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When I first heard about the chakras, the energy system of the body, I didn’t buy it.
At all.
I had seen a rainbow poster of sanskrit symbols in a health food store that smelled of patchouli and wheat grass and thought it was hippie dippy nonsense.

As it turns out, the chakra system (“chakra” simply means “wheel” in Sanskrit) is one of the most practical and useful things I’ve learned in 18 years of practicing mind~body movement. So here’s my very own rainbow art of the system.

On the left is the number of the chakra and where it’s located on the body. The first chakra points down to the earth and the 7th chakra points up to the sky and the others run front to back in the body. The colors are not actually random hippie dippy but rather a reflection of the vibration of each center (This also means there is a sound associated with each center so the music I’ll use in classes this week will be tuned to these vibrations. Just listening to the music can balance your energy. Pretty cool, right?). On the right is the main issue associated with each chakra and an affirmation/intention for each.

Does it sound like a bunch of bunkum to you? Check this excerpt from a post I wrote a while back (you can read the whole thing here):

• Ever felt tightness at the base of your belly when you were worried about money? Or ever known someone insecure who acted like a tight-ass? That’s the first chakra, the base.
• Ever meet someone super-attractive and feel a rush in your stomach? That’s the second chakra, the sexual center.
• Ever had a gut feeling that something was (or wasn’t) the right thing to do? That’s the third chakra, the will center.
• Ever feel heart-broken or like your heart would burst with love? That’s the fourth chakra, the heart center.
• Ever feel a lump in your throat when you wanted to cry? Or a tightness in your throat when you were afraid to say something? That’s the fifth chakra, the throat center.
• Ever just have a feeling that something was happening? Ever get an intuition to call someone? That’s the sixth chakra, the third eye.
• Ever have an expansive feeling of connection far beyond yourself? That’s the seventh chakra, the crown.

We’ve all felt the energetic sensations of the chakra system but often we don’t listen to them. Our culture discourages paying attention to these sensations, but tuning into them is both practical and wise.

Next time you feel emotional in any way – sad or angry or excited – just pause and sense where you feel it in your body. Listening to the subtle energy from the chakra system offers insight and clarity about what is really going on.

When something feels off in our physical bodies, paying attention to it and responding so it can heal is a wise practice. The same is true for the chakra system. To help with that, I’ve created a simple table that gives practical information about how to balance each center (and how to know if it’s out of whack). You can find a PDF of that by clicking on this link ~ Non woo woo table pdf

And if you’d like even more information, check out this post that shares The Nia Technique’s approach to the chakras.

The more I listen to the sensations in the chakra system, the more I can discern what’s happening and make choices about how to proceed with skill and self-awareness. So the next time you feel a lump in your throat or you get a gut feeling, know that paying attention and taking care of that is not hippie dippy woo-woo but skillful self healing.

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Principle 8 – The Core of the Body ~ Chakras

P8 Chakras with labels

Emotional, mental and spiritual experiences are sensed in the core of the body. Nobody’s knee throbs when they fall in love (their heart does). Nobody’s wrists get butterflies when they are nervous (their stomach does).

The energetic information we sense in the core is some of our deepest wisdom. Notice when you have a thought and your stomach drops. Notice when you have an emotion and your throat tightens. Notice when you have an experience and you feel expansive and connected.

All these sensations offer insight into what is really happening.

The Unofficial Guide
to the 13 Nia Principles
~ Practical, Nia-or-Not Applications for EveryBody

(Wondering what in thunder the Unofficial Guide is and why I’m writing this series of posts? Click here!)

P8 Chakras guy

Principle 8 – The Core of the Body ~ Chakras

(There is so much juicy goodness in Principle 8 that I’m unofficially breaking it into two parts: the physical aspect with the three body weights which we looked at yesterday and here, the energetic system of the chakras.)

Excerpt from the Official Nia Headquarters Description:

Chakras are often described as small, rotating vortices of energy that run vertically along your spine, centered in the core of your body. These energy centers are designed to metabolize physical vibrations, essentially breaking energy into parts, much like your digestive system, and distributing it to your whole body via your nervous system, endocrine glands, blood, bones and muscles. In this way, the chakra system provides energetic nourishment for your physical body. Consciously moving energy through these points increases and balances your body—physically, mentally and emotionally. When your chakras are open and freely circulating energy as they are designed to, all of your body’s systems receive the nourishment they need to function at their best.

… become familiar with how each chakra functions and is related to the three body weights, specific emotions and the movement of energy.

Chakras                 Emotions                                         Function
1 and 2 — Pelvis     Security, sexuality and fear             Contains energy
3 and 4 — Chest     Love, sorrow and grief                     Exchanges energy
5, 6 and 7 — Head  Sense of self; input into all senses  Directs energy

Moving all three body weights helps open and circulate energy through your whole body via the chakra system.

Become aware of these centers as you move to locate areas of blockage in your body. Begin by paying attention to one chakra at a time as you dance with your three body weights. Remember: your movements do not need to be big to move energy; all movement stimulates breath, emotions and a shifting of energy. Be gentle—a little movement goes a long way. Always ground before and after doing any chakra work and breathe deeply throughout your practice. Pay close attention to the effects of your experience. If you feel jittery, unbalanced, out of sorts, or edgy, slow down. These signals are the voice of your body telling you to do less. In the beginning, less is more.

[NOTE FROM SUSAN: There are lots of sources of information about the chakra system including a section on page 51 and following in The Nia Technique: The High-Powered Energizing Workout that Gives You a New Body and a New Life by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas New York: Broadway, 2004.]

Unofficial Practical Nia-or-Not Application for EveryBody:

The first time I heard about the chakra system, I nearly sprained my eyeballs from rolling them so much. Oy, with the new age, woo-woo, freaky energy thing! It sounded like a bunch of hooey to me. I can see and feel my feet and legs and core and arms, but I can’t see my Heart Chakra.

While it is true that most people can’t see the chakras (evidently, some people can see auras which can include the chakras), everybody, even skeptical me, can feel them. Just as physical movement has sensation, thoughts and emotions have sensations and we feel those sensations in the chakras.

Sound like a bunch of bunkum? Check this out:
• Ever felt tightness at the base of your belly when you were worried about money? Or ever known someone insecure who acted like a tight-ass? That’s the first chakra, the base.
• Ever meet someone super-attractive and feel a rush in your stomach? That’s the second chakra, the sexual center.
• Ever had a gut feeling that something was (or wasn’t) the right thing to do? That’s the third chakra, the will center.
• Ever feel heart-broken or like your heart would burst with love? That’s the fourth chakra, the heart center.
• Ever feel a lump in your throat when you wanted to cry? Or a tightness in your throat when you were afraid to say something? That’s the fifth chakra, the throat center.
• Ever just have a feeling that something was happening? Ever get an intuition to call someone? That’s the sixth chakra, the third eye.
• Ever have an expansive feeling of connection far beyond yourself? That’s the seventh chakra, the crown.

We’ve all felt the energetic sensations of the chakra system but often we don’t listen to them. Our culture discourages paying attention to these sensations, but tuning into them is both practical and wise.

Next time you feel emotional in any way – sad or angry or excited – just pause and sense where you feel it in your body. Listening to the subtle energy from the chakra system offers insight and clarity about what is really going on.

CHARLOTTESVILLE NIA STUDENTS:  In my classes on Wednesday (acac Albemarle Squre 1055am) and Thursday (acac Downtown 9am) this week, I will teach the special silent ChakraDancer routine which uses music that is tuned to the vibration of each chakra and uses movements designed to open the physical and energetic centers in the body. Please join us!

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