Posted on February 1st, 2017

​If Root Chakra is your relationship with your tribe and your past, Second Chakra is your relationship to others.  Then Third Chakra is the relationship you have with yourself....

​It is depicted as the color orange.  The element here is fire.  It represents stepping into your power, and the development of your self.  The ego lives here, but also self-esteem and confidence.  When we let the ego take over, there is an imbalance and we try to win or dominate or manipulate conversations and relationships in our lives.  When we find a healthy balance, knowing who we are and what we stand for, this chakra floods our self-esteem and the love we have for ourselves. 

​Think about moments in your life when someone asked  you to do something and you did it without hesitation.  That is moving from a healthy third Chakra.   

Some activities to do to get to know your third Chakra:
​~Intense activities like running, spin class, kick boxing, power yoga.  Things that push you out of your comfort zone and force you step up or step out. In yoga, arm balances, intense twists and core work. 
​~Foods to eat to create balance is in your third Chakra:
​Complex carbohydrates like pasta, breads and rice.  Also yellow curry is great for this area. 
​~Questions to ask yourself: What makes me feel powerful?  What makes me feel powerless?  Do I spend just as much time feeding my soul as I do my ego? 

Posted on January 24th, 2017

​Second chakra is often depicted as orange in color and is about 2" above the base of the spine.  If first chakra involves being part of a tribe and following traditions, second chakra is about breaking out of the mold.  It is the birthplace of choice.  Its not necessarily where you make choices, but its where you realize you have choices. 

Thus, its element is water.  Its about being less rigid in your life and more fluid, moving around obstacles and finding new ways to move thru your life.  Sometimes we feel stuck living in a way we are used to and comfortable with, but often find ourselves dreaming and thinking about another life, that is the beginning of second chakra work.  

When we spend time realizing that we are surrounded by thousand of choices everyday, we feel less stuck and more liberated.  And when you begin to invite this energy into your life, creativity finds its way into your life.  The kind of creativity that inspires you to create something, whether its writing, painting, or simply sharing stories, creativity is the process of taking a thought and turning it into something.  

Some activities to do when you want to feel and enhance the energy of your second chakra:  
​   ~Swim, play in the rain.  Any water activities.
   ~Eat fruits, especially citrus fruits and drink juices.
   ~Paint, draw, write, play with clay  
   ~Physical movement that is fluid in nature, vinyasa or flow yoga, Quigong, water aerobics.         ~Journal: What is something new I'd like to try in my life?  What keeps me from stepping outside my circle of comfort?  When was the last time I played or laughed like a child?  What do I use for my creative outlet?  

Posted on January 18th, 2017

​Muladhara Chakra
Root Chakra.  Located at the base of the spine, generally depicted as the color Red.  It represents stability, security, loyalty and tribe.  For me its greatest influence has been on trusting my body and feeling comfortable in my own skin.  To develop that trust, I had to heal the relationship I had with my past and where I’m from.  When we learn about this Chakra, we ask ourselves questions about where we come from, and do we have a healthy relationship with our roots?  We learn who are tribe was and is, and we evaluate the lessons we have learned and continue to learn from them.  Try some of the below activities to understand more about your Root Chakra.

·         Writing exercise.  Keep your pen on the paper for a continuous 5 minutes.  Don’t worry about grammar or spelling, just write and consider these questions. What does the word ‘Home’ mean to me?  Is it a person, a place?  Does it provide comfort?  Stability?  What makes me feel grounded?  Do I love my body?  Do I love my history? What are your traditions?      
·         Yoga exercise.  Be barefoot in nature; sand, grass, dirt.  Stand rooted to the spot in Tadasana.  Close your eyes and feel your roots.  Imagine that your legs don’t stop at your feet, but feel them connect to the earth and its core.  Try standing on one foot in a pose like Tree and see how it feels to have one limb connected. 
·         Get in the kitchen and cook.  Ideally eat foods that come from the earth like root veggies.  Feel the food in your mouth as you chew slowly and savor each bite. 
·         Chanting the word LAM either vocally or in your head stimulates vibration in this chakra region.  Or repeat a mantra:  ‘I have the right to be here and take up space’, or ‘I am home’.    
For more in-depth Chakra work, join me in Santa Fe, NM April 26-30 with @Blissedyogaretreats. 

by Wendy Garafalo on January 17th, 2017

What is a Chakra anyway? 

You might hear the word Chakra often, or it might be new to you.  For me it has become part of my everyday life.  It is the way I organize and blend spiritual elements into the realities of my life.  I use the chakra system in my parenting techniques, and in the way I communicate with the people closest to me.  

Chakras are energy centers in our body.  They influence our behavior, our reactions and the way we deal with situations in our lives.  You can think of them like spinning wheels.  There are seven main chakras running from the base of the spine to the crown of the head.  Each wheel spins at a different frequency. 

Think for instance of a situation that made you angry.  Take a moment to feel how your body responded, where did you feel it?  For me, I feel anger in my gut, a.k.a. my third chakra.  It makes my 3rd chakra wheel spin extremely fast.  Its not an emotion I like holding on to, so immediately my chakra system finds a way to get rid of it, so that the wheel can spin at its normal frequency.  I have several choices on how I can move that energy.  I can become re-active, and the first person whom I see or who adds to my anger, I can fly off the handle, yell, over-react.  Sound familiar?  I have to check myself frequently with this when it comes to my kids!  And, if this is the path I choose, it can throw off my entire chakra system because afterwards, I feel guilt, shame, embarrassment, etc.  There are other ways I can move this energy.  I can choose, to take a moment to realize the effect anger is having on my body, perhaps I go for a run to work some of it out.  Personally, I start vigorously cleaning my house to try to rid myself of that energy.  When I’m totally aware of it and approaching it from my yogic mind, I sit with it for some time, then I find a way to work thru it via yoga, including breathing and meditation. 

The chakras are a very personal journey and the way we re-act or respond to certain situations will be different each time.   The power comes from the choices you make.  How you choose to move energy in your body, and what type of energy you express into your life and into the lives of the people you know and love. 

Thus knowing the chakra system, knowing how you hold tension in your own body and finding ways to empower your choices to make the changes you want to make is why I love this system so much.   More coming soon on each chakra and its characteristics!           

And if you want to know more, join me April 26-30 in Santa Fe, New Mexico for a Chakra Shift Yoga Retreat.  There will be spa time, yoga time, healing time and 'me' time.  Sound enchanting?  Check out my homepage for details.

Posted on November 23rd, 2016

Too much potatoes and stuffing?  I feel you.  Try these simple yoga techniques to help improve digestion. 
Travelling or sitting for long periods of time?  Try this Crescent Lunge to release low back pain and stretch out the tight hip flexors. 

​Keep front knee above front ankle.  To protect knees, do not bend knee beyond the ankle.

​Spread toes wide, lift front hip points up and reach arms up for a deeper psoas stretch. 
Feeling full after a delicious meal?  Try sitting on your knees in this pose to create space for digestion. 

​If knees are tight, sit up on blocks, books, pillows, blankets.  Whatever is available. 

​Spread toes wide, lift front hip points, sit up tall and take deep breaths. 

​Inhale fill the belly, exhale gently draw it in. 
Feeling a little sleepy from too much food?  Try this pose.  Its relaxing, especially if you use lots of props.  The deep stretch in the quadriceps will keep you from falling asleep, and the opening of the front body will improve digestion and help energize you. 

​Prop up!   Use as many props as you need. 

Watching TV with friends and family?  Rather than sitting (again), grab a pillow or stack some blankets and lay propped up on your belly. 

​Another great pose for digestion and low back pain. 

​Breathe deeply, and feel belly press into the floor. 

​To rest, stack hands, splay elbows, turn head to one side and lower onto hands.  Do both sides to release neck tension.