Let's chakra 'bout it

The concept of having one’s chakras balanced is foreign to a majority. To provide some insight into the practice and what holistic healing is all about, PACIFIC recently talked with therapist Danyel Potts, a healing arts master at the Chopra Center, and Libby Carstensen, owner of Liberated Coaching and a core educator at The Chopra Center, about their practices, experiences and what to expect when working on balancing chakras.

PACIFIC: How do you describe what you do here at The Chopra Center?

DANYEL POTTS: I help facilitate inner knowledge of oneself. I just hold the mirror up for you and sometimes dust that mirror off.

LIBBY CARSTENSEN: I am a master educator, I teach consciousness-based practices of yoga, meditation and ayurveda. The chakras are opened through these practices. Think of it as the junction point between matter and consciousness.

What’s your definition of holistic healing?

CARSTENSEN: From the individual point of view, something that addresses my mind, body and spirit. I think of health as more than just the absence of disease. Looking at somebody through all of the different layers, and energy is flowing freely.

What should people know about chakra balancing if they’ve never heard of it before or are thinking of trying it for the first time?

POTTS: Keep an open mind.

Is one chakra more important than the other?

CARSTENSEN: The system is like climbing a ladder. You have to start at the bottom, and all of them work together when there is an imbalance. The root is so important for us to feel grounded, and the heart chakra is important to feel connected to each other and the world.

How often should chakras be balanced?

POTTS: We should always be working on ourselves. Stay in tune and check in on a daily basis, and when we realize something is out of line, realign.

How is chakra balancing different from say, chakra meditations or chakra-opening yoga poses?

CARSTENSEN: They are all the same. Think of it as different ways to access your energetic body. You are flexing and strengthening that energy point. It’s both powerful and challenging.

Do people normally feel something right away or does it take time?

CARSTENSEN: It depends on the individual. In my experience, I find people say “I feel very disconnected” or something they’ve been doing isn’t working anymore. The first start is to get breathing and to be in our bodies. Just the act and becoming aware of the discomfort can be so powerful. You may not feel it, but something is definitely happening.

How long have you been doing this?

POTTS: I’ve been massaging 10 years, eight years at Chopra, and chakra balancing for two and a half years.

CARSTENSEN: I’ve been practicing yoga for 20 years, and some form of chakra work for that long, and teaching for the last 11 years.

Other than chakra balancing, what other therapies might one try when considering holistic healing?

POTTS: Meditation, yoga, walking barefoot in the grass.

CARSTENSEN: The Chopra Center has free meditation, be with yourself and your mind, feeling uncomfortable, but choosing to stay in your body.

What’s a tip you can give folks at home for keeping their chakras in balance?

POTTS: Sit in silence with yourself. Meditate, and look internally. Just take a moment to be.

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