Sahasrara: The Crown Chakra
"Sahasrara" refers to the "Thousand petaled" lotus that represents our crown chakra, our connection to the Divine, our Unity consciousness, our limitlessness. The 1000 petals represent the limitlessness of Pure Consciousness. It is here that we experience our True Nature, beyond all conditioning. Blockages in our energy here can manifest as feelings of separateness, isolation, hopelessness and the belief that life has no purpose. We can nurture our Crown Chakra through the practices of yoga, including pranayama, especially alternate nostril breathing, brahmari breath, and eventually kevala kumbhaka (breath retention), our asana practice, mandala drawing, chanting, meditation, bhakti yoga/devotion to God, Ishvara or the Divine (however you choose to interpret the Infinite), and through selfless service - serving others with no desire for reward or recognition. The journey towards integration and connection with the Crown Chakra is a worthy endeavor. As we gradually release our limiting beliefs and realize our connection to the Divine and to All Beings, we can rest in a state of Bliss. The storms of life may still rage around us, but they do not knock us off balance. We are able to see life's challenges objectively without allowing them to consume us. One of my favorite ways to deepen this connection is through kevala kumbhaka. This breath retention technique begins with the practice of sahita kumbhaka. Sahita kumbhaka entails breathing in, holding the breath in at the top, breathing out, holding the breath out at the bottom. Practicing this technique without strain or being short of breath. expanding the ability to retain the breath until one can do it infinitely without the inhalation and exhalation for a period of time. This takes a great deal of daily practice to cultivate, but simply sitting in sukhasana or in a comfortable seat. I like to hold dharmadatu mudra (see photo).
Prepare to watch the breath, deepening your inhale, pausing at the top, slowly exhaling, pausing at the bottom, for several rounds until you find yourself exhaling all the breath out, holding the breath out and losing track of how long you have paused before you breathe in again - until there is no longer that hungering need for another breath. It brings great peace to the mind. As I mentioned, this is a practice that takes time. If you are straining at all, then you are retaining the breath too long. Work towards this practice over time if it is a practice that calls to you. But, remember, there are many ways to cultivate connection with the Crown Chakra. Chanting is another lovely way to connect to our Divine Nature, as is selfless service. To experience other ways to connect and find balance with "Sahasrara", join me in our last Healing Journey through the Chakras workshop this Saturday, August 11, at The Personal Wellness Center. For more information: https://thepersonalwellnesscenter.com/event/healing-yoga-journey-self-discovery-chakras/?instance_id=94