Posts Tagged With: Vinyasa yoga

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.



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Yoga of the Props

Iyengar yoga is created by B.K.S. Iyengar and characterized by great attention to detail and precise focus on body alignment. He has developed an innovative and inspired approach to classical Hatha yoga. Iyengar yoga teachers have completed at least two years of rigorous training through a world-wide standardized system of instruction. The Iyengar yoga style is known for its use of props such as; straps, blocks, blankets, cushions or chairs to help one adjust or support oneself in the different postures. The props, invented by Iyengar during his lifetime of study, make the postures accessible to both the less flexible and the fit and advanced students. Props maximise the opening and awareness of the body and enable students to perform the asanas correctly and minimising the risk of injury or strain. They can also be helpful for sick or disabled people who highly benefit from the asanas.

In terms of asana and pranayama practice, the Iyengar method focuses particularly on three aspects: body alignment or technique, sequencing and timing. Correct body alignment allows the body to develop harmoniously in an anatomically correct way to prevent injury or pain. The precise and careful attention promotes the development of strength, endurance and suppleness – physically, mentally and emotionally. Hence an Iyengar yoga teacher will correct misalignment actively.

Correct sequencing refers to a powerful cumulative effect achieved by practicing asanas and pranayama in particular sequences. There are few more or less strict rules within the topic of sequencing asanas. For example, standing poses are a good preparation for forward bends and after a deep forward bend a few twists are recommended to balance and release your spinal muscles.

Timing refers to the length of time spent in asanas or pranayama. If the postures are held for considerable length of time the effects of the poses pierce deeper within you while the alignment is perfected. Therefore you will find very little flow in Iyengar style yoga and you will rest in child’s pose in between poses. It is not so much a cardiovascular experience as for example a Vinyasa yoga class. Though, holding poses requires strength and is excellent for increasing flexibility. Iyengar yoga is a great style for ill people or elderly, because of the absence of flow or cardiovascular exercise. In addition, Iyengar yoga can also be very appealing to more advanced yoga practitioners who would like to work on their alignment. From my own experience, I can say an Iyengar yoga class is definitely not easy. It requires perseverance to hold a pose for a reasonable amount of time. In addition, Iyengar yoga is very precise, technical and focused on anatomy and subtle movements. The use of props creates a whole range of creative and innovative poses and allows me to practice intense poses safely and without pain.

Nowadays, Iyengar yoga is one of the most practised styles of yoga worldwide. The influence of Iyengar yoga is prevalent in almost every yoga style by the way poses are taught and props are used. Iyengar’s book: ‘Light on Yoga’ has become a yoga classic and the gold standard for its illustration and explanation of hundreds of yoga poses. So Iyengar yoga is definitely worth a try.

“When I practice, I am a philosopher,

When I teach, I am a scientist,

When I demonstrate, I am an artist.”

 – B.K.S. Iyengar –


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