January 25, 2016

The Fire of Forward Momentum

I always find it interesting when doing these chakra journeys how much my life at the time seems to parallel the chakra that we’re working on.  This week we move to the third/solar plexus chakra or Manipura in Sanskrit.  The element for Manipura is fire, so it is a very dynamic centre.  It is about forward momentum and doing the things you need to do and taking the steps you need to take in order to get to where you want to go.  The element for this chakra is fire.  This month, but particularly this week for me has been about constant movement, one thing after the other . . . . go, go, go!!  I love what I do, and I enjoy being busy, but I am finding that I am starting to feel a bit off balance.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things” is a quote by Benjamin Franklin that I have been using in class to illustrate the fact that there is a cycle within this chakra - something that I didn’t recognize in my past work in this area.  Previously, I associated the solar plexus (where our personal power is stored) as an energy that is constantly moving and dynamic. But, I’ve realized that this just isn’t realistic. Everything that starts has an ending. Everything that moves needs to stop at some point to refuel. There is a cycle to everything and this is no different with this energy centre. Persistence and movement stokes our fire so we can move forward.  But, staying still to rest, rejuvenate and build up our energy is just as important to keep the fire blazing and strong. Energy and persistence - movement and rest – is a constant cycle that needs to be balanced if we want to stay strong and progressive. 

Phalakasana (plank pose) to support and open the Solar Plexus Chakra 

Start in downward dog and on an inhale we’ll bring our body forward over our hands until our shoulders are stacked over our elbows which stack above our wrists. Pressing our hands into the floor, fingers spread wide, we’ll draw our shoulder blades down our back and allow our crown to reach forward. Our thighs reach up toward the sky, and our tailbone lengthens towards our heels, which are reaching back. Keeping our body in one straight line, from the crown of our head to our heels, we’ll engage our abs to keep us lifted and stay here for a few deep breaths. If this is too much for now, we’ll come down to our knees, keeping that straight line in the torso until we build up strength to be on our toes. 

Tejas Mandala Pranayama for the Solar Plexus Chakra 
*** this breath technique comes from the Gitananda Yoga tradition 
*** this breath technique uses a breath retention, so should not be practiced by those with hypertension, heart disease, asthma, ulcers or when pregnant. If you are new to a pranayama practice, breath retentions can be intense so please STOP if you feel any strain, irritation or cramping 

This technique involves a three-part breath:
  • inhale for a count of 6
  • hold the breath (with the lungs full) for a count of 6
  • exhale for a count of 6 
Continue this pattern for at least 9 rounds. You can lessen the count to 5 or 4 if 6 counts feels like too much, or increase the count to 7, 8 or 9 if you would like to go deeper. Ensure that all three parts have the same count. 

Below is an audio recording of this technique that you can follow along to that includes a visualization for this energy centre. 

Happy breathing and enjoy your week of forward movement, getting things done, but taking time to rest.  Contact me with any questions :)

See you on our mats!

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