As an idea, mindfulness is mainstream. As a practice, most of us are far from leading a fully mindful lifestyle. We run from one place to another, feeling stressed, angry, upset, and out of touch with what all these emotions mean or how to react to them.
IVY Member Myk Likhov is immersed in mindfulness. Early on, he was interested in spiritual practices from Eastern, Native American, and European traditions, and after he graduated from Wharton, he decided to combine his business skills with his interest in spirituality.
Now, he’s started a new company called Modern Ōm, a lifestyle and apparel company, that uses colors to help us all focus on different energy centers, called chakras. He also recently launched an underground meditation studio called The 7 with pop-ups in Miami, New York, and Los Angeles.
Myk sat down with IVY Magazine to talk about mindfulness and offer up a 15-question chakra to help us all look inward and truly examine who we are and what we’re feeling right now.
Myk is an IVY Member (MIA). To meet Myk, connect and collaborate with him here.
First, pay attention to your breath.
ML: Focusing on your breath is the fastest way to experience mindfulness. There are numerous breathing techniques, but here’s an easy one, and it’ll take you all of one minute to try: All you do is inhale for a count of three, and exhale for a count of five. That’s it. The key is to exhale longer than you inhale in order to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Even after 1 minute of this exercise, your natural breathing will slow; your heart rate drop nudges down; and you’ll feel calmer, more mindful.
The best part? You can do it anywhere anytime—in the car, at the office, at a bar, and no one needs to know.
Mindfulness is mostly about being aware.
ML: The main purpose of a mediation practice, for me, is to create a space between my awareness and my thoughts. With that awareness, a deeper me can watch my thoughts—and by doing so, does not have to 100% identify with them, which means I can train myself to be more responsive in life, not reactive.
I rely on chakras, or nodes in our body that hold different energies. The chakra system is a system of energy and color. In our parlance, we relate the chakras to intentions that we all hold. By making the chakras relevant to modern day life, we’ve made an ancient wisdom both accessible and applicable to our lives. In a world where we are looking for meaning, calling upon a 3000+ year heritage to remind us of our intentions the moment we need them most is hugely beneficial.
For a full-self check-in, try this 15-question chakra evaluation.
ML: Every so often, I check in with myself to try to understand, holistically, how I’m really doing. This year, I set a goal to check in with myself more frequently, especially since 2016 had been coined the “year of intention.” So, I created this 15-question chakra evaluation. It’s a great way to check-in with yourself.
First chakra, Muladhara, the root chakra.
The root chakra, which I call vitality, is responsible for our sense of safety and security. I checked in with this chakra by asking myself:
How’s my physical vitality?
What do I need more of to feel more grounded and secure?
Second chakra, Svadisthana, the chakra of creation.
The second chakra is the center of our passion. The projects, experiences and people that stimulate us creatively (and sexually) feed the energy of this chakra. I checked in with my second chakra by asking myself:
Am I fueling my creative passions?
What do I want to create, or bring into the world, in the next few months?
Third chakra, Manipura, the chakra of willpower.
The third chakra drives our purpose, and is the source of the personal power we bring forth into the world. For this chakra check-in, I asked myself:
Do I have purpose in my work?
Do my personal habits support who I aspire to be?
What do I want to achieve in the world in the next few months?
Fourth chakra, Anahata, the heart chakra.
The heart chakra is where the physical and spiritual components of our being meet. It relates to compassion, gratitude and universal love; this love is directed both inward and outward—no strings attached. To check if this chakra was in balance, I asked myself:
Do I feel that I am open to receiving love?
What do I plan on doing to cultivate love in my relationships in the next few months?
Fifth chakra, Vishuddha, the throat chakra.
The throat chakra governs our expression and our ability to communicate. The ideas and messages we release into the world vibrate stronger when it is healthy. To check in with this chakra, I asked myself:
Do I feel like I’ve been speaking my truth lately?
Is there anything I wish to tell the world in the next few months?
Sixth chakra, Ajna, the third eye chakra.
The third eye is known as a universal symbol of wisdom, intuition and Insight. The more developed it becomes, the closer we are to understanding the world around us. For this chakra check-in, I asked myself:
Do I trust my intuition?
What would I like to know in the next few months?
Seventh chakra, Sahasrara, the crown chakra.
The crown chakra connects us to something more—whether we call it connection, bliss, the universe or some other word. To check in with this final chakra, I asked myself:
What place or activity makes me feel most at peace?
Do I take time for myself to recharge, relax and just be?
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