We’ve arrived at our final destination in the Chakra Series, the 7th chakra, Sahasrara, at the crown of the head. Sahasrara translates from Sanskrit as the thousand-petaled lotus; it’s where we come into connection with the collective consciousness and with the divine. At the crown chakra, we discover the ability to merge the individual self with the creation of all beings. We discover and create our philosophy and spirituality, examining what it means to be human and the beauty that comes with our fragility.
Sahasrara represents peace, abundance, and profound contentment through a deeper connection with what it means to be alive in every moment. It’s at the crown chakra that we dissolve the ego-self’s desires in pursuit of the greater good for humanity. The crown chakra is where we connect with the divine or God, depending on your philosophy. The word yoga means to unite or to yolk. At the crown chakra, we honor this merger by placing our faith and trust in the universe and elements we may or may not be able to see.
Trust in the universe, and its cycles, connection to the self and one’s unique expression, and faith in the evolution of humanity harmonize at the crown chakra. Sahasrara asks us to go beyond what we can see, hear, touch, feel, and taste; to go beyond the senses and imagine a world where all beings exist in freedom and happiness. Nirvana or liberation is achieved at the crown chakra.
This week’s podcast episode, we had the pleasure of interviewing Erin Moon. Anatomy buff, yogi, reiki practitioner, teacher, actor, and co-founder of the World Spine Yoga Project. Erin brings over a decade of experience and expertise in the anatomical and subtle aspects of yoga. Clara and Erin shared their knowledge on the crown chakra and its themes in this week’s discussion. Highlights from our conversation are below, or you can watch or listen to the full episode.
Introducing Erin Moon
“My formal education is as an actor, first, with certifications in yoga therapeutics, anatomy trainings, and deep Svadhyaya. I come to you, as you; as a person (a really nerdy person) with a deep interest in human anatomy and embodiment.” – Erin Moon
Clara: Erin and I go way back to New York City maybe over a decade ago. We’ve been teaching my 200 and 300-hour teacher training for the past six years, with Erin leading the anatomy portion.
Erin is probably one of my favorite people to work with, in that she’s super enthusiastic and makes anatomy fun and interactive.
We wanted to interview Erin today because she has fantastic insight into the body with her background in yoga, therapeutics, anatomy, and reiki. She’s done so much training and reflection in her own life that we thought she’d be an excellent addition to our conversation today on the crown chakra.
Stephanie: I’d like to ask a few questions for our community to get to know you. First off, where can we find you?
Erin: I teach with [Clara], and I teach with Prema Yoga Institute, a yoga therapy program out of New York. Moon Yoga Therapeutics is my website
Stephanie: Would you rather be a Monarch butterfly or a moth?
Erin: I love to travel, so I lean to lean towards the Monarch butterfly. The monarch butterfly migrates each year, I think, it might be South of Mexico City. They all gather there and cover the trees. So the whole trees are covered in Monarch butterflies. The other thing I like about them is they seem to travel in groups, a mass migration.
Sahasrara: 7th Chakra Themes
You have gone on a journey. You have touched, you have tasted, you have seen, and you have heard, you have loved and lost and loved again. You have learned, you have grown, you have arrived at your destination intact. – Anodea Judith, Wheels of Life.
Erin: The crown chakra is the thousand-petalled lotus flower. It represents different types of intelligence and different types of conscious thinking and consciousness. It’s a consciousness beyond our comprehension, beyond the consciousness we currently have, and beyond what we’re able to wrap our brains around or intellectualize.
I feel like there’s a lot of digestion that happens at the crown chakra. The digestion aspect being what intelligence is used. We can over-intellectualize things, and we can overanalyze things, and we can become trapped in that place. That’s when you get into issues within the aspects of the crown chakra. Every one of us has different digestion, a different way of processing. Energy needs to be able to flow through our digestive system, and it needs to break its bits apart again, you know, like they break a bit, they break apart, they grow at the root, and then they break apart a little bit, and they become something more. Then they break apart just like the pedals continue to grow. I feel like at the crown chakra, we digest all experience and what does on around us.
Clara: The crown chakra is the portal between the individual and the collective; the collective consciousness lives outside of us. At the crown chakra, we open up to how we might be able to listen and receive others and listen to what is happening around us.
When I’m teaching, I realize how connected we are to each other in this river of thought that’s swirling around us. We’re no longer the individual. The practice may serve as a portal to see how we are a part of the collective consciousness. You realize that you’re not the only one going through these experiences.
Being with others and around other people helps you realize that you’re not the only one going through whatever you’re going through. That’s how I would define collective consciousness. Meditation is a big part of crown chakra in terms of practice. Meditation helps to widen the perspective, to step back and see the bigger picture and how we join the collective.
Erin: The other theme I feel at the crown chakra is the idea of surrender. The same way we surrender in meditation, there is a sense of surrendering to your seat, you have to in some way. And trust, you have to trust in some manner that you don’t have to know everything and that you can’t know everything and you can’t hold everything in your brain.
At the same time, it’s like you’re leaning in the same way you would in a relationship where there are things that you hold that I don’t, and vice versa. I don’t have all of the intelligence, I can’t hold all of it, and that’s fine with me because I can lean to your brain and lean to your soul and lean to your life experience and lean to your philosophizing. And I can lean into those things to expand my opportunity to pontificate or think about something or have somewhere to land. I surrender to the fact that I can’t hold everything, I can’t know everything.
The Anatomy of Sahasrara
Ideally as we progress in our teaching, we find different ways to articulate anatomy, so every student has a greater opportunity to be more embodied. – Erin Moon
Erin: If you think about anatomically where the crown chakra lives, it’s at the top of our head. And if you think of our anatomy in our body and you think of the gross aspects, inside this dome of our skull, there aren’t bones, It’s this big space, a lot of tiny weeny, little neurons with the receptors, and what’s happening up there is so unfathomably awesome. You can Intuit that there’s this space upstairs full of these tiny little bits and pieces that talk to one another, and they can talk really fast or talk really slow, and receive in different ways and give off in different ways.
Connecting to Collective Consciousness
Clara: In terms of the seventh chakra and your experience of connecting to the collective consciousness, you must first understand who you are. Ask yourself, how do you relate to the world around you? There’s also a deep listening and also to watch for, to wait for the signs. Meaning, you put what you want out to the world- through saying it or writing it or some other form- and wait to see what comes back.
You put your intention out to the universe and stay proactive in looking for the signs as they’re coming towards you before deciding to move in that direction. You’re still listening and watching, active; you’re not sitting back and waiting for something to happen.
Erin: It’s interesting because as soon as something gets brought into your awareness, you see more because you’ve brought it into your consciousness. So, as Clara says about placing it in the world, you put your intention into the world and then follow up with it through meditation or spending time with it. Then perhaps you take action and test it out, tentatively, or you can test it out intensely. The idea is that when you do those actions, you’re putting out more of your conscious awareness.
Clara: The opposite of paranoia, which means that the universe is out to get you, is pronoia by Rob Brezsny, who is one of my favorite astrologists, and a fantastic writer. Rob has a book called Pronoia.
Pronoia is the idea that the universe is out to support you. So, you can be paranoid, or you can be pronoia. It’s up to you because whatever you decide, generally speaking, your mind is naturally going to look for ways of validating your decision. You get to choose how you interact with the world and what events arise from your outlook.
About Our Guest, Erin Moon
Erin Moon IAYT 800, ERYT 500, YACEP. She has been teaching since 2005 and teaching teachers anatomy and more since 2009. She has been a teacher in Vancouver since moving here in 2014 from NYC where she lived for 13 years via Alberta born and raised. Erin is the Director and co-creator of the World Spine Care Yoga Project, an international NGO bringing the practices of Yoga to people suffering from spinal and musculoskeletal disorders, pain, and limited mobility, in communities around the world. She also has her Level 2 Reiki, Level 1 Thai Massage, is a C-IAYT 800 Therapist, and has her 200hr certification in Applied Positive Psychology from The Flourishing Center. She is currently teaching intro to advanced anatomy for Lila Vinaysa, Prema Yoga Institute (NYC) and Illumina Yoga (upstate NY). Erin loves learning and knows that part of living well is growing. Whenever possible, she continues to study with PT’s, OT’s, Chiropractors, Researchers, Somatic Psychotherapists and Neurologists, and pursuing her hunger for knowledge through deep self-study.
Her focus in public classes is embodiment and curiosity, whether she is teaching Restorative, Yin, Hatha or Vinyasa; practicing listening to the wisdom that our mind-body connection holds. To do this, Erin believes we must start the conversation through quieting, noticing, and contemplating. This way we may become more somatically (felt sense of the body) aware, developing greater connections within, which then translate to greater connections in our communities and the divine in all things.