By Leah Sugerman, Summersalt Yoga teacher
Each morning as the sun kisses our faces, we offer our salutations to greet it. As we move following the rhythm of our breath, the gentle ebb and flow of the waves echoes our tempo.
Life is slow on this little island paradise in the Adriatic. Its gentle pace reminds us to slow down ourselves: our bodies, our breath, and our minds.
This perfect environment for a yoga practice keeps us drawing inward and reflecting. Listening to the peaceful breeze blowing and the slow movement of the sea, we journey through ourselves.
According to yogic philosophy, our bodies hold energy in the form of chakras. These whirling vortexes of energy exist throughout our bodies and culminate in seven major ones that travel from the base of our spines up through the crown of our heads. This major “highway” of the seven chakras, if clear of any barriers and optimally aligned, allows us to connect to our highest sense of self and our greatest potential in both our everyday and spiritual lives.
Moving through chakras
In each practice, we bring our awareness to one of these seven major chakras through meditation, pranayama (or breath work), and asana (or the physical yoga postures). Tuning our awareness to each these chakras allows us to inwardly reflect on whether or not we feel open and aligned within this space and what it signifies in our lives. By tuning everything else out and sharply tuning our attention inside, we are able to release any stagnant or “stuck” energy from these spaces and create space and alignment wherever it is needed most.
Every day we focus on a different area of our bodies, moving through the base of the spine, the sacrum, the solar plexus, the heart, the throat, the third eye, and, finally, the crown of the head. Each chakra space is associated with a different body part and, therefore, aspect of the physical practice (such as core work or heart openers). As we focus each day on a different area, we’re able to bring both strength and flexibility to this space to align ourselves deeper, both physically and mentally.
Each chakra represents a different part of our psyches as well, so we meditate upon these aspects as we move through our practices. From grounding and rooting down with the root chakra to creating love and self-acceptance with the heart chakra to elevating and connecting to our intuition and sense of purpose with the third eye chakra, we are able to find balance between our bodies and our minds.
Yoga – on and off the mat
Each practice moves us closer to our best version of ourselves. Every release brings us one step closer to alignment. Every revelation brings us closer to a sense of unity and our ultimate calibration for inner peace.
We spend our mornings moving rhythmically with our breath, finding a dance between effort and ease as the sun illuminates the sky. We spend our evenings relaxing and releasing as we draw awareness deeper inside with slow gentle stretches, following the slow release of the sun dipping down toward the sea.
We practice our yoga off our mats as we excursion out throughout the island, mindfully enjoying each moment of our relaxing and rejuvenating holiday. Our awareness is always on this very moment in time—this delicious taste against our taste buds, this picturesque piece of the coastline, this breathtaking view of the town, this invigorating movement of our bodies. Our undivided attention is always to the present—perhaps the greatest lesson of all from our beloved yoga practice.