Welcome Back to the Running Mind Blog!
I hope everyone is enjoying the (almost) summer and finding great ways to quiet their busy brains. I am finally settled in my new city and have been observing my adjustment the past few weeks. I realized last week that the sense of community brings me so much joy and I wanted to share it. I love being a part of the community, even in small ways. We have a massive, beautiful cathedral on our street and I have befriended the nuns because they are my neighbors. We chat about the neighborhood action and they adore my four month-old puppy. My puppy goes everywhere with me, which has probably helped us make friends, but either way we have a new routine where we visit our favorite: coffee shop, dog store, dog park, and farmers market, and I chat with the regulars there. When we finish our neighborhood rounds, I feel a real sense of belongingness and joy. I think community involvement can be so helpful for anxiety, too. It’s much harder to focus on your running thoughts when you are busy engaging in a community. I think that is also part of the reason volunteering makes us feel so good!
Speaking of belongingness, lets talk about the root chakra this month :). I mentioned that I will be focusing on one chakra each month, and how to balance it. The root chakra goes along with the idea of community and feeling loved and stable. In case you haven’t read my previous post, the chakra system is a holistic paradigm that focuses on different energy centers in the body and how they affect each and every part of the body and mind. See my previous post for more info!
The root chakra is the first of seven chakras and is located at the base of the spine. It is associated with the color red and the element earth. When this chakra is balanced, one feels loved by family and friends and has healthy relationships. They are grounded in their community and in the rest of society. When unbalanced, physical symptoms may include constipation or back pain (among many others). When someone has an unbalanced root chakra, they may not feel grounded in their life and community. They may also experience depression and anxiety as a result.
Root Chakra Balancing Exercise:
Take a moment and stand tall on a yoga mat or the floor. Have your feet hip width apart and arms down by your sides. Maintain good, strong posture, and feel your feet rooting into the floor beneath you. Imagine that roots are connecting you from your feet, to the earth. Notice how you feel in this pose, strong an stable? Maybe, some emotions arise. Continue rooting into the floor and breathing deeply. Repeat this exercise once a day, preferably in the morning. You can also spice it up and stand in a tree pose while doing this exercise, placing the right leg on the inside of the left leg and raising your hands up above you like tree branches. This is helpful for some people to feel the earthy element.
You can also balance your root chakra during meditation by breathing into the area around the base of the spine and maybe doing some affirmations or chants related to stability and rootedness. The chant sound for the first chakra is “LAM.” See all seven chants and how they help clear the chakras by clicking the following link: Chakra Chants
Balancing the root chakra is also a great way to start and end each day, feeling balanced and stable. The chakras are the healthiest when they are all being balanced, however. Stay tuned for next month’s chakra, the sacral chakra.
For the next few weeks, try to notice how you fit in in your community and be mindful of how it makes you feel. Maybe getting more involved will also bring you a sense of peace and joy!