Posts Tagged With: confidence

The Manipura Chakra

The third or navel chakra is the energy centre of the life force and is located behind the navel in the area of the solar plexus and digestive system. The manipura chakra is associated with the element fire and it represents personal power, self-esteem, vitality, digestion and assertiveness. This chakra can give you the sense of complete satisfaction and contentment and is the seat of the intellect. It is associated with the colour yellow and it corresponds with the fire element in the body. Fire is required in the body for digestion and assimilation, both on a physical and mental level. Glands and organs associated with the third chakra are the pancreas, liver, spleen and the organs of digestion (small intestine). The emotion associated with this chakra is anger. The sense for this energy centre is sight and cognitive thinking, sometimes referred to as a ‘gut feeling’ when you try to figure something out.

Manipura Chakra

Manipura Chakra

Blocks in the navel chakra

If your third chakra is blocked, you feel powerless and frustrated. It can lead to low levels of energy, motivation, low self-esteem and difficulty making decisions. You are unable to move forward in your life and you may be unhappy in a current relationship or career or struggle with addictions. Fear is an emotion that will block this energy centre, for example you are afraid to make changes in your life. If you allow yourself to feel this fear and visualize the worst possible situation you are able to diffuse it. Your confidence is often diminished when there is criticism of fear of being criticized, fear of rejection or fear of making a fool of one self. Individual personal strength allows you to make decisions in your life that are not governed by your fears; instead it gives you the ability to act without always worrying what others may think. A weak third chakra can also result in feelings of anger and aggression or holding of guilt and self-doubt within. You may find yourself looking outward for validation and feeling deprived of the sweet things in life. This imbalance directly affects your ability to project your will into manifestation. On the other hand, over-confidence, pride and being too assertive indicates imbalance as well and could be the result of an excessive third chakra. Over-confidence and showing off can be a cover-up from your lack of personal power. Perfectionism, anger, hatred and too much emphasis on power, status and recognition are all signs of an excessive third chakra. An excessive third chakra could lead to too much heat in the body. With too much fire in your body, it is highly likely that you develop digestive problems.

Fire in your belly

Fire in your belly

Balance the third chakra

A balanced third chakra results in a healthy level of confidence and the ability to manifest your intentions and desires. In order to open the third chakra, you must utilize your personal will power and take personal responsibility for you life and your current situation. So stop blaming other people or external circumstances, since playing the victim, will certainly keep your third chakra closed. If you stimulate your personal ability to complete tasks and make choices that are not a reaction to your fears, then you strengthen your confidence and will power. If you have a balanced third chakra you have unlimited energy, excellent health, strong will power, the ability to make commitments and a solid inner balance. Practice acts of personal courage and doing things you are good at and love to do can nourish this chakra. If you do what makes you happy and not what makes everyone else happy, others will recognize your individuality and they will know what your limits are. They will respect you more and this allows you to be an exemplary leader and to be fully aware of the effects of your actions have on others. This leads to a strong sense of self-worth, self esteem which in turn increases our ability to help others.

And enjoy!

And enjoy!

Yoga and balance

Nowadays, people tend to pay little attention to their body’s natural energy levels. It seems like we have become masters in ignoring our longing for rest and manipulate our bodies with caffeine, sugar and other stimulants to create a false sense of energy. Yoga can offer you a different choice: to listen to your body and to truly nourish yourself, using appropriate asanas and pranayama practices to create more energy or relaxation. This way of nurturing and taking care of yourself can create a taste of your true personal power. In terms of asanas, strengthening the abdominal muscles is a great place to start to balance the third chakra. Restorative poses and passive backbends cool off the belly’s fire and therefore act as calming agents for third chakra excess. If the third chakra needs stimulation, you can work with Kapalabhati breath (breath of fire) or Bhastrika Pranayama (bellows breath). These breath exercises isolate the abdominal muscle and thereby bringing fire and heat there, which in turn radiates into the body as a whole. Practicing Suryanamaskar (Sun Salutation), abdominal strengtheners like Navasana (Boat Pose), Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose) and Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Leg Lifts), Warrior Poses and twists all energize the third energy center. I practice quite a lot of Vinyasa Yoga flow which seems to be a perfect yoga style to turn on the heat and energizes the body, because of the combination of flow and breath. Practicing arm balances and inversion can also really stimulate your third charka.

The seat of the intellect

The navel chakra has been called the ‘fire in the belly’ and represents transformation. This fire or personal power provides you with the energy to change, grow and act in your life. The first chakra can be represented as a form or a vehicle (our body), the ability to move and change is represented by the second chakra. The third chakra gives you the intelligence, spark and power to move our body into action and makes you peaceful and generous.

Generosity

Generosity

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Muladhara Chakra

Our first chakra is the Muladhara or root chakra and is located at the base of the spine. Mula means root or base in Sanskrit and this first energy center symbolizes our roots. It involves grounding, supporting and nurturing and establishes the deepest connections with your physical body, your environment and the earth. It is your survival center and your fight-or-flight response is initiated from this chakra. There is an energy stored under this chakra which is often referred to as the ‘coiled serpent’ and Kundalini yoga focuses on stimulating this energy. The associated colour with the Muladhara chakra is red. The associated body parts include the base of the spine, the legs, feet and the large intestine.

The root chakra

The root chakra

First Chakra Imbalances
If you find you are constantly suffering from financial or health issues, your first chakra may be blocked or unbalanced. Circumstances that can cause these imbalances include travelling, relocation, feeling fearful and big changes in your body, family, finances and business. People with busy minds and active imaginations are especially vulnerable to become deficient in this chakra, since they feel ungrounded most of the time, living more in the head than in the body. At the moment I experience a ‘survival crisis’; I have moved to the other side of the world, my temporary job agreement will end soon, I worry about my finances and future job possibilities and feel fearful towards all these insecurities. In addition, I am the owner of an extremely active mind and I have developed a perfect talent for worrying about everything in abundance. I have almost forgotten to relax and trust in my life and especially in my own skills and abilities – also related to the third chakra. Organs and glands associated with this chakra are the adrenal glands and organs of elimination (kidney, skin, colon), bones, hair, nails and legs. If the chakra is sluggish, you might have constipation and if this chakra is overstimulated you might have diarrhea. If I feel stressed, excited or worried, it has an immediate effect on my digestion resulting in many toilet visits.

Yoga and the Muladhara Chakra
Fortunately, yoga exists. There are many yoga poses that correct Muladhara chakra imbalances and thereby bringing you back to your body and the earth and help you experience safety, security and stillness. Standing poses balance and strengthen the first chakra which helps the body to become more grounded and centered. If you are not able to stand firmly, then you are like a tree without roots. There only has to be a small storm and the tree is easily uprooted. You first need to be rooted, before you can grow and move forward. Yoga can provide you with this sense of stability on the matt and in life’s challenges. Other specific target areas for this first chakra are the piriformis muscle in the hip and buttocks and the adductor muscles in the inner thighs. Tightness in hips, groins and hamstrings are related to blocks in the first energy center. These are exactly the places where most of my tightness comes from. A lot of people store emotions in the hips and therefore develop tightness in this area. If you’re in a pose such as pigeon or lizard pose you can start to observe your arising emotions. The practice of yoga can enhance the development of the Muladhara chakra qualities: calmness, patience and a willingness to slow down and stay in one place. Your confidence can be boosted and fears can be eased as you allow yourself to trust the earth and your body. It is helpful to end your yoga practice with peaceful restorative poses, like Supta Baddha Konasana or Salamba Balasana, because this will settle an overactive mind and encourage you to surrender to gravity.

Balancing this first Chakra further
The sense associated with this chakra is the sense of smell and the food for this chakra are protein-rich foods and red foods. Preparing protein-rich food and enjoying the smells while you’re cooking can support you to bring yourself back in your body. As a vegetarian, I probably easily miss out on a lot of red food. If you nourish your physical body it supports you with grounding. For this reason, eating is a first chakra activity and the challenge is to eat mindfully. A peaceful walk in the nature, can also help you to ground and connect with the earth. Signs of excessiveness in this chakra include gaining a lot of excess weight, greed and hoarding. Hoarding keeps the energy from flowing freely, you need to let go to get the energy moving. The challenge is to accept your body, feel it, validate it and love it. For me personally, a massage can help to quiet down my mind and make myself (more) aware of my physical body.

Tree pose

Tree pose

True transformation
Fear of survival, fear of abandonment and feeling insecure are all first chakra emotions that can be stored in your body. Emotions can leave deep impressions within your body and often cause illness. By targeting the muscles where these emotions are stored, you can begin to unblock emotional toxics that are trapped. Yoga is a great tool to do this. For sure all of the seven chakras are important and interconnected with each other. Therefore balancing one chakra will usually create change in another chakra as well. However, it is important to balance the root charka first to create stability and centeredness, necessary for true transformation and personal growth. Safety and security are required for real growth and change.

Balancing your first chakra

Balancing your first chakra

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Flying Yoga

Acro yoga has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. It blends  together elements of yoga, acrobatics and Thai massage. Thereby it combines the spiritual wisdom of yoga, the dynamic and playful energy of acrobatics and the loving kindness of Thai massage. Through the practice of Acro yoga you develop trust, connection and playfulness between you and your partner. The essence is to be in the here and now and in balance with each other. Acro yoga is suitable for people from all levels and ages, from beginner to advanced students.

There are three main roles in an Acro yoga practise: base, flyer and spotter. The base represents stability and grounding and is the individual who has the most points of contact with the ground. Most of the time this person is lying on the ground with the entire back torso in full contact. The main points of contact with the flyer are the feet, generally placed on the flyer’s hips. The flyer is the person who is elevated off the ground by the base and represents freedom and dynamic balance. A flyer needs balance, confidence and core strength. The spotter basically ‘spots’ the flyer to make sure the flyer lands safely. The spotter also supports the base and the flyer by making recommendations to improve alignment. The spotter represents safety and guidance. An Acro yoga workshop usually begins by building mutual trust through an opening circle and several yoga postures as a warm-up. The main part of the workshop will be the flying poses and for the more advanced students acrobatic flow. The workshop ends with the exchange of (Thai) massage.

The flying poses may look spectacular, yet they are mainly tools to let underlying themes appear. The unique playfulness of Acro yoga supports you to step out your comfort zone and build up trust and connection with others. Most styles of yoga are quite individual and focused on turning inwards. The meaning of yoga is to unite, to connect and to realize we are all one. In an increasingly digital world the desire for personal connections can be even stronger. This can explain the popularity and creation of Acro yoga. For me, Acro yoga is a beautiful way to interact with other yoga practitioners and to feel and experience my interconnectedness with other people. The practice of Acro yoga can stretch your body more deeply and in a different way, compared to a solitary yoga practise. It is a safe and fun way to meet new people and cooperate with others. Imagine how the world would change if everybody would practise Acro yoga on a sunny day at the beach? I guess it would be a fun and playful world to be in. Get out and play!

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Graceful Yoga

Dru yoga has its roots in Hatha yoga and is based on flowing dynamic movements, directed breathing, mudras, positive affirmations and empowering visualisation. It is a gentle and graceful form of yoga and is designed to be practised by people of all abilities, fitness levels and age groups. Dru comes from the Sanskrit word dhruya meaning ‘still’ and ‘unchanging’. It refers to an inner space which is still and spacious. In this stillness you are able to sit back from anything that may be happening around you no matter how stressful your life can be at times. In this place you will find inner calm, strength and tranquillity.

Dru yoga was first taught in the West by a small group of friends working at Bangor University in the United Kingdom. Mansukh Patel and his friends were trained in Dru yoga by Mansukh’s parents. His parents participated in Mahatma Gandhi’s non violence resistance campaigns in India. Mansukh and his family emigrated to the United Kingdom from Kenya after Mansukh’s childhood in the Great Rift Valley.

A Dru yoga class has usually the following pattern: activation, Energy Block Release Sequences (EBRs), postures, mudras and sequences, relaxation and meditation. EBRs are easy-to-perform sequences of movements, breathing patterns, hand gestures and visualizations that help release specific blockages in your physical, emotional and other subtle energies. These blockages can lead to ‘dis-ease’, stress and physical and emotional pain. The success lies in awareness of your movement, rather than your physical accomplishments. In Dru yoga joints are kept relaxed and soft during movement as in Tai Chi. This soft approach creates flexibility and a free flow of subtle energy. The EBRs involve an unique way of movement. It feels like a focused natural and smooth dance to me. A perfect way to release stress and tension and transform your negative thoughts or attitude in a more positive view.

Dru yoga can significantly improve your wellbeing; physically, mentally and emotionally. Practising this form of yoga can boost your energy level, improve your vitality, flexibility and strength, ease back pain and wash away stress. Through the development of stillness and calmness you are better able to deal with the pressures of modern living. You will feel emotionally more balanced and have greater (self) confidence and appreciation of life.

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Namaste!

My love & passion for yoga has been growing enthusiastically since my arrival in New Zealand in September last year. Not strange, if you realize how much has changed in my life in the past year. These changes cause a strong need in me for more self confidence, relaxation, acceptation and contentment. Yoga stimulate these qualities in me. The thought to follow the same path as my mum by completing a Yoga Teachers Training comes more alive and present. I would love to share my yoga journeys, experiences and realizations with you.

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