I had the best time a few weeks ago leading a group of amazing ladies in the first “Woo Circle”! (I am still trying to find a better name for it but “Woo” works for now!) We began work on … Continue reading
When out in public, I used to feel intimidated by complete strangers and often created stories in my head of my own inferiority. For these strangers, I created wonderful, amazing lives with passionate marriages, children that got along and racy … Continue reading
Last week I wrote about the positive message coming from Katy Perry’s song, “Roar”. Well, here is an even MORE POSITIVE version of the song, lip-synched by patients and staff at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth in New Hampshire. Watching this video (many times!) inspired me and made me so grateful for the health of my own children. One of the best parts is that my cousin, Meghan, is one of the stars of the video- she is the teenager in the purple tie-dye t-shirt! You can follow Meghan on Facebook as she bravely battles Cystic Fibrosis.
Two songs on the radio that my kids and I have been jamming to are all about balancing the fifth chakra, finding your voice and being who you really are- not just your persona or mask. As a Mom, I always … Continue reading
Do you have a child who either talks really softly or really loudly? Maybe they are super shy or have a fear of speaking? Maybe you have a child who is a poor listener and interrupts others frequently. Other manifestations of a 5th chakra imbalance might be chronic sore throat/strep throat/laryngitis/ear infections, grinding teeth, and telling lies. If any of that, in any combination, sounds like one of your children, I want to share a whole family technique for bringing balance and healthy patterns to the throat chakra and your family communication.
Fifth chakra imbalances can be a result of many things:
Secrets or threats for “telling”
Alcoholic or chemical-dependent family
Handed down ancestral patterns of any of the above
Family meetings can be a healthy way to find clear communication and release ancestral patterns of miscommunication, hurtful communication or non-communication within a family.
How do you hold an effective, loving, safe family meeting?
- Choose a time during the week that everyone can attend with all of their focus and energy. Sunday nights seem to be a logical time as a beginning to the week, everyone is usually home relaxing and not too many events are scheduled for Sunday evenings.
- Have an agenda to begin the meeting with. I like to use a spiral notebook or a binder to keep all family agenda items together and organized. Beginning a few days prior to the meeting, have a sign up sheet out so that anyone can put items that they want to discuss on it.
- Setting: Hold the meeting in a place where there are no distractions, no tv, no phones, no i-pods, nothing to goof around with. Kitchen table is great. Outside on the patio is nice too.
- Use a talking stick or any object that is passed to indicate that it is a person’s turn to talk.
- Begin with a round of compliments and appreciations. Each person can say “give” or “get”. If they choose, “give” that means they give someone else a sincere compliment- no backhanded compliments allowed. If they choose “get”, everyone else thinks of a compliment for that person and that person gets to choose who they get the compliment from. Everyone goes once around the circle. This is so popular that sometimes the kiddos want to go around again!
- The moderator then reads off the agenda items that were listed and the group decided which one to discuss by vote. Or if it is an important family issue, Mom and Dad can choose to place it first above the other items.
- The person who brought the topic up or wrote it on the agenda gets to make an opening statement to describe the issue. Then the talking stick is passed in the circle so that everyone has a chance to say exactly what they need to say. Once everyone has weighed in, then additional discussion takes place using the talking stick to avoid interruption.
- Suggestions for a solution are offered in the circle, each person getting a chance when they have the talking stick. The person who put the item on the agenda gets to choose the solution or it can be voted on by the whole family. You can experiment with which works best for your family depending on the ages of your kids.
- Plans to follow up on the issue at the next meeting are made.
- As time allows, the next item on the agenda is introduced by the person who put it on the agenda. Follow the same pattern.
- Rules: Only talk when you have the talking stick. Listening is more important than speaking. Kindness and respect are key.
- Always end with a celebration! Maybe a special dessert- make your own sundaes- or a family walk or bike ride or game.
This ritual will begin to balance the throat chakra as a whole for your family. There will be less screaming, more direct communication, children and parents will feel “heard”, and there will be a chance to smooth out any issues that are bothering people in the house.
*Teachers- I used this same format in my sixth grade classroom back in my teaching days and it worked great there too!*
I would love to hear how your family meeting went or how your family conducts a family meeting! Share your stories in the comments below.
The concept that we are “perfect and whole” already and that life comes to us perfectly delivered was brought up at the Mark Whitwell workshop at Gilbert Yoga a few weeks ago. It hit a nerve with me and has … Continue reading
1- Sing in the shower, make other drivers laugh as you sing in the car, hum, recite a soliloquy, use your voice!
2- Wear some turquoise jewelry
3- Give yourself a jaw massage! Watch and learn from Jill Miller.
4- Journal time: Where do you not feel heard? What do you need to say but aren’t saying? Is it to yourself, to someone else? Are you a gossip?
5- Try to go a whole day without saying anything negative. Do you get the heebeejeebees just thinking about doing that? Then you REALLY should try it! A yoga student of mine just went through a difficult situation and when asked about it, she replied, “I am no longer saying anything negative about anyone.” Wow- I admire that so much!
6- Truth and lies- are you saying things to please people or are you speaking the truth. Truth always defers to non-harming, but truth is second most important. Deborah Adele in her transformative book, “The Yamas and Niyamas: Yoga’s Ethical Practices” discusses satya. Adele states we should aim to “be real rather than nice”. Where do you find yourself being nice, but not real? Pay attention to that distinction today and I bet you will be surprised at how often you blur the truth in an attempt to be nice.
Just got home from the David Newman kirtan at Gilbert Yoga and my heart is open, my mind clear and I am buzzed with energy… all of which are good except that it is 11:30 pm! No worries though, I am enjoying a quiet house and some reflection on the evening.
Singing our minds into submission
To those unfamiliar with yoga, a kirtan could be described as a “yoga concert”, but it is so much more. It is the practice of bhakti yoga, a call and response chanting practice. A relationship is built between the musician and his audience, as he experiments with tempo, volume and syllabic emphasis and we all play along. David Newman (Durga Das) explained that the meaning of the words does not matter, but rather it is their vibration that affects us so much. At one point in the evening, he asked us if we were ready to continue “singing our minds into submission”. I think that one phrase really sums up what we do when we chant and sing at a kirtan. It is similar to an asana practice where we focus so much on the breath and physical alignment, that our mind has no choice but to calm down, but in the case of kirtan, we are absorbed in the music and vibrations.
One of my favorite chants
David sang just a bit on one of my favorites, “He Maha Lakshmi”. Here is a link to the He Maha Lakshmi video… the lighting is not good, but it sounds great. The written introduction on the video also has a great description of kirtan.
Thinking of Mom
One of the most powerful parts of the night for me was when David played one of his new songs, “Thinking of You”. In it, he asks you to bring someone into your mind as he is singing, “We’re all thinking of you”. Watch the video of “Thinking of You” here. Of course, my Mom was right there in my heart and my mind’s eye. Many of you know that my mother is battling with adrenal cancer, a rare, aggressive cancer. There were tears and a gigantic lump in my throat. Mom, I am thinking of you.
The fifth chakra or throat chakra is physically located at the throat, neck and jaw. It vibrates to the color blue- a beautiful mid-day blue. It is where you speak your truth, it is the center of your communication with others and with your own self and body. It is the truth in how you live your life.
A deficiency in the throat chakra energy can show up in a weak voice or fear of speaking, difficulty expressing yourself or a lack of creativity. It is being overly secretive or shy. It is the lump that you feel in your throat when you can’t or don’t say what you need to say.
An excess amount of throat chakra energy can manifest as an overly loud voice, gossiping and inability to keep secrets. Can you picture someone in your life that has shown characteristics at one end or the other of the spectrum of fifth chakra?
Questions to ask yourself as you get to know your fifth chakra:
Are there times when you need to say something but you can’t? Are you living your truth? Are you able to keep secrets and be trusted? Are you able to speak your mind? Are there times when you feel like you are not heard or that your voice does not matter? Is there something you need to say that you are not saying? Can you express you creativity? Do you enjoy it? Do you listen to your own body and honor when it needs to rest or when it needs to move?
Are living your life from a place of truth? Are you doing what brings you love and passion or are you doing what you think you should do? What is your truth? Do you appear as you really are or do you live beyond your means or do things only for others/appearance and not for yourself or because it is the right thing to do?
Are you able to express yourself creatively? When do you feel most creative? When do you feel unable to access your creativity? Where would you like to be more creative? What is one step you can take to express your own creativity today?
Some yoga asanas and other activities to bring the fifth chakra into balance:
Shoulderstand, plow, bridge, neck rolls
Humming, singing, listening to music
Creative writing/journaling to get your voice out there
Listen to what your body is saying and honor it
I hope that this has given you some insight into the fifth chakra and interested you enough to learn more about the chakras. If you are interested in learning more, I suggest the Chakra Balancing Workbook by Anodea Judith. It contains CDs for guided imagery, guided yoga sequences and a workbook for exploring your own chakras. We use it in the Yoga Teacher Training Program and I have used mine for many years!!