YOGA POSES FOR THE CROWN CHAKRA
Primary Chakra - Crown
Secondary Chakra - All
Meditation is probably the most difficult aspect of Yoga. The act of pure, total meditation is considerably more challenging than doing poses. Poses are done prior to meditation to move energy through the body, release tension, and still the mind so that meditation and relaxation are more successful. However it is important to remember that meditation, like yoga poses, is a tool to be used while pursuing the yoga path, not the goal itself. The true goal of yoga is to achieve total unity of body, mind and spirit. Meditation is a step toward living in unity and harmony, not just with yourself, but with those around you as well.
Meditation is the act of stilling the mind and observing the silence. People often confuse meditation with relaxation. When you relax, your mind wanders off and thoughts trickle through, fuelled by the churning in your subconscious or by gentle images you conjure up with your imagination. During meditation, there are no thoughts, no images, no ripples on the quiet surface of the mind.
This is not impossible, but it is difficult. True meditation is definitely not something you can expect to just sit down and do at will. In fact it can take years to truly and effectively reach a pure meditative state. If you work at it consistently with an honest intention to clear the mind and not just to sit quietly and still, you will eventually achieve that pure, true meditative state. It will take time and a significant investment of time and dedication.
The first thing you need to do in the process is still your body. You probably notice, if you sit down in a supported pose either on the floor or on a chair, with your sit bones equally settled and your spine straight and tall, its tough to remain perfectly still without twitching, fidgeting, coughing, sneezing, shifting your weight around, moving your hair out of your face, or changing your position for even ten minutes. Don't ignore these things, if you get a signal from you body because you will be distracted and you will never be able to clear your mind.
Deal with the distractions before you start.
The best way to still the body and get your mind ready for meditation is to do poses. There are two good methods that will help still the symptoms as you begin working toward meditation and they are, do twenty four sun salutations either A or B in succession, or hold Downward Facing Dog for at least thirty minutes. If you do enough of these, your body will be glad to sit and be still. Your mind will usually have stilled significantly also.
Once you have successfully stilled the body, you need to still the mind. Stilling the mind is much more challenging than stilling the body, though both the sun salutations and downward dog give you a good start on clearing your mind.
First choose a comfortable seated position. Either on the floor or on a chair if you have mobility problems. The position must be seated with your back straight and no slouching. Meditation is about existing in your state of being and not drifting off somewhere. The best way to get there is to sit with good posture. Make sure you get any potential distractions out of your system before you start.
Begin stilling the mind by focusing on your breath. You can use the counted breath, to help clear your mind. It is easier at first to concentrate on the numbers when your body is still. Think only of the numbers that roll through you mind with the breath. After a while, the numbers will naturally fall away and only the breath will remain. If you find stray thoughts start creeping back in, come back to your counting and continue until the mind clears again. Over time this will evolve into meditation.
You can also try staring into something until your mind clears. Some people use a candle flame. You can set the candle at eye level or just lower and let your vision dissolve into its brightness. Most people will have a natural inclination to close their eyes. Listen to the stillness behind the eyelids. If you loose your focus, open your eyes again and stare at the flame.
You can also use a mandala as a focus point while clearing your mind. A mandala is a symbolic image representing the universe with a square of the four deities enclosed by a circle. Their primary purpose is to give your mind a productive thing to meditate on that leads it toward stillness. In the same way as the candle you may eventually feel the need to close your eyes.
You may also try combining this visual meditation, which is in one sense a form of hypnosis that programs the mind to be still, with breathing cycles. You might try doing counted breaths while staring into and through your chosen object, or begin the counted breaths when the eyelids feel ready to drop closed.
Chanting also makes a great tool for clearing away the stream of conscious thought. If you chant the same sound or mantra long enough, it will begin to fill your head and clear your mind. When the chanting stops, the silence that follows will fill you up.
The mantra must be uttered aloud. Not only does this fill your ears and thoughts with only the mantra, but it pulls the throat chakra open. Your needn't be afraid of your own voice, though many people are often timid or embarrassed at first to allow sounds to emanate from their body. Perform the mantra in a loud, clear voice. Speak with purpose. It will be more effective that way. The vocal tone should be slow and even. You cannot rush your way through a mantra set - the slower and steadier, the more effective the practice.
It is this resonating of sound that breaks up the blockages in the throat chakra and may reverberate through all the chakras, activating all the way down to the base and up to the crown. If you are very focused in your mantra, you could have your kundalini energy rise all the way up through the crown where you will be in a state of bliss or oneness. You could even chant a mantra focusing on each chakra, using the openness of the throat, to clear a path all the way up for the kundalini to travel.
There are many mantras but by far the most popular is the simple "Ohm Shanti." You simply repeat those words until your mind clears. "Ohm" or "AUM" is the sound of higher spirituality. It connects the consciousness with the divine. "Shanti" means "balance" or "harmony." Saying a mantra encourages the mind and body to let go of fears, worries, pain and stress. The mind is encouraged to stay in the moment, which will be useful when you begin to meditate.
Sun Salutation B
Sun Salutations are a very effective way to warm the body and prepare the muscles for more difficult poses. Normally you begin your yoga session with sun salutations and then go onto the poses for the chakras and finally finish with a set of sun salutations prior to meditation.
Sun Salutation B - consists of the following poses, perform them one after the other without pauses in between.
Mountain Pose - Chair Pose - Forward Bend - Half Forward Bend - Stick Pose (push up) - Cobra Pose - Downward Facing Dog - Warrior Pose 1 (right leg forward) - Stick Pose (push up) - Cobra Pose - Downward Facing Dog - Warrior Pose 1 (left leg forward) - Stick pose (push up) - Cobra Pose - Downward Facing Dog - Half Forward Bend - Forward Bend - Chair Pose and finally Mountain Pose
The act of meditation, even attempting meditation clears the crown chakra. All the other chakras usually open also, because the connection of all seven chakras creates the best environment for true meditation. Simply reaching into the crown and opening it with the intention to meditate tends to begin loosening blocked spaces in the rest of the chakra system.
Its not an easy practice, but is well worth the effort. Not only does your health begin to improve, but your relationships with others and your clarity and effectiveness in day to day tasks takes a giant leap forward when you make active meditation a part of you routine.
Sun Salutation B
Visualise the energy of the kundalini moving around and through the chakra to open and activate.
As with all things this will only come to you with practice.
As with all exercises, if you have a pose that concentrates on one side of the body don't forget to change over and do the pose on the other side of the body.