Friday, February 06, 2009

More Muladhara Meditation Practices

In addition to the chanting (about which I previously blogged), I am doing a pranayama practice, alternate nostril breathing. This practice is said to clear the channels. Watch the short video below to get an idea of the basics of this practice.

In addition to the above, a do a mula bandha lock on the breath retention. In other words, when both nostrils are closed. To do the mula bandha lock, you simply tighten the muscles in the groin area as though you were trying to stop urine from passing. For women, this should be somewhat familiar as it is similar to Kiegel exercises. (Even if you are not comfortable with the pranayama practice, you should try to learn and practice this lock as it has many health benefits!) Another useful form of meditation practice is a walking meditation. When doing a walking meditation, first stand in Mountain Pose and allow yourself to feel deeply rooted, your breath to slow down, and your body to feel light, elevated, yet grounded. Then, when you are ready, on the inhale slowly step your right foot forward. (Energy rises up the right side and down the left.) Shift the weight from your left to your right foot and then exhale as you lift your left foot. Place your hands gently folded over the lower abdomen or, if you prefer, in anjali mudra, palms together at the heart, thumbs touching the breast bone. This is a very slow movement. You will feel the very subtle shifts in your balance, how your foot embraces and connects with the ground. For this reason, it is best to do this practice barefoot, if possible. Close the practice as you would any meditation. Here is a video of Thich Nhat Hanh describing the walking meditation. Notice how slowly he moves from foot to foot. Listen to your breath. Move more slowly or less as your natural breath defines for your body.

And last but not least, although not technically a meditation, I suggest giving yourself a foot massage. Because the muladhara is connected with the sense of smell, use a scented oil or lotion if possible. (The following essential oils/aromas are associated with this chakra: cinnamon, cedar, bergamot, sandalwood, vetiver. When using essential oils be sure to blend a few drops with a carrier oil as they are highly concentrated and most need to be "diluted" to be safely used.) Although this is not a meditation practice, try to do the massage mindfully. Think of Mary Magdalene annointing the feet of Jesus and in a similar manner bless your own feet.

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