Category: Well being

The Second Chakra: Connection, Flow, Movement, and Feelings

The Second Chakra Connection, Flow, Movement, and Feelings

seven Chakras provide us with a wonderful road map for how to age gracefully.

Our second chakra is Svadhisthana. The color is orange, the element is water, the energy is connection. While the Root chakra is satisfied with survival, the Sacral chakra seeks pleasure, enjoyment, and connection to others through the flow and movement represented by water.

Our Sacral
chakra is the center of our passion, sensation, feelings, emotions, pleasure,
intimacy, connections, movement, and change. The water element is the flow of
our creativity, our sweat, and our tears. It’s the fluid movement of our water
that defines the Sacral chakra.

define our core reaction to an event. Our feelings are the thoughts, beliefs,
and stories the emotion arouses.

The Sacral
chakra is our touch. Without touch, we become ‘out of touch’. The Root is our
grounding, the Sacral is our movement, our flow. We move from earth to water,
from solid to liquid; fluid flow.

Location of Your Sacral Chakra

The Sacral
chakra is located between the pubic bone and navel in the front of the body and
at the sacrum in the lower back. The organs affected by the second chakra are the
ovaries, lower digestive tract, lower back, and the hips.

The movement
of physical fluids in our bodies is governed by the Sacral chakra. It is also the
area of our feelings and wisdom. We literally feel some things ‘in our gut’.

Aging and the Sacral Chakra

of our chakras gives us messages as we go through life. An unbalanced Sacral chakra
can feel like a low back ache or an issue in the lower digestive tract. When
there is pain or emptiness in our senses, our Sacral chakra shuts down.

we age, we can become less fluid as our emotions ebb and flow. As Pema Chodron
says, “no feeling is permanent.” Even our connection to others changes.

experience the deaths of our loved ones. Our relationships change as our
spouses and partners age, our friends might move or become less able to enjoy
what we enjoy, our children don’t really need our care and are busy with their
own lives.

own sexuality changes. We may not have an intimate partner, or we feel less
sexual desires. Our bodies are changing – a few droops, a bit of a wrinkle, a
sag here and there. We may regret not pursuing passions of our youth.

this chakra is out of balance, negative emotions fester within us, sitting in
our gut, decomposing slowly. We all know people who are unable to let go of
anger and carry resentment for months and even years. These negative emotions
settle in the second chakra, turning it toxic.

The more
we entertain negative thoughts, the more diminished the zest of our Sacral chakra.
We must be aware and bring the passion, the movement, the flow in our lives,
especially as we age.

Color of Your Sacral Chakra

color orange is the color of joy, enthusiasm, and creativity and promotes a
general sense of wellness. Orange is composed of red and yellow in equal parts,
and it is a color of vitality and strength.

is the color of success and relates to self-respect and having the ability to
give ourselves the freedom to be ourselves as we expand our interests and
activities. Orange is an emotional stimulant. It connects us to our senses,
helps to remove inhibitions, and makes us independent and social.

Shadow Side

the energy of flow and movement is our Sacral chakra, its shadow side is guilt.
Guilt curtails the free flow of movement by removing the pleasure. We
experience the guilt of not being enough in our connection to others.

need to accept the reality that certain things happened in the past, and we
need to forgive ourselves for the actions that hurt us or somebody else.

lesson the Sacral chakra teaches is that every relationship we create, from the
casual to the most intimate, has a purpose, no matter how painful, to help us
become more aware.

Balancing the Sacral Chakra as We Age

our Sacral chakra keeps it in balance. When we are constricted, our flow is
limited. When we let go, we carry the excitement through our whole body. Once
we are secure in who we are from our Root, we can move, connect, and explore
the inner flow of our passions and the outer flow of our movement.

interesting to note how many women over 60 love Zumba, line dancing, tap or any
kind of movement. We have a desire for the movement, the zing, and the joy of
connecting with that part of ourselves, our natural flow!

orange food, wear orange clothing, celebrate the connections you have!

Overabundant Sacral Chakra

excessive Sacral chakra makes us overly self-centered, manipulative, and
self-serving, disregarding the needs of others. Pride, arrogance, and becoming
needy of others’ attention.

Lacking Sacral Chakra

deficient Sacral chakra is cold, distrustful, timid or shy, and overly
sensitive. If you become introverted, are unable to show emotions, worry about
others’ opinion, fear pleasure, and deny yourself things that make you feel
good, you are suffering from low Sacral chakra.

It’s All About Balance

balanced Sacral chakra creates graceful movements, emotional intelligence,
ability to experience pleasure and change, and maintain healthy boundaries.

Balancing Exercises

Here are some gentle yoga movements to replenish and awaken an unbalanced Sacral chakra:

  • Barrel circles
  • Hip circles
  • Moving sacrum and pelvis forward and back
  • Simple loose movements
  • Kidney slap
  • Head to knee
  • Windshield wiper legs
  • Moving bridge

As we become aware of our Sacral chakra, let’s repeat the affirmation:

Life is pleasurable, and I deserve it.

is the default state of your Sacral chakra? Do you need to balance it? What
exercises do you do to balance your Sacral chakra? What effects have you
noticed on your feelings, connections and self-esteem? Please share in the

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How Losing Yourself in Your Passions Can Help You Find Happiness at Any Age

How Losing Yourself in Your Passions Can Help You Find Happiness at Any Age

As I stir chicken broth
and garlic cloves into the simmering pot of bland-looking cauliflower, I smile
and chuckle to myself. How will this concoction go over at the dinner table
It doesn’t matter – I
don’t even care. Because, right now, I am having fun.

That evening, assuming the
usual mashed potatoes sit alongside his dinner of roasted salmon and leafy
salad, my husband shovels a forkful of my experiment into his mouth.

“Are these potatoes?” he
asks after swallowing. 

“Do you like them?” is my

“I do.”

“Good, because our
culinary rut is about to change.”

Drowning in Sameness

For years, crammed between
carpooling, meetings, and piles of laundry, I would race through the grocery
aisles, grabbing spaghetti and chicken and broccoli – items from my memorized mental shopping list – and tossing them into the grocery cart.

Those were simple ingredients
based on menus I knew my family liked; meals I could prepare on autopilot while
I folded laundry, watched the news, or picked up the house. 

With my sons rushing between
sports practices and homework, my job was to get dinner on the table in the
most efficient way possible. Eat, clean up the kitchen, and move on to the next

Except – what is the next activity now? 

I no longer quiz a child
with spelling words or sit in the bleachers at baseball games or pack lunches
for the following school day. I don’t need to fling dinner together and move

Could I slow down, take my
time, and find joy in the cooking process?

Cooking and Me

In recent years, I’ve
ogled luscious photos of bubbling lasagnas and seared halibut and
confetti-sprinkled layer cakes. I’ve tapped hearts on foodie sites and pinned
recipes to boards with labels like Holiday Foods and Weeknight
and Healthy Eats.

Arranged in color-tagged
folders on my laptop are instructions for Appetizers and Slow-Cooker
and Entree Salads. 

Seldom did I return to my
organized stash of recipes and actually make any of these dishes. I relied on
the predictable standbys, the same rotating menus. 

Here I go again, I realized. I’m drowning in sameness.

Instead of admiring the
photos of foods other people make, why don’t I head to the kitchen and
give some of those dishes a try? 

Based on the success of my
pseudo-mashed potatoes, I began to tackle recipes I once labeled too much
or not for me.

The healthy
meatballs I prepared
were delicious spooned
over packaged pasta. Even better when I served them atop spiralized squash.
Slice a sweet potato, drop it in the toaster, and slather it with almond
butter? Who thought of THIS?! 

I bought ingredients I
didn’t quite know what to do with – ghee
and coconut aminos and almond milk – and explored the
Whole 30 craze. I felt up-to-date and informed, engaged and curious – and I liked that me. 

I Can’t Cook and Worry at the Same Time

When I scooped the seeds
and membrane from a red pepper for a lunchtime tuna melt or manipulated the
fragile collard greens into a wrap, I forgot to worry about the lab test
results and car troubles and elderly parents. While I chopped onions and grated
parmesan, I let go of the little – and
big – issues in my life. 

Like knitting, carpentry,
or painting may do for other folks, cooking unfamiliar recipes gave me
something to concentrate on besides my problems and concerns. 

Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls this process “flow,” and his research indicates this is one of the secrets to a happy life. In his book, Finding Flow, he defines a flow state as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake.” 

My Perfectionist Self Let Go

My black and white cookie
batter went into the garbage one gray, rainy afternoon. The confectioner’s
sugar I grabbed from the pantry, instead of the flour, produced a runny,
inedible, snow-white soup.

My perfectionist self
surprised me. I didn’t grouse over the cost of ingredients or the wasted time
in the kitchen. I allowed myself to laugh at my unfortunate mistake, make
another (successful) batch, and enjoy my time in the kitchen. 

In her book, Lifting Depression, neuroscientist Dr. Kelly Lambert writes, “With today’s overly-mechanized lifestyle we have forgotten our brains crave the well-being that comes from meaningful effort. Whether planting a garden, repairing a lamp, or cooking a meal, you are bathing your brain in feel-good chemicals and creating a kind of mental vitamin.”

Cooking Can Produce Feel-Good Chemicals

Instead of grazing on
cheese and crackers – or
cookies – and calling it dinner, I
tried new creations when I dined alone. Pesto, tomatoes, mushrooms, and
avocados make for a fancy grilled cheese sandwich at lunch.

Sheet pan dinners are a
breeze for one person. I fired up the stove or the oven and assembled salmon
salads and turkey burgers – for
my party of one.

Cooking gadgets became the
gifts du jour for Mother’s Day and my birthday. As I unwrapped a pasta maker
from my sons, I admit the words “work” and “mess” rolled through my mind.

And – yes – fettuccini from scratch was a flour-spattered
production. But as I kneaded the dough and maneuvered the fussy strips through
the machine, I realized I enjoyed my own company – and the challenge of it all.

Nowadays, I still enjoy a good dinner out, and most Friday and Saturday nights my kitchen is closed. I don’t make new recipes every day, and I’ve tried plenty I won’t make again. 

But when I do go into my
kitchen to attempt a new dessert or salad or soup, I’ll feed my body – and I’ll also feed my soul. 

Do you have an activity that helps you experience flow? What hobby causes you to “lose yourself?” When was the last time you tried a new recipe? Please share with our community!

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3 Ways Movement Can Optimize Your Brain Health After 60

3 Ways Movement Can Optimize Your Brain Health After 60

In recent years,
research continues to find a strong connection between mobility and decline in brain health. It’s been long
established that exercise and movement help promote mental health and fight
symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD.

But we continue to
learn that the benefits of movement extend beyond the management of mental
health conditions and into the realm of prevention and brain optimization. 

For example, research on dementia risk factors consistently finds
that loss of strength, walking speed, and balance are strong predictors of a
future decline in brain health.

Given all of this information, it’s impossible to deny that our body and mind work together.The good news is that we can use this mounting evidence to our advantage.

Your Movement Habits as a Window to Your Brain Health

Your movement
provides a window to your brain. As a physical therapist, I can watch an
individual’s movement patterns to determine where they might be having areas of
brain decline. For example, difficulty keeping balance with walking can
indicate difficulty with planning complex tasks or visuospatial reasoning.

Not only can your movement habits paint a picture of what might be going on with your brain health, but you can also use movement as a tool to optimize your brain.

The great news is
that you don’t have to become a marathon runner or powerlifter to reap the
brain-health benefits. Research has found that a formal exercise practice is not necessary, it’s just about
getting up and moving often.

Adopting a Movement-Based Lifestyle to Promote Brain Health

There are ways of
moving that can have a bigger impact in promoting brain health than others. One
of the most common mistakes I see people make is adopting the habit of mindless
movement or exercise.

Jumping on a
treadmill in front of a TV provides a greater benefit than sitting on the
couch, but also misses a huge opportunity to optimize brain health along with
moving more.

As biomechanist Katy Bowman would argue, the solution isn’t to add more formal “exercise” to your day but instead to focus on adopting a movement-based lifestyle. It doesn’t help to focus on exercise for 30 minutes a day only to be sedentary during your non-exercise time.

“To increase the
benefits of physical activity, strive to put more movement back into your life.
Choose to walk instead of drive, seek out active chores, and learn to move more
during your non-exercise time.” –Katy Bowman

Adopting the habit of mindful movement
throughout your day will help you get more bang for your movement buck. It
starts with learning how to observe yourself.

Understand the ways in which you move,
and even more importantly, how you aren’t moving. Make your movement a mindful practice
for maximum benefits.

The Benefits of Movement on Brain Health

People who move
more throughout their day report a higher sense of well-being. They have more
energy, sleep better, have better memory, and report more positive feelings
about their lives.

Studies have found
that even just having a higher perception and more positive feelings associated
with health can make you less likely to develop chronic disease.

So, don’t wait to
get started living a movement-based lifestyle to optimize your brain health.
This type of living is accessible to anyone.

Here are 3 ways
movement can help you optimize your brain.

Increased Circulation to the Brain

Moving more gets
the blood flowing throughout your body, which benefits all of your organs but
is most impactful for your brain.

Poor brain
circulation can cause “brain fog” and, in the most extreme cases, the death of
brain cells. It’s likely you’ve experienced brain fog and a lack of clarity at
some point. This feeling is a good indication to get yourself up and moving.

Movement enhances
brain health by improving circulation throughout the brain. Having better
circulation means better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain, which
are critical for its function. The more you disperse your movement throughout
the day, the more often you can promote circulation to your brain.

Formation of New Neural Pathways and Strengthening Existing Ones

For every new movement you try, you form new neural circuitry. It’s similar to learning to play a musical instrument or adopting a new language. You can use the connections from your muscles to your nervous system to help stimulate various parts of the brain.

The less variety
you have with your movement, the less stimulation your brain is getting. Adding
variety to your movement can be as simple as going for a walk in a different

Trying different
ways of getting on and off the floor. Or trying different arm positions during
a squat. Every little variation you add stimulates your brain in a different

Exercise and
movement have also been shown to help increase brain volume through the
formation of new neural circuitry. This happens through a combination of
hormone stimulation and increased blood flow to the brain.

This boost in
volume has been noted in areas of the brain that help with memory, reasoning,
and learning.

Promoting Specific Hormones to Enhance Brain Health

Physical activity
is so powerful that it’s been demonstrated to be more effective than
anti-depressants in cases of depression.

Of course, there is
a time and a place where medication is the right choice, but physical activity
can both enhance the activity of medication and provide a sustainable strategy
for managing and preventing mental health conditions.

Regular movement
helps release hormones like endorphins and serotonin, which help lift your
mood. It also helps promote dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain
which helps with attention and focus.

An increase in
these hormones helps reduce levels of cortisol, or stress hormones, in the
body. Lower levels of cortisol have been linked with a lower risk of chronic

The more you get yourself moving, the more you can reap these benefits.

Adopting a movement-based lifestyle is one of the most powerful ways to optimize your brain health and set yourself up for a healthy future. Keep it simple. Just focus on moving and moving often.

How often do you
move mindfully? How often do you perform mindless exercise? Which chores can
you use to enhance your activity level throughout the day? Please share with
our community.

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Christie Brinkley is Living Her Best Life at 66 – And You Can, Too!

Christie Brinkley is Living Her Best Life at 66 – And You Can, Too

As we progress through our lives, birthdays often become
something that we regard with apathy and indifference or worse yet, dread.

But, if we are lucky enough, these mile markers will
continue to come around each year…so, why not find a way to celebrate our age
rather than shame it?

Christie Brinkley, 66, is the perfect role model for not
only embracing our age but celebrating it with joy and gratitude.

Looking Back

Perhaps you’ve heard the advice to never look back in life
and always forage ahead, looking towards the future.

While this advice certainly has it merits, there is
something to be said for occasionally looking back on all that we have
accomplished, endured, and overcome in the past year.

Which is exactly what Christie Brinkley did as she happily began her 66th year. Proving that life is full of surprises, Brinkley kicked off her 66th birthday on February 2nd by popping out of cake, captioning an Instagram post with, “I never would have guessed that I would start my 66th year of life popping out of a cake! But that’s EXACTLY what I did as Guest Ringmaster in NYC’s own Circus!”

Her Instagram caption continued on to share highlights from
her past year, saying, “In fact my whole past year has been filled with so many
incredible milestones! From reprising my role as Roxie Hart on Broadway! And
headlining the show in Las Vegas! I went [on] Dancing with the Stars and
foxtrotted over to ABC’s hit show The Goldberg’s season premiere where I
reprised my role as The Girl in the red Ferrari from the classic hit film Vacation!
I harvested grapes from the Bellissima vineyard in Italy and watched my
children’s careers and passions blossom! 🎂.”

While we may not all be able to enjoy such lavish
experiences in our own lives, Brinkley’s caption serves as the perfect reminder
that looking back on the special moments and experiences from the past year can
be extremely fulfilling and joy-inducing.

Looking Forward 

Just as looking back can help foster gratitude, looking
forward is equally important!

Reminding ourselves that life is full of surprises and
remaining open to all of the possibilities that life presents to us is one of
the best ways to live each year to the fullest.

Not one to only look backwards, Brinkley closed out her
birthday Instagram post by saying,
“I can’t wait to see what exciting #milestonesofme await for 2020! With age
comes wisdom and confidence which I find to be liberating! I also know I feel
my best when I look as good as I feel.”

With each passing year, as Brinkley aptly points out, we’re
each given the gift of growing wiser, more experienced, and hopefully, getting
to know ourselves just a little bit better. Rather than focusing on the numeric
value of our age or an additional gray hair or wrinkle, why not focus on the
lessons learned, the smiles shared, and the wisdom we’ve acquired?

Let’s all take a cue from Brinkley and how she celebrates
her birthdays with equal amounts of gratitude for the past and excitement for
the future, embracing each passing year with open arms.

Furthermore, Brinkley’s daughter, Alexa Rae Joel, 34,
admires the way that her “ageless, tireless, dauntless Golden Supermom”
approaches not only her birthdays, but life in general, commenting, “…I’m in
awe of how my mother jumps headfirst into life without pause. She’s not afraid
to put herself in a position where she may even be — dare I say — ‘laughed at’
by the cold cynics of the world. Anything you’re terrified of tackling?
Anything that scares the bloody daylights out of you? I guarantee you: If Mom
hasn’t already tried it, she’ll be first in line to do so.”

We applaud your zest for birthdays – and life – and wish you
the Happiest of Birthdays, Christie! Thanks for being a superb role model for
us all!

How do you celebrate your birthday? Do you have any
birthday traditions that help to make your birthday special? If you were to
look back on your past year of life, what milestones stand out the most? Share
your thoughts and comments below!

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