A forum for all of those open to balancing their Chakras, enhancing their yoga practice and ensuring optimum holistic health

Posts tagged ‘stress’

Ancient Techniques to Conquer Stress and Associated Weight Gain


DietToday, I spent the day with a friend from California with whom I studied macrobiotics many years ago. He’s now a doctor of Chinese medicine, and when we shared books, it seems like our conclusions were similar… no amount of “dieting” will work if you’re stressed out.

Whether you look to modern science or ancient wisdom, stress is seen as the root of dis-ease. According to the ancient Hawaiian Huna philosophy taught by Serge Kahili King, PhD, stress plays a part in all health problems. In fact, according to Dr. King, stress can cause tension at the physical, mental, emotional and/or spiritual level, leading to inhibited energy flow and, ultimately, illness. In my book, THE CHAKRA ENERGY DIET, I explain how stress hormones can cause your body to not only crave food, but to store more fat.

Of course, we are always going to have spikes of stress in our jobs and our lives, but we don’t want it to be chronic, and you don’t want to suppress it with addictions – whether to food, alcohol or drugs. My mother is very ill and I found myself caring for her 24/7 until I was so stressed and exhausted that I was reaching for chocolate after chocolate – until I remembered to practice what I preach in my new book to relax. I’ve also gotten more health services to come to my Mom’s house to give me some break time and rest… very important for caregivers to ask for help too!

For nearly twenty years, I’ve used yoga and meditation on a daily basis to relax my body and mind (and now that I have caregivers coming to help my mother, I have time for full sessions again), but I was excited to add in these “instant healing” techniques to keep me sane during this trying time. Please try them out and see how they work for you too!

What do I do first when feeling stressed out? I used to reach for a bag of potato chips or chocolate until I was taught:

“Don’t eat when upset or angry.” Instead, I…

Take a Break and Breathe

Put your hands on your tummy, below your navel, and feel it rise and fall with your breath. We often breathe very shallowly or even hold our breath when we’re stressed. Simple deep belly breathing can both calm the release of stress chemicals in the body and oxygenate your cells.

Try this combination of breath and focused attention called Piko-piko breathing…

Piko-piko is a special Hawaiian breathing technique that simultaneously relaxes and energizes the body,” says Dr. King. Using shamanic techniques and chakra colors, imagine breathing in bright yellow energy from the sun into your Solar Plexus or navel area and breathing out your stress. Or pull in inspiration from the heavens, visualizing violet or white light coming in with the breath through the Crown Chakra, and exhale your stress by breathing it out with awareness at the bottom of your feet.

“I know, I know, this seems almost too simple,” says Dr. King. “But it does work.”

How to Stop Physical Food Cravings

How can you stop a physical craving for a certain food? Dr. King recommends a technique called TFR – THINK, FEEL and RELAX. If you aren’t actually hungry, but feel a strong craving for a certain food, try these steps…

  • THINK about the food you’re craving.
  • FEEL where the craving is in your body.
  • RELAX, breathing in and out of that spot.

For instance, perhaps you’re upset and craving some ice cream to cool off. THINK about the ice cream, FEEL the churning in the pit of your stomach, then RELAX by breathing in and out of your stomach area. Repeat until the craving evaporates.

If you can’t satisfy your craving, notice if it is for a food that may contain essential vitamins or minerals that you may be missing – for example, chocolate, nuts and seeds are all high in zinc and magnesium. For an antioxidant- and vitamin-rich snack, reach for a naturally sweet and fiber-filled apple.

“Think” Yourself Thin

To relieve mental stress, pay more attention to what you like, rather than what you don’t. Criticism, whether of yourself or something else, creates mental stress and then tension in your body, explains Dr. King.

So, first of all, don’t knock your body. Praise it for every step it takes in the right direction. Try self-love, rather than self-criticism, when you look in the mirror. Who would put up with a critical person barraging them all day with their negativity?

Push aside that critical voice in your head, and instead, focus on something you like about yourself – you’re a good person, with your own unique style and taste.

A good morning practice, when you first look in the mirror, is to spend a full minute focusing on everything you like about yourself…telling yourself out loud everything you like about yourself. This is a quick mental stress reliever I learned from Dr. King called “Saturation Praise.”

Also praise everyone and everything else that represents your goal – if you want to be thinner, praise thin people, telephone poles, etc. If you want more curves, praise Sophia Vergara, fluffy clouds, and pillows.

Don’t Push Down Uncomfortable Emotions

On the emotional level, anger is often tied to inflammatory processes which damage the body, one of only many reasons to practice forgiveness. If something is gnawing at you, rather than trying to calm yourself with food, decide to let it go.

Dr. King taught me a simple anger-release technique: Place one hand on an area of your body where you feel tension or inflammation, and point the other hand toward the earth, which can absorb your angst, and say, “Whatever this is related to, I release it and let it go forever” until the tension and pain eases.

Undigested emotions can lead to your body holding on to weight as well as anger or fear. Release your emotions and stop what’s eating you. There are many reasons to forgive (even if you can’t forget) transgressions – because anger only hurts YOU.

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” ~ Buddha

You’re Already Complete and Connected

On the spiritual level, tension can come from feeling isolated or separate, and the antidote can be as easy as meditating. Dr. King suggests trying a nalu meditation, focusing for a minute on something beautiful. You will soon feel a sense of relaxation come over you and a greater connection to spirit, your higher self, or God (work with your own beliefs about this).

Once you’re in that relaxed state, it’s a good time to express gratitude for the good in your life or to ask for inspiration. When you have ideal health or reach your perfect weight, what would you like to achieve and share with the world?

Embracing the “Relaxation Response”

As you address your stress, and practice relaxation responses, your metabolism will improve, it will be easier to make nourishing food choices vs. struggling with willpower, and your body will look and feel better.

I hope you’ve seen how relaxing your stress responses allows you to better digest your food, helping you achieve your perfect body. All of these tools shared here, plus all the info in THE CHAKRA ENERGY DIET, will assist you in balancing your digestive and hormonal systems, your mind, your emotions, your spirit, and yes, your chakras.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra

www.theChakras.org

Holiday Blues? Your Heart Chakra Has the Antidote.


Feeling the “holiday blues” – stressed out by all the shopping, or sad that you’re without your family or a relationship at this time? Disappointed by family fights or economic concerns? Now’s the time to show love and compassion toward yourself and others.

The heart chakra is the seat of love and compassion. ‘Tis the season of forgiveness, the greatest gift you can give yourself, your family and friends. Use this HEART CHAKRA MEDITATION to move you toward this goal…

Breathe in and out a beautiful emerald green into the center of your chest, the home of the heart chakra, with love, joy and compassion for other people and yourself. Feel any tension blocking the flow here, shutting off or shutting out love. Any anger or fear is past, it can be healed. When you let it go, you’ll feel your true essence of love and joy. To send forgiveness, wrap those people who have caused you pain in the bright green light, cleansing and healing the situation. Release yourself and them from any negative connections, only keeping the good. Let go of anger to have space for love to grow. Now, with love and compassion, wrap yourself and your whole life experience in healing green light.

Spread the Love. Don’t expect a duplicate of an ideal holiday from years gone by. Create new traditions, fill your calendar with fun events and meet new people. Don’t wait for others to include you in their holiday parties – invite those who are without family to a potluck in your home instead.

Strengthen Your Mood through Movement and Music. Get exercise – yoga, walking, running – to beat depression, moving to music that uplifts you. Try getting at least 20 minutes of sunlight a day to fight any chemical causes (Vitamin D deficiency) for holiday funk. Exercise your mind too – read inspiring stories about those who have overcome adversity and succeeded. May I suggest The Chakra Diaries?

Express your Gratitude. Count your blessings, taking stock of all of the positives in your life. It will quickly cheer your mood. Ask yourself what you are most grateful for and to whom you are most grateful. Then tell them if you can.

Give of Yourself. Helping others is the best antidote to seasonal sadness and self-pity. Make someone else smile and, in the end, you’ll be the one smiling.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries

www.thechakras.org

 

 

Hear me Roar – I am your healed Throat Chakra – Step #5


When I am balanced I sing out your love and praises for your partner, your world, your god(s) and goddess(es). If used unwisely to hurt, slander or hurl bitter words. I am no longer useful to send or receive fluent communication. Instead I create discomfort and dis-ease in the ears, nose, throat and lungs and promote sluggishness in thought, word and deed.

Know this; although your body may subsist about 12 days without water or 56 days without food, more than 3 minutes without air will probably snuff out all of life’s energy and I will go away permanently. Why heal me? You allow me to express your higher wisdom to others and to illuminate your past, present and future.
………….
Please stop by tomorrow and read my suggestions for healing an unbalanced Throat Chakra.
Namaste! Becca

How do I Use Crystals to Heal and Balance my Chakras?


Thanks for the question Laura.
When you’re seeking balance and a sense of well-being in your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self, crystals can be simple, yet powerful tools.

Here is a simple Spectrum Chakra Balance you can do daily as a general balancing session, to reinforce your chakra energies and help them to return to normal functioning.

Choose a grounding stone (black, brown or dark red) to place between your feet. Then choose a stone or crystal corresponding to the different colors of the chakras, placing the red one between your knees, the orange right above your pelvic bone, the yellow right above your navel, the green over your heart center, the blue on your throat, indigo or dark blue on your forehead and a violet or clear stone on the floor just above the top of your head. Lie down with these stones in place for a period of about 5 minutes or until you feel complete, then remove the stones starting with the one above your head.
Relax for a few more minutes, still lying down, then enjoy a sense a well-being and balance, ready to face the stresses of the day ahead.

Adapted from Crystal Healing by Simon and Sue Lilly

Here is what author, Sue Lilly had to say about The Chakra Diaries:
“I just loved the book! Astonishing waves of chakra-linked emotion to each section. I became easily drawn in to the issues that each chapter dealt with, especially those most people shy away from – death, sex and pain. This is a beautiful way for people to begin to understand the emotional depth that each chakra corresponds to. I salute those brave souls who have shared their lives.”
Namaste.
Becca

Excerpts from Becca Chopra’s interview on YogalifeJourney.com


Leading Chakra Workshops came out of my work doing Yoga Health Retreats in Hawaii, starting 10 years ago. At the end of every yoga class, we would finish with a chakra meditation. Often, after class, my students would want to discuss specific problems in their lives that were clearly related to one chakra or another. So, in addition to using chakra meditations in my yoga classes, I decided to try 8-week chakra workshops for local students. Each week, we would focus on balancing one of the chakras, starting with the root chakra, using guided visualizations, yoga poses, toning, color therapy and crystal healing. The final week would be an integrative, sharing session.

During the last year I have concentrated not on teaching, but on my writing, both as a novelist with The Chakra Diaries and as a journalist on holistic health issues. The best part about my yoga practice is that it gives me a reservoir of calm and strength from which to face the tight deadlines and stresses of my day. I have been known to walk away from my computer to do yoga poses to stretch and relax, and usually my coworkers follow me to join in. Once, during a long plane ride, while waiting in a never-ending line for the rest room, I began doing a few standing poses. The two businessmen behind me asked what I was doing and if I could show them how to do the poses also. It turned into an informal yoga class in the aisle of United Airlines. In teaching, whether in a formal class or a funny moment like on the plane, I love sharing what I have learned. I believe we’re all wounded healers on this earth, here to help each other.
To read the entire interview click here.

How to Tap into the Unlimited Healing Powers of your Body


Becca, is there some lesson I need to learn before I can heal?
Frustrated in San Francisco

Dear Frustrated:
Pain and illness may be your body’s wake-up call that it is overstressed by poor diet and lifestyle, or by exposure to toxins, negative emotions or limiting beliefs. If you listen to the body’s first signals and make a change, you can recover more quickly than if you wait for a knock-out punch of serious or chronic illness.

“People change and heal when they have learned the lesson that the illness was trying to teach,” explained holistic counseling teacher Amara Karuna. “Pain and disease are always calls for attention from the body and soul. They are like flags showing where energy is stuck and blocked, and in need of loving and help.”

Making the decision to take responsibility for our own suffering and making the changes needed in our lives is the first step, according to Karuna. “It is essential to understand that no matter how the pain got there, we are the only ones who can really take care of ourselves,” she said. “Don’t wait for someone else to love and care for you. Do unto yourself as you would have others do unto you. Also, reach out for support and help from others.”

“The mind-body system has almost unlimited self repair capabilities and any positive physical, emotional, and mental behavior will enhance a person’s self healing abilities,” said Serge Kahili King, PhD, Huna philosopher, teacher and author.

I encourage you to try stress reduction through yoga, meditation, chakra balancing… whatever works for you. And use your intuition to guide you to the right person to help you move toward positive change in your health and in your life.

Open the Heart Chakra to Beat the Holiday Blues


Ironically, amid all the festivities, it’s estimated that a large percentage of us get the “holiday blues” – sadness and stress that can be hard to shake. Showing love and compassion toward ourselves and others can help beat the inevitable disappointments caused by social expectations, family dynamics and economic concerns.

The heart chakra is the seat of love and compassion. ‘Tis the season of forgiveness, the greatest gift you can give yourself, your family and friends… use this HEART CHAKRA MEDITATION to move you toward this goal…

Breathe in and out a beautiful emerald green into the center of your chest, the home of the heart chakra, with love, joy and compassion for other people and yourself. Feel any tension blocking the flow here, shutting off or shutting out love. Any anger or fear is past, it can be healed. When you let it go, you’ll feel your true essence of love and joy. To send forgiveness, wrap those people who have caused you pain in the bright green light, cleansing and healing the situation. Release yourself and them from any negative connections, only keeping the good. Let go of anger to have space for love to grow. Now, with love and compassion, wrap yourself and your whole life experience in healing green light.

Spread the Love. Don’t expect a duplicate of an ideal holiday from years gone by. Changes such as divorce, death of a loved one, or distance from family and friends can all cause depression. So create new traditions, fill your calendar with fun events and meet new people. Don’t wait for others to include you in their holiday parties – invite those who are without family to a potluck in your home instead.

Strengthen Your Mood through Movement and Music. Get exercise – yoga, walking, running – to beat depression, moving to music that uplifts you. Try getting at least 20 minutes of  sunlight a day to fight any chemical causes for holiday funk. Exercise your mind too – read inspiring stories about those who have overcome adversity and succeeded. May I suggest The Chakra Diaries?

Express your Gratitude. Count your blessings, taking stock of all of the positives in your life. It will quickly cheer your mood. Ask yourself what you are most grateful for and to whom you are most grateful. Then tell them if you can.

Give of Yourself. Helping others is the best antidote to seasonal sadness and self-pity. Volunteer at a local charity.

The Dalai Lama recently wrote, “In my own experience, the highest level of inner calm comes from the development of love and compassion. The more concerned we are with the happiness of others, the more we increase our own well-being. Friendliness and warmth towards others allow us to relax and help us to dispel any sense of fear or insecurity so we can overcome whatever obstacles we face.”

Namaste and happy holidays!

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