Herbs to Align Your Heart Chakra

I'm drinking an herbal tea as I write this. Most of the time I have had some kind of herbal tea during my day. Some days I chug a great deal of it. I make herbal healing teas by the gallon since I live in hot weather all year round. Herbs are a great way to get healthier and align your chakras. 

If you have an over-active heart chakra you might have some physical symptoms in the chest such as high blood pressure, heart palpitation or issues with lungs. You want to look for healing green herbs to assist with this balance. Thyme, sage, parsley and basil all assist with heart chakra balance and can be grown in a small pot on your windowsill. Fragrant flowers like jasmine, lavender and rose can but cut, placed in the home, drank in a tea or used in an oil. 

Crystals for Your Heart Chakra

The heart chakra is associated with the color green but also the secondary color pink. By now you've learned how to cleanse and purify your crystals. The stones green jade, green calcite, green tourmaline, green aventurine, peridot, emerald and rose quartz. These stones promote health and healing and provide tranquility to the spirit.  Rose quartz has been used for centuries to promote love and fertility. 

For balancing your heart chakra I recommend wearing your stones or crystals in a necklace and keeping the energy literally close to your heart. I also recommend meditating with the crystal in your hands or on your chest (while lying on your back) to fully absorb the energy. 

Ella Eco-Lodge Review: Ella, Sri Lanka

During my trip to Sri Lanka I was convinced to take a side trip to Ella, a beautiful little town about 200 km from Colombo. Ella is quickly becoming a backpacker hub and hotels are being built as we speak. Ella Eco-Lodge was my home and backdrop for my photo shoot with Sri Lankan model Prageeth Silva. After being in the busy city of Colombo for a week I needed an escape to nature.

We took an air conditioned evening bus through the dark countryside. Only small shops an temples covered in Christmas lights lined the way down the bumpy red dirt roads. I was the only woman on the bus, most of the men were going home to enjoy a long holiday weekend after working all week in Colombo. A young man about 17 ended up curling up to me and falling asleep on my shoulder for a few hours along the way, most likely exhausted from working in the hot sun all week. 

The bus ride was seven hours, two hours behind schedule and although it was endurable it was not enjoyable as leg space is quite cramped. We were in luck to find a robust tuk-tuk driver in the middle of the night, but his tuk was too weak to actually carry us up the hill to the eco-lodge so we were blessed with the joy of walking our bags up the hill in the middle of the night. 

Ella Eco-lodge is conveniently located just a short walk from town however once you climb waterfall road to the lodge you feel transported into a different world. This space is perfect for a getaway and as a nature lover I was in pure heaven. There is Ella Rock that's close by but we chose to go to Badulla and hike to Dunhinda Waterfall instead. Taking the city buses between the towns was a highlight of my time as I struggled to stand up I enjoyed jamming out to the live music videos of great music. 

Once Prageeth and I completed our photo shoot and hike most of our time at Ella Eco-lodge was spent enjoying the space. You can watch monkeys in the trees on hear them on the roofs in the morning. There are countless birds, butterflies, and if you're lucky deer that come to roam around the foliage.  The rooms were well-equipped, clean and pleasantly fragrant. The bathrooms had hot showers which becomes quite a luxury when you're on the road. 

Sampath Perera the owner of Ella Eco-Lodge, was kind, accommodating and we had a lively and eye-opening conversation about American politics, my least favorite subject at the moment. Sampath has beautiful goals for his Eco-lodge and wants to accomplish as many things as he can without damaging the environment which I found respectable. My only complaint was that I could have lived in this beautiful place for much longer. I rarely go places only once so when I return to Ella, I will be sure to spend more time here. 

If you're interested in booking this accommodation during your trip to Sri Lanka check out Sampath's AirBnB here.   

 

Heart Chakra Essential Oils

So far we've been talking about a blocked heart chakra but it's also possible to have an overactive heart chakra. Loving too much? Well kind of. An overactive heart chakra affects your judgement in romance and friendships. If you are giving to others regardless of circumstance or ability that is an overactive heart chakra. The reason that this is happening is because your heart chakra is trying to compensate for other blocked chakras. 

Oil baths and oil massage can be a great way to help balance your chakras. Eucalyptus oil relates to freedom and helps to decongest the body and open the heart chakra. Not so surprising the soft gentle smell of rose oil has a high spiritual frequency and is perfect for your balancing your fourth chakra as well. Lemon oil helps immensely with the heart chakra as well as the lymphatic system. Lemon oil caters specifically to self-love and helps to nurture one's relationship with oneself. If you feel as though you've lost yourself in a relationship lemon oil can bring clarity and help you to realign. 

Yoga for Your Heart Chakra

I have to be honest. The hardest part about finding a video for heart chakra yoga was all of the creepy yoga teacher voices. That's my problem with most yoga teachers and classes, I can't get past that coded yoga voice. So instead for today I have included a chart with some examples of heart chakra balancing yoga poses and a great video by Teal Swan on how to open your heart chakra. Enjoy! 

Oils for Solar Plexus Alignment

Massages are the way to my heart.  I love a good massage and believe that the benefits are highly underrated in American culture. The massages I've received while living in Thailand have been very therapeutic for me mentally and physically. Essential oils used in massage and are not only a great way to smell good but a way to heal your body and of course, align your chakras.  My personal dream is to start distilling my own essential oils and I plan to start on this journey hopefully this winter.  Bergamot. lavender, clary sage, rosemary, mandarin and the all time hippie favorite patchouli are all great for the solar plexus chakra. I actually still love patchouli and when I do wear it from time to time people can't help but be drawn to it. Patchouli helps to calm and stabilize the mind. 

Bergamot is also a good oil to use to release feelings of anger and ease digestion. Lavender is an oil that most people are familiar with and helps with anxiety. Clary sage has become increasingly popular as of late and has been used in calming patients during seizures. It's an antidepressant, and antiseptic and antibacterial so it's great for cleaning. 

Rosemary oil not only helps with solar plexus alignment but also stimulates hair growth, and is known for it's anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. It's been proven to lower cortisol as well. Mandarin oil is one of my favorites and is a great sedative and antiseptic. It also smells amazing and aids digestion. 

Add these oils to your bath, or massage into your scalp or skin to gain their benefits. I like to massage into the soles of my feet just at bedtime and then put on a pair of soft socks. 

Balancing the Solar Plexus with Herbs

I am all about some herbs and secretly hop around every time it's time to get down to the herbal side of chakra alignment. Herbs are so much fun to learn about and so easy to grow and incorporate in your daily life. If you haven't started an herb garden by now you should really consider it, many of these are super easy to grow and will help you stay steady with your practice. 

The solar plexus is such an important part of our existence and allows us to embrace our individuality and uniqueness. We need to nurture and care for this power center. And one way to assist in balancing it is of course herbs. Rosemary, fennel, cinnamon and lemongrass are great herbs to use in teas and in cooking. Garlic, anise, peppermint and spearmint are also great herbs for balance as well. Mint is easy to grow and helps to keep mosquitos at bay as well as soothe upset stomachs. Lemongrass is one of my favorites and it grows on my porch. I often use it to make hot and iced teas as well as Thai lemongrass soup. I use mushroom broth instead of fish sauce and chicken broth. Here's a video below on how to make Thai Lemongrass Soup. 

Power Foods for Balancing Your Solar Plexus

Food is an important part of everyone's day and eating the right foods is always a challenge. As we focus on aligning our solar plexus we want to choose foods that are going to make us feel more empowered and align our power center. The solar plexus aligns with your metabolism and digestion which is key in getting you through your day. 

Gallstones, adrenal fatigue, eating disorders, depression and diabetes are physical signs that your solar plexus are imbalanced. You may crave sugar, caffeine or carbohydrates. You want to limit your intake of these foods as well as processed and GMO foods. The solar plexus is represented by the color yellow so yellow foods such as pineapple, corn, squash, beans, ginger and turmeric are great for balancing your power center. Try adding a few of these foods to your meals this week. Below I've included a recipe to a pineapple ginger smoothie that's a great way to start off your day.  


Pineapple Ginger Smoothie 

2 cups of fresh pineapple (not canned) 

1 cup of fresh coconut water 

1 tbsp of grated ginger 

2 tbsp of honey 

1/2 of yogurt (optional)

1/2 cup of ice

Blend all ingredients, serve and enjoy !  

Crystals for Your Solar Plexus

Crystals are such an easy way to help balance your chakras. I love wearing jewelry so I often incorporate my alignment in my fashion, wardrobe and accessories. You can also add these crystals to your decor in small bowls around your house after charging them.

 If your solar plexus is balanced you are going to feel confident and empowered. An imbalance can bring on eating disorders, anxiety or depression. All very common ailments in today's society, which is why this chakra is so very important.  Some crystals that you can use for solar plexus chakra Yellow Jasper, yellow beryl, lemon citrine tiger's eye and yellow tourmaline. Check out my earlier post if you need some advice on charging your crystals. 

Yoga for the Solar Plexus

The solar plexus has been a challenging chakra for me. Well chakra alignment is not easy and each chakra requires balancing and rebalancing and constant maintenance. But when I started working on this chakra I had to get a little real with myself. Being more open is allowing me to see how much negativity I've held towards myself and how much negative self-talk I do on a daily basis. For someone who appears to be a pretty confident person I've been holding myself back a lot. 

I'm not proud of it you can only grow when you admit where you are. The solar chakra is extremely important however so I am definitely working on this through my yoga practice. I have included a video below and although she's a bit chatty there are some really good exercises here. The solar plexus relates to the fire element so since I mostly do a home practice I like to have candles lit especially for chakra. 

Sari not Sorry: Tracing My Roots

In my family we still get married in a sari or saree. Usually we will have a Christian wedding dress and use a sari for the reception. The picture on the left is of my mother in her wedding sari. My mother made my sari when I got married and it was a very special time for us. My great-grandmother was from India and she was the pillar of our family. She raised her kids to be Christian and I know nothing of her ever actually converting although I do believe that Christianity and the Western world changed her thinking about how women should be treated and the rights they should have. A dark-skinned Indian woman she came to the United States in the early 1900's and was constantly confused for an African. "Let them think how they want, you do what you have to do." she would always tell me. As a kid I think this felt like regular advice from old people but as I grew up I discovered how deep those words were for her. 

I remember going to my great-grandmother's yellow house and being excited to see her. She was meeting us and my mother and I had arrived a few minutes early. "She's coming around the corner soon. There! Granny's coming, now see." My mother said to me. I lifted my head and searched outside of the window but I didn't see anyone. Suddenly there she was, in front of me, in jeans and a white men's button down shirt. It was the first time I had ever seen my grandmother in western clothes. I can't remember another instance of it either. We went back into the house and she quickly changed back into her sari and I felt relieved. Things were back to normal. 

I have always identified with my Indian heritage having been raised with this powerful and traditional woman in the most formative years of my life. Indian food is still my favorite food, and a year after my great-grandmother died I stopped eating meat, perhaps to be closer to her in some way. I've even taught Bollywood dance to middle-schoolers. Unlike most black Americans I listen to Hindu bhajans in the morning instead of Christian gospel music. I pray to Ganesha, not Jesus.  However the truth is I'm only 1/8th Indian and I look much more black-Cuban like my father. An all American first generation mash. These things always made me feel ostracized from the both the black-American community and the Indian community. No matter what you look like, it's very hard to leave behind a culture that is the first culture you ever knew. Before I could begin to know what American culture was I knew about daal, and naan and incense and ganesha in the morning. 

Let them think how they want, you do what you have to do.

Having met and worked with and lived with many Indians over the past 14 years I know that there is zero acceptance waiting for me as part Indian in India. Pressed for time I was desperate to experience an environment with dark-skinned Asian people without so much concern about safety and racism so I chose to come to Sri Lanka for two weeks instead of India and I'm glad I did. I found exactly what I was looking for. The cool black skin of the people reminds me of my family. The sweet nature of the people and genuine warmth I've felt here has felt like coming home. I bought a sari while here and at least have some ideas about what life was like when my great-grandmother left this area of the world so many years ago. Although I still plan to go to India to study yoga at some point for now I feel fulfilled and for that I am grateful.  

 

Below are some videos on how to tie a sari. If you haven't worn one I suggest giving it a try. 

Solar Plexus, the Power Chakra

My apologies for the delayed posts guys. Some scheduled posts did not actually post while I've been traveling so things got a bit off. Looks like we're all caught up now though and it's time to move on to the solar plexus. This chakra is located above the navel and below the rib cage. The solar plexus is important because it's about your self-identity and who you are. 

The main issue that people have with this chakra is using this power for good. If this chakra is overactive you are the type of person that is always stressed out. You react emotionally to everything and life kind of leads you around.  You are judgemental and critical, angry or aggressive. You are also probably a workaholic or perfectionist. 

If this chakra is underactive on the other hand life is just passing you by. You're very passive and have a hard time making decisions. You avoid your feelings of depression and constantly need approval from others. You have issues with trust and worry a lot about what others think of you. 

The solar plexus is charged by the element of fire and the color yellow and gives you the power to move forward in confidence. Some physical side effects of an imbalance may be poor digestion, arthritis, weight gain, anorexia, bulimia, hepatitis diabetes, ulcers. color cancer or intestinal tumors. 

Think about this new information and what you may need to focus on. Find a yellow photo to keep on the dashboard in your card or a yellow bracelet or string to wear around your wrist as we focus on this chakra over the next seven days.