Asha Yoga Therapy Center in Clinton Twp.

Asha Yoga Therapy Center in Clinton Twp. offers yoga classes by donation. They have recently expanded,
adding 10 feet to the practice room and a soft yoga mat floor. It is fabulous! Their classes are on Mondays
at 7:00pm, Tuesdays at 12:30pm, Wednesdays at 6:00pm and Thursdays at 5:00 and 7:00pm.

In addition, the Asha Yoga Therapy Center has become a Register Yoga School (RYS) with Yoga Alliance,and will have their first Yoga Teacher Training in October, 2015. Check their website for more details and updates on all of their offerings: www.ashayogatherapycenter.com

What is a Chakra?
The Sanskrit word Chakra literally translates to wheel or disk. In yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, this term refers to wheels of energy throughout the body. This energy or life force (prāna) flows in the human body through three main channels (nādīs), Sushumnā central channel located inside the spinal column, Pińgalā, right channel and Idā, left channel. These two channels weave around the central channel and intersect with each other from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Located in each intersection are the energy centers or the seven main chakras. To visualize a chakra in the body, imagine a swirling wheel of energy where matter and consciousness meet.

The Importance of the Main Chakras in the Body
These swirling wheels of energy correspond to massive nerve centers in the body. Each of the seven main chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs as well as our psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of being. Since everything is moving, it’s essential that our seven main chakras stay open, aligned, and fluid. If there is a blockage, energy cannot flow. There are many examples of blockages in our physical world. One simple example is when your kitchen sink gets clogged. Something is stuck, water backs up, it becomes pretty nasty, stagnate, bacteria and mold may develop if we don't remove whatever is stuck. So it is with our bodies and the chakras. When feelings and thoughts get stuck and swirl around in the body and mind we develop physical, mental, emotional symptoms.

Keeping a chakra open can be challenging, but when we have awareness, change can occur. Since our mind, body,
and spirit are intimately connected, awareness of an imbalance in one area will help bring the others back into balance. Take for example, someone who is grieving a loss and develops a chronic chest cold. The heart chakra and throat chakra are affected. If one realizes the connection between the loss and the physical symptoms, healing will occur much faster when we honor the grieving process and treat that as well as the physical symptoms. Awareness to which of your chakras are out of balance is key to aligning them. Our bodies are in constant flux between balance and imbalance. Unless you have an apparent problem in one area of the body, imbalances can be difficult to detect. As such, it is important to bring awareness to your body/mind and start to learn its signals and clues.

The Chakras of Matter
The first three chakras, starting at the base of the spine are chakras of matter. They are more physical in nature. Each Chakra is associated with a color and a seed (Bija) sound.

First Chakra: The Mūlādhāra is the chakra of stability, security, and our basic needs. It encompasses the first three vertebrae, the bladder, and the colon. When this chakra is open, we feel safe, fearless, secure and balanced. The color is Red, the seed sound is LAM.

Second Chakra: The Svādhisthāna chakra is our creativity and sexual center. It is located above
the pubic bone, below the navel. When this chakra is balanced we are open to our creative expression, joy, enthusiasm, sexuality, and passion for life. The color is Orange, the seed sound is VAM.

Third Chakra: The Manipūra chakra means lustrous gem and it’s the area from the navel up to
the breastbone. This is our center, our core. The place were we feel our feelings. Many of us have said,
"I felt it in my gut or I have butterflies in my stomach." When we feel our feelings from our center we are feeling them with honesty. It is in our core where we find our confidence, courage and strength. The third chakra is our source of personal power. The color is Yellow, the seed sound is RAM.

The Fourth Chakra: The Connection Between Matter and Spirit. The Anāhata chakra located at the heart, it is at the middle of the seven and unites the lower chakras of matter and the upper chakras of spirit. The fourth is also spiritual but serves as a bridge between our body, mind, emotions, and spirit. The heart chakra is our source of love and connection. It is also the place where we make decisions and problem solve. When we bring our thoughts to our heart, we are able to make decisions with clarity and trust. With our heart open we begin to live our life from our heart rather than our head. The color is Green, the seed sound is YAM.

When we work through our physical chakras, or the first three, we can open the spiritual chakras more fully.

The Chakras of Spirit

Fifth Chakra: The Viśhuddha chakra is the fifth chakra, located in the area of the throat.
This is our source of verbal expression and the ability to speak our highest truth. The fifth chakra includes the neck, thyroid, parathyroid glands, jaw, mouth, tongue, and lungs. When this chakra is open and balanced we are able to breathe fully and speak with confidence, kindness, clarity, and honesty. The color is Turquoise, the seed sound is HAM.

Sixth Chakra: The Ājñā chakra is located in between the eyebrows deep into the center of the brain at the pineal gland -- the only part of the brain that does not have two sides. Renè Descartes called the pineal gland, "the principle seat of the soul." It is also referred to as the “third eye” chakra. The Ājñā chakra is our center of intuition. We all have a sense of intuition, or sixth sense, but we may not often listen to it or heed its warnings. Focusing on opening the sixth chakra will help develop this ability. One way to open this chakra is to take the breath there. The color is Indigo, the seed sound is KSHAM.

Seventh Chakra: The Sahasāra chakra or the “thousand petal lotus” chakra is located at the crown
of the head. The lotus flower grows in the muck and mud. As it surfaces, it becomes a beautiful flower, just as we grow from our challenges and difficulties and become our beautiful selves.This is the chakra of enlightenment and spiritual connection to our higher selves, others, and ultimately to the Divine. It is located at the crown of the head and comes out the top of the head into the universe. When this chakra is opened and balanced we are able to see the unfolding of God/Spirit in everyone. The color is Violet, the seed sound is OM.

Mary Jane Gazda, PhD, E-RYT 200, RYT500, CYTh.
Asha Yoga Therapy Center is located at 36393 Harper Avenue. Call: 586-719-8956

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