Whether you feel bad juju coming from someone else or lingering in a space, try one of these tactics to clear negative energy and call in more light.
Every day we come into contact with energy that can greatly influence our mood and well-being.
Have you ever walked into a party that was bubbly with fun and excitement? You immediately felt at ease and got swept up in the revelry. Or have you ever found yourself at an unfortunate Mary Tyler Moore party? I call them that affectionately. On the TV show of the same name, Mary always threw these terrible parties. Her friends dragged themselves in and got into arguments with one another. No one had a good time. The energy of such an event feels dead, heavy, and forced.
Many years before I knew anything about energy, I spent the day in a hospital with a friend who was awaiting surgery. Each hour, the surgery was further delayed and, as she was unable to eat or drink, I didn’t eat or drink anything either. Finally, at the end of the day, they wheeled her down to the operating room. I was instructed by the nurses to check in on a lower-floor waiting room before I went to get a bite to eat. This way they could contact me if I was needed.
The waiting room was quite large, with a round nurses station in the center. As I entered the room, all of the color drained from my face and I felt my legs begin to buckle beneath me. The feelings of anxiety and pain in that room were completely overwhelming! I spun around immediately, grasped the doorway, and collapsed into a folding chair just outside of the room.
See also 6 Poses to Open Your Energy Channels & Boost Prana Flow
I knew what the problem was in an instant. For decades, beloved family members and friends had sat in that room, worried terribly about their loved ones who were in surgery. That anxiety had been building up for years—and I could feel it. I’m sure my experience was made more dramatic because I hadn’t eaten all day. But I will share that this is not a unique experience. I’ve felt similar energy in every hospital waiting room I’ve been in since. The only difference between me and the other people in those rooms is that I’m more conscious of it, so I’m able to feel what’s in the energy around us all. Hospitals just aren’t tuned in to the energy of emotion and how it needs to be cleared. If they were, they could become far healthier environments for patients and their families.
I share this story for two important reasons. I want you to know that highly toxic energy can build up in many environments, including your own home. If you or anyone in your household has been sick, stressed, or depressed it’s even more important to clear. I hope you’ll be inspired to create a practice of clearing your own home regularly.
The second reason is so you will take steps to shield yourself energetically every day and reinforce that shield when entering places like hospitals, prisons, or even concert halls and bars. Wherever people congregate, there will be collective energy in that space. Often it contains energy you’d rather not be picking up on and feeling.
See also 12 Yin Yoga Poses to Awaken Dormant Energy and Recharge Your Practice
How to clear your energy
Before clearing any space, clear your own energy. Just as you regularly cleanse your body, it’s important to cleanse the funky, gunky energy that’s in your field. Some of it will invariantly be yours from your own stress, illness, or painful emotions. Some will be what you’ve picked up from other people and places. Think of it as energy hygiene. I clear myself in the morning, between clients, and at the end of each day.
Visualizing the release of negative energy
Visualization can be done anywhere, anytime, even while sitting in a busy airport. If you think you’re not good visualizing, give it a try. Like anything, it gets easier with practice. Plus, you’re not just imagining, you are creating a real energetic shift that you will be able to feel in time.
If you are religious or spiritual, you can ask for divine help for this process. Here’s how:
- Set an intention for releasing all your own negative energy and everything you’ve picked up on from others. I like to say: I am easily releasing all energy from myself and others that no longer serves me. I do this for my highest good.
- Imagine a small ball of brilliant, golden light in the center of your chest, expanding the light on each exhalation.
- Imagine breathing in and out through your chest, expanding the light on each exhalation.
- Spread the light throughout your entire body. See it in your head, torso, arms, and toes.
- Now expand it beyond your skin until the light is about an arm’s length out in all directions.
- Follow by shielding (see below).
Yes, it’s that simple and it does work. When you do this regularly, you will find yourself calmer, more peaceful, less reactive, and more balanced.
See also 5 Practices Energy Healers Use to Clear Themselves
Use minerals to banish toxicity
Dissolve 1 cup sea salt and 1 cup baking soda in a warm tub and soak your toxicity away. If you don’t want to take a full bath, you can use this as a foot soak instead. Get an inexpensive container and fill it with hot water. Cut the quantities of sea salt and baking soda down to about ¼ cup of each. As an added bonus, it’s also good for your skin and very grounding.
Try this energy healing practice for clearing
1. Place the middle fingertips of both hands on the forehead, in between the eyebrows.
2. Trace them up the center of the forehead, across the top of the head (imagine the line if your hair were parted in the middle), and down the middle of the back of your head, until you reach where your neck connects to your shoulders. Then sweep each hand across each shoulder. Left hand sweeps across the left side of the shoulder; right hand sweeps across the right.
3. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth while doing this.
How to clear your space
With all of the following exercises, set an intention for clearing. Going through the motions won’t create satisfying results if you’re not aligned with why you are doing it. Intention itself shifts energy.
Sage is a common herb that has been used to clear the energy of spaces for thousands of years. Clearing with sage is called smudging. Traditionally, the sage is dried, wrapped in bundles, then burned. The smoke is spread into every inch of area in a space, usually with a handheld fan, feather, or dried bird wing. I tend to warn others not to get hung up on purchasing special supplies. Space clearing is natural and most of what you need is already in your home. The sage itself can be purchased in spiritual stores, health food stores like Whole Foods, gardening centers, and even on Amazon.
Practice good safety by burning in a fireproof container and having water available for dowsing when finished.
1. Start by smudging yourself first. Using your hand, bring the smoke close to your body. Spread it across the body, over the head, under the arms, and then lift a foot, one at a time, and place it in the smoke. To do your back, blow into the burning bundle and then turn around in it.
2. Now bring the smoke into every area of your home including closets and cabinets.
3. At the end, open a window and allow the smoke to dissipate. Then put out the sage.
See also The Dark Side of Meditation: How to Avoid Getting Stuck with Pain From the Past
Spritz salt water
Get a spray bottle and fill it with distilled water and sea salt. Shake until the salt is dissolved and use as you would the sage. Understand that your space may get damp. You can add a few drops of cleansing essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, or sage.
I am a giant sponge: Wherever I go, I soak up whatever is around me. When it comes to learning, this is an asset, as I absorb information from classes and books quite quickly and deeply. When it comes to the rest of my life, it’s a definite liability! When I did volunteer work in a prison, I would leave in a state of great sorrow and even, at times, physical pain. I concluded I was just too sensitive to remain volunteering there. I didn’t know how to shield myself then. Here’s how:
1. Imagine a large bubble around you, about an arm’s length from your body in all directions.
2. See this bubble as a solid wall or a filter that covers you completely. Ask this bubble (or shield) to act as a cell wall, using its intelligence to allow love and positive energy in. Ask that anything negative not be allowed in, to hit the shield, slide off, and get neutralized by the earth. (Another option is to imagine mirrors on the outside of the shield, so anything sent your way gets reflected back to the person who sent it. Frankly, I’d like less negative energy in the world and prefer my method above.)
3. Fill the bubble with golden light.
See also Transform Negative Thoughts with Meditation
About the Author
Kris Ferraro is an international energy coach, teacher, and speaker, and the author of Energy Healing: Simple and Effective Practices to Become Your own Healer (April 2019). She is the creator of Spiritual Freedom Techniques, a tantra (or weaving together) of practices of forgiveness, shadow work, meditation, and manifestation with EFT for enhanced results.
Reduce Pain and Discomfort with These Poses for the Pelvis
Pain and discomfort can be gone with these therapeutic asana sequences from pelvic-floor expert and yoga teacher Leslie Howard.
If you are plagued by pain or discomfort down there, these exploratory tools and yoga sequences (no, were not talking Kegels) can help you either tone or release tension. You won’t believe the benefits—from better sex to walking through the world with more freedom.
As girls, we are exposed to relentless conditioning. We will be told to walk, sit, stand, move, and behave in ways that are appropriate, sexy, ladylike, and motherly. We will even be told which bathroom to use. By adulthood, each of us will carry these ways of being women throughout our body, but we will feel them particularly in the pelvic region, the part of our bodies most deeply associated with our gender. The pelvic region becomes
a complex, multilayered storage unit—I call it the original 1-800-MINI-STORAGE—the place where we store the things we can’t let go of but don’t want to deal with right now.
This can lead to health issues that are both emotional and physical in nature. We need to explore and liberate this terrain and take charge of ourselves—openly acknowledge and understand our issues—and skillfully tune in to the healing power of our own bodies. I believe it’s time to liberate your pelvis.
See also Discover the Connection Between Your Head and Pelvis
Every Pelvis Has a Story
“Every pelvis has a story” is what I tell my students. My story is this: In 2005, I had already been a yoga teacher for 20 years, so I thought I knew the anatomy and mechanics of “down there” fairly well. But around that time, I began to experience pain and discomfort in this nether region. And then as I worked to figure out why, I realized that much of my knowledge about the pelvic area was abstract, generic, and derived mostly from anatomy books. I didn’t understand the specifics—the muscles housed within it and that entire region’s relationship to the rest of my body, mind, and life history.
I began experimenting with yoga poses and breathing practices to familiarize myself with, and ultimately explore, the many layers of trauma, held emotion, and pain that lay hidden between my hip bones. The more I understood how the intricacies of my pelvis intersected with personal history, cultural conditioning, sexism, anatomy, and symptoms of ill health, the more I began to see how my pelvis was tied to my general well-being—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It turned out that my pelvic floor muscles were way too tight, but I had no idea why or how that had happened. My exploration turned into an investigation of the factors that shaped me, such as my postural, sexual, and medical histories; my struggles with body image; and the influence of relationships, family, advertising, media, and movies. Bringing the story of my pelvis to light became a key component of my evolution as a human being. From there, I eventually developed a yoga protocol that formed the cornerstone of the pelvic-floor workshops I now teach around the world.
Many people with pelvic issues attend my workshops after having tried a number of different approaches to deal with them, often consulting first with their general practitioner, then a gynecologist, then a urologist. They may have tried Kegels, other muscle-building exercises, or even antidepressants. Some have reached a point where they are considering surgery. Let’s look at this scenario: A woman in her mid-40s starts feeling pain during intercourse. Her doctor recommends using more lubricant, but that doesn’t help. She visits a gynecologist who can’t diagnose a reason for her painful intercourse. She starts to read about the issue on the Internet, which offers exercises that may solve the problem. She does the exercises but they don’t help. She starts to wonder if her symptoms are psychosomatic and seeks a psychotherapist . . . The list goes on.
See also Why Balancing Your Pelvis Is Key to Good Posture
Each of the approaches above (allopathic medicine, exercise, counseling) has its merits. But for many women, yoga is the last resort. I’ve worked as a pelvic-floor yoga teacher for over 12 years, so I say this with absolute certainty: Yoga should be the first resort. Here’s why. Practicing yoga cultivates self-awareness and sensitivity toward your body; it isn’t just another set of exercises you do. Yoga fosters subtle observation and awareness of your body’s mechanics and energetics. It gives you experiential insight into the unique form and shape of your individual embodiment. It allows you to understand what is happening as it is happening, and it gives you the tools to adjust your practice to constantly fluctuating conditions, moment by moment. It is one thing to have a general conceptual understanding of the anatomy of muscles; it’s something else to be able to locate, sense, and work with the individual muscles in your own body.
Body awareness is key to properly diagnosing ailments. No doctor in the world will be able to tell you what it’s like for you to feel pain or tension or relief or any other sensation; this is information only you can access. This type of insight is critical to making a proper diagnosis. Yoga combines external conceptual knowledge with the internal experiential understanding that only you can access. Yoga is empowering. It empowers you to take an active role in your own healing rather than handing over responsibility to a doctor or someone else. It encourages and supports you to see for yourself. After all, it is your body, and you should not blindly give up control. You hold primary authority over your body, and you need to exercise that authority by exploring, observing, and learning about yourself. Yoga helps you shed your self-imposed states and empowers you to emerge, to mature, and to take responsibility for yourself.
Is Your Pelvic Floor Hypertonic or Hypotonic?
These are two conditions that can cause a fair amount of pelvic pain and discomfort. To assess if you are dealing with either, here are some informal diagnostic tools.
See also Not ALL Hips Need Opening: 3 Moves for Hip Stability
A little sitting-bone massage is an ideal way to develop greater awareness of this area. In any seated position, lean onto your left buttock so that the right sitting bone is easily accessible (you can also do this lying on your side). With one hand, find the tip of your right ischial tuberosity, a.k.a. sitting bone. Using the sitting bone as your landmark, begin to massage the muscles just on the inner edge of the sitting bone, toward the vulva. Massage a little toward the front and a little toward the back. Are there are any tender or tight spots in the corridor between your vulva and the bone? Is there any pain? Take note of the density of the muscle around the bone. Is it firm, hard, squishy, tense? Does the area have any “give”? Continue for one full minute.
Now sit back on both sitting bones and observe the difference between the right and the left sides.
• Has anything changed as a result of releasing muscular tension on one side?
• Does the right sitting bone feel lower on the seat? Is there a sense of more space around the bone?
Now take a few deep breaths and shift your attention to breathing sensations.
• Does the right side of your body feel more spacious as you inhale?
Repeat on the left side and notice any differences.
Where you notice tightness and soreness is where you might be hypertonic.
Basic symptoms of a hypertonic Pelvic floor
• Pelvic pain
• Urge incontinence: strong immediate feelings of needing to urinate, without leakage
Basic symptoms of a hypotonic Pelvic floor
• Stress incontinence: leakage that often happens without any forewarning
See also A Pelvic Floor Sequence for an Easier Labor + Delivery
Both a hypertonic and hypotonic pelvic floor can often be effectively remedied with yoga.
Yoga provides a complex and nuanced set of tools you can fine-tune to address your specific circumstances in a noninvasive, holistic way. As you practice the poses on the following pages, I encourage you to pay attention to the specific energy each of them carries. Poses are often experienced as calming, invigorating, focusing, heating, cooling, and so on. When you understand the energy of different poses and how they affect you, you can use this knowledge to energize, balance, and calm your life; to challenge yourself; to cultivate greater sensitivity and compassion; or to simply enjoy a richer and much more complex range of sensations and emotions.
Some of the poses in the sequences build strength and help you find and contract muscles. Some lengthen muscles, while others soften muscles. Some focus on the breath. I have separated the poses into two categories to address hypertonicity and hypotonicity. The poses are presented from easiest to more challenging, but not in a specific sequence for a particular symptom. Hopefully you have done some exploration and you know whether you need to do the poses for a hypertonic or hypotonic pelvic floor. Remember, if you are a combination of both hyper- and hypotonic, you need to address the tight muscles first. Getting chronically tight muscles to let go can sometimes happen rather quickly or in some cases may take up to a year (that is how long it took mine to let go).
See also Soften Your Middle for a Stronger Core
Practicing alone and in a quiet space can open you up to continual inquiry: What am I feeling? How is my breath? Where do I feel movement created by the breath in each pose? Remember that some yoga postures are more difficult to maintain than others. Be patient with yourself. If you are feeling tired after practicing some of the more challenging postures, switch to practicing supported Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose) or supported Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose) for 10 minutes. With practice, you should find it easier and more relaxing to assume and maintain all of these postures. The heart of practicing yoga postures is to train your nervous system to be calmer, even in a physically challenging pose. Your breath will always let you know if you are doing too much.
Hypertonic Pelvic-Floor Sequence
After a week, gradually add these poses
See also Understanding Your Sacroiliac Joint
Hypotonic Pelvic-Floor Sequence
After a week, gradually add these poses
See also Understanding Your Tailbone
About the Author
Teacher and writer Leslie Howard is an internationally acclaimed yoga educator who pioneered the growing field of yoga for pelvic health. Sonima.com named her one of the top 50 yoga instructors in the United States. University of California–San Francisco medical studies have scientifically demonstrated the effectiveness of Leslie’s techniques for improving women’s pelvic health. Learn more at lesliehowardyoga.com. Model Lenore Kitani is an Iyengar Yoga teacher and physical therapist in Boulder, Colorado.
3 Important Poses for Perimenopausal Women
Many women find that their once fast-paced and aggressive yoga practice mellows into longer-held, sustained poses.
Technically, menopause lasts only 24 hours—it’s the day 12 months after your final period, Brizendine says. But the transition leading up to that significant day can last 10 years. The perimenopause passage usually happens sometime between the ages of 42 and 55, when you go from normal menses to none at all. During this stage, you experience an erratic cycling of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone that can lead to insomnia, hot flashes, fatigue, PMS, depression, irritability, anxiety, and low libido. “You’d gotten used to your menstrual cycle, and all of a sudden your hormone chemistry changes dramatically,” Brizendine explains.
See also How Yoga Calms Anxiety Holistically
Adapting Your Practice for Perimenopause
Studies show that conscious breathing is a great option for managing perimenopausal symptoms. Simple pranayama with a five-second inhalation and five-second exhalation for 15 minutes twice a day can cut hot flashes by 44 percent, according to a study in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society. And this is a time to pay close attention to your physical and emotional states and see how your practice affects them. Inversions can relieve stress and insomnia; twists can relieve fatigue and depression; forward bends help ease irritability and anxiety. Many women find that their practice, once aggressive and fast-paced, mellows into one of longer-held, sustained poses.
“Perimenopause can take you into physical and emotional upheaval,” says physician and yoga teacher Sara Gottfried, our model here. Her perimenopause started after the birth of her second child, at age 38. “I have mood swings, and my night sweats worsen with my Ashtanga practice, so I do a more Ana-Forrest-meets-Angela-Farmer style of yoga.” Her center of gravity has changed, and she enjoys arm balances and inversions more now. “My practice is informed by my hormones and emotional context. In my 20s and most of my 30s, I was flexible and on task. Now I focus on survival and regulating my mood, so that I don’t rage at my family. I prevent rage with forward bends and inversions. I prevent depression with backbends and pranayama.”
3 Yoga Poses for Perimenopausal Women
About the Author
Nora Isaacs, a former editor at Yoga Journal, is the author of Women in Overdrive: Find Balance and Overcome Burnout at Any Age. Learn more about her writing and editing work at noraisaacs.com.
Pranayama 101: This Mindful Breathing Practice Builds Ease After Asana
This is a good place to start connecting to your breath and subtle body.
Want to learn how to develop basic breath awareness as well as breath-manipulation techniques that will transform your practice? Join Pranayama 101: Breathing Practices for Vital Energy and Deep Relaxation. In this six-week online course, Tias Little, founder of Prajna Yoga and author of Yoga of the Subtle Body, will help you tap into the power of your breath for optimal mind, body, and spiritual well-being and to open energetic pathways for the flow of prana (life force). Learn more and sign up today!
As Patanjali laid out in the Yoga Sutras, breathing is the bridge between physical practice and the more meditative limbs of yoga. It’s where you begin tapping into the subtle body and other energetic forces. And it’s more accessible than you think. Here, Tias Little, who leads YJ’s online course, Pranayama 101, offers a short mindful breathing practice you can try after asana to begin connecting with the fluid movement of your breath and eventually begin to sense prana, or life force.
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