On this last quarter moon and as this decade comes to a close.. change is in the air for many of us. In a previous post, I explained how understanding prana vayu can help us to reclaim our vital energy, especially during the vata season. Now that we are at the heart of this season of transience and movement, it becomes ever more relevant and necessary to bring our focus also to apana vayu, the downward moving vayu, that helps us to let go, to ground and to nourish as well as to find balance and stability.
The apana vayu is connected with the element of earth and is the energy of the Muladhara Chakra and is located at the core of the pelvis. It is active in both the pelvic and lower abdominal areas, influencing digestion, reproduction and elimination. apana vayu works together with prana vayu. They are considered the two most important of the vayus. Prana vayu as described in my previous post Reclaiming Our Vital Energy, is the inward-moving vital energy that allows us to receive and draw in. Apana vayu is the downward energy that governs elimination and allows us to remove waste (from the genitals, lower intestine, colon, rectum, kidneys and bladder).
This downward flow of energy not only serves to eliminate waste matter from our physical body but also negative and toxic thoughts and emotions from our mental and emotional bodies. So much of our lives we spend with our attention drawn outward, overstimulated, and distracted, our energy is dispersed and depleted. Prana vayu allows us to draw that energy back in and to receive, apana vayu allows us to release and let go of the grasping or holding of anything that is not serving us.
As we are at the last quarter moon, the moon's releasing energy has reached its peak and so it is now a perfect time for practicing "letting go." This can be giving up bad habits, removing yourself from unhealthy situations, communicating boundaries, ending toxic relationships or releasing and unburdening yourself from feelings and emotions of regret, anger and guilt. Now is a particularly potent time to communicate honestly (with yourself as well as others), to apologize and to forgive.
When we can let go of what no longer serves us, we make space for new and more positive things, people and experiences to enter our lives.
“To return to the root is to find peace.
To find peace is to fulfill one’s destiny.”
Tao Te Ching
NOURISHING OUR ROOTS
By letting go and feeling deeply this downward flow of energy, we naturally return to our root system. Muladhara Chakra or the Root Chakra governs our sense of safety, stability, security and self preservation. When off balance or blocked by fear, we feel low of energy, alienated, unsettled and easily angered. When in balance we feel secure, stable, full of health, energy and vitality. Muladhara is located at the base of the spine. The corresponding body locations are the perineum, along the first three vertebrae, at the pelvic plexus. The energy center also encompasses the lower back, pelvis, hips, knees, feet, toes and legs.
We can bring balance and healing to this Chakra by investigating and focusing our energy on strengthening relationships with our family, friends and community that hold and support us. Creating healthy boundaries at work and in relationships is also important to create a sense of stability in our lives. In addition, food and finances help us to feel nourished and safe, so having healthy relationships with both of these, is essential. We can also work physically to balance the body with standing postures focusing on the alignment and foundation of our feet and pelvis.
"Generating stability and support through the bones and connective tissues of the feet can help regulate the nervous system, increase circulation, and improve respiration. The earthward rooting of the foundation of the body can help bring composure in the face of difficulty, whether it is a fragmented family, a health crisis, a failing marriage, or a precarious economy.
To this end, standing poses in yoga help to build endurance, steadiness, and resolve."
SIMPLE AND EFFECTIVE WAYS TO GROUND AND NOURISH
Hugs - Hug yourself, hug a loved one, hug a pet, or hug a tree! Being fully in your body, receiving the gift of touch from another, is incredibly grounding and nourishing!
Deep Breaths - With each inhale, focus on what you'd like to welcome into your body and into your life, with each exhale feel yourself releasing and letting go of any stress, tension, negative thoughts or emotions.
Long Walks in Nature - Time away from the cell phone, the computer or the tv, to venture outside either alone or friends and family for long walks, helps us to reconnect with what is most important and to gather the profound wisdom that is offered to us from mother nature. Try a meditative approach to your walk; allow your mind to settle and focus on your breath and the sensations through your feet and legs as you go. Walking mindfully will leave you both calm and energized.
Restorative Yoga with Sandbags - My favorite restorative yoga posture for grounding is Balasana (child's pose). You can support yourself with blocks, bolsters and blankets and place a sandbag over your sacrum for additional grounding and sense of security. There is a wonderful article here from Yoga International detailing how to use sandbags in restorative yoga practice.
Root Vegetables - Roasted with olive oil or steamed and blended into a soup, seasonal root vegetables are especially warming, nourishing and grounding at this time of year.
Aromatherapy - Smell is the sense associated with the Root Chakra. Our sense of smell links to the deepest parts of the brain, which governs our basic instincts, thoughts, memories and emotions. Aromatherapy oils use the natural healing properties of plants and herbs to instantly soothe and calm the mind and the nervous system.
MY GIFT TO YOU
You are all part of the community that surrounds and supports me on a daily basis (whether from a distance or in person). It has been a true honor and pleasure to know each one of you and to have met you somewhere on this journey. Especially recently, through this last month's challenges, many of you have reached out and offered kind words and showed your deep care with heart-felt gestures. You have all nourished, supported and been a mirror to me on my own path. I want to thank you and to share with you something that has helped me immensely in times of great change.
EU NOIA is an ancient Greek word, meaning a "well mind" or "beautiful thinking." It is also the brand name of my dear friend Jann Wong's aromatherapy line. She has created a range of products using eight key blends, each with a specific purpose. My two favorite blends which I use regularly with my private clients are PUKAKI | Distress and TEKAPO | Deep Sleep. Jann named her blends after locations in her native home, New Zealand, as a reference to the healing qualities of the natural landscape. Her pure essential oils are all organic and imported from New Zealand. The soothing properties of her products are potent. I believe the secret to her success with her product line (as well as her holistic wellness space in Shanghai's Former French Concession) is the inspiration and the pure intention behind what she does.
More than just a brand, Eu Noia aims to heal others and herself.
"It’s a tribute to my parents, first and foremost.
Both my parents passed away from cancer within 11 months of each other. And in the back of my mind, I always wanted to create something with meaning for them. In 2016, I was at a stage in my life where my work no longer felt fulfilling. The general environment, air pollution, and the community I surrounded myself with in Shanghai was deeply affecting me.
I went back to New Zealand for a trip and I remember one day, I was rummaging through my mom and dad’s belongings, and found a bar of soap made of lavender essential oil and Manuka honey that my mom had purchased a week before she passed away. She was frail and terminally ill with cancer, and I could vividly remember her struggling to get the money out of her purse to pay for it. The hospice nurses had suggested the use of essential oils to relieve her symptoms and provide comfort since a cure was no longer possible.
I took it up as a sign that this bar of soap should turn up years later.
It felt like a story was slowly unfolding and linking up in my head."
You can read more about Jann's story "Healing Through Aromatherapy" here.
Photos courtesy of EU NOIA and OKRA Handmade
For a chance to experience Jann's unique and magical aromatherapy blends,
tell me your most grounding and nourishing RIGPA ARTS experience.
It could be an experience from a private Reiki or yoga session, a yoga with live music offering, a workshop or a retreat. I'd love to receive your feedback and know what has helped you along your journey.
Leave a comment below or submit a testimonial to:
2 winners will be selected and gifted a 10ml bottle EU NOIA's pure essential oil
and a wooden aromatherapy oil diffuser
I will collect submissions until December 31st 2019 and I will announce the winners on January 1st 2020.
Thank you all for your continued engagement and support.
I wish you a restful and restorative holiday season.