When was the last time you did something for the first time?
This has been a year of firsts for me. I have learned a lot about myself, community, support, and of course health and wellness. I have met some pretty incredible people this year, mostly through social media. As a kid growing up I remember my parents telling me not to talk to strangers, especially online. Now it seems that I spend most of my day engaging and connecting with as many people as possible through Instagram or other forms of social media. I met my business partner, Kayla Kleinman on Instagram when I stepped out of my comfort zone and asked to meet her in person for a workout. 3 months later, she asked me to c-create Holistic Happening with her!
And then there was Nicole Glassman, founder of Mindfulhealthnyc, a fellow IIN graduate who posted beautiful photos of essential oils, crystals, chakra education and mindful quotes. I liked everyone of her photos and felt inspired by her dedication to personal healing and growth for herself and her clients. She reached out to me on Instagram to meet in person and after spending all of 5 minutes in her office, I told her I felt like I was home. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I knew I was in the right place for me. I was surrounded by positive energy from her workplace and the people she worked with. There were flower essences, crystals, essential oils and non-toxic beauty products everywhere. Her workspace is a true representation of everything she puts out online. She is completely authentic and dedicated to her practice and the well-being of her clients.
Mindfulhealthnyc has retreats twice a year and I’ve always been intrigued by retreats – spending 3-4 days with a group of strangers, sharing your ideas and emotions, eating, sleeping, working with this group and being away from home and the comforts of your own space and kitchen and routine. I love traveling, but I don’t always love being in what could be uncomfortable situations and opening up. But this year has been about growth and stepping out of my comfort zone and doing more things for myself instead of others. I am trying to focus on loving myself and building up my own love and inner strength because I always give so much to others. So when Nicole suggested that I join her team on the Hudson Valley Chakra Retreat, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.
What Is A Chakra?
Chakras are the wheels of energy in the center of the body. Chakras can be blocked due to internal and external circumstances such as stress and when a chakra is not open, energy can not flow freely throughout the body. Each chakra corresponds to organs in the body, so depending on the blocked chakra, different symptoms will present themselves.
Each chakra has a representative color, essential oil, mantra, organ in the body so the retreat was about exploring the 7 chakras in the body, identifying which chakras are not in balance for us individually, recognizing what is causing the block, and helping one another understand steps we can take to open the chakra.
Mindfulhealthnyc has a chakra quiz that you can take to determine which chakra is blocked for you as well as what you can do to heal. I took the chakra quiz 3 months ago when I first met Nicole and was “Solar Plexus,” the chakra of the gut, energy, growth, and personal power. It is associated with the color yellow, the crystal citrine and the citrus essential oils. At the time, this made perfect sense for me because I was beginning to transition into health and wellness, be more social, step out of my routine and meet new people. My solar plexus was not in balance so I wasn’t trusting my gut to follow this new path, I had digestive issues, lack of energy and insecurities in my relationships, whether with friends, coworkers or with Ryan. I wasn’t trusting. And I never felt like I had enough time! I began using Mindful Mosaic flower essences to feel more confident and centered and working with Nicole to heal the lining of my gut, eliminate allergens and toxins from my life, physical and emotional, and I began to have new opportunities present themselves, whether because I was more open to receive them or because I was now more aware of them since I was listening to my gut and following the path that I know would make me happy.
The menus every day related to the chakra that we were specifically working on so the coloring of the food matched the specific chakra. Every thing was grain free, dairy free (optional on the side), soy free, refined sugar free, and gluten free. I can honestly speak for the entire group when I say that the food was so delicious – we went back for seconds and thirds at every meal.
Each day we began with a group breakfast followed by a 2-3 hour workshop discussing the specific chakras. Day 1 we worked on the Root and Sacral Chakra, both about finding what grounds us, embracing change to feel more stable and finding joy. Day 2 was Solar Plexus and Heart Chakra – being confident and nurturing ourselves with love. The final day we focused on the Throat Chakra, Third Eye Chakra and the Crown Chakra, all having to do with feeling safe in order to find connection and finding harmony in our ability to be heard and see.
After the workshop we had lunch followed by free time to either work on vision boards, have a massage, explore the grounds, spend time in the hot tub or sauna, or sit around the fire chatting with one another. We then did a sunset yoga, taught by Camille Eroy-Reveles, which corresponded to the chakras of the day.
We concluded with dinner, dessert and more hanging out. Laughter filled the house the entire weekend as we all spent time together, shared our stories and really got to know one another. On the second day we took a walk together across the Hudson Walkway and got to experience the beautiful fall foliage outside of the house.
The girls were fabulous – they were so open, so honest, and it felt so freeing. I learned a lot about myself listening to others and realized that we all feel out of balance in some way and one person’s balance can help my imbalance and my balance can help someone else. There was no judgement, there was advice given when it was welcomed, there were questions asked and solutions that arose internally through continued discussions. Nicole provided a workbook with exercises for us to complete that really got us thinking about where we spend our time, where we put our energy, who uplifts us versus drains us, and how we can find ways to be more open and heard.
I learned a lot on the retreat and I am so excited for more experiences like this. I have always been surrounding my women who compete and try to one-up one another which is why coming on an all women’s retreat scared me. But this group, and all of the women I have met this past year, have been extremely supportive and nourishing and inspiring and motivating. There is no competition, there is no negativity.
There is so much love and appreciation for one another that there is no way to feel alone or lost or scared. I didn’t have time to spend on my phone, watching television, or feeling bored because there was so much energy uplifting me. I experienced zero digestive issues, I never once worried about my weight, my makeup, my hair, my clothes (I wore Alexis Mera joggers the entire weekend with comfortable shirts and sweaters and no makeup); I never felt stressed or rushed or judged. I felt completely grounded and calm and vulnerable, but in a good way.
The Chakra Menus Included:
ROOT CHAKRA & SACRAL CHAKRA: RED/ORANGE
SOLAR PLEXUS & HEART CHAKRA: YELLOW/GREEN-PINK
THROAT CHAKRA & THIRD EYE CHAKRA & CROWN CHAKRA: TURQUOISE/INDIGO/VIOLET
Below are the lessons I personally learned based on each of the 7 chakras.
ROOT CHAKRA: BODY: Kidney, Blood, Skeletal System
- My root chakra has never been the primary or secondary imbalanced chakra, but I suffer from a lot of the symptoms because of emotional stress and toxins. I always have racing thoughts so one of the biggest take aways for me was turning off electronics before bed and not having them on while getting ready in the morning. This includes television, radio, and social media.
- Every night in the city I fall asleep scrolling through Instagram with the television on – it’s never ending stimulation so I have a hard to slowing down. While on the retreat I had no access to a television, didn’t check my email or text messages and while I got ready in the morning I listened to the sounds of nature outside my door rather then music or snapchat stories. It felt freeing to not be reliant on noise and the technology to feel connected – instead, I felt grounding because of my surroundings and I felt completely connected and happy.
SACRAL CHAKRA: EMOTION: Sex organs, Bladder
- This has come up twice as my secondary chakra and I think it has to do with currently struggling to enjoy my day to day activities and finding the balance in what uplifts me versus what drains me. I am constantly saying yes to others and fill my calendar with social events, workouts, and meetings. I am at a loss of time for my family which makes me anxious and exhausted. I can never fall asleep because I always feel like I have to do more, but then I wake up feeling exhausted because I didn’t have a restful nights sleep.
- My biggest lesson for this chakra is learning to say no – learning to be honest and to let go of the people or things that drain me.
SOLAR PLEXUS: ENERGY: The Gut
- This was my first chakra to be imbalanced and I never felt more connected to this chakra and way of focusing my healing efforts. Although many symptoms overlap the chakras, the solar plexus chakra really got to the root of my body feeling blocked. I wake up every morning feeling bloated and full and I gain weight when I am stressed, which seems to be most of the time.
- My biggest lesson from this chakra is identifying what activities I want to make time for in order to have the ideal day. Focusing on activities or people that energize me and following my passion. The solar plexus is literally the chakra of the gut, so I want to learn to trust my gut more and not question myself so much. I learned that the reason I wake up feeling bloated is because I am not digesting my surroundings, people or food because the elements are toxic. I also eat very quickly and feel rushed and like I don’t have enough time.
- After this workshop I felt so much more stable and free and light. I wasn’t questioning myself, my purpose or my path as much and changed my state of mind to want I can do rather than what I wish I could do.
HEART CHAKRA: LOVE: The heart and lungs
- This is my current imbalanced chakra which surprised me because during the Heart Chakra Workshop I kept saying that this didn’t apply to me because I never get sick or feel pain in my heart region. However, I learned that because I give so much love to others (with my imbalanced solar plexus busy schedule), that I do not have enough love for myself. Because the heart chakra connects all upper and lower chakras, the blockage wasn’t allowing me to feel grounded or spiritual because my energy was not flowing through my entire body. It was one or the other and my body was not working as a whole unit.
- I always say I never get sick, however, when I slow down and rest, I always end up with a sore throat and the chills. I rarely experience this though because my solar plexus chakra was blocked so my energy was always being used because of my busy schedule. I never had time to slow down, but once I cleared my solar plexus chakra, the heart chakra became the next block in my body.
- My biggest lesson from this chakra is learning to love myself unconditionally, love my life and love the people in it. There should never be conditions on love if it is a healthy relationship and the relationship with myself is the one that needs to be worked on the most. At a time of transition I have to learn to not give up on myself and trust my gut (solar plexus) that everything will be okay and I will be a better and stronger person because of the hardships I might face at this time.
THROAT CHAKRA: TRUTH: Throat, Mouth, Teeth
- I am always surprised that this chakra is not a primary or secondary for me since I have suffered from mercury poisoning and hyperthryoid/Graves Disease. I am exhausted every morning, gain weight no matter what I eat and have a puffy and bloated face. But I believe that my throat chakra symptoms are symptoms of other chakra blocks below the throat like not having passion for my work or love for myself and not being able to slow down or say no or remove toxins from my body such as people, places or events. I also do ionic foot soaks. Although every symptom of the throat chakra applies to me, once I heal my other blocks, these will unblock themselves.
- I was so interested in seeing that I am not honest with my words – I am vulnerable, which is a quality of the heart chakra, but when it comes to myself and my needs, I don’t know how to stand up for myself (say NO), express how I feel openly and honestly with others or show how I truly feel without becoming emotional.
- My favorite take away from this workshop was that when we slump over, we close the throat – I sit at a desk all day, hunched over a computer screen so I am not opening up my throat, which is not allowing me to communicate clearly and honestly. I am going to work on aligning my posture so that I can open up my throat chakra.
THIRD EYE CHAKRA: INSIGHT: Eyes and Sinuses
- This is Ryan’s imbalanced chakra so I loved learning about it to see how I can help him nourish himself. Again, this chakra is about setting boundaries and learning to say NO, but also about feeling grounded, safe and at ease. It will help me to help my partner to relax my understanding his chakra imbalances. I also found it interesting that my imbalance had to do with energy and being on the go too much, while his had to do with not having enough to do and maybe finding more passion in hobbies and activities that will inspire and motivate him. I believe that opposites attract and Ryan and I can certainly help one another grow and heal. Doing it together with also help me heal my Heart Chakra!
CROWN CHAKRA: UNITY: Upper Skull
- When this chakra is balanced you feel connected to a higher power that you draw energy from. However, when it is not, you are not grounded or optimistic. This chakra connects to the root chakra, because if you are not grounded, then you are always looking for an escape to avoid the current moments. You are always moving to distract yourself from not feeling guided or connected. To nourish this chakra, spend time outdoors, take a bath, and rest.
The final activity of the retreat was a Sound Healing experience. It involved the use of singing bowls that vibrate at frequencies that match the 7 chakras. The help to balance the body, relax the mind, release blockage, reduce inflammation in the body, and increase energy while reducing anxiety.
For 30 minutes, we relaxed our bodies, grounding them to the floor while the singing bowls were played over us, sending healing vibrations throughout the body. I physically felt the energy rise and fall in the crown chakra and when I sat up, I felt complete clarity almost as if a veil had been lifted and I could see more clearly. Sound can enhance spirituality, which is not the same as religion, and it can bring a sense of community. I felt so connected to the women who shared this experience with me and shared that space in the room with me and the sound bath.
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