From the Outside In: Using Outdoor Spaces to Heal Chakras 1-3
Until 2016, the word “chakra,” meant little to me. Well, if I am honest it meant nothing. I had heard about the chakra system, but only associated it with the pretty pictures I would see on Instagram and other social media sites. I thought maybe it had something to do with acupuncture or pressure points (but honestly, I had no clue). It wasn’t until February 2, 2016 that my eyes were opened to the healing properties and realities of chakra alignment. It was my birthday and as a gift Michelle sent me to a reiki healing session. Reiki is a healing modality that works intimately with the chakra system. My life was forever changed after that session and I become so interested in the experience that I became a reiki master myself. Want to know what I learned? Of course, you do. Keep reading!
The chakra system is composed of seven energy centers throughout the body. Each of these energy centers is associated with mental, psychological, emotional, and physical qualities/occurrences. The study of 7 chakras originates in Eastern spiritual traditions that consider the seven primary chakras (root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, and crown), the basis of our human existence. Similarly, today’s Western approaches place an emphasis on the seven chakras as representations of distinct aspects of our life and describe their function in various terms encompassing the psychological, physical, energetic and spiritual.
I hope that’s not too convoluted. It if is, just think of it like this. Our body is energy and different spaces in our body facilitate different physical and psychological functions in our body. For example, heart energy does heart stuff and mind energy does heart stuff. The chakra system is just an advanced (mildly spiritual) way to keep track of, and balance all of that. I became interested in studying the chakra system for much the same reason as I have studied anything else. I like to learn—especially about myself. Once I began to deepen my study into the chakra system, I almost immediately began to see synergies between the healing tenets of chakra and outdoor activity. So much so that I began to infuse outdoor activity as a therapeutic asset to my reiki and one-on-one clients. The two go hand in hand is here’s why. Chakra blockages occur when energy becomes stagnant and unable to move throughout the body. Outdoor spaces are natural energy filters and rejuvenators. In fact, being outdoors is one of the easiest ways to help oneself feel grounded and in flow. Plus, each of the chakra is associated with an outdoor element. Because of that there are few simple ways that you can use outdoor spaces to help balance your chakra system. As stated above, there are 7 chakras, each with a different physical and psychological function. Take a look at the chart below for a snapshot of the location and purpose of the 7 primary chakras.
Ok, so that was a lot of information, right? I know, and it may have even seemed a little scientific, but trust me outdoor chakra healing is about as practical as it can be, plus it can be a means to deepen your personal relationship with outdoor spaces, and with yourself. Let me explain. Fear of the unknown is a huge deterrent for women in outdoor spaces. We don’t go outside because we are afraid of what’s out there and what it might do to us. And when I say “it” I don’t just mean animals and creepy crawlies, I also mean elements like water, and dirt. I’ll be honest, for the longest time, I was completely uncomfortable with dirt trails, because I didn’t like mud. The idea that there would be mud on the trail would literally make my toes itch. After studying chakras however, I felt a strange draw to earth. To be clear, I am still not a fan of mud. However, at our last mountaintop yoga experience, I couldn’t wait to remove my shoes and stand barefoot on the stone mountain. Doing so made me feel connected, strong, and in control. It was beyond liberating. Below you will find 3 outdoor chakra healing methods, each of which will help you get better acquainted with not just yourself, but with elements within outdoor spaces. I think you will find that employing these methods will change your relationship with your inner and outer environment.
In my study and practice, I have found that for women, the first three chakras, the one’s that deal primarily with the body, security and sexuality are most frequently blocked. Because of that, I want to focus the rest of this blog on addressing blockages in the first 3 chakras, and how outdoor elements can help heal them.
Chakra 1: Root:
The Root Chakra represents our connection to the earth, material reality, survival, physical strength, vitality, and sexuality. When the Root Chakra is spinning properly, we feel centered, grounded, healthy, fully alive, unlimited physical energy, the ability to manifest abundance, and self-mastery. When deficient we feel, lack of confidence, ungrounded, weak, self-destructive, unloved, abandoned, and as if we cannot achieve our goals.
Symptoms of Block: Constipation, fatigue, feeling unsafe
Since the Root Chakra is all about safety, security and foundation, outdoor spaces offer significant benefits to those who are experiencing blockages. Why? Because the ground/earth is the consummate foundation. If you feel any of the above symptoms. It can be helpful to go outside, remove your shoes and stand barefoot either in grass or on dirt. If possible try to avoid man made surfaces like asphalt or concrete. You want to stand firm in something that represents life and growth. Do this for a period of 1-3 minutes, while repeating and reminding yourself that you are secure and grounded. Also, remember to stand and not sit during this exercise. This way you feel rooted in your body as you feel supported by the earth beneath your feet.
Chakra 2: Sacral:
The Sacral Chakra represents our sexual connection to the physical body. It governs creativity, sexuality, the sexual and eliminative organs, as well as, the emotions, passion, feelings, and imagination. When the Sacral Chakra is spinning properly, we feel friendly, optimistic, concerned for others, a sense of belonging, creative, imaginative, intuitive, attuned to your own feelings, and have a healthy sense of humor. When it’s deficient, we feel shy, timid, immobilized by fear, overly sensitive, resentful burdened by guilt, distrustful, clingy, and guilty about sex.
Symptoms of Block: Painful periods, infertility, low sex drive, lack of creativity
TAKE A DIP
Our Sacral Chakra is chiefly concerned with creativity and reproduction so water is an essential element for the sacral chakra. Since the sacral chakra’s element is water, getting outside and relaxing near open water can help open your second chakra. Lakes, rivers, streams or the ocean are all useful. If possible, wade in or dangle your feet in the water to help the energy flow. As you allow the water to touch your skin, think about the creative properties of both water and your human body. Silently remind yourself that your living breathing evidence of your innate ability to create. You are a creator.
Chakra 3: Solar Plexus
The Solar Plexus Chakra relates to personal power, individual expression, the ability to ‘digest life’. It also governs the self-image and other feelings affecting self-esteem. When the Solar Plexus Chakra is balanced we feel, outgoing, cheerful, self-respect, respect for others, and a keen sense of personal power. We also feel skillful, intelligent, relaxed, and able to take on new challenges. When it’s deficient, we feel depressed, lack of confidence, excessive worry about what others think, and confused. We may also feel afraid of being alone, need constant reassurance, and be jealous/ distrustful.
Symptoms of Block: Low self-esteem, lack of willpower, poor digestion
GO SOAK UP THE SUN
The Solar Plexus color is bright yellow and its element is fire. I think we both know of something yellow and hot that lives outside, right? You guessed it. The sun. You may not know this, but it’s now been scientifically proven that being outside between the hours of 10-2 (when the sun is highest in the sky and Vitamin D is most plentiful), can be very beneficial to mental and emotional health. Well it can also be beneficial to healing the Solar Plexus Chakra. Sun meditation specifically can add significant value to a blocked Solar Plexus. I recommend you go outside between the hours of 10-2, sit cross-legged on a rock, dirt, or grassy surface and spend 5-10 minutes quietly contemplating the affirmation, “I am powerful.” Allow your body to relax into the earth, while the sun literally and figuratively warms and revitalizes your body.
In part 2 of this blog, I will cover the next 4 chakras. In the meantime, try some of these techniques and let us know how they work!