We spent two whole afternoons with Nancy McCaochan. For the other half of her weekend, Nancy taught us about the chakras. She’d done a lot of studying and self-exploration on this subject.
I admitted that I didn’t know much about chakras and considered myself a real newbie. That made writing about this topic a little difficult, so I had to set it aside for a while. Well, I can only learn by doing so here goes!
It seems that a chakra is place in the body where energy is focused. There are seven main chakras. Nancy started from the lowest one and went up towards the head. Each has its own specific psychological and physical associations. When the energy flow to a chakra is blocked, it can appear in the body as disease in the connected organ system.
1st chakra = tribal consciousness, survival instincts, cultural norms and rules, earth element, smell, skeletal system
2nd = relationships, emotional self, money, water element, kidneys, small intestines
3rd = Self, Ego, disagreement, conflict, stomach, spleen, liver, ulcers
4th = emotion, universal love, heart, lungs, air
5th = creative centre, speaking the truth, ether, throat, neck thyroid, parathyroid
6th = command centre, origin of visions, pituitary, pineal gland
7th = central nervous system, the “thousand petal lotus”
Before this workshop, I’d read that each chakra is usually linked with certain colours in the rainbow. However, Nancy suggested that there is no inherent colour to them.
As a gift, Nancy brought each of us a red tiger eye bead strung onto a simple cord. She said that she chose this stone because it represented courage and the feeling of being grounded. Nancy guided us to lie down on our backs and then suspend the pendulum from our extended hand overtop each chakra. The swinging motions of the bead on a cord could be circular (clockwise, counter-clockwise, to the left or to the right) or even side-to-side. Sometimes, the pendulum stopped. If someone else held the pendulum overtop while I was lying down, their energy could affect the movements of the bead. The motions made by the pendulum over each chakra can be interpreted as we might do so for our dreams. Nancy said to consider the bead as a playful tool or toy to investigate the chakras in our own bodies. I liked this part of the afternoon the best.
I got one big “take-home” message in the time we spent with Nancy. She emphasized that yoga is more meaningful when we can take the teachings and apply them to ourselves. It is in this self-exploration that we figure out how yoga fits into our lives. From there, we can share the teachings authentically.