Sanskrit Name: Saharara
Location: Located at the top of the head. It governs the upper brain and right eye and externalizes as the pineal gland. It represents free consciousness transcending the brain and nervous system. Through the crown chakra, one might ultimately reach the feeling of integration with God.
When Balanced: This chakra attends to helping us be open-minded, intelligent, thoughtful and wise. It can enable us to understand and learn information easily and experience a sense of spiritual connection.
When Unbalanced: The effect can cause us to ridicule spirituality, be cynical and rigid in our thoughts or be apathetic and overly materialistic. We tend to live "too much in our heads," leading to depression, worry, close-mindedness and psychosis. Our bodily dysfunctions can be cerebral tumors and cranial pressure.
Activities that promote reconnecting the physical body to the earth (and out of our heads) are gardening, massage, exercise and yoga. Yoga's design of meditation in motion is the slow yogic practice best suited for bringing this chakra into balance. Focusing on the subtle sensations in the body with slow yoga movement gives the mind a rest and creates space for universal consciousness to flow into our awareness. We begin to understand the grander order of things.
Here's an easy one to practice when you have 15-30 minutes of private time.
Seated Slow Motion Sun Breath: Sit up straight in a chair or on the floor. Pause and take a long deep breath in and long deep breathe out to relax. Close your eyes.
Imagine your head is a hot air balloon, floating, lifted and empty (well, filled with hot air). Imagine your spine is the tether, hanging down your back, long and lengthy. Imagine your body is the basket, stable, grounded and balanced in all four corners.
Begin by reaching both arms high, and get a good stretch that you feel all the way into in to your lower body. Now as slow as a sunset, begin to lower your arms out to the sides. Imagine sunlight glowing around you as your arms lower. Use the physical sensation to focus on, and keep your mind empty like it's filled only with hot cleansing air. Keep coming back to bodily awareness that feels connected to the earth and void of thoughts that judge, compare, doubt or resists. Keep breathing.
After your arms reach the floor, sit in the stillness and tingling that follows for at least five minutes. Enjoy the emptiness in your head and notice if there's a feeling of peace and comfort that comes from a sense of self at a deeper level.
If you like, you can use one of the following to help enhance your experience while you're in the posture.
Color: White -- Visualize this shade and its slow vibration in the opened area.
Mantra: "I am that I am" -- Repeat this slowly and mindfully (aloud or to yourself).
Ask DIANE UTASKI a question by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your question is chosen, win a free yoga class at the Cincinnati Yoga School.