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Activate Your Hope Chakra
Posted By Chrissy Carter On April 18, 2012 @ 4:34 pm In Fitness, Personal Growth, Yoga | 4 Comments
Practice yoga with Chrissy Carter’s Chaturanga Vinyasa Flow video  on GaiamTV.com.
It is impossible to know hope until one has experienced hopelessness — that feeling of suffocating permanence, as if you will be forever trapped in your present situation. In a place of hopelessness, all feels irrevocably lost. We harden and brace ourselves for permanent pain in the same way that we gather and store reserves in preparation for a long, hard winter. It’s as if the shutters have been closed and all the lights turned off. Lost in the darkness, we succumb to avidya (ignorance), the belief that our finite experience is all-pervasive and interminable. Helpless, hapless and hopeless, it is impossible to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel, and we start to lose sight of the big picture.
But in these times, hope can be a light in the darkness, filtering through the slats in the shutters, shifting the shadows in our dark room from ominous to promising. Suddenly and against all odds, we can find compassion for ourselves in the face of suffering. Rabindranath Tagore  — poet, philosopher and author of the timeless book Sadhana — writes, “It [hope] gives us an ideal of perfection that always carries us beyond our present limitations. Within us we have a hope that always walks in front of our present narrow experience.” In the bleakest periods of my own life, hope took my hand like a true friend, holding a lantern out in front of me when all I could see was darkness.
In yoga , hope can create the space for compassion and even comfort in a place of unbearable intensity. So often in our asana practice we come face-to-face with postures that feel impossible. For me, it’s Padmasana (Lotus Pose ). For a long period of time I just stopped trying, because I was convinced it would never come. In fact, it still hasn’t come, but I have witnessed glimmers of hope in the moments when I opened myself up to a different way of seeing. Approaching the pose from an unexpected angle, using a new technique, or calling upon the assistance of a prop  always creates the space for possibility by challenging what I think I know. I start to see how maybe one day, with practice and patience, Padmasana might be a possibility.
Anahata chakra, our compassion center, resides in the center of our chakra system  and is a place of union, with the Self and beyond. It is here that we access tenderness, sensitivity, acceptance and, yes, hope in the midst of pain. The element associated with Anahata chakra is air, so pranayama  (breathing practices), specifically inhale-based pranayama, can uplift us when we feel heavy or lost.
A gentle vinyasa practice — inspired, initiated and enveloped by the breath — can connect us back to the infinite source of compassion in our hearts.
What we reveal in a breath-based asana practice is that the inhalation happens in spite of us. Rather than forcing the air into our lungs, the breath is received. This reminds us that hope is always there, as Tagore wrote, walking right in front of us.
We asked experts, authors and readers like you to share their stories of Hope. Every day for the next month, you’ll find new tips for optimism on Gaiam Life , the Stream of Consciousness blog  and our social media sites: Facebook , Twitter  and Pinterest . And don’t miss the GaiamTV.com  Hope Film Festival , with FREE films all month long.
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URL to article: http://blog.gaiam.com/activate-your-hope-chakra/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://blog.gaiam.com/wp-content/uploads/2000/04/Chrissy-Carter1.jpg
 Chaturanga Vinyasa Flow video: http://www.gaiamtv.com/video/thoughtflow-chaturanga-vinyasa-flow?chan=GaiamLife&utm_source=GaiamLife_Hope&utm_medium=Web&utm_campaign=Hope
 Rabindranath Tagore: http://blog.gaiam.com/quotes/authors/rabindranath-tagore
 yoga: http://www.gaiamtv.com/category/yoga-studio-videos?chan=GaiamLife&utm_source=GaiamLife_Hope&utm_medium=Web&utm_campaign=Hope
 Lotus Pose: http://life.gaiam.com/article/do-you-have-sit-cross-legged-meditate
 prop: http://www.gaiam.com/category/yoga-studio/yoga-props/yoga-blocks-straps.do?SID=WG127SPRTAPEMACS&extcmp=life_prod
 chakra system: http://life.gaiam.com/article/chakras-get-know-your-7-energy-centers
 pranayama: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/catching-a-breath/
 Mountain Pose: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/mountain-pose-how-to-plus-exploring-the-pose/
 Standing Forward Bend: http://www.gaiamtv.com/tv/gaiam-yoga-fundamentals-standing-poses?chan=GaiamLifeEmail&utm_source=GaiamLifeEmail_4.19.12&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=free#play/7028
 Fierce/Chair Pose: http://life.gaiam.com/video/3-min-dynamic-chair-yoga-pose-thighs
 Sun Salutation: http://life.gaiam.com/video/sun-salutation-how-rodney-yees-yoga-beginners
 Corpse Pose: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/savasana-relaxation-pose-how-to-video/
 blankets: http://www.gaiam.com/product/organic+cotton+fireside+throw.do?SID=WG127SPRTAPEMACS&extcmp=life_prod
 yoga mat: http://www.gaiam.com/category/yoga-studio/yoga+mat+guide.do?SID=WG127SPRTAPEMACS&extcmp=life_prod
 Gaiam Life: http://life.gaiam.com/
 Stream of Consciousness blog: http://blog.gaiam.com../
 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Gaiam
 Twitter: https://twitter.com/#%21/Gaiam
 Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/gaiam/
 GaiamTV.com: http://www.gaiamtv.com/?chan=GaiamLife&utm_source=GaiamLife&utm_medium=Web&utm_campaign=10day
 Hope Film Festival: http://www.gaiamtv.com/lprbe2/?chan=GaiamLife&utm_source=GaiamLife_Hope&utm_medium=Web&utm_campaign=Hope
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