Bathtub Meditation: Scrub Off Negativity

"There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them."
Sylvia Plath

Over the past year, I have experienced a lot of "life" (career changes, moving, medical emergencies, family death, etc.), and it was easy to find myself occasionally overwhelmed with stress.

Have you ever noticed how when you have a lot weighing on you emotionally, your body feels physically weighed down as well? It almost feels as if you are wearing a heavy coat of negativity. Not so fun...

When you are stressed, it can be hard to carve out time to just sit down and meditate. Therefore, I have found a quick solution that lets you (literally) scrub off some of those heavy thoughts: shower-time or bath-time meditation!

Since it is something that everyone does everyday (give or take), it can be a great way to squeeze in a little mental tuneup. Many times, people rush through washing up on autopilot: shampoo, soap, scrub, shave, done. This basic meditation allows you to bring a little mindfulness to your day, and do a little good for your emotional self as well. Depending on whether you prefer showers or baths, you can chose between the two meditations.

If you are showering: As you stand under the stream of water, envision it washing away all of your negative thoughts, as if they were mud stuck to your skin. Some emotions might take a little extra scrubbing, but as you lather up, release all of your fear, anger, and regret so that it may go swirling down the drain.

If you are soaking in the tub: Allow all of your muscles to sink into the hot water. Using a loofa or wash cloth, massage your skin from head to toe, visualizing any negativity within being released into the water. Once you feel truely relaxed and surrendered, unplug the drain and send the water that now carries all that detrimental energy away.

By the time I dry off after a shower or tub meditation, I always feel a lot better, both inside and out!

I always like bringing a cup of yummy tea in the tub with me as well!
I love to use natural bath and shower products, such as Epsom salts, essential oils, Jason shower gel, and my favorite homemade sugar scrub. What are your favorite natural products? Have you ever meditated in the tub before?

The Importance of Intention

"What you think, you become.
What you feel, you attract.
What you imagine, you create."

"You're going on vacation? That's great!" 

"Yeah, I need a break."

This past summer has held quite a bit of emotional events for me, and I decided that the way to reset myself would be a journey to the Oregon coast. Every time I mentioned it, though, I phrased it: "I need a break."

What I meant was: "I would like a reprieve from ongoing emotional trauma, and to take some time to reset myself in a positive manner that allows me to explore the world and myself."

However, I kept repeating:

"I need a break."

"I need a break."

"I need a break."

So about halfway through my 12 hour drive from Montana to the coast, what happened?

My car broke down.

It was as if the universe was listening to my inadvertent mantra and decided to be literal: "Alright, girl, I hear you already! Here's the dang break you asked for! You meant your wheel bearing, right?"

As I sat in the Motel 6 waiting for the Subaru dealership down the street to open the following morning, I faced the reality of what happens when you put intention out in the world. Without direction and positive intention, how can I expect the universe to send what I desire my way?

Motel yoga.... Mo-ga?

Although I thought the scenery of my "reset" would be when I was facing the ocean, I found it unexpectedly beginning in a tiny motel room in The Dalles, Oregon. After a hot shower, great conversation with some beautiful souls down in the lobby, a full nights sleep cuddling with the hound, a little yoga, and dropping off my car at the dealership, I began to rephrase my intent and redirect my outlook.

"I am ready for a joyous adventure."

"I am ready for a positive change in my life."

As soon as my attitude shifted, so did my situation. The car parts that were missing for the repair suddenly appeared. The man working on my car offered a discount on the repair. The car was ready at the exact time I checked out from the motel. Before I knew it, the dog and I were loaded up and heading westward once again. The following day was spent exploring with the hound on an almost private beach, with the waves lapping against my bare feet as we roamed for miles.

As I strolled along the shore, I was reminded of an important mantra that we all should repeat in times of confusion, upheaval, or stress:

"Most benevolent outcome."

This sends out the message that whatever the possibilities are, the one that will do the highest good will manifest.

After a day of hiking, exploring caves, drawing mandalas in the sand, collecting sand-dollars, and a long yoga practice in a secluded cove, we went back to camp for a good night's sleep (as we had to return to Bozeman the next day).

Although it did not end up being my initial expectation of my trip, embarking on this journey still allowed me to reset and remind myself the power of intent.

... and in case I forget, the bill from Subaru serves as a good reminder as well. Sheesh.

Chakra Series: Sacral

Swadhisthana (the sacral chakra) is commonly represented as an orange flower with six petals.

Today's feature of the Chakra Series: Swadhisthana, the sacral chakra.

Commonly represented by the color orange, this chakra is associated with the phrase "I feel!". Located about three inches below the navel, in the center of your lower belly, it is responsible for the sexual organs, stomach, liver, spleen, lymphatic system, and the middle spine. It is a control center for your emotions, along with your relationships, passion, creativity, flexibility, and enthusiasm.

Signs of a misaligned sacral chakra can physically manifest as lower back pain, sciatica, pelvic pain, urinary problems, and gynecological issues. Emotional symptoms of a imbalanced sacral chakra include feeling stuck in particular mood, feeling out of touch with yourself, being ruled by your emotions, extremes in libido (either overindulgence or lack of sexual desire/satisfaction), dependency (on others or a substance), guilt/inability to let go, and frequently experiencing intimacy issues in relationships.

For healing crystal energy that can facilitate the opening of emotions and encourage the flow of creativity, try carrying or wearing crystals such as garnet, carnelian, citrine, moonstone, orange calcite, and tiger eye.

Essential oils such as ylang ylang, sandalwood, and orange can be beneficial aromatherapy, especially if used on pulse points, sacrum, lower abdomen, or as a daily perfume. As the sacral chakra is commonly associated with the element of water, these oils would also make a great combination for a bath. For a complete experience, create a sensual environment by lighting candles and listening to singing bowl therapy, specifically the note "D", while you relax in the tub.

Try partaking in a Kundalini yoga class, which can help encourage the flow of energy/chi. During your home practice, focus on flow rather than execution, and try to incorporate triangle pose, pigeon pose, and bound angle pose.

The sacral chakra is all about flow and feeling, so now is the time to dance! Find your favorite song, turn it up, and get grooving! (I am a frequent participator in solo dance festivals around my house... hairbrushes may possibly be used as pretend microphones so I can lip sing along... but I admit to nothing!). If dancing isn't your thing, try a creative activity such as drawing, cooking, singing, or writing. Just get those creative juices flowing!

During meditation, try to focus on opening up the flow of your emotions, chant the mantra "Vam", or create a liberating personal mantra such as "I enjoy the pleasures of life to the fullest. I am flowing with creative ideas. I am aware and connected with the positive energy of others."

Next on the Chakra Series: the solar plexus chakra!