By: Alexandra DiFIlippo

How do you engage with the world?

Our modern society with its long work hours and stressful lifestyle has pushed many to seek some respite, peace, and wellness. At some point, the soul gets restless and seeks expansion and connection. This can lead an individual on a journey to be more present, take notice of those needs, and open up to the process of unwinding and creating some body awareness. A great place to start that exploration is through Yoga or Reiki, which both focus our attention on the body, and as we delve deeper, understanding the chakras. 

The concept of chakras is derived primarily from Hindu texts or Yogic practices, but has become an area of interest for the modern practitioners and seekers who experience valuable healing in these subtle centers of the body. In Sanskrit, the term “chakra” means “wheel”; in yogic terms it translates to “vortex” or “whirlpool.” Chakras can be open, blocked, or chaotic and this can lend to our experience of the world of emotions, thoughts, relationships, creativity and other patterns that drive our behavior. Uncovering imbalances leads to insight on our own patterns of self sabotage or trauma, slowly illuminating a more balanced way of being.

As an example, let’s consider the root chakra, or muladhara, connected to family, ancestry, our ability to survive and our connection to the world. Situated at the base of the spine, an open chakra will be family-oriented and support creating a comfortable life situation in which basic needs are a priority and easily met. A closed chakra will feel disconnected and distrustful of family, fearful and overwhelmed by life. Imagine what would cause this chakra to stop receiving energy: for instance, a trauma experienced in childhood. Living in poverty as a child could shut down the idea that one’s needs are ever going to be met, and that lack is a part of life. A child in this situation could also grow a great distrust of his or her parents, ultimately feeling resentful or victimized throughout life. 

Now, think of the energy system as a balloon, so all of the energy that has been displaced from the root might go up to the head, and that displaced energy becomes overactive and creates a pattern of escapism, worry, or feeling overwhelmed and incapable when faced with everyday problems.Of course. poverty is an infinitely complex issue, but for the sake of this example we are looking at one piece of it.

If we breathe life into the root chakra, it slowly but surely wakes up the natural instinct to care for oneself. For example, I might tell a client to care for himself how his ideal mother would. It’s a drastic shift in perspective and not an easy one to make in real life, but vastly rewarding. Individuals respond best to a holistic approach, meaning everything from diet, goal setting, and yoga, to therapy, bodywork, Reiki, or other healing techniques. Treating himself in this way begins to shift the dynamic, creating a more open and grounded individual. 

Alexandra DiFilippo and Michael Murphy are hosting an intensive course on exploring, acknowledging, and clearing the chakras. March 24 we explore the Sacral. Register here for the Sacral