Karla's Blog

This is my maiden voyage on the sea of blogging. Friends assure me that this is yet another way to become a published writer. I hope so!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Ever the student.

I attended my very first yoga class last night. It was taught by a very stretchy woman, who'd just finished teaching a belly dancing class. (the critic in me winced, took a step back, but went ahead anyway - this critic is usually just fear rearing its ugly head) This particular session (8 weeks) will focus on balancing the energy centers in the body, commonly referred to as chakras.

The term chakra has its origins in ancient India - it is the Hindu word for spinning wheel. There are 7 to 10 different chakras, depending on which wisdom you choose to follow. The chakras correlate to landmarks on the body, beginning with the base of the spine, in ascending number order. Each is said to vibrate (spin, like a wheel) above the body with a measurable frequency, depending on the health of the particular system each governs. They are said to influence all systems of the body, especially the endocrine system, as well as all emotions, current and past.

The root chakra, or the first chakra, is where we began last night. This chakra has many emotional issues associated with it: survival, grounding, safety, and security. The physical aspects of this chakra are: adrenal glands and kidneys. During the session, whenever we would be instructed to breathe in and out deeply (this was often) on the in breath, we were to hear "I am here." On the out breath we were to hear, "I am safe." We went through a series of poses that are designed to reinforce, support and balance this particular chakra. Some of these poses were physically difficult - trying to breathe, hold the pose, and think the thoughts, all with your eyes closed - a lot for the brain and the body to manage, mine, anyway.

The basic function of these exercises was to set up a foundation - a strong "root" system, from which to work up toward the other chakras. The general theory of the paths of the chakras is that you should start at the base, and work your way up to the top, as each are connected to, and affected by the chakra next to it. We ended the session by relaxing on the floor, lights out, covered with blankets for a few minutes. A few women fell asleep during this part - they were so completely relaxed by then. I was not relaxed - even on a pad and a blanket the floor is still hard. I imagine that over time this will become less of an issue, as I learn to focus more.

The instructor spoke often during the class of focusing the mind, and not allowing the mind to wander. The focus is on the breathing and the positions. This, I must admit, was difficult for me as my mind seems to have its own pell mell speed and wild direction. It seems, too, that many of the women attending this class have learned to meditate as well. This is something I have tried in the past, without much success. Perhaps I wasn't ready at the time. Our instructor said that focus and quiet are manifestations of practice, and a mature mind. Hmm.

Instead of wasting my energies, having them spill all over everywhere, leaving little for the important things, learning to focus and quiet my mind may have positive results by culling any unnecessary expense of energy. I will be observant - now, and in the weeks that follow - to see what influence this class will have on me.


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