Here in the Uk we’re into our second full week of country-wide lockdown, I’ve been in my house for 15 days now and the days are definitely dragging. The first week of cramming as much in as you can to keep yourself occupied is over and we’re beginning to realise that we’re in this for the long-haul. So as that first burst of productivity or anxiety (both are valid) begins to wane, how exactly do we keep ourselves going over the coming weeks/months before sweet freedom? I think I might have come up with a bit of a solution, connecting to your Chakras.
For all my yogis out there you’ll be well aware of the Chakra system, but for those of you who are less Om and more Um? Let me give you the run down on this ancient knowledge.
The Chakras are energy points within the body. Originally there were thought to be 114 (with 4 more outside the body) to represent all of the energy channels, or nadis, in the body, this was eventually shortened to just 7 that we recognise today. The chakras run in ascending order through the centre of the body, in the way that ‘prana’ (life force) energy is meant to flow.
The word Chakra means ‘wheel’ and there are debates among Chakral experts as to whether the chakras are physical points in the body or whether they are rings that encompass the subtle body in that area.
Each Chakra has corresponding colours, sounds, body parts, functions, crystals, planets and deities. Each of these things allow us to understand how to engage with the chakra, how to stimulate it and how to ensure it is working positively in our lives. In order to achieve this balance or alignment of the chakras we must work from the bottom up. As similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs you cannot reach the higher stages of spiritual fulfilment and enlightenment if you have not first taken care of the basics.
The 7 Chakras in ascending order are:
Muladhara (Root) Chakra, located at the base of the spine around the tailbone. Muladhara is concerned with keeping you grounded, safe and secure.
Svadhisthana (Sacral) Chakra, located a few inches below your belly button. Svadhisthana is your centre of creativity and sexuality.
Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra is located above the belly button, just below the ribs. Manipura is our centre of confidence, courage and personal identity.
Anahata (Heart) Chakra is located at our heart space in the middle of the chest. Our Anahata is where we show and understand love, towards others and ourselves.
Vishuddha (Throat) Chakra, right in the centre of our throats, this chakra is all about communication, speaking and listening.
Ajna (Third Eye) Chakra, located in between our eyebrows. Ajna is our intuitive hub, where spirituality and higher self understanding lie.
Sahasara (Crown) Chakra sitting on the crown of our heads, Sahasara is our spiritual connection to the greater parts of the universe and our divinity.
With the knowledge of our chakras, we can use these hubs of energy to cycle through our day in awareness of our deepest needs. We can use each of them as an element to build a daily routine which will help us to get through this difficult time in a way which develops our connection to ourselves and our inner needs.
By identifying the need of each chakra we can set out one activity per day which will stimulate each chakra.
Here’s how I recommend setting it out:
Muladhara = Something to ground you.
This can be an upsetting time, leaving us feeling as though the rug has been pulled out from under our feet. Grounding ourselves into the day helps us to feel safe and nurtured, which then allows us to focus on other things. Things you can do to help ground yourself include:
Eating good wholesome food (not just snacking all day because its convenient). Eat a well rounded plate of food, with enough nutrients to get you through. Shopping is tough right now and there are lots of things that are unavailable but making sure you eat more than just pasta if you can means that you’ll have enough energy to go about your day. Try and eat 3 square meals, and eat them at regular times, this helps to structure your day too, and with structure comes balance.
Sleep at the right time, it can be tempting to keep scrolling on your phone, or watch another episode of that show you’re binging because you don’t really have to get up in the morning (or maybe not as early as you would usually) but a good sleeping pattern will really help you to maintain some normality and help you feel better the next day.
Get some fresh air, we’re allowed one hour of exercise outside for a reason, it’s good for us, use it if you can. And if you really can’t face going outside, open a window and sit by it, breathing in the fresh air.
Svadhisthana = Something to have fun with you
I’ve called this fun but really I mean creative, do something that allows you to get your creative juices flowing, even just for a little bit. Stimulate your brain, even if that does mean taking instagram photos or recording tiktok dances that will never be posted, it all counts and it all helps.
Why not keep a diary of your time in quarantine, reading it over in a few years time will show you just how resilient you really are. Bake some bread, do a crossword, learn to macrame, do that DIY you’ve been putting off, redesign your house in Animal Crossing for the fourth time. Allow yourself to have fun, it doesn’t have to be constant doom and gloom, you are allowed to enjoy things even when the world is afraid.
Manipura = Something to move you
Exercise releases endorphins, they make us happy and allow us to enjoy other things even more. Nearly every PT and yoga teacher is offering zoom classes right now. There are 1000s of hours of workout content for free on youtube, get up and get that body moving. And if crunches and cat-cows aren’t your thing, have a kitchen dance party while you make dinner. Clean your house top to bottom (underrated workout, I always work up a sweat) or if that’s still to much to face, its ok if all you do is get up to move from one seat to another a few times a day, the change of perspective can be good too.
Anahata = Something to love you
Self love is more important now than ever, you might not be able to be around the people who usually care for you, or they might also be struggling with this situation, and we need love now more than ever. Now is the perfect time to add in some extremely important self-care into your daily routine. Loving yourself is one of the most underrated and vital activities in the modern world, you deserve it.
Keep good hygiene. I know how tough it can be to think about these basics when everything gets a little tough. Or when you get a bit lazy. You don’t have to go anywhere, might not have to see anyone, but that doesn’t mean you should skip the shower in favour of another 20 minutes on your phone. Keeping yourself clean sets the tone for the day, even if you just put pyjamas straight back on once you wash, you’ll feel better and more clear about the day ahead. The hot water and steam is also really relaxing for the nervous system and can help to soothe away some of the anxiousness of isolation. Do your laundry, clean your teeth, WASH YOUR HANDS. And better yet, have a home spa day! Do your full routine, I’m talking exfoliate, shower, shave, tan, wash your hair, paint your nails, moisturise all over, do a face mask, light some candles and play relaxing music. Do this often.. you’ve got time. Love yourself now and reap the benefits later.
One other important aspect of self love is mental check ins, stop every once in a while and ask yourself ‘how am I doing?’ and if there’s anything you can do to help it. Even if there isn’t, being aware of your emotions is incredibly important, don’t judge yourself on it, all emotions are valid. Just be aware.
Vishuddha = Something to connect you
Distance sucks, and we’re all facing it right now. Isolation is really hard on our emotional wellbeing but in this digital age we have more tools than ever at our disposal. Don’t allow this distance to stop you from connecting with friends and family. Facetime them, have a virtual party, dinner party or date. Organise to watch the same movie all at once or play a video game together, use the powers the internet has given us to digitally step across the boundary of your front door. When you make your only very necessary (I mean it, you don’t need to go multiple times a week, do it in bulk, save lives) trips to the supermarket, smile behind your mask at everyone, talk to the person at the checkout, thank the workers and security guards. Connect to them and send them every bit of love that you can muster.
Ajna = something to grow you
I hate toxic productivity so I’m not going to tell you that you have to write a book in quarantine like Shakespeare did (Is that even proven?) BUT if you’ve done the rest of these building blocks you might stumble into a moment of motivation (like I did when I decided to write this blog, and yes it did take two weeks before it kicked in) and feel like you can achieve something, why not take the time to research a topic you’re interested in, draw up some plans for what you can do when you get out, work on your hobbies, or start a new one. Something that will help you grow your mind a little bit bigger. And if I can suggest something, grab a towel or dust off your yoga mat, roll it out and practise, put in the work now and see what you can achieve. Add a bit of spiritual practise into your days, even if it’s not something you would regularly do, pray, chant, read, we could all use a bit of help from the universe right now.
Sahasara = Something to calm you
I think this is probably the most important section I’ll present to you. This shit is tough, for everyone, and maybe it's weighing a lot on you right now, I feel you and it's understandable. It’s ok to lose your shit a bit, its ok to be a mess, this is a pandemic for gods sake, it ain’t all business as usual. But if the only thing you manage to do in a whole day is just calm your mind for five minutes, believe me that you have achieved an incredible amount in the face of what we’re dealing with and you should be so proud of yourself. But please do try even just for a moment to do something that will ease your mind.
Stay away from panic sources, if watching the news or scrolling the trends causes you to exist in a state of panic and dread, don’t look at them. Mute the tweets, turn off the TV, ask the people you know to stop talking about it and take it far out of reach. You do not need to put yourself through this in the aim of being informed. If anything dramatic changes, have someone you trust be the designated newsie, who will only tell you what you absolutely need to know. There’s a lot of biased and unresearched information out there and if it’s not serving you, let it go.
Breathe. As you read this word, take the deepest breath you’ve taken all day. Spend a few minutes every day focusing on your breath. If you have breathing techniques at your disposal, use them, and if you want some, ask me, look some up, download an app (I recommend Calm). But you do not need fancy techniques to do what your body is designed to do, just notice it, that is all that is required.
Remember that there will be normality again. With dates and times changing daily on how long we will be in this situation, it can seem like this will go on forever, but it won’t. Things may change, that is inevitable, no matter the situation, but we will return to a level of normality again. You just have to keep going until then.
With these Chakras in mind, and using a few of these tips as a guideline for a new routine, I hope you will be able to get through this time in a happier and more comfortable way. Don’t feel like you have to change everything at one, as that can also cause an upset but introduce them slowly into your routine and see how they affect your day. I’ve also created a little image you can download here to help you remember and set out your day, keep it on your phone for inspiration!
The aim is not maximum productivity, spiritual enlightenment or extreme motivation, but simply a state of ease. If the other things come to you then great, but expecting yourself to achieve the world in a time of uncertainty puts unnecessary pressure on our already fragile selves. The Chakras are just a spiritual way of noting our different needs, they represent all the things we need to keep us together, so looking at them as a way to outline your day might just help you to get through. I hope some of the ideas in this blog help you to come to terms with the situation and keep on going. But most of all I empire you to Be Kind. To others and to yourself.
I am sending you all the love and light through this tough time, and I keep my DMs, emails and comments open for you to reach out if you need. Community is vital right now and if you need one, you can be a part of mine.
I’m hoping to bring you more yoga-related content down the line as my focus shifts towards that path so please let me know if you find this valuable or interesting. Namaste.