Posts Tagged With: life force

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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Pranayama

Pranayama is derived from two Sanskrit words: prana (life force) and ayama (control). So, in its broadest description, pranayama means ‘the control of the flow of life force’. Through the practice of pranayama you can achieve a healthy body and mind. Pranayama is the fourth limb within Patanjali’s Eight-fold path of Yoga. Patanjali says that you should have reasonable mastery of asana first, so you can comfortable sit while doing pranayama practice. It does not mean that you necessarily need to be able to sit in Lotus Pose for thirty minutes, but at least you have to be able to sit in an upright position where you can be relatively still.

In the Yoga Sutras, pranayama is described as means of attaining higher states of awareness. The postures are merely preliminary states of deeper levels of meditation that lead you toward enlightenment or a place where your mind is perfectly still. Pranayama serves as an essential bridge between the outward, active practice of yoga – yoga postures – and the internal, surrendering practices that leads you into deeper levels of meditation. You could say that asana is focused on developing your body and pranayama will develop your mind.

For sure, breathing is an essential part within your yoga practice. Since unconsciously you choose how much you are going to feel by how much you breathe. When you breathe more deeply, it provides you with an opportunity to release constrictions in breathing and focus on what you feel. Pranayama makes you more sensitive and focused. This increased awareness is a real possibility for personal growth and integration.

At the Yoga Centre where I regularly practice (Ashtanga) Vinyasa Flow Yoga an Ujjayi breath or victorious breath is taught and encouraged. A breath practice in which the opening of the throat is slightly constricted and the breath made softly audible by the creation of some resistance to the passage of air. By returning again and again to the subtle sound of this breath – something like the sound of ocean waves rolling in and out – my mind is forced to concentrate and become quiet. This Ujjayi breath is used throughout the entire practice of Ashtanga yoga.

However, most people start practicing yoga with many pre-existing blocks and holding patterns. The introduction of a controlled breathing regime straightaway could further magnify the blocks. Therefore, it is important to remove the blocks and holding patterns first to allow you to reveal your natural breath. Step by step you can explore the subtle movement of prana during your yoga practice. Above all, listen to your own experiences and feelings to decide for yourself which method directs you closest to yoga’s ultimate gift: ease, balance and inner quiet.

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