operate at our maximum creative efficiency. That, of course, means each chakra needs to be in working order independently as well.
As 8LW blog posts aren’t usually the length of a NY Times feature, I’ll focus on one chakra. I’ll give you some examples of things you can do to open up the second chakra, Svadhisthana. This is the chakra associated with creativity and sexuality. It is located above the pubic bone and below the navel and encompasses the genital region – basically the lower abdomen region front to back and side to side. A balanced second chakra leads to feelings of wellness, abundance, pleasure, and joy. When this chakra is out of balance, a person may experience emotional instability, fear of change, sexual dysfunction, depression, or, in the case of us writers, stymied creativity.
One non-physical exercise is left nostril breathing called Ida Nadi breathing. It can help to open up the second chakra as it brings forth lunar energy. You can do this by closing your right nostril with the first two fingers of your right hand and inhale and exhale through the left nostril for 8 to 10 breaths. Meditation is another non-physical exercise that can focus on the second chakra. I’m terrible at meditation, myself and generally need guided meditation in order to get the job done. YouTube has a plethora of guided meditations for creativity.
Yoga asanas that help to open and align Svadhisthana, and are more physical activities, include:
- Seated pelvic circles: Sit in a cross-legged or half-lotus pose with your hands on your knees, make circles with your torso. Go around in one direction 5 or 6 times and then switch directions.
- Baddha konasana (butterfly pose) with forward fold: In a seated position, bring the bottoms of your feet together. Let your knees drop to the sides and bring your heels in close to your pelvis. Lengthen the torso and fold forward.
- Bhujangasana (cobra pose): Lie on your stomach with your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands under your shoulders and slowly lift your head, chest, and abdomen while keeping your naval on the floor. Be sure to press down through the pubic bone toward the mat and keep your neck in alignment with the rest of your spine.
For aesthetic help with this chakra, bring things into your creative environment that are the color orange, or the gemstones amber, calcite orange, carnelian, or hematite.
What do you think? Is this something that could stimulate your creativity or is it a little too out there?
Can anyone create if they feel lousy? I’m not sure they could. Speaking as a person who has come through a fairly long period of pain, surgery, and recovery, I can testify that pain causes one to focus inward, on basic survival, almost exclusively. Yoga has been shown to have all kinds of physical and mental health benefits, so I’m all for opening the chakras. Anything that promotes health and frees one’s mind to roam has to be good for creativity.
I’m glad you have the word recovery in there, Kay. I hope all is going well for you. And you’re right, it’s had to create when you feel lousy. And you’re right about the health benefits of yoga, even if someone has limited mobility or other issues, there’s restorative, chair, senior – all kinds of yoga.
I think some special people can create during pain. It can help the person escape pain, or feel better about the pain because the person is still doing something right. Or . . . just a matter of being so obsessed with capturing an idea that they work through the pain. I’m thinking about the author of Sea Biscuit, who had chronic fatigue syndrome, and managed to work through it to create a book that got a lot of praise. I think the flow can work both ways . . . feeling good can make writing easier, and writing can also help a person feel better.
I should note, I’m lousy at creating when I’m not feeling great. About the only disease that triggers creativity for me is a fever. Otherwise, I’m just out of it and can’t string two words together properly.
She did write through pain, and it was incredible what she was able to accomplish, but it took her 10 years or something to write that book. What might she have been able to do if she didn’t have chronic fatigue syndrome? Or whatever it was. The mind boggles.
I take a stretching class on Thursday mornings that incorporates a little bit of this. I don’t know if it helps my creativity, but it definitely helps my body!
I love yoga. The way that it touches every part of your body. I used to have SUCH a problem with Shavasana (corpse pose – the end pose when you lay flat on the floor in stillness). Now I embrace it and let my mind drift. All kinds of energy and ideas end up in my brain after I let it go neutral. I recommend finding a restorative yoga class. It would probably be similar to a stretching class, but would also incorporate some internal focus that I think aids creativity.
That sounds like a wonderful class, Michille. Well, all except the sunrise part. Though I love to see the sunrise, I love remaining cozily in bed even more 🙂
It was a little hard to get up that early for seven weeks. And I felt a little foolish because I had to shower and do my hair and makeup for work, then do yoga for an hour because I only had half an hour from the end of yoga to when I had to be at the office. That goodness for maxi dresses. I just threw one over my yoga clothes and went to work.
Did you ever see Lilias, Yoga and You on PBS? I remember doing it during summer vacations and also while babysitting. I loved it, and still love yoga, although I have yoga phases, not a proper yoga practice.
When I’m writing in the flow, there’s a certain clean-ness to the way my body feels. It’s not just ignoring the stuffy or painful parts of my body — it often feels like the blocks are gone. Not writing is a heavy feeling under and over my shoulder blades. Probably heart chakra, and I bet some stretches would help relieve the pressure.
It’s really interesting that both you and Elizabeth talk about removing blockages this week!
I’m not an expert on the chakras, but shoulder blades is either the heart chakra (love and relationships) or the throat chakra (expression, voice, life purpose). Either applies because if you love to write and you’re not doing it, it could cause problems in that chakra and if you’re not expressing yourself, it could cause jamming, too.
I’ve never seen that show. I just looked it up, though, and it is still available used on DVD.
Fascinating. I don’t know anything about this. I am very affected by the seasons. How do the chakras relate to this?
I’ve only paid attention to how the chakras affect me/my body/my daily life. I never thought about them relative to seasons and I didn’t know the answer to your question so I googled. I found this blog post about it that is very interesting: https://www.soulbox.co.uk/blog/32-chakra-s-changing-seasons.
I love this! Very interesting!