With brightly colored Gothic and Renaissance architectural elements from on floating marble palaces and a history of important symphonic and operatic music, the glories of the past are evident around every turn.
Venice, one of the most unique and lovely places in the world is also voted by Travel and Leisure, UCity Guide and countless other sources as the most romantic city in the world, receiving over 12 million visitors a year. The main draws are its beautiful architecture, numerous art collections and important historical landmarks.
Venice has been known as "City of Water", "City of Bridges", and "The Floating City."
Because Venice is on a lagoon, the water plays a crucial role in transportation. It is especially unique because it has no roads. Venice is a city of 117 small islands, separated by over 150 canals and linked by nearly 400 bridges, it was enhanced during the Middle Ages by the dredging of soils to raise the marshy ground above the tides (wood pylons, rammed through the silt into the clay lagoon floor).
The resulting canals encouraged the flourishing of a nautical culture which proved central to the economy of the city. By 1300, Venice was the wealthiest city on the European continent, with valuable trading privileges with the Byzantines, as printing capital of the world.
This sanctuary on a lagoon is virtually the same as it was six hundred years ago, which adds to the fascinating character. Today those canals still provide the transport of goods and people within the city.
In the ancient Sanskrit language Water is known as Ap. The Element of Water, as a part of The 5 Great Elements, represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world, and everything that is liquid. Water forms saliva and sweat, as well as urine, semen, blood (these liquid producing organs can be found in your sacral region).
Water can be associated with emotion, adaptability, flexibility, suppleness, and magnetism.
Water is also associated with our second chakra, the Sacral Chakra, Svadhisthana.
Being 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. Taking a bath or a shower can also contribute to balancing your chakra while providing the relaxation needed to keep your emotions flowing.
The Sacral Chakra is a universal symbol for the soul and the area where new life is generated.
Because the Second Chakra of water is the center of feeling, emotion, pleasure, sensuality, intimacy, and connection, I find it to be a fascinating connection that the "City of Water" is also the "Most Romantic City in the World!
Travel and Leisure states, “What can be more romantic than a gondola ride down a canal, or a walk over narrow bridges, getting lost through narrow lanes, and ending up at monumental squares? If you're not yet in love, you will be.”
Romantic ideas are marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized with an emphasis on individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature. According Urban Dictionary, romantics love nature, old things like castles and churches, poetry and beauty, and have a tendency to get carried away by ideas. The weather and colors and beautiful things make them act differently than others.
The entire city of Venice is one work of historic art with mysteries, adventures, and stories told in every piece of breathtaking architecture and fairy tale canal. You can sit in St. Marks Square as “small orchestras play an evening waltz,” suggesting an idealized view of reality, and relating to love and connection in intimate relationships.
The term Casanova originated from a Venetian’s autobiography. The modern definition of a casanova is a man who is seduces or attempts to seduce women as a matter of habit, who is passionate about women and has many lovers. This behavior can be known as romantic, but it's also missing the mark and beauty of a sacred intimate connection.
Story of My Life, by Giacomo Casanova, is an 18th century book by this Venetian merchant-traveler. His autobiography journals many adventures that center around Venice. From GoodReads, “Seducer… poet, self-made gentleman, bon vivant, Giacomo Casanova was not only the most notorious lover of the Western world, but a supreme story teller. He lived a life stranger than most fictions, and the tale of his own adventures is his most compelling story, and one that remained unfinished at the time of his death. This selection contains all the highlights of Casanova's life: his youth in Venice as a precocious ecclesiastic; his dabbling in the occult; his imprisonment and thrilling escape; and his amorous conquests, ranging from noblewomen to nuns.”
Photo Credit: Pinterest
Do you have to be in love with someone to feel romance?
In my opinion, no. My visit to Venice was solo. I embraced this experience of passion, adventure, and inspiration for creativity from my Sacral Chakra. The images of art and architecture remain in my mind and heart.
The unfortunate side of the quaint back-alleys which make Venice such a delight to visit is that it is remarkably easy to get lost. However, getting lost in Venice is part of the experience of the city.
It took me hours to find my hotel. Even maps provided by hotels are frequently inaccurate, and the maze-like structure of the city can become very confusing with very few street name signs. On the plus side, the tight cluster of little islands that comprise Venice is completely surrounded by the Lagoon, so it is not possible, no matter how lost you become, to leave Venice on foot. Sooner or later you will come upon a piazza that you can locate on your map.
The number of photogenic canals, hidden restaurants and shops where glass blowing is done almost guarantees that there is no such thing as a "dull neighborhood" therefore, excitement, adventure and creativity can be absorbed by strolling and getting lost among the streets.
Lets take a closer look at the meaning of the Sacral Chakra.
Sacral means relating to the sacrum, or sacred symbols. The sacral region, sacrum, is a very sensitive area in your body. At the bottom of the spine, it lies between the fifth segment of the lumbar spine and the tailbone. Sacred is something considered worthy of spiritual respect.
The miracle of creating new life takes place around this area. Therefore, the act of intimate physical bonding (sex) is something to be considered worthy of spiritual respect.
Brachmacarya is one of the Yamas (associated with how we treat others), the 1st Limb or Petal of Pantajali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga Philosophy, involving our sexual relationships. It was originally associated with living a life of chastity and can also be translated into “walking with god.” It represents a virtuous lifestyle that includes simple living and meditation. It involves control of the senses a practice of moderation; to resist the culture of overindulgence and bringing self-restraint into our lives.
The practice of brahmacharya also evokes a sense of directing our energy away from external pleasures which seem great at the time but are ultimately fleeting, and instead, towards finding peace and happiness within ourselves.
Brahmacarya concerns the step of summoning the courage to step away from the downward spiral of desire that manifests in forms such as addictions to drugs, chasing the opposite sex, and overindulgence in comfort foods for pleasure. Let addictive cravings go to feel free flow of creativity.
Courage of a Lion to step away from desire.
In our modern culture today, Brahmacharya is not about committing to a life of celibacy, but instead, it’s about balance.
Ask yourself, does my sex life fill me with knowledge and energy or confusion, concern, anxiety, or stress?
The 2nd chakra is partly about desire, and when it’s off balance, sometimes we attempt to fill the resulting void with a “quick fix”. Society tells us that if we’re single, we need to get out there and “get some” from random strangers and that repressing those desires leads to a repressive soul. This is far from the truth. However, on the other extreme, people who were raised in an environment where emotions were repressed or pleasure denied will be more likely to lack energy in the second chakra.
Some signs that we are out of sacral balance include: emotional instability, fear of water, fear of change, sexual dysfunction, depression, overly needy, insufficient boundaries, and addictions in which there’s a constant need for stimulation (entertainment, partying) or frequent emotional drama.
One way to treat the act of sex as worthy of spiritual respect is to choose carefully and only become intimate with someone who shares mutual respect, admiration, and dedication (love).
From an energetic standpoint, spending some time in celibacy has the benefit of helping you consolidate and clear your energy field, because you are not dealing with the powerful energy lines from another person that sex creates. The root of all attachment is fear. As a 32 year-old woman, I’m not afraid of growing old without a having a baby. Society tries to push me to find a mate to make babies with. If it is meant to be, then I will find that person and the act will be spiritual. However, in the present, I’m thoroughly enjoying the peace of a re-balanced Sacral Chakra, “the dwelling place of the self.”
Balanced energy in your Sacral Chakra is about maintaining a healthy sexual life and honoring and respecting your body without having it rule you. It’s also about having a form of creative expression; enjoying art, beauty, and sensory experience; being able to experience emotions without being overwhelmed by them; being adventurous and open to change.
A balanced second chakra leads to connected feelings of wellness, trusting nature, devotion, abundance, modesty, compassion, meditativeness, sincere warmth of friendliness, and creativity.
At that time when I was visiting Venice, in 2009, I was involved a semi-long distance romantic relationship. I felt a decent balance in time spent alone and time with my partner.
Recently, I’ve left an intimate relationship that was not balanced. I gave too much of my time and energy away and I was not spending enough time cultivating my creativity.
I’m taking this time now to restore my Sacral Chakra and not try to fill the void of desire with dating, partying, and over-eating.
Whenever I feel a tinge of loneliness, I read, walk, do yoga, surround myself with natural beauty, and express this inspiration back through adventurous travels, painting, writing, and meditation.
Everything you create, a poem, a drawing, or a website, originates from the energy of Second Chakra.
We create when we find a new solution to an old problem. Any time we take raw materials, physical or mental, and transform them into something new, we are using our creative energy.
In opening your Second Chakra energy, you must take risks and not be afraid of failure.
According to David Bayles and Ted Orland in Art & Fear, “The need to make art may not stem solely from the need to express who you are, but from a need to complete a relationship with something outside yourself. In making art, you declare what is important. Making art is dangerous and revealing…it precipates self-doubt, stirring deep waters that lay between what you know you should be, and what you fear you might be… Artmaking grants access to worlds that may be dangerous, sacred, forbidden, seductive, or all of the above.
To see things is to enhance your sense of wonder both for the singular pattern of your own experience, and for the meta-patterns that shape all experience.
Your work may provide clear evidence that you are different, that you are alone. Make friends with others who make art, and share you in-progress work with each other frequently. It’s all a matter of balance and making art helps achieve that balance.
Zen teaching: When you start on a long journey, trees are trees, water is water, and mountains are mountains. After you have gone some distance, trees are no longer trees, water no longer water, mountains no longer mountains. But after you have traveled a great distance, trees are once again trees, water is once again water, mountains are once again mountains.”
My water paintings represent a form of romance by creatively channeling zest and passion for life.
My Mantra for a Balanced Sacral Chakra
The universe is full of sweetness and beauty.
I live life passionately with refinement in behavior.
I have vitality, longevity, and good health.
Pleasure is a sacred part of my life.
My life is balanced with peace and pleasure.
I am at home and at ease in my body.
I find balance in my relationships between myself and others.
I allow my emotions to flow through me in a healthy way.
Expressing creativity nourishes my spirit and brings me joy.
Yoga Poses to Cultivate a Floating Balanced Sacral Chakra:
There’s a stillness up here.
The air is thin. I feel light.
All of this perseverance has paid off.
I have a high from exhilaration.
This is the highest mountain trail in the contiguous United States, now I’m standing at 14,496 feet above sea level.
Hmm…I remember reading, during my flight attendant training, that the oxygen masks are supposed to be deployed at 14,000 if an airplane loses cabin pressure.
Considering that the only animals around are transient, a parnassius phoebus butterly and the gray-crowned rosy finch, I think we’ve overstayed our welcome on this 45-minute break on the peak.
In August of 2010, a small group of us started on our trek up to the top of this daunting beast. At the base of the mountain, we witnessed thunderstorms in 100 degree heat. We started late in the day and camped at the base camp, Whitney Portal, at 12,000 ft, in a rocky, often windy, alpine basin with snow patches surrounding us.
Most hikers do the trip in two days which is still considered a strenuous endeavor. We had been through heat, rain, and now snow in the last 8 hours. On day two, we summited and completed this 22-mile hike through 6,100 feet of ascension and descention.
When I reflect back on the peak of Mt. Whitney, I’m reminded of the Element of Air.
It’s something we take for granted here at sea level in San Diego.
At the peak of Mount Everest, 29,029 feet, the partial pressure of oxygen is just 43 mmHg, whereas at sea level the partial pressure is 150 mmHg. For this reason, cabin pressure in aircraft is maintained in the middle at 7,000 to 8,000 feet.
The Element of Air represents wind and things that grow, expand, and enjoy freedom of movement, such as butterflies and birds. It can be associated with "open-minded" attitude and carefree feeling.
The Element of Air also represents breathing, and the internal processes associated with respiration.
The 4th Chakra, near our heart, is also ruled by the Air Element. It is associated with our respiratory system. Physically, our lungs rest around our heart, protecting and cleansing as we take deep full breaths. When it is in balance, we can feel vigilance, trusting nature, clarity, lightness, independence, and joy.
When this energy point is out of balance we often feel inconsistency, anxiety, or a lack of hope or perseverance. Further, we may have physical problems like shallow breathing or lung disease.
Pranayama means the measuring, control, and directing of the breath. Pranyama is the 4th Limb or Petal of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra philosophy path. When the in-flowing breath is neutralized or joined with the out-flowing breath, then perfect relaxation and balance of the body functions are realized. In yoga, we are concerned with balancing the flows of vital forces, then directing them inward to the Chakra system.
Pranayama is considered to be one of the highest forms of purification and self-discipline for the mind and the body.
According to William J.D. Doran, “As the yogi follows the proper rhythmic patterns of slow deep breathing the patterns strengthen the respiratory system, soothe the nervous system and reduce craving. As desires and cravings diminish, the mind is set free and becomes a fit vehicle for concentration." (Expressions of Spirit.com)
I wish I knew all of this on Mount Whitney. These were my pre-yoga days. I wasn't aware of these respiratory strengthening exercises. Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way.
Mt. Whitney Painting by Hannah Faulkner
At the top of the highest peak in the contiguous U.S., I began to feel pressure in my head as a headache was coming on.
As we descended, I was feeling increasingly weaker. When we got back to the base camp, I decided to stop and try to nap for 30-45 minutes, but I couldn’t sleep. Then the group insisted that we should get going.
I began to feel nauseous.
This combination of symptoms sounds like altitude sickness. I was the only one in the group feeling this way.
According to statistics, it is hard to determine who will be affected by altitude sickness, as there are no specific factors that correlate with a susceptibility to altitude sickness. Dehydration, due to the higher rate of water vapor lost from the lungs at higher altitudes, may contribute to the symptoms. Further, the rate of ascent, altitude attained, amount of physical activity at high altitude, as well as individual susceptibility, are contributing factors to the onset and severity of high-altitude illness.
Altitude sickness is an effect, caused by serious exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude. The oxygen levels are also low because Mount Whitney is above the tree line very few plants grow near the summit to breathe oxygen out. Severe altitude illness occurs most commonly in this high range. It presents itself as a collection of nonspecific symptoms, resembling a case of "flu, or a hangover.
I wasn't taking in enough Oxygen.
A headache occurring at an altitude above 7,900 feet, combined with any one or more of the following symptoms, may indicate altitude sickness: lack of appetite, nausea, or vomiting, fatigue or weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness, peripheral edema (swelling of hands, feet, and face), insomnia, shortness of breath upon exertion, and drowsiness.
Unfortunately, I was experiencing all of these.
To make matters worse, my WAG bag was pretty full with unpleasant smells after nearly 24 hours now on the trail. In 2006, the Inyo National Forest instituted a mandatory "pack it out" program because human waste management was a major problem at Mount Whitney considering all of the rocks and lack of greenery towards the upper portion of the mountain. At permit check-in, the Forest Service began issuing "WAG Bags" (Waste Alleviation and Gelling) to trail users for human waste.
Since we were not allowed to leave any waste on the trail, I had to open up my bag each time that I needed to vomit. This made matters even worse as I was ridding myself of valuable water intake as well.
Luckily, as we descended quickly, I wasn’t showing symptoms that may indicate life-threatening altitude sickness: pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), fever, cerebral edema (swelling of the brain), unsteady gait, gradual loss of consciousness, and retinal hemorrhage.
Fortunately, I had enough positive balance in my 4th Chakra that activated perseverance and vigilance as I trudged on one weak step after another and finally made it back to the bottom. After eating dinner at a Lone Pine diner, I felt restored and rested on the drive back.
I’ve been thinking about the Element of Air lately, as I’m planning a trip to Peru to hike the Salkantay trail to Machu Picchu. I will be hiking between 10,000 to 15,000 feet throughout 5 days. This time I want to be prepared with mindfulness and pranayama exercises to take-in the amount of oxygen necessary to remain healthy and balanced in my 4th Chakra.
Pre-acclimatization is when the body develops tolerance to low oxygen concentrations before ascending to an altitude. It significantly reduces risk because less time has to be spent at altitude to acclimatize in the traditional way. Avoiding strenuous activity such as hiking, in the first 24 hours at high altitude reduces the symptoms. Ascending slowly is the best way to avoid altitude sickness.
This time, I'm going to spend my first 2 days chilling in Cusco, at 10,000 feet, to pre-acclimate and lengthen my breath.
4th Chakra Lung Meditation and Pranayama
"As you inhale, feel the coolness of the breath as it enters the body…
Feel the warmth of the exhale as it leaves the body.
Visualize the breath traveling through the nostrils down the throat and into the lungs.
As you take your next few breaths, now imagine the breath moving through the nostrils,
Then the throat and the lungs as illuminated by emerald green light–the color of the heart chakra.
As you take each inhale draw emerald green light into the body
and as you exhale imagine stagnate energy in the body and lungs leaving the body as black, grey or brown light.
Each inhale draws in vibrant green light, each exhale cleanses the body and the lungs."
Yoga Poses for Lung-Opening and Easier Breathing:
With Earth Day approaching, I contemplate my relationship with the earth. We are of the earth, and when we die, we once again become the earth.
Earth is not just soil, but it is everything in nature that is solid. Earth forms solid structures, such as bones and flesh. The most basic example is in a stone. Stones are pretty stable and highly resistant to movement or change.
We may bring more Earth awareness into our yoga practice when we focus on grounding, building a firm base of support, and connecting with the earth beneath us.
In balancing postures like tree (vrksasana), our stability is grounded through deepening our connection with the earth as we reach our imaginary roots deep into it, really touching it. Let the natural expression of the earth rise up through your body. And then, from that groundedness, begin to move, and to grow, just as a tree grows taller by first extending its roots.
The Earth Element is represented in the 1st/Root Chakra of the body. In Sanskrit it is known as Prithvi. The Seven Chakras are the centers in our bodies in which energy flows through.
The Root Chakra is predominantly associated with stability, physicality, and gravity. It is a desire to have things remain as they are, safe and secure.
Signs of being out of balance in this area are said to include disconnection from the body, body weight or weight perception issues, fear, anxiety, restlessness, poor focus and discipline, financial or boundary issues, chronic disorganization, superficiality, laziness, indifference, irregularity, timidity, and scornfulness.
When this root chakra is grounded and balanced, you will exhibit positive qualities like perseverance, consistency, punctuality, caution, responsibility, carefulness, firmness, reliability, sobriety, ambition, and respectfulness.
When I reflect on the specific qualities of perseverance, caution, carefulness, sobriety, ambition, and respectfulness, I reminded of my trek along the Trans-Catalina Trail, a rocky island 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles, California. The island is 22 miles long and 8 miles across at its greatest width.
In early June of 2014, my brother, Lawrence, and I took the ferry across to Two Harbors to begin our backwards 4-day, 50 mile hike through this intense rocky earth. We were prepared with our backpacks, tent, water, permits, sleeping bags, etc.
There’s nothing like a heavy back pack to help you feel grounded and close to the earth. Although I had hiked many times in these Merrell Boots, this extra weight burdened my feet into swelling blisters.
After a fairly easy 7 mile climb to Parson’s Landing on the east end, we pitched our tent in a semi-private cove, and released some of our weight. We wanted to complete the full trail, so we set out for 5 miles to Starlight beach, at the easternmost point of the island. We were exhausted, but ecstatic to finally reach that point and the starlight name almost became our reality as the sun was falling closer to the horizon line out in front of us.
I thought to myself, “hmm, we haven’t seen much wildlife yet”…I remember reading on our permits, “Please note that wildlife on Catalina Island, as in all wild-lands, can cause serious injury and even death. Please do not approach or harass wildlife and always maintain a safe distance.”
We decided not to stay here very long, as we turned around and began climbing up the mountain again.
I looked up at the long trail ahead and saw something large and dark brown trotting down towards us on this narrow trail!
We stopped and studied this blob for a moment, then I remembered more about what I read Catalina Island: American Bison were brought to the island in 1924 for the filming of a western movie. Due to budgeting issues, they were never returned. Now there are 150 Catalina Bison…They can be encountered on all parts of the Trail east of the Isthmus. If you encounter bison, move slowly and steadily around them, keeping at least 150 feet away.
Caution aroused from my Root Chakra.
We must keep 150 feet away from him, but where can we go? I looked to the left and only saw the cliff that jetted down to the ocean. To the right was intense shrubbery and we certainly didn’t want to head backwards as night was approaching us and we needed to return to the tent.
Fear instantly flooded my nervous system. These must be the creatures that can cause serious injury and even death. It’s huge!
Ambition, from my 1st Chakra, allowed me to think again with more sobriety and responsibility. I quickly ordered us to climb up this low shrub-like tree to our left. Although floating about 8 feet above ground, there was a sense of stability in this position.
We patiently waited.
The sky turned from yellow to orange, pink to purple…
Perhaps 15 minutes has already passed. I sent my brother down, with both of my hiking sticks as protection, to investigate the bison’s whereabouts while I took a moment to think more clearly about option B.
“I don’t see him!” he exclaimed.
...And finally our guiding light vanished and deep indigo crawled across the sky from east to west.
We took out our head lamps, turned them on, and braced ourselves with perseverance to return to our shelter at Parson’s Landing. Carrying one hiking pole and one large branch in each hand, and we pushed through the darkness, jetting our head back and forth in each direction to stay alert to any immediate danger that may pop up in the dark.
To our surprise, most of the creatures on Catalina Island are nocturnal.
I heard the screech of a bald eagle and rustling throughout the shrubs.
At one point, I turned my head to the right and saw at least 10 pairs of hovering glowing spheres. Eye balls!!! To this day, I’m still not certain if they were eyes of deer, wolves, or the newly feared, bison!
We didn’t let this stop us, The eyes didn’t move, so it was not an immediate threat.
The surge of energy in an unknown situation is surprising. I no longer felt the aches of my blisters and shoulders. We became alive with courage and kept our senses alert for these last 4 miles up and down these ridges to the campsite.
We arrived safely and sleep intensely.
After another 2 days and 25 miles of natural beauty back through Two Harbors, and past the Airport in the Sky, we turned around a narrow corner of a windy trail and found ourselves yet again in the way of the bison; this time only about 25 feet away. There were two and they were not happy to be woken up from their afternoon nap as they abruptly rose to their feet and grunted.
Lawrence and I slowly took steps backwards as we felt that surge of blood speedily rushing through our cautious system.
I motioned for us to split up and head in opposite directions to see if there were more sleeping nearby or if we could find a trail to know which direction to veer off of this trail.
Lawrence climbed the hill to be surprised by one of those bison climbing up towards him.
We decided to veer out to the left, through some tall shrubs and we finally met up with the trail again. With our senses turned on full high, we hiked another 2 miles to the Black Jack Campground.
This was one of the most eerie campsites I have ever seen. It was supposed to be the peak of tourist season, but there was neither a soul nor tent in sight. Our only company was the warning of fresh bison dung at the entrance.
We were tired and I was far from surrendering to the possibility of being trampled over by bison in my sleep, so I suggested that we set our tent on top of the solid oval metal picnic table in the center of the campground. Now, we were 3-4 feet above ground. This felt secure, firm and reliable enough to allow my mind to rest and my body to sleep.
Unfortunately, Lawrence was not as much at rest. He heard constant sounds throughout the night, including the scratching sound against the tent. He woke me up as it sounded like a creature was trying to claw its way in. I listened for a few minutes and then saw the loose strap and adjusted it.
In the morning, he expressed his anxiety as he watched 2 Island foxes wrestle, several deer meander through, and the most frightening, 2 people walking through. With the sound of the outhouse doors screeching open and closed with the breeze, he thought we were in a setting for a horror film to unwind. Dwelling on fear with no action leaves us in an imbalanced state with our root chakra: fear, anxiety, restlessness, and poor focus.
Fortunatly, we remained safe throughout the night and rose with the morning light to finish the last day, 15 miles of our journey.
That day, we passed 7 more buffalo on 3 different occurrences. However, now we were stronger and more grounded. We used courage and carefulness to walk responsibly around them and make it Avalon with an hour to spare, before we jumped back onto the ferry and fell asleep from exhaustion!
Did I mention the breathtaking beauty of the Island?
What an adventure!
It was well worth the struggle to find the consistency and ambition of power within ourselves as we felt firm and grounded on this solid Earth.
The extended San Diego region includes deserts and semi-deserts. Many succulent plants come from these dry areas.
Succulents are plants having some parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. The word "succulent" comes from the Latin word sucus, meaning juice, or sap. High temperatures and low precipitation force plants to collect and store water to survive long dry periods. They are very difficult to kill, and if properly potted require little maintenance to survive indoors.
Succulents are often grown as ornamental plants because of their striking and unusual appearance.
These glowing plants, like the 360 degree iris of our own eyes, are reflections and reminders of the structure and design of our existence and consciousness.
They are living mandalas, symbolic of the universe, according to ancient Indian religions. The sanskrit word mandala means 'circle.'
In visual art, radial balance is any form of representation that achieves a visual balance through circles. This is achieved where parts of an object or picture are regularly arranged and radiate from the central point.
According to David Bayles and Ted Orland in the book, Art & Fear, “Making art depends upon noticing things- things about yourself, your methods, your subject matter…In making art, you declare what is important.
Making art has to do with overcoming things, giving us a clear opportunity for doing things in ways we have always known we should do them.
You learn how to make your work by making your work.
Naïve passion, which promotes work done in ignorance of obstacles, becomes with courage informed passion, which promotes work done in full acceptance of those obstacles.”
You have a choice between giving your work your best shot and risking that it will not make you happy, or not giving your best shot and thereby guaranteeing that it will not make you happy (certainty and uncertainty).
Through painting radial designs, we allow ourselves to really notice and see this central balance in nature. We can pull our energy and courage into manifesting this design through our own movement.
In yoga asanas, or poses, a strong core stabilizes your entire body, both in yoga and outside of the studio in your daily life. A strong core adds grace and stability during simple transitions.
When you hear the cues to “Hug your energy to your mid-line” this includes both the vertical and horizontal axis, landing in your center.
When you have a strong core, it helps protect your body from the wear and tear of sitting all day. When you neglect to work your core, you increase risk of injury, most predominantly in the lower back.
Core strength needed for arm balances and inversions like crow pose, headstand or forearm stand; these poses would be virtually impossible without engaging the core.
In Yoga Philosophy, the third Chakra, Solar Plexis, is the center of willpower. It resides in the central core of our bodies.
The gift of this chakra is sensing your personal power, being confident, responsible, and reliable.
The third chakra is the center of your self-esteem, self-discipline, as well as warmth in your personality.
The energy of this chakra allows you to transform inertia into action and movement.
A strong third chakra reflects the ability to move forward in life with confidence and power. Therefore, we must keep this core in balance by making conscious choices to choose and to act.
According to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, Being in Balance:
“You become what you think about all day long. You become how you think all day long.
You have the power to create a new alignment in your thoughts.
Choose thoughts that focus on well-being.
Give your personal dreams a place to hang out on the balance scale so that you can see them in your imagination and they can soak up in your imagination.
You can begin equalizing your material and spiritual life by making a conscious decision to look for the spiritual in everything and everyone that you encounter.
With your new lens, you’ll see the energy vibrating from the tree or flower or creature. Appreciate the miracle that is your environment.
Peace is what you’re capable of being and bringing to every encounter and event in the waking moments of your life.”
Solar Plexus Chakra Affirmations
I love and accept myself.
I stand up for myself.
I am strong and courageous.
I am worthy of love, kindness, and respect.
I choose the best for myself.
I express myself in a powerful way.
I am proud of my achievements.
I honor my self.
I choose healthy relationships.
I am authentic.
I direct my own life.
I appreciate my strengths.
I feel my own power.
I am free to choose in any situation.
I seek opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.
I am at peace with myself.
Hannah seeks to find relationships between nature, cultures, yoga, and art through her writing.
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My Paintings are now on Yoga Pants!
Fun Yoga in the Park
Travel the world with me through yoga!
These themed lessons are fun for all ages and levels at Mission Bay Park.
See the page, Park Yoga, for more information!
Lessons from Abroad