Dream Yoga Retreat

by Laura McCorry

Why go on a regular vacation when you could go on a yoga retreat in paradise? Here’s my idea of the perfect yoga retreat:

  • Amy Caldwell Yoga OneTropical Location is an absolute must. Trying to pack enough layers for variable weather without overpacking is annoying. I want to be able to step outside my villa directly onto a beach and feel 100% comfortable in just my skin – clothing for decoration only. Okay, maybe a pair of yoga pants for evening when I want to get “dressed up.”:)
  • Which leads us to: Accommodations. I don’t need a king sized bed with ironed sheets – this is a retreat, after all (but if it comes with the package, I won’t complain.) I can “rough it,” in the romantic, island-casual sense of the term. A fluffy pillow top, fresh towel and jaw-droopingly gorgeous view will suffice, please and thank you!
  • Healthy, Delicious Food and Beverages must be available at multiple times during the day. If I’m doing more yoga than usual, you better believe I need those green smoothies that taste like fruit at 10am. Bonus points if they are delivered by an adorable, rescued sea tortoise who cannot return to the wild but has found a new home and employment as resident mascot and keeper of midnight kombucha-inspired secret telling. Maybe his name is Sandy. Maybe I’ve put too much thought into this. #Sandyisreal
  • Yoga. Wait, did I just put yoga last on this list? But seriously, the yoga matters. It’s what makes the difference between just another vacation and an honest-to-goodness life-changing, revelatory retreat full of camaraderie and memories you will treasure for a lifetime. The yoga needs to be daily (so I don’t skip out.) It needs to be accessible, no matter my ability. Most of all, the yoga needs to be real, I want to get to know the instructor and the other students and enjoy those moments of human connection through breath and movement. It doesn’t get any better than that.

You don’t have to dream about a life-changing yoga retreat, Yoga One has teamed up with Kairos Fitness to offer just such an experience*! 

Costa Rica Retreat to Las Catalinas 
with Yoga One Co-Founder and Head Instructor Amy Caldwell
April 29 – May 4, 2017

For more information and to register go here.


The inspiration for this post came from Eventbrite, an online resource to promote, manage and track online RSVP’s for successful events.

*Sandy is a fictional character. We hope any tortoises you see on retreat are enjoying happy, prosperous lives in the wild.

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.

Contact: laura@yogaonesandiego.com

Posted in Workshops/Retreats | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chakra Meditation: Anahata, The Heart

by Monique Minahan

heart chakraI place my left hand on my heart and on top of that layer my right.

I don’t move until I feel that familiar thump-thump beating under my hands, as subtle or as strong as it may be. I don’t move until I connect with the aliveness within me.

Anahata, the heart chakra, reminds me of my need for love and my true capacity to love. It asks me to stretch my heart open not just for my friends or family but for every human being on this planet – a major paradigm shift from the more prominent fear-thy-neighbor mentality that threatens to tear our world apart.

This is why I must connect with myself first. I cannot find compassion for anyone else until I find compassion for myself. I cannot welcome another’s pain until I have welcomed my own.

Onto the physical connection of hands to heart, I layer sound. A soft reverberation of anahata’s seed sound yam starts at the middle point of my sternum, this chakra’s kshetram, or front-body location. It travels through my body, piercing the spine, emerging on my back at the actual chakra point, a deep blue flowering like a tattoo over my upper back.

I repeat that cycle until it feels complete, letting the sound shape-shift, becoming a groan or a song or a wail until it naturally tapers into the quietest, softest syllable, matching the beat of my heart.

what the world needs loveAlone with my heart I ask her what she has to say. Then I step back to allow her to answer:

Love bigger, she says. You know you can.

She is right but I stay silent. I listen as she questions why I don’t. I give her all my reasons and tell her that the world makes it hard to love sometimes. She reminds me that when I block love from exiting, I also block love from entering. Like breathing out and breathing in.

I begin bhramari pranayama, the humming bee breath. The gentle buzzing sound allows me to listen to my heart without my head thinking of a reply, a response, a defense.

This practice draws me out into the deep waters of vulnerability, the only state of being where I can receive and offer love fully.

As my humming drifts into silence I become aware of akasha, the heart space, and how it shrinks and expands proportionate to my level of fear or love.

I choose love. Not the small love I only offer to those who love me back. The Big Love that does not require reciprocity. The love that is enlarged by our differences instead of threatened by them. The love which the world needs so desperately.

Part 5 of a 7 part series. You can find part 4 here: Manipura, The Navel.

Mo Minahan

Monique Minahan
Contributing Writer

Mo is a writer and yoga teacher who believes in peace over happiness and love over fear. She likes to set her sights high and then take small steps to get there. You’ll find her walking the dirt path behind her house with her little fluffy dog, practicing walking her talk by keeping her head high and her heart open. Contact: moniqueminahan.com

Posted in Reflections, Yoga 101 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yogi Reads: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

by Olivia Cecchettini

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Translation and Commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda

56305Summary: Sutra in Sanskrit means “thread.” Each verse of the sutras is a thread in the tapestry of Raja Yoga, a yogic path of meditation and concentration. The Sutras of Pantanjali are at least 1,700 years old and contain ancient wisdom in yoga ethics, meditation, and physical postures. This compilation by Sri Swami Satchidananda not only includes the original Sanskrit alongside the translation, but also personal stories and advice shared from his own spiritual journey.

Why I Love It: Timing is everything. I picked up this book in the past and felt overwhelmed. My intuition knew that it wasn’t the right time yet, so I put it back on the shelf until some months later I began to read it one sutra at a time. I gave each one time to marinate in my thoughts. I really believe the quote, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali uses metaphors and examples that are easy to understand and applicable to a modern lifestyle. I love that the full depth of knowledge contained in each sutra is so accessible because knowledge is power. When we become as curious about our internal landscape as we are about the external world, we are limitless. This book offered me the tools to live a life of introspection, fulfillment, happiness, and peace. It raised and continues to raise my vibration.

Recommended For: Those seeking emotional intelligence, who want to find balance between mind, body and spirit. Understanding The Sutras may come easily, but applying the book’s teaching in your everyday life might be a much harder task. The spiritual methods may be simple, but there could be a lot of work that goes into embodying each step forward.

I’ve found that it’s not by reading that I actually grasp new teachings or new ways of being in the world; it is through experimenting. Practicing, failing, having devotion and patience, and fully participating in my own life is where the learning happens. Being alive and feeling alive can be two very different experiences. My hope is for all to experience the fullness of life.

Ciao,
Olivia

Olivia headshotOlivia Cecchettini
Contributing Writer

Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.

Posted in Yogi Reads | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chakra Meditation: Manipura, The Navel

by Monique Minahan

manipura-aniI invite my body into some gentle asana next to a dwindling fire. Only after movement do I find the stillness necessary to enter the city of jewels, manipura chakra; mani meaning jewel and pura meaning city. Now focused, I contemplate the literal flames before me then look to my internal place of fire, manipura chakra.

While its frontal location is at the navel, the chakra itself is said to reside at the level of the spine. I guide my attention horizontally there, to the inner wall of the spinal column and whisper the beeja mantra ram until it settles in my bones like the hum of my breath.

I let my inner vision focus around the space of my solar plexus, literally a complex of nerves in the abdomen that delivers the intuitive “gut feeling” or sinking sensation in the pit of our stomach. The fact that there are no bones in front of the solar plexus seems fitting as this chakra embodies willpower and action; an ability to hold one’s self up. It is the center of heat and strength physically and energetically. The Japanese refer to this area of the body as the hara, or “sea of energy.”

Discerning what’s at the heart of this chakra for me requires patience. Below this chakra is the energy that creates me as an individual. Swadhisthana chakra: my ego, self-esteem, my individuality. Above manipura lies anahata chakra, the energy to channel my unique offering to the world. But here is where those two energies meet. Here is where I find empowerment, authenticity and responsibility. Here is where I transition my individuality to universality. Here is where I struggle with holding on and letting go.

I choose the unifying pranayama of breath retention for this chakra; one that balances both prana-vayu (upward and inward energy) and apana-vayu (downward and outward energy).

I visualize the two forces traveling to the navel simultaneously on the inhale. Only when I feel that they have arrived at the same time do I then perform a gentle breath retention before the exhale. I repeat this for a few minutes before letting my breath return to normal.

When I open my eyes, the fire has dwindled to hot embers. I acknowledge the times in my life when I’ve barely had an ember of light to guide me through the darkness. And I acknowledge the times when a full flame has burned through limitations and freed me to be more authentic, empowered and alive.

I bow my head to that.

Part 4 of a 7 part series. You can find part 3 here: Swadhisthana, The Sacrum.

Mo Minahan

Monique Minahan
Contributing Writer

Mo is a writer and yoga teacher who believes in peace over happiness and love over fear. She likes to set her sights high and then take small steps to get there. You’ll find her walking the dirt path behind her house with her little fluffy dog, practicing walking her talk by keeping her head high and her heart open. Contact: moniqueminahan.com

Posted in Reflections, Yoga 101 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Yoga One Teacher Training Graduate Story

Students who participate in Yoga One Teacher Training program come from all over the world, and sometimes they travel around the world after graduation! Here is a short reflection from a recent graduate, Jessica Hak:

Jessica Hak4 Jessica Hak1


How has yoga impacted your life and how do you see yoga in your life in the future?

I will be flying with a one-way ticket to New Zealand to teach yoga on an internship with a research facility. I will be studying the effects of yoga on students’ physiological states of hope, strength gains from challenges, and aspects of spirituality.

I’m looking forward to continuing self-study through my yoga practice and exploring the yoga culture in New Zealand. If possible, I plan on taking a 300+ Yoga Teacher Training course, and one of my 5 year goals is to get my E-RYT 500 Yoga certification. Keep an eye out for my photo journalist yoga blog to follow my adventures!


How will your life change after Yoga One Teacher Training? Take the first step by emailing michael@yogaonesandiego.com for more information or signing up for the next Yoga One Teacher Training here.

 

Posted in Teacher Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yogi Reads: The Desire Map

by Olivia Cecchettini

main-desire-bookThe Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul

by: Danielle LaPorte

Summary: Part workbook, part engaging read, The Desire Map may change the way you think and feel about your goals – which in turn will change the way you pursue them. Danielle LaPorte challenges you to look within and to be honest with yourself about your desires. Consciously or unconsciously, many of us hide our true desires by trying to please others or detaching from our own truth. This book will help you identify your core desires and create not just a goal line, but a “soul line” of how you want to feel and be in the world. This is so powerful!

Why I love It: I always wanted the ability to manifest my desires but it never worked for me in the past. The Desire Map helped me identify my Core Desired Feelings (CDF, as LaPorte calls them) and this change in perspective allowed me to see incongruent intentions and actions that were holding me back. When my goals came into alignment with my higher self, I started to see those goals manifest in my life… very cool!

One of the best tools to clarify your intentions and goals is simply to put pen to paper. By writing them out, I began to see which goals and CDFs were the most important to me. Here are a few questions from LaPorte that I thought would be encouraging and fun to share along with my answers:


I
 crave
….
new places, long conversations, sunsets, and sometimes sugar
Other than time or money, what I want more of is experiences and memories
I need to give myself more permission to be more reclusive
The colour of joy islight, darkness, and blue
If I whisper the word bliss I close my eyes and think of the longest sunset over the ocean
I feel vulnerable when I share my deepest feelings
In crisis I breathe, freak out, stay calm, or cry, depends on the day.
When feeling free and strong I tend to practice a more challenging flow, my personal practice is very gentle at the moment, but every now and then I crave a very strong power class.
If delight were an animal, it would be the cutest pug ever named Z
I am proud of completing my Masters in Spiritual Psychology and paying for it as I went along by myself. No debt.

These are just a few of her excellent questions to help you dive deeper in knowing your inner self and your feelings.

Z

Z, the cutest pug ever

Recommended For: Anyone feeling blocked or held back in life, whether it’s mental or physical or emotional. Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world, so all change must start within! This book can help you take an emotional inventory, which will create more awareness of what you can let go and where you can make space for new ways of being and feeling. The Desire Map has been called a dream-fulfilling system that harnesses your soul’s deep desire to feel good – I hope it does just that for you.

Olivia headshotOlivia Cecchettini
Contributing Writer

Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.

Posted in Yogi Reads | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amy Caldwell Interviewed by San Diego Lifestyle

Yoga One Head Teacher and Co-Founder Amy Caldwell recently sat down with San Diego Lifestyle Blog to discuss travel, downtown San Diego, and both the outer (physical) and inner (meditative) aspects of yoga. 

San Diego Lifestyle: How did Yoga One originate, and eventually become what it is today?

Amy: Michael and I both worked in the music industry in Los Angeles prior to discovering yoga. Seeking a lifestyle change, we left the country to enjoy time backpacking abroad. Our travels took us to Australia where we picked apples to earn money, and first began our practice of yoga from the book “Fit for Life.” Over the next three and a half years, we visited 14 more countries, ultimately arriving in India where we completely immersed ourselves into the philosophy and practice of yoga while studying with some of the top yoga masters. When we returned to the States, I continued my studies here in San Diego and began offering classes by donation in Balboa Park, Downtown, etc.  As attendance grew, things organically evolved into what turned into the Yoga One studio located on 7th avenue, Downtown. 

SDL: Wow, fascinating! How often do you practice these days?

Amy: I practice almost every day, in classes at Yoga One or home alone.  My home practice is a source of wisdom for my personal growth and understanding from which my teaching also grows.  I also take a class once a week with a senior teacher Jo Zukovich as my schedule allows. Throughout my many years of practice, the style and frequency has varied greatly. But I always come back to my mat as a place where I can take care of myself in a deep and nourishing way.

 

SDL: What advice would you give to beginners just starting their yoga journey?

Amy: I think its important for beginners to know that yoga practice doesn’t always have to be an hour plus, every day. Just 5-10 minutes can make a difference.  Seeking out classes with knowledgeable instructors like we have at Yoga One is also important to receive guidance and inspiration. We call it “yoga practice”, not “yoga perfect” because it’s a process, a journey, not a destination.

 

SDL: Have you had moments of breakthrough, where you accomplished something you didn’t think you would be able to?

Amy: For me, the practice has become less about physical accomplishments and more about learning how to live in the world with present moment awareness and an open heart and mind. Having said that, yoga has provided amazing strength and deep breathing for giving birth naturally twice. And it continues to serve me, being a mother now to an 8 and 11 year old.

Yoga One San Diego Amy Caldwell

SDL: Your Yoga One studio is downtown, does that make it tough for people to come to class consistently?

Amy: We love being downtown – our students are diverse, educated and often working professionals.  Not to mention really nice people!  Our regulars attend on their lunch hour, after work, early mornings or weekends.  Being downtown we are lucky to get a lot of out of town guests – and we offer plenty of options for brand new beginners, including but not limited to Classic Yoga, Gentle and Restorative. We have a good number of students who value our services so much that they drive all the way from north and east county. 

 

SDL: There are a TON of yoga studios in San Diego, where are you located exactly?

Amy: We are located at 1150 7th Avenue, between B & C Streets, near the business district at the base of Cortez Hill, across the street from the Symphony and around the corner from the House of Blues.  As I mentioned, we offer classes at the studio, but also at many businesses around San Diego.  So in a very real sense, Yoga One instructors often go to the students. But, students also come from all over the city, and the world in fact. We’ve had great people come from as far as Japan, Ireland and Spain to attend our 200 Hour Yoga One Teacher Training Course, which we have been offering since 2006. We get students from the East Coast attending the training as well.

Yoga One San Diego Amy Caldwell

SDL: Wow your teacher training must be a truly wonderful experience! Is it your most popular course?

Amy: Yes it’s quite popular! Right now, I’m really enjoying leading and co-leading the Yoga One Teacher Training Courses. I love teaching all of my classes though, both public and private. Our students are open and eager to learn, and are always teaching me too in the process of learning, so we are growing together. My Monday noon class also usually pretty popular, with many long-time regulars coming whom I adore and love seeing every week. Schedule permitting, I’m happy to kick things up a bit with my First Friday of the Month, level 2 and 3 classes too, which oftentimes draws more students in.

Read more at The San Diego Lifestyle and you can view our full class schedule here.

Posted in In the Community, Instructor Spotlight, Teacher Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ecstatic Reunion: Amy Caldwell’s Reflections on Coachella

by Amy Caldwell

This piece originally published on Yoga Digest

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 8.55.05 AMDance

We’ve moved four times in the past year.  I’ve packed and unpacked, made hundreds of lists, sorted and simplified.  At times, amidst the chaos, I’ve wanted to drown myself in a good bottle of red wine (and done so).  Yet I’ve also danced, joyfully and lovingly, with each family member; a slow sweet dance with our eleven year old daughter to Sean Hayes in the kitchen of our tiniest rental, merengue to “Suavemente” with my husband, and our seven year old son learned to waltz near the Christmas tree at our final move, our new (very old) home.

At these times particularly, I remember that which we seek is already at hand. Feeling at “home” wherever we are is our true nature. No matter where we are or what we are doing, that which we seek is already inside each and every one of us…and all around us. However, it seems as humans we often forget this essential truth. That’s where suffering enters. Dancing can help us embrace the present moment.

IMG_1848

Find Your Space

Special people, places, situations or activities may help facilitate easier remembrance. Some meditation teachers recommend looking at the sky to reconnect to the big energy. Often being in nature or resting in Savasana (corpse pose a.k.a. final resting posture) after a balanced yoga practice can open the doors of perception to the deep peace of what being “home” feels like.

For me, as strange as it may seem, Coachella music festival is one of those places where deeper connection happens. A sea of diverse peoples, sights, smells, and of course sounds – Coachella can be akin to world traveling. Although it’s not far in terms of actual distance from my San Diego home, it is worlds away from my day-to-day experience (caring for a family and owning / operating a yoga studio).

Get Out of the Rut

While perhaps one might think, “Ah, yoga teacher, her life must be fancy free…” I encounter the same responsibilities as many adults. I pay bills, aim to conscientiously raise my children and maintain a healthy relationship with my husband of 20 years while managing teachers and staff, growing our business and making it a priority to maintain my own yoga practice and self-care.

In our day-to-day lives, there is often a routine, a rhythm that becomes like a groove on a vinyl record (“samskara” or “samsara” aka conditioned existence or stored mental and physical aversions).  When we step out into a new or different situation or environment, there is no blueprint. This phenomenon can provide an opportunity to be connected to our child-like, open presence. So for me, an out of the ordinary experience such as Coachella is like a reset button, reminding me to wake up and truly embrace the moment.

IMG_3588IMG_3576

Listen to What Speaks to You

One of my first yoga teachers advised, pay attention to that which speaks to you. I agree it is essential question to ask our selves, “Where do I feel connected to the ‘big energy’? What helps me feel at ‘home’?” Then equally important, is to really listen for your unique personal answer.  Another technique to arrive in the present (where, of course, we already are) is to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and fully pay attention to the complete inhale and complete exhale – why not give it a try and notice how you feel (so simple but effective!).

Yoga practice is a useful tool to help us recognize our connectedness to each other, all living things and ourselves.  It isn’t about changing anything or adding anything. And, we definitely don’t need to constantly try new things to feel enlivened. But we can fully enjoy the many journeys of our life while remembering the comfort of our inner “home”.

So whether at Coachella with your best friends immersed in a sea of 90,000 plus pulsating, dancing, smiling fellow humans, on your yoga mat, or even driving your car, as my favorite teacher Diana Beardsley says, how wonderful “that every moment is an opportunity for ecstatic reunion.”

– Originally published at: http://yogadigest.com/ecstatic-reunion-tips-remembering-connectedness-present-moment/#sthash.oIfcgqjc.dpuf

Mike_Amy-178

 

Head Yoga Teacher and Co-Founder of Yoga One, Amy Caldwell has dedicated herself to the practice, study and teaching of yoga since discovering its joys and benefits in 1997.

Posted in In the Community, Music + Art | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yoga Philosophy for Everyday Life: Saucha

Celebrate Earth Day by embracing Saucha (cleanliness and purity) in your thoughts, your home and the whole world.

by Laura McCorry
unnamed

Spring is a time fo new beginnings and for cleaning out the old cobwebbed spaces to bring in fresh air and light. Sometimes these spaces are in the depths of closets and sometimes they can be found in the depths of our thoughts and habits.

Saucha is one of the five moral observances, or Niyamas, of yoga and it refers to cleanliness and purity of body, thoughts and deeds. At first glance, saucha seems rather straight-forward. It’s easy to remember to bathe and to cut your finger nails. Your body won’t feel comfortable or function properly if you stop doing these items of daily maintenance.

But widen the perspective just a bit and you can see how saucha applies to your home as well. If you were to allow trash, papers and other items to accumulate in your home, it would soon be uninhabitable. A clean living space is good for both your health and your mental clarity.

One of the many benefits of yoga is that over time, your awareness will expand in every direction. If you stick with the practice, you’ll find what is good for the body, is also good for the mind and soul. The lessons learned on your mat will follow you into every corner of your experience.

So my hope is that one day, as a species, we will all recognize that the earth, too, needs to be cleaned and maintained.

We learned disposable habits of living from the adults who came before us. It’s easy to fall into the habits of convenience and sticking with the status quo. But there was a time not so long ago before plastics. When things worth having cost a bit more, or took a bit longer, or we knew how to do without them.

You don’t have to revolutionize your life overnight, but I invite you to take a first step. Here are some of the changes I’ve made in my personal life and some that are on my list of what to do next:

  • unnamed-1Consider the “end of life” of each object and avoid the use of all plastics wherever possible
  • Choose reusable grocery bags and produce bags
  • Shop grocery products sold in cardboard boxes or glass jars
  • Refuse single use to-go cutlery
  • Use cloth placemats and napkins at home
  • Extensive use of kitchen towels to avoid using paper towels
  • Bring my own tumbler to the coffee shop
  • Replace my toothbrush with a bamboo alternative
  • Use a glass water bottle for travel
  • Cook my own food and eat the leftovers
  • Buy less – bring fewer new items into my home
  • Invest in a small space/balcony composter

What’s on your list? Share with us in the comments. Here is a great resource with tons of ideas to go even further: plastic free guide

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.

Contact: laura@yogaonesandiego.com

Posted in Reflections, Yoga 101 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chakra Meditation: Swadhisthana, The Sacrum

by Monique Minahan

swathi-aniThe womb. Love is made here. Life is made here.

Swadhisthana is the seat of our right to feel and represents the duality (and sometimes dueling nature) of separation versus attachment, two concepts I became intimately familiar with while carrying and birthing my son.

A chakra often characterized for its sexuality, I find its watery dimensions to be layered with both humanity and divinity. Growing up in a society that exploits sex and a religion that denied it, I observed it too often reduced to one or the other. The sexual energy this chakra represents spans desire, sensation, pleasure, need and emotion. Much like water changes form to become ice or snow, this chakra’s energy can shrink or expand commensurate to our awareness of it.

As the life inside me grew from hiranyagarbha, the universal womb where all is in its potential state, into my baby, I began to tune in to this chakra on a physical level like never before. The process of creating and carrying life plunged me down into my fears, opened up new depths of emotion, and baptized me more fully into my humanity. It didn’t wash away the ugly or the shameful or the unacceptable – but they were revealed to me without the lens of judgement. I could feel it all, be it all, allow it all.

The space of the womb expands greatly in weight and size during pregnancy. Once baby is born the energetic space is still expansive, but the weight is gone. For weeks I stacked heavy blankets on top of my pelvis to physically weight down swadisthana chakra. The sudden weightlessness felt ungrounding to me, as if the watery energy was struggling to find its boundaries after the enormous experience of childbirth.

I choose a simple mantra for my practice today, the beeja mantra vam.

Pressing on the chakra’s front-body location with one finger, the pubic symphysis, and with another on its back-body mirror image, at the level of the sacrum, I recall that during labor the downward pressure in this space was enormous, an oceanic surge of power I didn’t know I possessed. I release the memory but keep the feeling of intensity in my body as I repeat the mantra.

I free my hands but not my attention. Emotions, memories and judgments surface and I practice allowing them instead of trying to repress them. Some days my mind is as wild as the ocean and all I can do is cling to the anchor of the breath while it swirls me around and around. Today my thoughts feel peacefully contained, like a river flowing downstream content within its banks.

As I end my meditation I return to hiranyagarbha. Some call it god, others universal consciousness. While I cannot grasp its mystery, I can understand it on a level that does not require words. Just presence.

Part 3 of a 7 part series. You can find part 2 here: Mooladhara, The Root.

Mo Minahan

Monique Minahan
Contributing Writer

Mo is a writer and yoga teacher who believes in peace over happiness and love over fear. She likes to set her sights high and then take small steps to get there. You’ll find her walking the dirt path behind her house with her little fluffy dog, practicing walking her talk by keeping her head high and her heart open. Contact: moniqueminahan.com

Posted in Reflections, Yoga 101 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment