I don’t know how much you think about your energy, but when you’re in my line of work it comes up a lot. Every Yoga Therapy session intake asks about it, every class considers it at the beginning, and engaging with the chakra system brings it into full focus. This past weekend was no exception–and it was SO FUN!
At the monthly Chakra Savvy Yoga Practice at Castle Hill Fitness we went through every chakra, charging, releasing, and energizing our way up to finally a very quiet, balanced mind. Quiet enough to listen to our inner wisdom. One woman even remarked it was the first time she had ever experienced true stillness in her mind. To me, that’s a HUGE win. I mean, that’s what it's all about, really! So fun.
During the Chakra 3 (power center) portion of the class we stopped and did some partner work that so beautifully demonstrated charging and releasing energy that I wanted to share it with you here, and let you know how you can do it on your own.
For this exercise, one person was the “arm lifter” and one was the “preventer.” Their jobs were just what you might guess: the arm lifter’s job was to try to lift their arms forward to the height of their shoulders. The preventer steadily pressed down on the lifting arms, only allowing a bit of progress at a time. Once the arms reached the height of the shoulders, the preventer let go without warning and woosh! Arms flew up and people staggered back, often laughing loudly!
So what’s going on here?
Think of your energy as a river. If the river is rushing up towards the arms trying to get them to move but they’re dammed up with pressure from the partner, it will build and build behind that dam. Then finally the dam breaks and woosh! The river rushes through and pours into all the places that were cut off from the flow. And when there’s more than the riverbed can take at one time, it crashes against the sides and any boulder in its way. That’s the explosion of laughter and the staggering back.
That’s one way it happened.
The other was there was little response when the arms were released. They went up, yes, but there was no discharging of energy through the voice and no need to stagger back. The eyes got a little brighter, yes, and there was always a smile, but sometimes the power of the river simply didn’t build up enough strength and mass for an explosion of energy.
Here’s my theory, which has been supported in practice over the years: if we start with low or leaky energy, the river doesn’t build and the rush doesn’t come. Imagine trying to build a dam to hold back a marsh instead of a river. Heck, a beaver could do that! It might fortify the edges of the marsh, but the push behind it wouldn’t necessarily build.
Sometimes we feel like a marsh. Sometimes we’re a raging river. What we want is balance.
If you’re feeling hyper, wired, or well, raging, the key is to discharge that energy. Give it a direction that is up and out, or down and out, from your center. Stamp your feet like you're having a tantrum, then take some huge deep breaths with a vocal exhale and release the extra. Go for a swim, jog, bike ride, or whatever gets your extra E out, but then balance with deep breaths and calming long exhales. Slow down. Omm for two minutes–you’ll feel better.
But what if your problem is the opposite? What if you need to build energy? What if you’re feeling drained and more like a marsh than a river? What if your bed is calling to you more than your activity? What if you’re looking for that 3pm cup of coffee?
Build a dam.
You can do this partner exercise alone standing in a doorway. Here’s how:
So there it is! Build your energy strong and steady. From there, try not to talk too much or do activities that are mentally or emotionally draining until you get your pep back up to good flow. And if you give it a try, drop me a line and let me know how it goes. Hopefully it's a little secret you were hoping for to get your blood pumping again!
Next month's practice theme is love. I'd LOVE to see you! Either at Chakra Savvy Yoga Practice or Valentine's Partner Yoga, or BOTH! And if you're not in the Austin area, treat yourself to some self-love with Stop and Give Me 20: Twenty-minute yoga practices in a quick-hit, jump-right-in format you can do anywhere at any time. I know you'll love it!
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