The Buddhist mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum literally means, “Praise to the Jewel in the Lotus.” Many of you may have heard it or even been touched by chanting it. I’m so struck by the transformation and purification it signifies the deity associated with it is tattooed on my body. Sturdy roots sink down through the murky, deep bottom of a pond to establish an unshakable foundation from which the lotus plant rises through water toward the light. Out of muck flowers sweet, delicate beauty.
The jewel in the lotus signifies the practices of a heart-centered life that can transform impure body, speech and mind into the pure exalted body, speech and mind of a Buddha. We all have within us the seeds to cultivate authentic, connected, integrated, joy and peace-filled lives. The pond scum can look like fear, insecurity, blind ambition, sexual striving—all of which happen to be symptoms of lower chakra imbalance.
Intricately mapped in the Yogic traditions, chakras are powerful vortices of life force energy. As with acupuncture points, Chinese medicine’s map of the life force, healthy chakras vitalize the physical body and activate subtler levels of consciousness. Our lower chakras form the roots to a lotus-flowering, heart-centered life. Let’s look more closely at those.
The 1st chakra, Muladhara, is about survival, safety and meeting basic needs. The 2nd chakra, Svadhisthana, is about pleasure, vitality and nourishment of self and others. The 3rd chakra, Manipura, is about motivation, power, and desire. If the life force energy around safety is healthy, it allows the space to relax into pleasure. Moving up the chakras, a healthy response to safety is to allow desire to surface. This expands to include others with shared desire, love—and, we’ve reached the 4th, Anahata chakra. The heart opens.
Asana (yoga postures) and Pranayam (yogic breathing) cultivate and align these energetic spheres. If the lower chakras are not properly opened, aligned and balanced, the Heart collapses because it is not supported with the proper foundation. One might want to live by heart, but fear and insecurity take over, we grasp toward sexual gratification or food to fill emptiness. Or we unskillfully busy up our lives with ambitious striving when we just want to feel connected. Health symptoms can become unmanageable when the foundation has been shaken or not established in the first place. Even fertility is compromised.
A contented, healthy, heart-led life does not depend on perfectly satisfactory life circumstances. If the heart is supported, even in the face of unrealized dreams, grief and tragic loss, we can trust in the unfolding of life on life’s terms and be held in our highest good. Pacified, the connection with self, other beings, and nature itself is effortless. Our rooted lives become a beautiful expression of our wholeness.
The lotus blooms.
|Dr. Saraswati Markus (DAOM, LAc, ERYT), Daoyogini and Chinese medicine gynecologist, is a thought leader in natural hormone balance and maintenance of health and fertility. She has worked in the fields of gynecology and healthy aging for over 20 years. Her work weaves together Chinese medicine and Yoga, along with modern medicine into one cord to promote self-healing and vitality naturally.
Dao Flow Yoga for Women’s Health has recently been featured in Yoga Journal, LA Yoga Magazine, Integral Yoga Magazine, Mantra Magazine, Spirituality & Health, and The Acupuncturist.