Tag Archives: abdomen

Random Thoughts XXXII: This concept I can no longer accept…

Hello everyone!

I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me. There is a lot of explanation to do on my part and trust me, everything will be revealed in time but right now, I wanted to share this with you because it’s been a topic of conversation for me and my peers for the past 3 weeks.

What do all of these pictures have in common, besides being a representation or manifestation of the Mother Goddess? Here’s a clue: look at their mid-section…

…for a long time, I have plagued myself with this “I want a six-pack!” mentality. Years have been spent, doing my best to attain what seems impossible. For me, six-pack abs was the culmination of me shedding my weak feminine and taking on this Amazon, strong female form.

A few years ago, I got that six pack of abs. Whooo hoo! However, that joyous occasion quickly faded from “Whooo hoo!” to…”now what?!” What did this six pack do for me health wise? Nothing…for the six pack is only a “visual aid” when it comes to the abdominal muscles. Let’s take a look shall we?
Continue reading Random Thoughts XXXII: This concept I can no longer accept…

Random Thoughts VIII: Chakras 1 and 2

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This random thought is not one of full explanation. There are going to be many terms and concepts you may not understand. The purpose of this random thought is to share what I experienced in Yoga Teacher Training the other day. For more information about chakras, please click here.

On Monday, we learned more about chakras and Kundalini in Yoga Teacher Training. I will let you in on something…I used to be very afraid of Kundalini Yoga and playing with my chakras.The reason was simple: my head would hurt anytime I would try to read books on Kundalini. I have passed Kundalini classes at Yoga conferences and my body would twitch and start to burn in certain areas. I know it’s weird. I couldn’t explain why and didn’t try to…to me, that was a sign to leave it alone.

Since Yoga Teacher Training, I have become more comfortable with the concept of Kundalini and the chakras. I even finished that book that used to make my head hurt everytime I read it. I became so comfortable, that I started to play with clearing my chakras so that the Kundalini energy can start to flow freely within me.

This is the symbol for the root chakra, called Muladhara. Once I found my muladhara bandha, I would activate it with the breath. Tadasana would keep me grounded but I would actually feel grounded once I would activate this bandha.

Chakra 1 deals with guilt and anger. It also deals with feelings of being rejected/abandoned in childhood.

As we went through class, my instructor asked us to do Sun Salutations to have a better understanding of our chakras through asana. He came over and corrected me on my downward facing dog.

Now downward facing dog is one of my favorite poses. However, I cannot hold it for too long. I either get embarassed or I get angry. I never told anyone this and kept it to myself because I didn’t understand the feeling and why it was there.

During our break, I asked my teacher what was wrong with my down dog. He explained that I hyperextend my back (meaning that my chest goes too low and it bends downwards too far) and because of the massive opening of my chest, I either feel too vulnerable or I would get angry.

How in the hell did he know?!

He walked me through the proper positioning of my chest and further explained what is going on….with me! I never told him any of this stuff but here he is, telling me my life story from one pose! Tears started to stream down my eyes. Before I went to him to inquire about my pose, I was very angry. I was angry that I felt like a loner in my class. Like my peers ignore me while connecting with each other. It’s not only YTT that makes me feel that way. I usually feel that way in any situation, with most people from time to time. I didn’t know why, and for the most part, I would ignore the feeling or just chalk it up to being an asshole in a past life.

Do not repress your feelings.

My instructor said this to me as I was fighting back the tears. In the past, I would repress and repress. Because of this, when I would get angry, I would blow up like there is no tomorrow. Now, I found myself frustrrated at this “delayed emotional response” that I’ve been having when faced with issues that calls for certain emotions to be evoked – anger, guilt, fear, passion.

As I went back to my seat and finished class, the tears continued to flow. I didn’t fight them nor did I try to analyze them. I was just happy to finally understand something about myself. Like why I always feel this way when I do downward facing dog.

This is the symbol for the 2nd Chakra, the Swadhisthana Chakra. I have a feeling that this chakra is located in the same spot as the Tan T’ien, an area of the abdomen where you breathe from in Tai Chi. When my teacher would correct me on downward facing dog, he would also tell me to engage my abdomen. Not the upper part, but the lower part – in my tan t’ien area.

Chakra 2 deals with sexuality/sensuality (how do we use it?). It also deals with relationships/feelings (mostly one-on-one relationships) and affects the need for position in society, the need to control other people and acceptance.

The first three chakras apparently deals with human emotions. When you talk about “going with your gut” or anything with intuition, you’re usually within the realm of the 2nd Chakra.

I no longer have a problem with my sexuality or my sensuality. When I talk about these things, I do not mean my sexual orientation. That has never been questioned. I always had a problem with accepting my femininity. I had a bad childhood and all of these factors played a critical role in my tomboy years. I always knew I was a girl. I just didn’t like it. I didn’t want to be a girl. I felt like my reproductive organs were a curse and not a blessing. Menstruation was the worst for me…and back then, if I could throw away my feminine energy, I would in a heartbeat.

Flower Essences have helped with that. I am a much softer and gentle feminine creature. I love being a woman and no longer have physical issues with sexual intercourse (I know, TMI…but it needs to be said). I still have problems with my menstrual cycle but compared to 5 years ago, the symptoms I have seem really minor and totally treatable.

So what is my issue then?

Before class was over, I moved from the muladhara bandha to my tan t’ien. I would engage my abdomen and breathe into this area. I haven’t done this in a long time. After class was over, visions came into my mind and opened up a door of sorts. I was in the locker room crying. A classmate of mine came over to console me and I told her that I just had a breakthrough:

When I was very young, I had some “girl friends.” Everyday, they would play with me for about an hour and then the next thing you know, they would tell me that they’re not my friend anymore. They would berate me and make fun of me and right before I start to fight them, they would say, “we’re only playing” and play with me again. This would happen at least 4 times a day for many months.

One day, I came home crying. My mom asked me what was wrong and I told her. She told me that the next time they do that to me, tell them “I don’t care” and leave. Go and play by yourself and that would never happen again. She was right too. After I did that, the girls kept playing with me and never did that to me again.

However, it left a samskara in my mind (samskara is an impression left in the mind. The ‘total of these impressions becomes the tremendous force which is called “character.”’ I realized that because of this experience, I would never feel accepted by anyone. Any little thing – people connecting with each other more than they do with me, a glance, something you said or the tone with which you said it – would make me feel like you don’t like me and this scenario would come into my subconscious. My conscious would put the face of whoever is present onto the bodies of those little girls and I would feel like a 6 year old child again. Scared of the pain of rejection and not being accepted when I did nothing wrong. (Folks, my ego loves playing the victim…bear with me). 

What does this have to do with the Chakras, See?

Well, I came to the realization that my breakthrough is a purge. As I understood certain aspects of my root chakra in regards to asana, it opened up the door for me to free up my Swadhisthana Chakra. I finally was able to see a fear, face it and let it go…at least for a moment.

Now does this mean that I will never feel this way again? Nope. I may feel this way a number of times before it is truly purged from me. But this awareness is key for me to properly heal. Now all I need to do is be mindful of it. If I start to feel like I am abandoned or not accepted by my peers for whatever reason, I can always say, “this is based on my samskara and now I must release it.”

Release is not an immediate thing. Sometimes it can take a long time to release. Here are some tips to release whatever you are holding onto (emotionally and mentally):

  • Recognize your fears and emotions
  • acknowlege them
  • be compassionate – with yourself and with others
  • Forgive. Forgive yourself first and then you can forgive others.

If you try these things and you find that you are still having trouble letting go and moving forward with life, then do not be afraid to seek professional help. A therapist or a counselor or a psychiatrist can aid you in letting go of memories and emotions so that you can be more productive with life.

I don’t need a psychiatrist to help me with my issues. I’ve been crazy for too long and am doing very well with figuring out things and healing myself. Continuing my Yoga practice and strengthening it by doing more Grounding Poses (such as Tadasana and the Warrior Series) as well as seated poses and forward bends (such as Janusirshasana and Pachimotanasana) will benefit me. Look at what it’s doing for me already!!

If you feel like a Hatha Yoga practice will also be good for you to calm the mind and heal you, then do not forget to include meditation, chanting and pranayama in your practice (a Yogic diet also helps). A well balanced practice leads to a well balanced mind.

Thanks for letting me open my heart and share. Until next time…

stay strong, stay healthy, and fight dis-ease!

The Essential 4 Series: Breathe for Life

Greetings Everyone!

I hope that this time spent away from me has been productive and healthy. I want my words to reach you after you turn off the computer and live your life. People are telling me that as they go about their normal activities, they remember me telling them to drink water or check their posture and they feel better overall. That is a really good feeling…it makes me feel light and airy, which is especially good when my heart is heavy or full of worries and doubt. I get the same feeling when I breathe properly.

Breathing properly can heal you. It can take away physical, mental, and spiritual pain. The breath can do what pills still cannot do – heal your ailments, instead of masking them.

I know you’re looking at me right now like, “Whatchutalkinabout, SeeLaH?”
Fix your “Arnold” face. LOL

Sit up straight. Stop crossing your feet (Tyesha!! hehehe) and make sure that your knees do not come over your toes. Your feet should be hip distance apart and be firmly grounded on the floor. Keep your shoulders down and back and your neck up. You don’t need to stretch it too far up, but it should feel like your head is lifted from the rest of your body. Make sure your head is not tilted too far forward either. Lift your torso up so you feel like it’s separated from your hips. Relaxed now? Feel better? Good. Because I didn’t stutter (you know the rest) ;)!! HEHEHE

To truly understand where I am coming from, I have to break down the breath in two ways: Air and Life.

I have already explained to you the “air” aspect of the breath. You know how the respiratory system works and the benefits of the air you breathe to your cells and your life. However, this is the physical manifestation of the breath. There is another aspect that more people need to be aware of. People need to understand the balance between air and life.

Now the “Life” aspect of the breath is more…metaphysical. In Indian tradition, what I am talking about is called “prana.” In Chinese tradition, it is called “Chi.” The Western World calls it the “Spirit.” This life force permeates through all things and is contained in the air we breathe. I can go on and on about how “Life” works and what it can do for you but I’m going to save that for the last part of this series, when I talk about the various methods for you to breathe properly and move forward into meditation. ;)

In the meantime, I’m sure you’re wondering how to breathe properly in the first place. Matter of fact, I’m sure you’ve been waiting to hear how to do it since the last post!! LOL I’m sorry to delay you. Don’t worry…I’m not Howie Mandel from Deal or No Deal. You don’t have to wait until a commercial break to figure out how to breathe properly. :D

First thing I want you to do is understand where you are when it comes to breathing. So place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. Breathe in regularly. Where do you feel most of the air? What rises when you inhale, your chest or somewhere else? If you feel the most air in your chest, then (obviously) you are a chest breather. If you feel it in your stomach, then you don’t need me. LOL ;)

So for all you chest breathers out there, I want you to try the following:

  1. When you inhale, push your stomach out. Feel the air circle around your stomach.
  2. When you exhale, push your stomach in. As you exhale, all the air should go out of your stomach.

Here is another exercise you can do to make sure that you’re breathing properly:

  1. I want you to look at the palms of your hands.
  2. Now flip them and press your sides. Your thumb should be at the front of your body and the rest of your fingers should be pressed against your back.
  3. The best place to put your hands is at the bottom of the ribcage. If you should be able to feel the last rib or two, if you’re doing this correctly.
  4. As you inhale, you should feel the air around the bottom of your ribcage/middle of your back and you should feel your hands moving outward.
  5. When you exhale, you should feel your hands go back to the normal position.

The first exercise is to show you what should happen when you properly breathe. When you breathe into your diaphragm and abdomen, you are able to take in the most air possible. Actually, you can take in up to 50 times your normal capacity when you breathe in this manner. The second exercise is so that you can feel the air in your body…so that you can better understand the “life” aspect of the breath. The air goes in one or two places, starts the oxygenation of the cells, and then comes back out. It’s the “life breath” that travels throughout your body and helps you to heal.

I understand that these concepts maybe a bit difficult to understand…at first. I also know that for some people, especially those who are overweight and obese, this maybe even difficult to feel or see. That is where your mind comes in. Imagination is key when you can’t actually understand or feel what I am asking you to do. If you put your hands at your sides and can’t feel your ribs, that’s ok. Imagine the breath traveling right under your hands. Imagine the breath moving your body outward and inward as you inhale and exhale (remember…proper breathing is inhale….push your stomach out. Exhale…push your stomach in. Inhale = outward, exhale = inward…it’s sounds real opposing, doesn’t it!)

You should also make it a habit to practice these breathing techniques using your nose only. If you have to use your mouth, only use it on the exhale. So I would prefer you to breathe in with your nose (mouth closed) and exhale out your mouth (nose open LOL). I only want you to practice this way if you have to. Otherwise, nose in and nose out.

Like I said in the last post, take your time with this. If you feel any discomfort, if you feel your heart racing or beating too fast, or if you get nervous because you feel like you can’t feel your heartbeat, then stop what you’re doing and return to your normal breath. Doing these breathing exercises helps you to relax. Most people feel calm after doing either one of these exercises three times (3 inhales/exhales).

So when you’re stressed out, take these deep breaths. You can also breathe like this laying down in your bed or standing up. In my next blog, I will go deeper into these techniques by talking about methods to better your breathing as well as how breathing properly can help you to lose weight and help you to heal. I truly hope this works for you. Remember to take this slowly…it takes time to master. I’ll see you next time.

In the meantime…
stay strong, stay healthy, and fight dis-ease!

The Essential 4 Series: Inhale and Exhale II (The Process of Breath)

I’m going to explain a couple of things to you. Before I start, I want to tell you that most people’s bodies are functioning in “emergency” or “survival” mode on a constant basis. This is because of stress, your mind-body disconnect, and other reasons that I will reveal in later posts.

The digestive process starts with your mouth.
The breathing process starts with your nose.

(I have tried my experiment with 5 more people and it was basically the same results as my last blog. I did notice, however, that people who are aware of their breathing and know how to breathe had less problems than those who did not.)

In the wintertime, the air is dry and cold. Since your nose likes to be moist, your body will naturally send mucus to your nostrils so that it can be moist (that’s why when you breathe in the wintertime through your nose, the boogies will start to run down your nose. Clear mucus means that your body is trying to moisturize; thick mucus means that your body is trying to heal itself from sickness). Since your mind thinks that mucus is a bad thing (even though your body has a certain amount of mucus that is needed for many functions), it will want you to open your mouth so that you don’t have nasal drip. This is where the mind-body disconnect comes in. Continue reading The Essential 4 Series: Inhale and Exhale II (The Process of Breath)