June Newsletter: Energetic Intersections Part II: Vata Dosha & the Chakras of the Hips
Greetings and Namaste friends,
Summer is quickly approaching! This celestial shift brings nature--and us humans--into the transition of vata dosha moving us to the pitta season. As the weather gets hotter here in Tennessee, make sure to stay hydrated and try waking up a little earlier to enjoy the cooler morning hours--I enjoy an invigorating 45-minute walk before breakfast to stimulate the body & mind.
Last month we dove into exploring the energetic intersection of the doshas, the chakras and the endocrine system. This month we'll deepen our understanding of specific dosha-chakra-edocrine system relationships, starting with the relationship of Vata dosha, the root chakra and the sacral/ reproductive chakra.
Vata dosha, aka "the Master dosha," is primarily located in the hip space. Its primary organs are the colon, the kidneys and the bladder. Vata muscular-skeletal region is the lumbar & sacroiliac region, the ilium, sit bones, pubic bones the pelvic floor, the upper thighs and groin. Here in the hips space of Vata dosha, its foundational movement is a downward and outward energetic flow, called "Apana Vayu," and links to the physiological functions of excreting bodily waste (feces & urine), menstruation and child birth for women, and ejaculation for men.
Also within this hip space are the first two chakras: The root chakra is called "Muladhara," which humbly translates to "root," and is located at the base of the tailbone near the perineum. The sacral chakra is called "Swadhishthana," which means "self-abode," and is located near the sacrum and sex organs. Muladhara chakra is connected to the element of earth, the nose and the anus through the sense of smell; Swadhishthana chakra is connected to the element of water, the tongue and the genitals through the sense of taste.
In addition, each of these chakras are connected to specific endocrine glands. There are common variations in these two chakras with respects to which glands are connected to them depending on the teacher, but its always the same two glands: Both Muladhara and Swadhishthana chakra are linked to either the adrenal glands or the ovaries/testes. I'm going to present what I have learned from my teacher Mas Vidal, which aligns Muladhara chakra with the ovaries/ testes and Swadhishthana chakra with the adrenal gland.
"In the ordinary person, these [chakra] psychic centers are latent or blocked, working under reduced fuctioning," says Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar, "The result is that our inner energies do not flow freely and our life force and will power cannot ascend to higher levels of consciousness."
These first two chakras are grouped together with the third solar plexus chakra as the "lower chakras," and are connected to baseline survival urges: food, sex, sleep and domination. According to Dr. Vasant Lad, "The root chakra holds every experience related to the person's survival and position, the second [chaka] carries information about procreation and prestige." So, in other words, Muladhara chakra governs the sensation of feeling grounded/ safe and having a sense of stability; whereas Swadhishthana chakra connects to self-identity/ego and creative/ sexual energy.
When one's inner earth element is disturbed, it closes Muladhara chakra, which in turns creates fear, ignorance and instability/ flightiness in a person's emotional body. When the water element is disturbed, Swadhishthana chakra is blocked, causing attachments, egoism and emotionality. "When the mind is working through the root chakra, the mind will work for survival, food and position," says Dr. Lad. " When the mind is working though the second chakra, it is concerned with self-identity and procreation."
However, by cultivating positive earth and water element though observing the right food choices and lifestyle habits, self-care rituals and yoga practices, we start to balance and open these two lower chakras, which creates a feeling of inner peace, fearlessness, stability, receptivity, curiosity and devotion. "The dharmic values and practices of a Vedic lifestyle provide the foundation in our behavior for this to occur in a harmonious manner," says Dr. Frawley.
These positive chakra emotions are expressions of "Sattva guna," a naturally harmonious quality that pacifies all the doshas when aggravated. When Vata dosha is balanced and "sattvic," it's psychologically expressed through a positive spirit that is adaptable, enthusiastic, expressive, flexible, humanistic, perceptive present and proactive.
In addition, having a healthy relationship with earth and water elements balances the energy Apana Vayu, which is the downward and outward foundational movement of Vata dosha. What does this mean? This means that the physiological qualities of vata are balanced which also includes healthy functioning of the sex glands (ovaries/ testes) and the adrenal gland. Read more about functions of these endocrine glands and more in the Merck Manual & Endocrine Web
So, now that you have this conceptual information, how do you put it into practice? How can you start incorporating more sattva guna into your life and cultivate harmonious vata dosha in your body, mind and soul? You don't have to look further than your own nose! Aromatherapy is an easy tool you can use to help unblock your chakras and balance the doshas. An essential oil diffuser is the perfect tool to keep your home smelling sattvic. Plus, you can use aromatherapy on the go in the form of essential oils and misting waters--perfect for when you are traveling or at work.
Another important component vital to you hip health is your sexual health! For us "householders," a healthy sex life is a critical component to your overall health and well-being. In ayurveda, a sexual health and well being is unique to each individual and doesn't observe a one-size-fits-all approach to intimacy. That being said, unless you are observing the yogic practice of Bhramacharya (sexual continence) for higher spiritual development, ayurvedic wisdom suggests that a healthy sex drive should be mild yet regular and easy to satisfy. The frequency will range depending on your unique constitution with vata individuals having the subtlest libido and kapha folks having a strong sex drive. If you're unsure about how to initiate a relationship with the energy of your hips, a great way to start exploring and developing your hip awareness is through dancing, practicing Buti yoga or Kundalini yoga.
Next month we'll explore pitta dosha and manipura chakra, so stay tuned! If you have any questions about where to purchase essential oils, what essential oils are best for balancing vata dosha, Muladhara chakra or Swadhishthana chakra please email me. In addition, if you'd like to schedule a private yoga session or ayurvedic wellness consultation please click here.
This summer I'll be leading a 5-part series learning how to balance the doshas and unblock the chakras using the Ayurvedic principles of yoga therapy. This series runs July 28 to August 25 and meets on Sundays 1-3:30pm at Liberation Yoga on 12th Ave S in Nashville. Click here to learn more and pre-register online!
"Sex is always about emotions. Good sex is about free emotions; bad sex is about blocked emotions."