Monday, February 26, 2007
Third chakra (Manipura)
Function: confidence, strength, responsibility, courage and empowerment.
The third chakra is the energy source of one's individual power, a person’s self-esteem and level of confidence. This energy channel is situated in the solar plexus. It corresponds with the fire element in the body, similar to ayurveda’s (Indian holistic medicine), pita or fire constitution. Fire is needed in the body for digestion and assimilation, both on a physical and mental level. Fire increases one's sense of personal power bringing clarity and confidence into individuals and burns away dullness and stagnation. The third chakra stimulates a sense of individual identity, separated from one's group identity, and allows one to come into their ego.
From the strength of being rooted and grounded in group identity, and from the security of one's relationship and ability to express emotions and creative desires, one comes into their being as a separate person. If there are weaknesses in our first and second charka then this may form a domino effect, due to feeling insecure in relationships and in one's identity then we lose our self-esteem and confidence. When we fan our strengths, our personal ability to complete tasks, take on responsibility and make choices that are not a reaction to our fears and block, then we strengthen our confidence and will power. This in turn may strengthen our roots and relationships.
Over-confidence, pride, and being too assertive indicates imbalance, and does not necessary represent strength. Humility is the key to strength, as strength comes from a sense of honesty. Over-confidence and showing off is a cover-up from our lack of personal power. Individual personal strength allows us to make decisions in our life that are not governed by our fears, but gives one the ability to act without always worrying what others may think. One's confidence is often diminished when there is criticism or fear of being criticized, when there is fear of rejection and making a fool of one self.
When the body energy is stagnant and dull, our mind loses clarity and motivation to act; this often results in depression and a lack of will power. Yoga stimulates ones whole energy system, burning up physical and mental stagnant energy. The prana vayu is the in-breath that brings life force into the body and mind. To fan a fire one need air, then a fire will blaze burning away-unwanted wastes. The prana (in-breath) when it is brought into the body in a sufficient way, will begin to fan our internal fire, that will expel stagnant waste energy, this will be taken away from the body through the out breath which is call the apana vayu (the life air that is responsible for all elimination in the body).
High charge points
Diaphragm, the bell shaped muscle right under the ribcage, and the erectors, the long muscles along the spine. As we grow up from childhood and adolescents our attempt to find our individual self’s, separated from our parents and authorities, are often confronted with disagreements, criticisms, and are compromised. This stunts our individual growth, and the negativity we experience damages our self-confidence. The frustrations and tension ones experiences is stored in the body. When the diaphragm is tight we cannot take a deep invigorating breath, preventing personal growth and expression, nor is one able to exhale and let go. When the erector muscles are tight, this limits the flexibility in the spine, compresses the vertebrae and restricts ones ability to twist side to side. Activating uddiyana bhanda, and practicing nauli targets the diaphragm and deep twists isolates release in the erectors. Other third chakra organs are the liver and spleen, which are also cleansed through twisting poses.
To further stimulate the third chakra in yoga, one can work with kapalabhati breath (breath of fire), which isolates the abdominal muscle, bringing fire and heat there, which in turn radiates into the body as a whole. The practice of Ha (heating) Kriyas are also very effective in cleansing the body from stagnant energy, they empower individuals to connect to one's core as a powerhouse. Moving from the core is the key in vinyasa flow, it is like plugging into a power-socket, when combined with the breath it turns on the heat and energy in the body. As a yoga practitioner and teacher, I have experience practicing arm balances and inversion can really stimulate ones third chakra, the lightness, control and power that ones connect to gives the ego a boost, it infuses the whole body and mind with shakti (power) that enable one to come into the body and into one's personal identity. It definitely fans the solar energy (pingal nadi) in the body.
Twisting half moon
Through the chanting of mantra in yoga, ones taps into divine power. A strength that is greater then oneself. This infuses one with the ability, confidence and strength to take of many task out of ones normal range, but at the same time it keep one humble.