We are now living in an era whereby the Mind/Body connection is really in the zeitgeist. We recognise that that which affects the body also affects the mind and vice versa. But where do you start? Do you focus your efforts more on mental techniques and strategies or should you focus more on the body itself? In an ideal world we would make time for both. If however you are pressed for time my money is on what I call a Body-Centric focus.
The feedback loop between body and brain goes in both directions. What is not so widely known is that this feedback loop is up to 90/10 in the direction of Body to Brain.
“90 percent of the fibers in the primary visceral nerve, the vagus, carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around” 1
A relaxed and happy body could be the most efficient way to a happy mind.
But how can we ensure that our body remains relaxed and at ease? The answer to this most pertinent question is perhaps best addressed by the Ayurvedic Chakra system. In this system the body is allocated 7 principle energy centres called Chakras.
When we are at ease the energies of our root chakra are strongly anchored from our pelvic floor deep into the centre of the earth. We feel grounded, supported and energised.
In order the crack the Mind /Body code we must lay the correct foundations energetically speaking. The energetic foundation for the whole chakra system comes from a balanced and fully established root chakra.
How can you support your root chakra health? Here are some powerful strategies.
1. Make friends with your inner Reptile!
Your inner reptile is the most ancient part of our brain. It deals with fight, flight and freeze responses as well as sex drive. Your reptile brain does not respond to reason or logic or talk therapies. It does however respond to movements that dissipate nervous system tension. Yin yoga or other bio-energetic movement modalities (like Pilates) work well here.
2. De-Clutter your Home.
Your home is governed by the root chakra. It provides shelter and safety from the elements. A home filled with clutter is a constant stress generator. It may be pointing towards a scarcity or poverty consciousness. If we are hoarders there may be a deep underlying fear that the universe is not an abundant one. Release the stuff you no longer use or things that you do not truly love. This will free up a lot of energy and invite more abundance into your life.
3. Get your Glutes in Gear!
I call the buttocks the seat of power. When we are at ease in our bodies we can safely relax on our throne knowing all is well in our kingdom. The fear response causes us to become “frightened out of the seat of our pants”. We become dis-embodied. We are not truly here, we are not present. Strengthening the buttocks is one of the most important processes to get anchored back into our bodies (see this blog for the importance of glute training)
Try the hip lift to get your ass back in gear!
1: Start bay lying on your back, knees bent, feet spread in a “V” position.
2: Inhale to prepare. Exhale as you squeeze your buttocks to lift hips off of the floor. Raise the hips up till knees, hips and shoulders make a straight line.
3. Inhale to lower and repeat for 10 total repetitions.
4. Make Peace with the full Band-width of Emotions.
Being in allowance of the uplifting emotions is pretty easy for most of us. Being in allowance of the very difficult emotions that can arise as part of the human condition is quite a challenge. The challenging emotions of the root chakra include: hate, rage, fury, shame, humiliation and devastation. If we try to avoid these emotions at any cost the price is very high indeed. If we cannot remain present with ourselves and love ourselves fully no matter what arises we also deny ourselves access to the positive uplifting emotions available to us at the root chakra level. These positive uplifting states include feeling a deep trust in ourselves and in the process of life itself, feeling safe and secure no matter what challenges life throws at us and feeling filled with a lust for life.
Practice staying present even when difficult emotions arise. Slow down your breathing, become a witness to these emotions and Love that part of you that feels that way.
Building your root chakra allows you to be fully here and embrace the “Now”. When you are fully anchored in your body “Mindfulness” arises spontaneously without any effort. Cracking your personal Mind/Body Code starts with building a strong foundation. With a strong foundation you can build a masterpiece! With a poor foundation the house (your body) will crumble. The choice, my friends, is yours.
If you wish to go deeper and totally heal and balance your root chakra then check out my book “Cracking the Mind/Body Code”
The book gives you a very in depth look at all the factors that influence root chakra health from nutrition to exercise to stress reduction to mental and emotional factors. You can even take a test to see how healthy your root chakra is and many diseases and health conditions pertaining to the root chakra are explained.
1: Scientific American; online article: “Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being” By Adam Hadhazy on February 12, 2010
* Hip Lift image from www.physigraphe.com