I am unpacking from the past weekend. I was fortunate to attend a two-day yoga and meditation retreat, led by two gifted female gurus. They guided our small group of six women and one man through yoga sessions, focused meditations, lessons on safe and proper poses and positioning, descriptions of the energy fields and characteristics of our seven chakras, and breath and action disciplines called Kriyas. Thankfully reminding us to be intentional in taking the learning from the mat in the studio, to the chaos and challenges of our lives beyond.
There are pieces of the weekend that will stay within long after the benefits of the lizard pose for my achy and stiff hips have worn off. Yoga has the potential to bind together the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual forces in my body. To intermingle the currents into an experience of energy that may be peaceful. Or may be empowering, Or may be illuminating. I believe that we can unconsciously source what we require from the mat and our zafu (meditation pillow).
As a seeker, any mention of a retreat and the opportunity for shifts and learning has me hooked. I love the anticipation of not knowing that combines, for me, with a deep faith and trust that it will be interesting and worthwhile. It affords me an open and curious mind. Which is only temporarily shadowed during the initial few minutes of the day one as I assess the room and the people. Trying with mixed success to suspend first impressions and judgments. Stay open, stay inward, as our yogi would say. This wave of measuring was much easier to manage this past weekend, as my adult children joined me and our family posse became half the class. The challenge then became to shut down my maternal energy. To trust that their own experience would be ok for them. To focus on my own exploration.
During the afternoon of the first day, we had a lengthy guided meditation through the chakras, which are considered to be seven energy centres within our body. They begin at the base of our spine, the root chakra. And extend to the top of our head, the crown chakra. The theory and science within the study of these wheels of power are that there are physical, emotional and spiritual consequences if one or more of the channels are blocked. My simplistic translation of this deep subject matter has created clarity in understanding my patterns of behaviour and physical symptoms.
In the middle of the afternoon, as I sat upon my meditation cushion my hips were getting cranky from the long period of flexion. My left foot was numb and beginning to tingle as it rested at an awkward angle on the floor. My back was thankful to be supported by the wall behind me, while my eyelids were so deliciously heavy that I wished to never have to open them. I was listening to the gentle and soft voice, just above a murmur, introducing me to my throat chakra. Known in Sanskrit as the Vishuddha, it is the energy centre for communication. It is where I find my voice, speak my truth, express my creative ideas. When blocked I might have a sore neck and shoulders, yup. I might avoid activities that enable me to speak my truth, express my inspirations, yup. I might speak aggressively or not at all, yup. Following instructions to breath deeply, stay inward and focus on my third eye, flashes of bright blue appeared behind my closed eyelids. A final reminder to pay attention as the stones and crystals to assist with clearing are blue – the fifth (throat) chakra colour.
As one with a deep belief in the interconnectivity of our mind, body and spirit, I am examining this revelation. For several months I have been procrastinating and actively avoiding the nurturing of my voice and my creative energy. My pragmatic left brain tells me that no amount of chanting, kriyas, inversions, and crystals will put words on paper, casseroles in the oven, or paint on the canvas. My yogic teachings and beliefs convince me otherwise. My experience in going inward, being curious, fearless and honest, convince me otherwise. My recovery program that intertwines spiritual principles, with tactical and emotional supports, convinces me otherwise.
With newfound clarity, and the reality that I can’t unknow what I have learned, I am dedicating energy to unblock the power of my throat chakra. In my calendar, on my mat, at my desk, in my words, thoughts and actions, I am focused and courageous.
At least, that is my experience.