Dragonfly Ayurveda and Yoga, LLC
In this blog we will cover:
According to the American Chiropractic Association approximately 80% of the population suffer from some form of back pain. Back pain is also the 3rdmost common reason for visits to the Drs. Office. A study of 5,000 patients with lower back pain revealed that only 20% had some underlying structural problem such as damaged vertebrae, herniated disc (that was pressing on a nerve), or arthritis. The remaining 80% were diagnosed as being caused by inelastic (too tight) and/or weak muscles…and the ancient sciences of Ayurveda and yoga believes that there is even more to this…a possible energetic blockage of the 7 energies of the body.
There are many reasons for back pain. One reason that you may have never thought of is an energy blockage. Have you ever considered that your back pain might be caused by this? With approximately 80% of all people suffering with back pain, this is an expanding cultural issue that prevents many from living an optimal life. Back pain can keep us from living the way we were meant to live. It prevents us from doing the things we love to do. Not doing what we love to do affects our level of happiness.
If you suffer from back pain and know the root cause of it, you may still have an energetic blockage in one of the 7 energetic systems located in the body. You may have experienced a severe injury, surgery, degeneration, sprain, strain, bulging disc or idiopathic (unknown) back pain that cannot be discovered through allopathic diagnostic testing. If you suffer from any of the above, then you might consider looking at the 7 energetic systems of the body called the Chakras.
The seven chakras are the centers in our bodies in which energy flows through.
Blocked energy in our seven chakras can often lead to illness and pain, so it's important to understand what each chakra represents and what we can do to keep this energy flowing freely. Here's our quick summary:
There are many emotional and physical signs and symptoms of chakra blockages such as anxiety, anger, codependency, conflict, asthma, allergies, cancer, digestive issues etc. For the sake of this article/blog I will focus on the back symptoms of chakra blockages. Back pain in any area of the back – upper back, middle back, or lower back- that hasn’t been caused by physical trauma or repetitive physical stress may be saying something about the chakra health. Even if you have had an injury to the back you may have a chakra blockage if you continue to have pain. Pain can range from a dull chronic ache that keeps the back tight to sharp acute pain that limits range of motion. Let’s break this down to specific chakras and symptoms.
Chakras affected: Throat (Vishnu) and/or heart (Anahata).
Sometimes when we are not speaking our truth or when we are experiencing heartbreak, a threat to self-love, or difficulty in relationships with others, the resulting tension can actually manifest physically as tension or pain in the upper back. We may also be feeling unsupported, unloved, or that we are holding back love.
Chakras affected: Heart (Anahata) and/or solar Plexus (Manipura).
When we have issues around love, feeling loved, holding onto past hurts, or feeling challenged in our power, or feeling like we have no control and self-confidence, we may experience tension or pain in the middle back. Sometimes this happens because we are stuck in those past feelings and may feel racked with a sense of guilt over what we have done or said to create a negative or stressful situation.
Chakras affected: sacral plexus-(vadisthana) and/or root (muladhara).
When we are feeling challenged in our abundance and lacking, relationships, creative expression; holding back emotions or simply not processing them; having issues around survival and obtaining the basic necessities, we may suffer tension and pain in the lower back. We may especially have back pain (not due to trauma) when we feel financially unsupported.
Blockage in the lower three chakras are the most common. Blockages in these three chakras keeps us in our primal state and prevents us from moving upwards toward spiritual growth and relationship with our higher power. So, in essence, we are blocking our personal growth and fulfillment. In Ayurveda, we believe we must “feed” all three bodies, with the three bodies being the physical body, mind and spirit. I will expound more on this at the end of the blog. If we are lacking in one of these areas then we will never live an optimal, healthy life.
In looking at the chakra blockages we will start from the root (Muladhara) chakra up to the Throat (Vishnu) chakra.
Meditation and visualization: While sitting comfortably imagine a red sphere of light in the tailbone and pubic area pulsing and growing larger. Men should visualize the energy sphere moving in a clockwise position and women should imagine the energy sphere moving counterclockwise.
Mantra: I have all I need. LAM is the ‘bija’ sound also known as the vibration sound for this chakra. Repeat silently to yourself during meditation.
Crystals: Ruby, garnet, black tourmaline, bloodstone, hematite, obsidian, red jasper. Wear these stones on your body or hold during meditation.
Essential Oils: Myrrh, vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, and spikenard are the essential oils that correspond with the root chakra. Dispense in oil diffuser anytime and inhale during meditation or yoga practice.
Yoga: Think asanas (postures) with stability and support. Standing balancing poses like warrior 1 & 2, tree pose and chair pose. Seated postures such as forward bends and child’s pose.
Other tips: Eat root vegetables and spend time in nature.
Meditation and visualization: While sitting comfortably focus on just below the navel and internally. Imagine an orange sphere of energetic light in this area. Men visualize the energy moving counterclockwise and women visualize this energy moving clockwise. Visualize this energy growing and moving upwards under the rib cage and growing outside the body and illuminating around your midsection.
Mantra: I am creative and nourished. VAM is the ‘bija’ sound or vibrational sound for this chakra. Say the mantra and the bija sound repeatedly to yourself while meditation on the visualization of this chakra.
Crystals: Carnelian, amber, moonstone, coral, orange tourmaline, sunstone. Wear any of these stones on the body and/or sit with them during meditation
Essential Oils: Ylang Ylang, lemon, patchouli, rosewood, and sandalwood – inhale and/or diffuse any one of these or combination in an oil diffuser.
Yoga: Child’s pose, happy baby, downward facing dog, bound angle and wide-angle forward folds. Any hip opener postures.
Other tips: Dance, journal, write – any form of creativity including play.
Meditation: While sitting comfortably take three slow deep full breaths. Visualize a sphere of yellow energy just beneath the ribs. For men visualize this energy moving in a clockwise direction, for women imagine it moving in a counterclockwise direction. As you breathe deep and full imagine this energy growing bigger filling the whole area beneath the ribs and moving upwards towards the heart.
Mantra: The Divine guides and supports me in everything I do. The ‘bija’ or vibrational sound is VAM. Repeat this silently during meditation.
Crystals: Yellow citrine, amber, yellow topaz, yellow tiger’s eye, yellow agate. Hold during meditation or wear on body.
Essential oils: Lemon, lavender, chamomile, rosewood and rosemary. Inhale any combination and/or diffuse in oil diffuser.
Yoga: Cat/cow, sun salutations, and boat pose.
Other tips: Wear yellow clothing. Create healthy boundaries with anyone in your life with whom you feel taken advantage of. Try something new and get out of your comfort zone.
Meditation: Sit or lie down comfortably. Take three slow breaths. Notice any tension in the chest cavity. Become keenly aware of the breath moving in and out of the body. Visualize a sphere of energy in the center of the chest. The color of this energy is green. Men visualize this energy moving counterclockwise and women visualize this energy moving clockwise. You can place you right hand on your heart if you wish. Imagine this energy growing larger and larger radiating outside of the body and moving upward into the throat area.
Mantra: I am unconditionally loved therefore I love unconditionally. The ‘bija’ vibrational sound is YAM. Repeat this silently to yourself throughout meditation.
Crystals: Rose quartz, emerald, green tourmaline, jade, green calcite, peridot. Wear on body or hold during meditation.
Essential Oils: Rose, geranium, neroli, palmarosa, bergamot, lavender, ylang ylang. Inhale deeply any one or combination of these or diffuse in essential oil diffuser.
Yoga: Backbends, camel, seated spinal twists and or eagle pose.
Other tips: Drink rose tea. Practice forgiveness of yourself and others.
Meditation: Sit or lie down comfortably and take three slow, deep breaths. Each time you inhale imagine that you are energizing a blue sphere of energy located in your throat and every time you exhale imagine that you let go of any restrictions being held in that area. Men should visualize this energy in the throat moving clockwise and women in a counterclockwise.
Mantra: “I speak my truth”. The bija sound is HAM. Repeat this silently to yourself during meditation.
Crystals: Turquoise, blue kyanite, aquamarine, celestite, iolite, sodalite, and lapis. Wear anyone of these stones or hold during meditation.
Essential Oils: Lavender, rosemary, frankincense, German chamomile, and hyssop. Inhale or diffuse in essential oil diffuser.
Yoga: Warrior 2, camel, bridge, triangle, extended side angle, shoulder stand and plow pose.
Other tips: Wear the color light blue. Drink teas that soothe the throat like peppermint (if vata or kapha dosha) and spearmint (if pitta dosha), and slippery elm.
As I mentioned earlier in this blog, in Ayurveda we believe in feeding the three bodies. This means physical body, mind and spirit. Feeding these three bodies will keep our chakras open and enable us to live a life of purpose. The life we were created to live. So how do we do this? Every day make sure you feed your body well with wholesome foods according to your doshic constitute (blueprint), exercise, keep it clean and drink plenty of water. For the mind we must do things that bring us happiness in the creative realm such as dancing, painting, writing, reading. For the spirit we must ensure we are spending time each day connecting with our higher power. This can be done by attending church or synogogue, prayer, meditation and reading of spiritual literature and spending time in nature. If our chakras are healed and we feed the three bodies, then we should be living a healthy life. A life of purpose. The life we were created to live.
There are numerous reasons why you might be experiencing back pain. It can be very simple things such as you have a weak core, and you need to tighten up the abdominal muscles. It could be that your hips are tight, and you need to stretch the psoas muscle. If you suffer from sciatica examine how you are sleeping. One of the most common reasons for sciatica is sleeping on your side with your knee bent. If you suffer from sciatica and sleep this way try placing a pillow under the bent knee. This keeps the knee from crossing the midline of the body and will prevent overstretching of the hip muscle that can cause impingement of the sciatic nerve. Examine the shoes that you wear. Many times, our shoes are causing our hips to tilt unnaturally forward or backward, and this will cause back pain. If you practice yoga and do standing forward folds, then make sure you engage your uddiyana bandha (lower belly) and your glute muscles and with a flat, strong back, come to an upright standing position. Many times, in yoga I have seen people use their low backs and rounding their backs to come up from a forward bend and this will most likely always cause back pain. If you happen to be one who does this don’t worry, I did it for years before I discovered this little ergonomic secret. It is a very common mistake a lot of yogis make. To correct, simply engage lower belly and glutes and come up with a strong, flat back from forward fold to standing. It’s a yoga game changer! Most importantly, make sure you practice with a qualified yoga instructor that knows your issues and how to accommodate the practice to fit your needs and not the ‘mythical ideal’.
Main takeaway. Don’t give up. We were not meant to live in pain. Keep searching. Keep moving. Ask God or the Divine for answers. Trust that they will be revealed to you.
In the meantime, keep those chakras moving!
Annette Broy, RN, CCM, E-RYT500, C-IAYT, CAP
If you would like to know more about back pain and how you can use yoga and yoga therapy methods to address your needs to diminish and possibly eliminate back pain then my ‘Yoga Therapy for Back Pain’ online course might be just what you are looking for. Click HERE for more information on this life changing course.
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