Anxiety is a hot topic these days and it’s not just because it’s the holidays. We have become an ever increasingly anxious society that has no time to figure out the reason why. There has been a rise in people seeking the quick fix for their anxious mind and body so that they have more time to create more anxiety. As I began to reflect on this, the lovely woodpecker came to mind. This little guy reminds me of the old adage of hitting your head upside a brick wall repeatedly until you finally begin to realize it hurts and you try a different way. My interest in speaking about anxiety comes from my own experience. I have always been a person who can run a million miles an hour and then some. For many years I was running on empty. While I still do have a lot of youthful energy, I can say with pride that I am a lot less anxious than than my younger self. Over time I have come to understand this part of myself as my anxious mind, nervous energy or the part of me that impersonates Tigger at times:) A clinical diagnosis of anxiety has never resonated with me as it gets interpreted as “a person who needs meds asap.” While medications at times may be indicated for mental health, the downward spiral of side affects can cause a person to become more anxious and/or depressed. This knee jerk reaction also causes us to overlook a key piece of the puzzle which is that emotions are energy. Anyone who has struggled with symptoms of anxiety or depression can tell you first hand how it affects their energy which in turn affects every other aspect of their life. Despite this key piece of info, we seem to continue to treat emotions as if they are only residing in the mind instead of understanding that they are also causing energy to be stuck or stagnant throughout the system. I have learned a lot first hand about the powerful affects of holistic medicine has in shifting my energy from being a woodpecker to something more along the lines of a smiling Buddha statue. This has inspired me to share this road map with others through my practice. When I began this path in acupuncture, I had no idea what was in store for me. Those days were dark but little did I know that the light was on it’s way. This path soon ended up including chiropractic care, nutrition coaching, applied kinesiology, massage along with yoga and meditation. The parts of my fragmented self the journey to becoming whole.
This leads to a big question mark…if emotions are energy then how to we begin to connect with them in the body to help them begin to flow more freely? In yoga there is much discussion about the chakras which are the energy centers in the body. The chakras are the energy systems in the body that connect with the nerves, organs, hormones and emotions. Dr. Christine Northrup discusses the different chakras and how this system can inform how we balance our energy thereby shifting our energy away from creating illness. http://www.drnorthrup.com/blog/2013/09/your-chakras-a-roadmap-to-vibrant-health The following is a brief overview of Dr. Northrup’s description of the chakra energy systems in the body, the organs the correlate with and the dis-ease that can be caused when they are out of balance.
- First Chakra represents your family connection and the foundation of your emotional and mental center. The organs that associated with the first chakra include the muscles, bones, hip, joints, spine blood and immune system. Energetically is associated with feeling safe and secure in the world
- Second Chakra is related to issues with sexuality, creativity, finances, personal power, relationships, sensuality and pleasure. The organs associated with it are the uterus, ovaries, vagina, cervix, large intestine, lower vertebrae, pelvis, appendix and bladder. The spiritual and emotional issues that cause blockages are around balancing drives towards sex and relationships.
- Third Chakra is the where our identity and personality are formed. The organs associated with the third chakra are the abdomen, liver, gall bladder, stomach, and kidneys, Imbalances occur around issues of self confidence, self respect, substance abuse aggression, defensiveness, making decisions and competitiveness.
- Fourth Chakra resides in the shoulders, ribs, chest, and diaphragm. Emotional issues that cause blockages are around the capacity to fully express and resolve anger, hostility, joy, love, grief, and forgiveness. Issues around the balancing of giving and receiving and nurturing the self versus others also cause imbalances.
- Fifth Chakra is located in the thyroid, throat, mouth, teeth and gums. Blockages are caused with the struggle of speaking versus listening, pushing forward versus waiting and being willful.
- Sixth Chakra is spoken about as “the third eye” which resides in the pineal gland, the brain, the eyes, ears and nose. Blockages occur with ambiguous perception, conservative and liberal morality, following rules and understanding that rules have exceptions, repression or lack of inhibition.
- Finally Seventh Chakra is the connection to your spiritual nature and the Divine. It is where you allow spirituality to become a part of your physical life. Blockages come when there is not a clear sense of life’s purpose and trusting that life has a purpose that may not be feared.
So the chakras are all very fascinating, huh? As I go through them I can see the bubble above my head going “yup, uh huh, ahhhh.” It all begins to make sense when you put it together.There is a whole lot going on energetically in the body below what the rational mind can understand. As we begin to balance the chakras we begin to balance our emotions. It is said that there are two primary emotions: fear and love. All other emotions are a derivative of these two. This speaks volumes to me because my anxiety always roots in fear. It doesn’t even matter what I am fearing whether it’s rational or irrational, it always comes back to something my body interprets as danger. For me, the mind/body practices that I have utilized almost always allow for the melting of my fears and the rising up of love within. Even if my mind picks up what it was worried about, I have now created a space within that is clear and wiser than those thoughts. How do you create a safe space within that allows you release your fear and embrace love? What helps you to shift the energy of anxiety and become whole again? What worked for me today you may be asking? Well, I went out with a friend, had a ton of laughs and then shared that with some beautiful yogis at my yoga class while we moved through a forward folding sequence releasing that anxiety onto the mat. Hope you had some fun doing the same!