The root chakra provides us with a sense of stability and security in the world and it refers to basic needs like food, water, shelter. When this chakra is in balance, we feel supported and safe in the world. The yoga postures that bring Muladhara in balance are usually standing ones, as the feet connect us to the earth energy and the external world. When you are doing a sequence to strengthen and activate the root chakra, be sure to focus in particular on your feet, finding your balance on each foot and also practicing shifting your body weight evenly on both feet.
You can do the below sequence by staying in each of the poses for at least 5 breaths. Please always take in consideration if you have any injuries and consult with your medical practitioner before practice. Always listen to your body first and if you feel any pain, this could be an indication that perhaps you need to release the pose.
EXTENDED HAND-TO-BIG-TOE POSE
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana or extended hand to big toe pose requires awareness and focus on balancing on one foot. This posture strengthens the ankles, tones the legs and stimulates digestion. To do this posture, externally take one leg away from the body and parallel. If you want to go deeper and have more flexibility in your hips and inner thighs, continue to raise the leg higher but maintain the spine straight and correct alignment of the trunk.
TIP TOE STRETCH
Stretching the tip toes is a great way to bring activation to the root chakra. It’s actually a great way to start your day, giving your feet the attention they deserve before you get on with your day. This tip toe stretch helps to release tension of the muscles in the feet and releases any tangled up energy in the feet. Start on your knees and place the top of your feet onto your mat. Inhale and come up onto the tip toes, exhale and drop your buttocks onto the back of the feet. You can add extra weight on this stretch by inhaling and bringing your arms all the way up towards the ceiling and if you want, you can try and lift your knees of the mat, and exhale release tension and just stay there in this pose. Alternatively, you can place your hands on your knees or thighs and just relax the upper body.
YOGIC SQUAT - MALASANA
Start In Tadasana and bring your hands into Angali mudra, palms together to the heart centre in the middle of the chest. Inhale and open the heart centre by bringing the shoulders back, exhale and go into a full squat all the way down, maintaining your balance on both feet. Keep the palms pressing together, in anjali mudra and place the elbows at the crease of your knees, pushing the knees outward whilst keeping your back straight. The yogic squat is not only great for balancing the root chakra, but also for building strength in the legs and also stretching the inner thighs.
TREE POSE - VRKSASANA
I like to call this pose the mother of all balancing poses because it requires so much inner focus to maintain the balance on one foot, whilst going into different variations. Click here to go to the step by step guidance for this pose.
CHILD'S POSE - BALASANA
This is an asana that doesn’t require any effort, but it is a comforting pose, requiring us to go within and nurture ourselves. As the root chakra also governs our feeling of security and protection in the world, going into balasana is a wonderful reminder to give yourself a little hug and acknowledge the self-love you can have and the ability to feel secure in your own self. To see how to go into child’s pose, click here.
Six months ago I decided to give up most of my material possessions and embark on a new journey into the unknown. I am a firm believer in taking chances and living life to the fullest and I wanted to try something new; something that would get me out of my comfort zone completely; something to shake up the foundations I had built for the last 2-3 years of my life, with no expectations but simply allowing myself to take every experience as it comes.
I came to Greece, where I followed my passion of teaching yoga, learning from amazing mentors and meeting likeminded people sharing the same passions and aspirations in life. I have been island hoping in Greece, just me and my little black suitcase with just enough things in it, like clothes, my journal, and a few sentimental things. I keep those I love close to me, always in my heart knowing that wherever I am in the world, they are with me. I rarely say goodbye or I miss you because I know these people are always with me and I with them.
I have been to places that opened my heart, healed my wounds, brought clarity to my mind and internal peace to my soul. I have walked on roads that have been forgotten by others, places with kind locals who have never been outside of their little island but who have more wisdom and appreciation for life than others I had met who have seen the world. I found myself lost in-between picturesque settings of mountains and sea, swam in the crystal-clear Aegean Sea, watched the sunsets every day for a month, spent time with myself in the nature, meditated at sunrise and listened to the melodic echoes of the birds, actually just sitting still and just allowing myself to listen. I have met amazing people, who not long ago were strangers and have now become part of my life, opening their arms to me and welcoming me into their homes and lives. I fell in love and learnt to let go, appreciating the darkness some experiences bring from which a brighter light follows. I have lived in places that had only 2 cafes, 4 restaurants and 1 little supermarket shop that had just enough of what I needed to be fed, clean and warm. This was a complete change from living in big cities previously, having everything accessible to me and many options available. I had to share rooms with strangers which is a big difference considering that I used to live in a beautiful apartment on my own for the last almost 3 years, enjoying my own comfort. I learnt to share my space with others who did exactly the same and found comfort in uncomfortable and new experiences.
Living in the Greek islands taught me to recognise what is important in life and to appreciate the simplicity of life. Some people here may not have much but what they do have is an abundance of compassion and kindness, teaching me to find mine and give without expecting in return. Here I found the meaning of unconditional love for myself and others, to stop pushing myself so hard, to let go of the idea that I need to be anything more than I am and to just accept and love myself just the way I am. This is a process that takes time, self-awareness and a lot of observation of the self. I continue to learn and to open myself to this every day. I came here with an open mind, embarking on an adventure my soul called for. So, I listened and now I have turned yet another page of my book of life.
I wake up and most mornings I go to the beach, watch the sunrise and swim in the sea. I practice yoga and meditation daily, and I am blessed enough to share my practice with people from different parts of the world who come to my yoga classes, to experience yoga themselves. I focus on writing and working on my second book, having enough space to keep inspired. I have learned to focus on my breath, to appreciate each inhale and to let go with every exhale. Breathing mindfully teaches us to live in the moment, understanding that each inhale is a new experience and each exhale we let go of it trusting this present state. And I continue everyday teaching yoga and empowering others and myself to connect, love and accept the body, ourselves and our hearts.
I have opened myself to the world; I walked into the unknown completely confident in myself and the universe without having any expectations other than being true to myself and spending my days as I love to do so. I learned to say yes to new experiences, to forgive myself and others, to let go of judgement, to acknowledge my fears and I continued to go on this path regardless of how scared or alone I felt at times. When you travel alone, the feeling of loneliness can be very overpowering but if you just acknowledge it and then let go, you will realise you are never really alone. I have learned to embrace change and allow life to unfold itself, trusting that everything happens for me not against me. Most importantly I continue to discover the external world and my inner world in every moment, trying to see all that is within and outside with clarity, with no if’s or but’s instead to just take it all in.
Not everybody needs to leave everything behind and start new, but I think we can all be honest enough with ourselves to understand how we want to spend our life, from the guidance we receive from within and not from our ego. We can reinvent ourselves in any given moment in life, understanding that we don’t have to hold onto past ideas or self-limiting beliefs which keep us stuck in a routine that keeps us still. Living is about experiencing the present moment, about letting go of the past, about being open to get to know our true self and continuing to discover this daily. Everything is temporary, yet often we think otherwise. And so we become dependent on others, on our jobs, on our material possessions. This can certainly provide us with a feeling of security and stability, but we are also beings made to move, to expand, to grow and to adapt to change. To experience adventures that bring us outside of our bubble, whatever they may be for you.
Our life is like a painting. Exposed too much to something it may dry and the colours may fade, but we have the ability to discover new shades and apply these to renew the meaning of this masterpiece. The picture may change, but we are the artist and we hold the paint brush, allowing us to decide. Create your painting and follow your own path. Sometimes you need to take the road less travelled. Lead the way with your heart open and your mind flexible enough to let go of ideals and take in new ways of seeing the world. Most importantly give yourself the respect and nurture to be part of the experiences which fill your heart with joy and your day with kindness, love and happiness.
Full moons occur when the sun and the moon are opposing, bringing the reflection of the sun onto the moon which creates the light. The moon represents the internal world, a more introverted approach; it is cooling and governs the feminine energy. The sun is about external expression, brightness, being open and light; it is heating and governs the masculine energy. As the two are opposites, there tends to be a slight tension in the air. Full moons are a wonderful time to just reflect on the recent manifestations in our life and observe our internal self. If new moons bring forward endings and new beginnings, full moons help us look at both these aspects and just observe, without judgement. Practicing mindfulness meditation and yoga can help us connect with this full moon energy, bringing clarity to our thoughts and openness in our hearts.
The practice of yoga helps us bring in unity all aspects of the self, the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Starting the day of a full moon with a yoga routine, can be an invigorating experience to channel into the full moon vibes.
FULL MOON YOGA SEQUENCE
Yoga takes us on a journey of self-discovery, growth and healing and connecting with these aspects during the full moon days can be a very special experience. Start with the moon salutation. The mantra for this is Om Chandra Namaha. Stand in Tadasana and bring your palms together in the centre of your chest, take a deep breath in and say the mantra. Then begin with Chandra Namaskar. (click here for step by step instructions)
Continue in balasana or child’s pose. This is a reflective pose which requires us to go within and just observe ourselves internally. Balasana is a way for us to be gentle with ourselves, to check in with how we are feeling and allow our thoughts and feelings to pass.
Anjaneyasana or low lunge pose takes us through the journey of leaning backwards, slightly releasing all the tension from the lower back which can be a mixture of emotional and physical tension, whilst opening our heart centre. Focusing on activating anahata – the heart chakra, this pose requires us to simply allow ourselves to be in the moment and to be open to all the present energy in our life. To go into anjaneyasana, start in downd dog and take the right leg back, placing the right knee on the ground. Bend your left knee and lift your arms extended upwards, opening the chest and bringing the shoulder blades together.
Ardha chandrasana or half-moon pose requires us to find our balance, to trust ourselves and to learn to be patient. It is also a way to honour the moon and to acknowledge the strength which comes from our feminine energy. Opening to each side of the body, creates an open space in our lungs for the breath to become deeper and it helps us to open our heart to new experiences, whilst allowing our internal self to simply welcome it all, maintaining a state of balance.
Take 5 minutes afterwards in shavasana, lying down on your mat and just relax, letting go of all effort, thoughts and feelings. Let yourself be at peace in the present moment.
Because the full moon energy is manifested by the dynamic opposing forces of the sun and the moon, it is common for some people to feel some tension or frustration during this time, especially those who are quite sensitive. Often, we may feel slightly confused about this shift, but it’s perfectly normal because we are connected with all that is around us, so what is happening within the environment we are in, is transferred to our internal self also. Mindfulness teaches us to live in the moment and accept all that is in the now. It requires us to just sit still and observe all that is happening, without judgement, guilt, shame or other negative reactions. You can practice meditation at any time during the full moon day, especially during that night.
Simply sit still in a comfortable seated position or lying down. Focus on your breath, starting with three deep inhales through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Then just breathe normally, and relax by closing your eyes. Let go of all thoughts and if any come to your mind, just let them be, allowing yourself to let these pass with every exhale. You can use the chin mudra, connecting your index fingers with your thumbs and connecting with your consciousness, releasing the ego and all desires. At any point during your meditation, you can say the following mantra to yourself: “I allow myself to completely live in the moment, accepting all that is in the now”. This practice requires us to be patient with ourselves, to let go of attaching ourselves to our past experiences or setting expectations for future ones. We become mindful of all that we are in this moment in time.
Another great way to become more in tune with the energy of the full moon is to write about anything you wish to reflect upon. Writing is a form of communication and this helps activate vishudi, the throat chakra. A balanced vishudi chakra opens up our communication channels, helping us become more clear about our ideas and expressing ourselves with confidence and free will. Journaling is a wonderful therapeutic technique and it brings out our creative streak, which connects us with our feminine energy, the same of the moon. Write down everything that you’ve been holding within and wish to express, all that has gone and you wish to release and most importantly acknowledge all that you have manifested in your recent time. Expressing ourselves through writing is a healthy, creative way to let go and connect with what is within us.
The greatest gift we can give to ourselves is self-love. Understanding the definition of unconditional love requires us to first love ourselves before we do so for others. We cannot simply comprehend what love truly feels like without experiencing it for ourselves.
One of the most important aspects of self-love is the way we speak to ourselves, that internal chatter we experience daily. It's interesting how we strive to be great friends to others, but when it comes to being our own best friend, this dynamic changes slightly. We put so much effort into creating harmonious, balanced relationships with others but when it comes to the relationship we have with our own self, we can be flakey, inconsistent and sometimes we can completely ignore this. We tend to be more tough toward ourselves, feeling shame, guilt, low self-confidence, blame etc. We sometimes think negatively about the way we look, suppress what we feel and ignore to express our own ideas to the world because we are afraid of the feedback we receive. Most of us tend to place so much focus and attention on what others think of us, that we let their perception validate our own. I think that to be completely happy we must be at peace with ourselves, to understand what we like, what we don't like; to bring unity between our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self; to feel freedom in living from our own truth, to trust ourselves and our intuition; to follow our inner guidance and most importantly, to learn to appreciate our existence on this planet. Once we feel at peace with ourselves, we can do so with those around us which will flourish our relationships and strengthen the bonds we form with those around us. When we learn to appreciate ourselves and let go of self-judgement, we will also become more open to expressing this for other people. The power of love cannot be manifested if it is not shared and this starts from within first.
Daily affirmations are a wonderful reminder to be gentle with ourselves, to learn to be patient, kind and understanding towards our body and mind; to be more receptive of our emotional self, to let ourselves feel freely and express this with kindness and compassion for the self. I have been practicing affirmations for many years and honestly it’s a great routine to introduce into your day. The most effective way is to say these to yourself as soon as you wake up, before you get distracted by the messages, emails and social media notifications on your phone. It's also a good idea to write these down in a notebook and read them to yourself. Whatever we say to ourselves becomes part of our reality. The subconscious mind will grasp onto the thoughts we have and ideas we create in our mind and will guide us towards making these a reality. So it’s important to be wise about the kind of self-talk we create. Choosing the right affirmation for you just depends on what it is you are wanting to manifest and want to focus on so that you can create a loving relationship with you. Sit down with yourself one day and clearly identify where in life you are at right now, in this moment. What are some aspects about the way you treat yourself that you would like to change? When we become more content with our own self, everything suddenly starts to unfold in a more positive flow. This doesn’t mean that affirmations will clear all the unpleasant or unwanted experiences in your life, but they will help you find your balance from within so that you can feel more grounded and be ok with whatever comes your way. Know that you have the strength and internal power to rely on yourself and to handle anything that comes your way.
LIST OF AFFIRMATIONS
1. I honour myself completely and I respect every part of my being.
2. My existence is needed in the world.
3. I am worthy of living a beautiful life and I live every day knowing this.
4. I believe in myself, in my dreams and my passions.
5. I am a beautiful soul, and I am open to share this with others.
6. I express myself freely in life and allow others to do so without judgement.
7. I am worthy of being loved.
8. I trust, accept and love myself just the way I am in this moment.
9. I am a beautiful, unique soul and my purpose is needed in the world.
10. I am open to all the beautiful experiences that lay before me because I am worthy of experiencing these.
11. I am not perfect and that’s ok. I am who I am and this is what makes me unique.
12. I communicate my ideas clearly and I believe in them.
13. I love and appreciate my body just the way it is.
14. Today I choose to let go of judgement and simply accept myself with kindness and compassion.
15. I am learning everyday to be kind and gentle to myself, to love and appreciate all aspects of myself and to truly live as my most authentic self.
New moons are important events within the astrological cycles, most of the time bringing endings and new beginnings. As new moons come with a powerful energy felt by almost everybody, it is a good idea to do a yoga session on the day to channel this energy throughout your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. A significant shift of energy is created towards change, bringing our awareness to what is no longer serving us and what we need to move onto, taking in consideration the changes we must make in order to continue on our authentic life path. On the 9th of September, there is a new moon in Virgo, the sign of grounding, steadiness and stability. This new moon prompts us to start new projects which can flourish provided that they are aligned with our true self. Virgo is a logical sign that always finds a solution for every problem, and this new moon brings this solution-driven mindset upon us all, empowering us to face the changes we must make in order to pass the road blocks and limitations that have been impeding our progress. Combining a yoga routine with new moon’s is a great way to channel this energy and the below 5 poses are a good way to connect with your inner self and bringing awareness to this energy shift.
HALF MOON POSE- ARDHA CHANDRASANA
What better way to connect with a lunar energy event than with a pose that represents the moon itself.? Ardha Chandrasana or half moon pose is an intense side stretch and a balancing pose that helps us to find our balance and physical, mental and emotional strength. This asana is beneficial for strengthening the back, legs, hips and abdomen. It also improves flexibility to the spine and opens the chest. Half moon pose has a calming effect on the mind and it helps release nervous tension that has occurred within the body and mind through past events and situations. This pose will helps us release these and let go by surrendering. (click here to see the step by step guidance into this pose)
COBRA POSE - BHUJANGASANA
Bhujangasana or cobra pose made the list because apart from its physical benefits, this pose brings our awareness to what has been and simply realising what is now in the moment. Back bends are usually quite sensitive asanas to do because we tend to hold our fears, negative emotions and traumatic events in our lower back. Cobra pose helps us to go backwards with patience, not resisting to face the past but to continue to be in this present moment with confidence and gratitude, focusing on our breath to keep us centred and in the now. As this pose requires us to open the chest where the heart centre is, we are ultimately opening our heart to the world, to the all the beautiful experiences that are happening for us in the now and for what is yet to follow. (click here to see step by step guidance into this pose)
TREE POSE - VRKSASANA
Vrksasana or tree pose requires us to find our balance on each side of the body, the left and the right, the feminine and masculine. As new moons signify endings and new beginnings, finding our inner balance on each side empowers us to keep centred in the process of change. This pose is also great for activating the Muladhara chankra, the root chakra which governs stability in our lives, and basic needs being met. This means that we prepare our body and mind to be open to change by keeping grounded and composed, without reacting but instead keeping a solid stand towards what is to come. (click here to see step by step guidance into this pose)
EXTENDED PUPPY POSE - UTTANA SHISHOSANA
The moon represents the female part of our self which governs the more cooler, introverted and calm characteristics within each one of us. Extended puppy pose requires us to extend forwards, by bringing our attention within, bringing the chest and forehead to the ground, closed from external factors but open to our inner self. It is a pose that calms the mind and requires us to open up to ourselves, to take a moment and breathe deeply whilst connecting with our most inner part and understanding ourselves better in this present moment. (click here to see step by step guidance into this pose)
CHILD'S POSE - BALASANA
Although balasana doesn’t require much physical effort, this asana can have great therapeutic benefits for the mind and soul. Child’s pose is a reflective pose, closing off from everything external, and taking a moment to acknowledge what is going on inside of ourselves. Stay in balasana for 2-5 minutes and really take this time to reflect upon all that is happening for you and how you are really feeling physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Connect with yourself and release what is no longer needed before you are ready to open up and face the world with complete freedom. (click here to see step by step guidance into this pose)
I encourage you to finish the above yoga sequence with a 5/10 minute meditation using Garuda Mudra.
GARUDA MUDRA MEDITATION
What do you need to let go of to feel completely free? Garuda mudra helps release any blockages and limitations that prevent us from clarity, inner peace and living as our most authentic self. Letting go of negative emotions, situations that no longer serve us and it helps us to reconnect with our inner strength and guidance towards complete personal freedom. Whilst doing the Garuda mudra, meditate on what you are releasing and use your breath to help you. Inhale deeply through the nose and exhale through the mouth and let go. Embrace the beauty, courage and strength that is within you and let these blossom in the present moment.