Just a short drive from the overdeveloped madness of South Florida , is a state park called Highland Hammock. The drive and the surrounding town, are not spectacular, but as soon as you enter the park, you enter another world.
Highland Hammock is one of the oldest state parks in Florida. There are trails all around the park. And all of the trails are so different. So beautiful. So healing. There are Oak trees that are estimated to be over 1000 years old. Cypress swamps, and wildlife, we saw so much wildlife.
Some of the park feels very prehistoric. Especially the Cypress swamp. Early in the morning on a hike, I spotted a cottonmouth, a very venomous snake, swallowing a large fish. We watched in fear and amazement, as the snake unhinged its jaw, and swallowed this fish.
We camped in one of the primitive campsites. As the sunset, with the clear sky, and the new moon, the stars were bright and beautiful. I saw a shooting star. I made a wish.
The whole trip was so restorative. We hiked slowly on the trails. We gazed up at the stars. We hugged trees. I did Restorative yoga everyday, (which my son called “sleeping”), and we ate good nutritious food.
My daughter trying her hardest to do YOGA
We saw deer, pigs, hawks, osprey, owls, turtles, alligators, snakes, opossums, armadillos, and even two river otters.
Being in nature is so healing. Like a soul shower. We feel balanced.
Nature is the best teacher. We can never have enough nature.
On Saturday I went on a “Yoga Date” with a friend of mine. We are both yoga teachers, and mothers, so usually our hang outs are with our children, and include diapers, trips to go “pee pee”, occasional tantrums, and conversations about how yoga has helped save us from complete and total mental breakdown. “I felt like I was going to pull out all my hair and then I did some sun salutations and now I feel completely renewed.”
My friend Melissa, who teaches Paddleboard Yoga, had a couple of free tickets to an event in Fort Lauderdale called the “Yoga Expo”. I usually avoid the big festivals and events, preferring to practice alone, or outside, but free tickets and a kid free date with my friend, was something I was really looking forward to.
We met up early in the morning and after pushing through some heavy traffic and getting a little lost, we arrived at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.
On the ride down, I drank both coffee and a coconut water. Not a good idea. Because when we pulled into the parking garage, my full bladder was about to explode. There was no way I could make it all the way to the crowded bathrooms!! We giggled and I nervously found a place in the parking garage to squat down and empty my bladder. Parking garage yoga-malasana pose! My friend shielded me with a yoga mat.. I joked that we would get arrested, and all the yogis would talk about the peeing yoga teacher in the parking garage. We didn’t get arrested. And I felt so much better.
At the expo, we were surrounded by a few thousand yoga practitioners. Everyone walking around with yoga mats, going from class to class, shopping, and eating “yoga” food. After checking it out and feeling a little overwhelmed, it was time to practice. The event was huge, offering 6 to 7 classes every hour. All day. The classes were packed. Flourescent lighting. We were doing downward facing dog to Beyonce, Pitbull, and some very weird songs about heartbreak.
To be honest, it was hard not to “judge” the experience. The place. The Yoga fashion trend. The noise! It was so loud. Once again, I was presented with a big lesson. Tame the mind. Yogananda wrote that in his early training, his teacher wanted him to go deep into meditation, but Yogananda was being swarmed by mosquitos. He kept swatting them, getting agitated, and could not meditate. His teacher sat there looking peaceful, deep in meditation, unphased by the mosquitos. His teacher told him to train his mind.
It is easy to relax the mind when in a peaceful setting. The real work is to relax the mind when we are in an uncomfortable setting. Convention center yoga. Take out the tools, and calm the mind. When I was able to get deeper into my breath and be present, the judgement melted away. Yoga always teaches us.
After a couple of flow classes, and with very exhausted legs, my friend and I drove home in the late afternoon. We talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly, of mainstream yoga culture. And while we both agreed that there are things we don’t resonate with, we both acknowledge that the truly important thing is that more and more people are being introduced and drawn to yoga. So many people find healing through yoga.
Yoga is a path and the wisdom of Yoga unfolds at a natural organic pace. . Even after 18 years since my introduction, I know I am still a beginner. I am still learning and being challenged everyday.
Yes, “yoga” is a huge trend. And yes, there are problems with our mainstream yoga culture. But truth be told, beyond the expensive yoga clothes, is the actual practice. A very personal and profound practice. A practice that can truly help heal the world.
Crown Chakra Energy: This Chakra is associated with Spiritualism and enlightenment. The link between individual consciousness and Universal consciousness.
Color:White or Violet
Element: Inner Light,Divine Energy, Spirit
Location: The Crown Chakra is located right above the top of the head.
Bija Seed Sound: Om
Yoga Asanas For Crown Chakra: Meditative poses, such as; Ardha Padmasana or Padmasana-Lotus or Half Lotus, Easy Pose-Sukhasana. Also Crown to Earth poses,such as; Headstand-Sirsasana and Prasarita Padottanasana-Wide Legged Forward Fold, and more…
Gyan Mudra: In this mudra, the index finger, which represents the individual soul, connects with the thumb, which represents the Supreme or the Collective Soul. The individual dissolves or merges into the collective.
Foods That support Crown Chakra: Sattvic foods. Fruits, Vegetables, and seeds. Foods in their pure, natural state. This Chakra does not get “fed” the way the other chakras do. However, health and balance in the entire energetic system is essential for an open and balanced Crown Chakra.
Crown Chakra Affirmation: “I am open and divinely guided to enlightenment.”
Visualization:Begin in a seated position, close your eyes, and visualize white light at the Crown Chakra. Visualize and feel that energy entering the body and purifying every cell. Breathe deeply. And when you feel properly purified, visualize golden light at the crown. This light is recharging you with positive energy. The light is blessing the body, speech, and consciousness. My spiritual guide and teacher, Lama Geshela Tenzing Tamding, taught me this simple but powerful exercise many years ago.
My first experience with the crown chakra, that I remember, was nearly 13 years ago. I was living in Hawaii, getting my Reiki I attunements from a powerful Hawaiian Reiki Master. I was seated, and she was giving me the attunements, and I felt and heard cracking at the top of my head. It was strange and intense. That sensation gave way to a sweet, heavy, honey like energy, and I suddenly was in a state of pure bliss.
Wishing us all healing, guidance, and balance from Root to Crown.
Emotions, Feelings, and issues associated with this chakra: Communication problems, Fear to express ourselves, fear to share our wisdom, or opinion. Lying and gossiping also correspond with the throat chakra. Physical problems with this chakra include, thyroid problems, neck and shoulder pain, jaw problems, laryngitis, headaches, and more.
The Throat Chakra is our communication center and it represents self-expression and the ability to speak our truth. This is more difficult than one might imagine, because it involves breaking down and analyzing everything we have been conditioned to believe. Society, family, and culture condition us from birth!
Visshuddha in Sanskrit literally means Purification, and it takes some real work.. I am a Reiki Master, and it is pretty common when I pass attunements or give sessions, that my students and patients experience a sense of stuck energy at the throat.. Gagging and clearing the throat (multiple times) happen often during sessions.. I think this is because this chakra is taking us out of the physical and we all have so much to process here.
I have found that a small turquoise stone or lapis lazuli worn as a necklace helps bring energy to this chakra. . And also I recommend a few drops of lavender or sandalwood gently massaged to the throat and neck. Singing is great therapy for this chakra too.
A balanced throat chakra can be described as comfortable,confident, and honest communication.
Healing Affirmation: I express myself freely and openly. I am grateful for the blessings in my life. I speak my truth. I am open to the wisdom of my higher self.
Foods that support Throat Chakra Health: Herbal tea (especially lemongrass),a big spoonful of raw honey, fruits, such as lemons, limes, peaches, blackberries, blueberries, and apples, eating a SATTVIC DIET.
Yoga Poses For Throat Chakra:Plow Pose- Halasana, Shoulderstand-Sarvangasana, Sphinx pose, Fish Pose- Matsyasana,
Lets align our thoughts, words, and actions with our highest wisdom..
Emotions and Feelings Associated with this chakra: The ability to love and forgive, ourselves and each other. Empathy, sympathy, and loving kindness, come from a strong and open heart chakra. Dysfunction of this chakra can manifest in many ways, feeling unworthy of love, closed to love, unable to express love, etc.. Physically, it can manifest as heart problems, lung problems, and more..
Yoga Poses For Heart Chakra: Camel pose, Cobra, Upward Facing Dog, Wheel, Standing Backbend, and more. Any pose that opens and stretches the chest will greatly benefit the health of this chakra.
Affirmation: My heart is open to give and receive love. I let go of past wounds and allow love to flow through and to me.
The literal meaning of the word Anahata is unstuck, unhurt, unbeaten.. Lets be real here, many of us have deep wounds. But we can heal. Yoga, chanting, affirmations, color therapy, diet, meditation, hugs, etc.. Choose love.
Feelings and Energy Associated with the Sacral Chakra: Creativity, fluidity, sensuality, sexuality, pleasure, abundance,
Foods That Support Sacral Chakra Health: Fruits, especially with high water content, high quality chocolate,
Location: A few inches below the Navel, area of the genitals
Asanas: Malasana, Pigeon, Skandasana, Goddess Pose, Dancer Pose, and many more.. Flow Yoga and free movement and dance also stimulate this chakra.
Affirmation: I Feel creative energy flowing to and through me. I am creative, abundant, sensual, and fluid.
I have had many points in my life, where I feel a massive surge of creative energy. And during these times, I am compelled to choreograph a dance, make art, write, practice flow yoga, dance, etc… Yesterday I went on a morning walk with my family to look at the huge waves (and take these photos) and I was just in awe of the ENERGY!!! Ever wonder where our waves of creative energy come from? A Healthy and Balanced Energy System! Lets harness our Sacral Chakra Magic and share our creative energy with the world.
We have the power and the knowledge to heal.
Be Fluid. ~Tiff
This is just some very general and basic information on the Sacral Chakra.. Consider this an introduction.. Chakras can be deficient or have excessive energy. And there are many different techniques, including breath work and visualization, amongst other things that can help!