Ajna- The Third Eye Chakra

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Many of us have heard of the Third Eye, Ajna- the center of intuition. This chakra is known throughout many cultures and is an important area in many meditation practices to help connect us to God/Goddess/Universe.

Located on the brow line between the eyes, it is also at the base of the skull and governs physical eyesight as well as intuition. Its vibration resonates with the color indigo.

When Ajna is open and balanced, we are able to obtain gainful insight within the patterns showing up in our life, and we develop a keen sense of intuition. If our third eye chakra goes off balance or closes, we can experience severe headaches, nightmares, paranoia, eye problems, and even suffer a stroke.

To balance the third eye chakra, we can journal our thoughts and daily activities, as well as our dreams. We can focus on tuning into our intuition and up our meditation practice.
Wearing, carrying, or placing stones about such as lapis lazuli, purple flourite or azurite will help increase the third eye chakra vibrations in your space. So will burning incense or using essential oils of sweet pea, hyacinth and camphor.

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Play some classical music such as Beethoven or Bach. Meditate on the hawk and owl.

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There is no particular food associated with the third eye chakra, though purple foods in general can assist. These foods include purple grapes, plums, raisens, figs and passion fruit. Blackberries and blueberries also are included as purple foods. In place of food for strengthening the third eye chakra, you can add more meditation.
Positive Archetype- Wise Elder
Negative Archetype- Skeptic

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A simple yoga pose to do for Ajna is the Child’s Pose, with our forehead pressed to the floor.
To go into Child’s Pose, kneel on the floor with knees either together or opened, and bend forward. Stretch your arms forward, hands stretched out, and press your forehead to the floor. Take slow deep breaths, with your eyes closed and bring awareness to the Third eye. Draw your energy into the eye chakra and allow your thoughts to flow as they come.

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Anahata – The Heart Chakra

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Fourth Chakra- Anahata

The fourth major chakra in the body is known as Anahata, or the Heart Chakra. It resonates to the color green and emotions of the heart. Think of the saying, “Green with envy.”

When open and balanced, the heart chakra allows love, including self-love, compassion, empathy and kindness. It links the lower three chakras with the upper three chakras, thus it is sometimes referred to as the physical and spiritual center of the body. It brings together body and mind, heaven and earth.

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Located in the center of the chest, Anahata governs the lungs, heart, thymus, arms and hands.

The element of the heart chakra is air. Being outside in nature and breathing in fresh air is nourishing for this chakra.

When the heart chakra is out of balance we might experience a feeling of overwhelming loneliness, high blood pressure and angina. We will find ourselves clenching our fists, and wanting to be isolated.

To bring the heart chakra into balance, eat plenty of fresh vegetables. Burn incense or oils of rose, lily of the valley, carnation, or melissa. Carry or wear rose quartz, emerald, peridot, jade or moonstone. Light candles, do some deep breathing, and surround yourself with supportive friends.

 

Animals that are associated with the heart chakra are dove and deer. Both invoke kindness, peace, and gentleness.

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Positive Archetype : Lover

Negative Archetype: Performer

A good yoga pose for the heart chakra is the Cat pose.

Begin on your hands and knees, making sure your knees are aligned directly below your hips, and your wrist, elbows and shoulders are in line, perpendicular to the floor. Your head is in neutral position with a soft gaze to the floor.

Inhale, and then as you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling while keeping shoulders and knees in position. Allow your head to drop to the floor but don’t force your chin to your chest. Let it be a natural release.

Inhale as you come back to starting position.

Repeat eight times.

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*Please note, if you are not an active yoga practitioner, check with your physician before starting yoga if you have any health issues, neck or back issues, or joint problems.

Third Chakra- Manipura- Solar Plexus

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The third chakra, which is the Manipura Chakra, is also known as the Solar Plexus. Its location is just above the naval in the solar plexus and it governs the liver, pancreas, intestines, gallbladder and stomach. The color of the third chakra is yellow.solarchakpic
The element associated with the solar chakra is fire. It is through the third chakra that we hold on to emotions dealing with family, friends and coworkers. Think of our ancestors, gathered with the tribe around the community fire. This is where discussion takes place, we share nourishing food, stay warm through the dark night.

Imbalances in the third chakra include acid reflux, constipation, imbalance in metabolism, blood sugar imbalance, gallstones, anger, low self-esteem, low energy, lupus and other autoimmune disorders.

To bring balance into the solar chakra, we should come through our truth in all we do, practice forgiveness and compassion, eat a healthy diet, and bring deep laughter into our days.

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Exercises that are good to keep third chakra balance are Ti Chi and Qi Gong. There are many resources for both. If you don’t wish to take instruction at a class, you can find excellent dvd’s and YouTube videos to help.

The incense and oils resonating to this chakra are juniper, lemon, cinnamon, bergamot, and grapefruit. Try burning some incense, or mixing a few drops into lotion and applying.

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The sacral chakra resonates with the color yellow. Since it is also associated with fire, and with digestion, yellow makes a great color for kitchens, even in small doses such as curtains and towels. If you want to bring peace into a family, friend or coworker discussion, try wearing yellow or placing yellow flowers in the room.

The stones for the third chakra include yellow citrine, topaz, amber. Wearing these stones, or carrying a small one in your pocket can help to keep balance.

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Music that relates to the third chakra is marches. Think big band songs, with an upbeat sound that lifts the energy, stokes the flames, and gets things moving.

Animals associated with this chakra are lion and ram. Both show strength, endurance and dignity.

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Foods that feed this chakra are complex carbs such as whole grains, blueberries, kiwi, lentils, soybeans, black beans, broccoli, onions, and sweet potatoes. You can find a complete list online.

This chakra’s positive archetype is the Spiritual Warrior.

Its negative archetype is the Slave.

One of the easier yoga poses to do for the Solar Plexus Chakra is the Sphinx pose:

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The Sphinx pose will cool down an overactive Manipura Chakra, at the same time it tones the spine and stimulates the sacral-lumbar arch. To do this pose, lay down on your stomach, feet hip-width apart, and bring the elbows under the shoulders. If the pressure on your lower back feels too strong, bring your elbows a bit forward. If you want a deeper bend, you can place a block under the elbows. Hold the pose for 2-3 minutes and come out by first lowering your upper body onto the floor. Relax on the floor for at least 3-4 breaths, and once you feel ready, come to a child pose for 2-3 breaths.
* Please check with your healthcare provider if you are new to yoga. Remember to never force any position. I recommend seeking a trained yoga instructor for beginners.

Finding Balance Through The Chakras- Muladhara

Muladhara -The Root Chakra

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You may have heard of Chakras, but are unsure of what they are and what their purpose is. I am going to do a series of blogs focusing on each of the seven main chakras because when it comes to being in balance, it’s important to have well balanced and open chakras.
The word “chakra” is Sanskrit and translates to “disc or wheel”. The term refers to spinning wheels of energy located throughout the body. These wheels help to move the body’s prana, or vital life source.
Chakras govern every part of the body: bones, tissues, and organs as well as emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
There are 114 chakras in the body. I will be covering the seven main chakras: root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown.

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The first chakra is the Root Chakra. Located at the base of the spine. It covers the bones, feet, knees, legs, perineum, colon and coccyx. It is symbolized by the four-petal lotus flower.
The color associated with the root chakra is red. This is the location of the fight or flight decisions. It stirs up passion, anger, and drive. Think about it- when someone is angry, it’s said they are “seeing red”. Red is tied to love- red hearts. When you “fall in love” it’s basically the energy falling through the chakras into the root chakra. When you ‘rise above’ something, you are rising out of your emotional root chakra to a higher state of mind.
The root chakra helps to keep us feeling grounded, balanced, and secure. When the root chakra is off balance, we might experience insomnia, anxiety, phobias, and substance abuse. We might have issues with constipation. We might have aches and pain in our feet and our legs.
To balance the root chakra, it’s important to maintain a nutritious diet and adequate sleep. Dancing and drumming help to bring the root chakra back into balance.

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The element associated with the root chakra is earth. Walking outdoors, especially if you can do so barefoot, helps to ground us and bring our root chakra into balance. You can also bring earth inside the home with vases of flowers, houseplants, and pictures of nature.
Oils associated with the root chakra are cinnamon, sandalwood, rosewood, black pepper, cloves and cedarwood. Burning incense with these oils will permeate the air with their root chakra healing properties. You may try burning some during a meditation to balance the root chakra.

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Foods that help strengthen the root chakra are those high in protein such as nuts, dairy and meats. Be careful to eat organic when possible, and if any meats are digested, make sure they aren’t factory farmed animals.
Stones that help balance the vibrational frequency of the Root Chakra include hematite, ruby, garnet, onyx and tiger’s eye.
The animals associated with the root chakra are elephant and bull. If you want to bring your root chakra into balance, you can place small statues or pictures of these animals about your home or place of work.

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The gland associated with the root chakra is the adrenal gland, and care must be taken to not overwork the adrenal gland. Moderation in caffeine and alcohol can help with keeping the adrenal working properly.
Positive Archetype of the root chakra is Mother.
Negative Archetype is Victim.
A great way to open and balance your chakras is to visit a Reiki practitioner. They work with energy and can help to open blocked energy centers.

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There are several yoga poses you can do to support the root chakra. A great one to start with is Mountain Pose.
To practice Mountain Pose, stand with the bases of the two big toes touching, heels slightly apart, bringing your second toes parallel. Lift your toes, spread them and place back down. Slowly rock back and forth, side to side, slowly coming to a stop, letting your weight settle evenly balanced on your feet.
Lift your ankles and the arches of your feet. Squeeze your lower legs towards each other.
Tighten the muscles of your thighs and rotate your thighs slightly inward.
Tuck the tailbone slightly but not so that the lower back rounds. Keep your hips even with the center of your body.
Slightly draw in your belly. Inhale while lengthening your torso. Exhale and lower shoulder blades down and back.
Broaden your chest across the collarbones while keeping shoulders in line with the sides of your torso.
Keep arms straight, fingers extended, elongate your neck.
Keep your breathing calm and even. As you exhale, allow your spine to lengthen more. Your gaze should be soft and forward.
Hold the pose for one minute.
***PLEASE NOTE*** I suggest you get professional instruction for yoga poses to make sure you are doing them correctly. I also ask you seek medical advice first if you have any medical health issues.

 

Food as Medicine

We are never too young to start a healthy diet. We definitely benefit from it as we age.
Almost two years ago, I decided to no longer eat meat. Partly due to health concerns, partly due to spiritual acknowledgements, and partly because I don’t hunt or raise animals for food. I have no idea how the meat sold in stores was processed, how the animals were treated.
I tried several times over the years to become vegetarian, but I never followed through because I was too used to cooking with meat. Trying to figure out what to eat that was vegetarian, that tasted good to me, that was within my cooking skill range, was a bit daunting. In the end, I would always go back to tuna casseroles and sloppy joes; smothered chicken breast; and breaded pork chops.
Once I made the commitment to “go vegetarian”, I made it my mission to make sure I was not only getting all the nutrients and protein I needed, but to find easy but tasty wholesome meals to make.

While going vegetarian isn’t for everyone, it never hurts to cut back on meat consumption and fill up on healthy vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts.
Luckily, we now have many tools at hand where we don’t have to purchase a whole vegetarian cookbook that has only a handful of recipes we like to eat. There are tons of free on-line recipe sites with plenty of options and lots of information on switching to a vegetarian diet.
One of my favorite places to go for recipes is Pinterest. I am going to share with you a recipe from GreenValleyKitchen.com that I found there that is easy and fast to make and was a hit with both me and my carnivore husband.
Along with being tasty, it’s very healthy. Let’s look at some of the ingredients and go over the health benefits:
*Asparagus is loaded with nutrients, helps to protect against and fight cancer, reduces inflammation in the body. It’s a brain booster and a natural diuretic.
*Walnuts help reduce bad cholesterol, improve metabolism, control diabetes, boost mood and have anti-inflammatory properties.
*Lemon aids in digestion, helps absorb Vitamin C, and boosts energy and mood.
*Parsley improves digestion, has anti-inflammatory properties, helps control cancer, diabetes and arthritis, and is a diuretic.

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Ravioli With Sautéed Asparagus and Walnuts
Ingredients
1 – 8 oz package of fresh ravioli – I used ravioli with spinach and cheese
½ pound of asparagus – snap off the tough ends – chop asparagus into thirds or smaller.
1 half lemon
2 tbs butter
¼ cup walnut pieces
2 tbs minced parsley
6 twists of pepper ( I honestly wasn’t sure what twist of pepper is, I just used a pepper grinder)
2 tbs grated parmesan, plus some to serve at the table.

Instructions
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, chop your asparagus into thirds (snap off tough white ends and discard). Mince parsley, squeeze lemon, and measure out walnuts and butter.
In a large saucepan, melt 2 tbs of butter over medium heat until frothy. Add chopped asparagus to the pan, stir slightly to coat asparagus with butter and cover with the pan with a lid. The asparagus should be slightly damp when adding it to the pan. The pan should only be on medium heat so you don’t burn the butter or the asparagus. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes – depending on thickness of asparagus.
While asparagus is cooking, add ravioli to boiling water and cook as per the package instructions – my package said 4 minutes. Drain when done and add to a bowl.
When asparagus is done, remove asparagus with a slotted spoon. There will be some browned butter left in the bottom of the pan. Add asparagus to the bowl of ravioli.
Add lemon juice and 6 twists of black pepper to the pan with the remaining browned butter and bring to a boil and stir for 30 seconds. Pour the butter lemon sauce over cooked ravioli and asparagus. There will not be a lot of sauce – you just want enough to lightly coat the ravioli.
Add walnuts, parsley and 2 tbs parmesan cheese – toss gently to mix.

 

Served with a side salad, this really was a simple, wholesome meal.

Enjoy!