Holi! Holi! Holi!
The Hindu Festival of Holi happened about a week ago, but I think that its message should resonate all through the year. Although Holi is primarily celebrated in India, it has grown in popularity all over the world and depending on the region in which it’s observed, it can be a festival celebrating the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring, the love story of Krsna and Radha, the victory of Vishnu over evil and so on. The participants celebrate the holiday by throwing bright colored powder or water at each other and for that reason it’s referred to as the ‘Festival of Colors’. One could say that it’s a combination of Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, New Year and Easter all rolled up into one great big beautiful multi colored ball.
But one of the most significant meanings of Holi is that it is also known as a “Festival of New Beginnings”. It is customary to forgive transgressions, forgive or repay debts and to make new friends. What could be better than that? If only we could carry this attitude of a fresh start throughout the year instead of waiting for one particular day to express these thoughts and deeds. It’s said that life is a gift and every morning that we wake up that gift is given to us all over again. So why not see every day as a fresh start? Each new day is an opportunity to shed what no longer serves us and to move forward into our future.
Putting this into a Western perspective, the Kabbalah mentions that there is a negative aspect to the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life and it’s known as the ‘Qiploth’ or ‘Kingdom of Shells’ referring to the shell or skin that an animal sheds when it no longer serves them. I think that this serves as a good metaphor for Holi. And so in the spirit of this festival why not begin the day by casting off those unnecessary shells to renew and move forward.
Here is a simple exercise that one could perform to cast off unwanted energy:
Naulis are belly rolls that help to clear the Third (Manipura) and Fourth (Anahata) Chakras respectively. These two chakras work in tandem to either brighten your day or sour your day since they possess a symbiotic elemental correspondents of wood and fire. So it’s important to keep these two energetic centers in a state of balance.
Begin by taking a deep inhalation through the nose, followed by a complete exhalation through the mouth. Be sure that your lungs are completely devoid of air and when they are, begin to roll your belly as if you were drawing a circle with your navel. Up, down, out, in. As you roll your belly say these words to yourself: ‘Forgive, forget, let go.’ See whatever memory or emotion that vexes you disappear with each roll. Keep rolling your belly until you need more air then stop rolling; inhale deeply and exhale completely then begin rolling again. Repeat this sequence over and over again until you are exhausted and your stomach muscles can no longer roll.
This exercise helps to simultaneously massage the organs and glands of Manipura and Anahata allowing for the production of hormones that promote positive thoughts and general well being. One of my students who happens to also be an endocrinologist told me once that most of the serotonin in out body is produced in our stomach so it’s important to maintain a healthy diet and practice this exercise for a healthier outlook on life.
Practicing Naulis also helps to strengthen the Uddiyana Banda which is an important energetic lock found in the solar plexus and is responsible for assisting safely awakening Kundalini flow through the Subtle Body. The other two locks being Mulabanda (root lock) and Jalandhara Banda (throat lock). Below is a link to a very good video demonstrating Nauli rolls. The Yogi also shows variations on the roll that can suit a persons personal ability.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this blog and encourage all to visit my website: universaltantra.org for more information about my practice. Namaste!