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Podcast Ep. 70: Yoga for Expansion

The yoga practice in this episode invites expansion through movement. Inspired by snake energy, I ask what you need to shed in order to grow and, during this pandemic, what our society must be willing to drop so we can evolve as a collective.

Wildlife rehabilitation season is here, and I have lost most of my income for the foreseeable future. The turtles, baby squirrels, and I need your support to make it through this season. Now is the time to become a Patreon sponsor and contribute towards needed equipment and supplies for Dancing Turtle Rescue and Rehab, the wildlife rehabilitation clinic in a bus. Thank you for being awesome!

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways you can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook, leave a comment, and sign up for the newsletter.

Much love and gratitude to Blair Sutherland for the beautiful intro and background music. Blair is also an outstanding webmaster and makes sure I can share these episodes with you. Thank you, Blair!

Episode image by David Clode on Unsplash

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Animal Spirits – totems for solar plexus chakra work

Exploring the Chakra system side-by-side with shamanic journey work reveals animal helping spirits for each of the energy centers. The third Chakra, Manipura, which means “lustrous gem,” is your personal power and transformation center. In your solar plexus, located between your naval and your sternum, the fire element lights up your sense of self-worth. The animal spirits that visit to help you work with this Chakra are confident, unflappable, and at the top of the food chain.

 

Tiger roaring

Image by TeeFarm from Pixabay

Tiger always comes to mind when I think of the third Chakra. The big cats embody the energy of this Chakra as they stalk their prey, never doubting the power they are projecting and their ability to take action. Action is the theme of solar plexus Chakra work. No transformation will happen in your life unless you are ready to pounce. Call on the spirit of tiger to show you how to move assuredly.

 

The radiant yellow sun is a symbol of the third Chakra, and lion’s mane reminds me of the sun’s rays. Like tiger, lions are dominant, confident hunters, especially the females. Unlike solitary tigers, lions form prides and hunt cooperatively, so lion is an excellent totem to work with when exploring power dynamics and your role within teams or communities.

 

Orange corn snake

Image by Karsten Paulick from Pixabay

A snake’s shed invokes the transformative power of Manipura. When its outgrown skin no longer serves, snake leaves it behind. Thus snake has become a symbol of death and rebirth as part of a spiralling cycle of transformation. Surviving the bite of a venomous snake – being able to transmute the toxin in the body – was an initiation into shamanism in some indigenous cultures in the Americas. In dreams and journeys, a snake bite might be nudging you to let go of an old way of being so you can be reborn.

 

If you have ever witnessed a duel between rams, butting heads until one is dominant, you can understand why the Hindus chose ram to symbolize the third Chakra. Rams represent great force and power. Consider “battering rams” used to break down doors and castle gates. If the spirit of ram comes to help you with your solar plexus Chakra work, consider your own power struggles and where you might need to stand up for yourself. Rams also trust their ability to land safely as they leap from one tiny foothold to another. Do you trust yourself enough to take a risky leap? Ask the spirit of ram to show you how.

Podcast Ep 36: Yoga to Get Your Belly to the Earth

I drew Snake Spirit from Colette Baron-Reid’s Spirit Animal Oracle deck, reversed, and looked at what it means to shed the past in a way that keeps us whole and growing. The yoga practice invites you to be snake-like and get your belly to the Earth. You might want a thin blanket under your hips during the back-bending sequence.

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways we can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join us in the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook or sign up for the newsletter. Please consider becoming a Patreon sponsor and help me purchase needed equipment and supplies for my wild turtle rehabilitation clinic.

Much gratitude to Blair Sutherland for the beautiful intro and background music.

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Exploring Snake Energy: Cobra Pose

English: Indian Spectacled Cobra, Naja Naja Fa...

English: Indian Spectacled Cobra, Naja Naja Family, one of India’s venomous snakes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?”

For a good part of my life I echoed Indiana Jones whenever I encountered snakes. My less-than-friendly feelings toward snakes started in ninth grade, when a classmate presented an oral report on their care and feeding, including a demonstration involving his pet snake and a live (for a short time) white mouse. After I crawled out from under my desk, I decided I was very fond of rodents and not at all fond of snakes. I also decided I no longer had a crush on the young man who did the presentation.

Twenty years later, when my daughter held a snake at a petting zoo, I decided it was time to get over my distrust of snakes. I’ve taken time to learn about snakes and have new respect both for their place in our eco-system and their symbolism. I still jump when one startles me on the trail, but I no longer dislike snakes.

Snakes represent transformation and healing. They are re-created each time they shed their skin. By tapping into snake’s energy you can shed the past and emerge into a fresh, new life. Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, carried a caduceus, a staff with two snakes wrapped around it. The caduceus has become the symbol of modern physicians. If a snake appears in your dream, be on the lookout for new wisdom, healing and changes ahead.

In yoga, snakes represent Kundalini, a Sanskrit word for the sleeping feminine energy thought to be coiled at the base of the spine, waiting to be awakened through asana and meditation. When aroused, Kundalini rises up through the major chakras until it reaches the head, completely transforming the individual along the way.

Practicing like a snake in the grass.

Practicing like a snake in the grass.

Practice Bhujangasana, or Cobra pose, to explore the transformative energy of snakes. Lie face down and stretch your legs back, feet hip-width apart, and press the tops of your feet into the floor. Place your hands under your shoulders, fingers spread, and hug your elbows to your sides. Keeping your pelvis pressed into the floor and straightening your arms as you make space to do so, lift your heart. Relax your shoulder blades down your back, draw your lower belly slightly off the floor and lift the top of your sternum. Draw your ears away from your shoulders, lengthening your neck.

You can hold Cobra for a number of breaths or experience snake’s movement by rising with each inhale and lowering with each exhale. When the pose feels complete, rest your head on your hands for a few breaths before moving on to a twist.

For the record, although I have made peace with snakes, there are no pet snakes in my house. I’ll stick to my bug-eating lizard, and let the cat deal with the rodents.

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