Friday, August 14, 2015

Chakra Series - Yin Yoga - Solar Plexus - Manipura Chakra

Start the Yin practice with the eyes closed and the palms at belly to connect with the Solar Plexus. Lie your back and relax completely. Breathe. Begin to focus on your solar plexus and use your intention to inhale extra prana directly to this area. Feel the warmth moving around between your navel and your solar plexus. Imagine there is a sun streaming warmth and energy into this entire area. When you exhale, imagine that the sun spreads its rays from the center of your body out to all parts of your body. Now, imagine that the warmth of the sun's rays in your center reaches out to touch every muscle, every cell, every fiber, every part of your entire body.Visualize energy  moving everywhere inside of you to calm you and strengthen your entire system.

SAVASANA palms on belly - 2 to 5 minutes
The Solar Plexus or located at the center of the physical body and balance lies on the spine directly behind the navel. It is the seat of our strength and will, our determination and ability to manifest, as well as our source of spiritual vitality.  The third chakra is all about our sense of worthiness and empowerment, courage. The negative attributes of the chakra  are insecurity, ego, and pridefulness.

Breathwork: Normal Breathing

SUPINE HALF MOON POSE aka BANANASANA - Both Sides - 2 to 5 minutes
The related organs are the central/solar plexus-based nerve plexus, digestive organs and system, muscles and immune and nervous systems. The solar plexus chakra represents how we present ourselves in the world.  The chakra influences how we conduct ourselves particularly in our career and our relationships.

Benefits: Stretches the whole side of the body.  Lateral flexes the spin. Stretches oblique stomache muscles and side intercostal muscles between the ribs.

Contra-indications: if you experience tingling in the hands place a bolster under the arms or bring the hands down,  If you have lower back issues be mindful and careful with this pose.

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Symbolism:The First Quarter Moon appears approximately a week after the New Moon.  We might call the First  Quarter Moon, as well as the Last Quarter Moon, “the half Moon,” because the Moon appears cut in half.  It is not a quarter of a Moon at all in appearance.At the First Quarter Moon, we might meet challenges we had not prepared for.  We may need to make on-the-spot decisions about how to proceed and then do what needs to be done in order for our intentions to 
manifest.  It is a time for action. Last quarter moon is the time to let go, release, and forgive anything and everyone that you may feel has hurt you in any way.  It is a time of emptying self and allowing the universe to take over or whomever you trust in your faith.  It is out of your hands and no more action is needed from you

The Solar Plexus also controls the health of our digestive system on a physical, mental, and emotional level, and helps us create and maintain healthy boundaries.  Literal and figurative indigestion and diseases of the stomach, gallbladder, or adrenals alert us to a need to strengthen our naval and tap into the infinite wellspring of energy available there.  Blocks in the third chakra are often expressed in the lymphatic and digestive systems.

Benefits: Stretches the chest, neck, and spine. Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression. Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid. Rejuvenates tired legs
Improves digestion. Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause. Relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported. Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia. Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinus issues

Contra-indications:People with neck injuries should avoid this pose

Breathwork: Inhale and Exhale RAM

Symbolism: progress, connections, stability, overcoming obstacles, transtions

SUPINE SPINAL TWIST - 2 to 5 minutes each side
The third chakra can be manipulated more subtly through long twists.

Benefits: Twists rotate the spine and stretch the muscles of the back. This helps to restore and retain the spine’s natural range of motion. If we don’t employ our natural range of motion we run the risk of our joints hardening and fusing. The surrounding supportive soft tissue can also become short and dysfunctional. In twists you work with the spine and the action of ‘lengthening’ is to create space between the vertebrae. When there's a lack of space our spine tends to slump or get stuck and our energy levels drop. Through twisting we lengthen the spine and get space between the bones. Then our energy can flow better. Twists give us an instant energy lift and decompress the vertebrae in a safe healthy way. Twists are commonly known to aid digestion. It is important to realize what that actually means! Twists are great for creating movement in and around our organs (mobility and motility). So in terms of helping our food being moved along.. twists are great. 

Contra-indications: Shoulder issues

Visualization: Visualize the color of the sun, bright yellow at noon, streaming into your solar plexus and radiating out to your entire body with warmth and light.

MODIFIED BOAT POSE - 1 minute plus
Solar plexuses are activated by having a strong core. A strong third chakra and a strong core reflect the ability to move forward in life with confidence and power. It reflects the ability to make conscious choices to choose and to act.The message of the third chakra is: You have the power to choose.You can choose to achieve your life purpose or you can live out your karma or past experiences.What do you choose?Do you choose love, light and healing?Do you accept that you have the power to choose?Do you feel a sense of freedom when you make a choice?The best solar plexus chakra yoga poses are those that strengthen your core and help you to feel more powerful and confident

Benefits: Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors, and spine. Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands, and intestines. Helps relieve stress. Improves digestion

Contra-indications:Asthma. Diarrhea. Headache. Heart Problems. Insomnia
Low blood pressure. Menstruation. Pregnancy. Neck injury: Sit with your back near a wall to perform this pose. As you tilt your torso back rest the back of your head on the wall.

Breathwork: In through nose out through mouth. Activate Uddiya Bandha.

Symbolism:  About navigation our lives: Where am I going?What do I consider my "True North" - my ultimate guide? Am I prepared for my journeying (spiritual and otherwise)?How am I navigating through life?How am I maneuvering through adverse conditions?

BOW POSE - One Leg at a Time - 1 + minutes
Manipura is the sanskrit name for the chakra and  is translated as “City of Gems.” Mani means jewel or gem and pura means Dwelling place.

BOW POSE Both Legs -  30 secs +

The symbol of the chakra is a ten petaled lotus surrounding a circle with a downward-pointing triangle with the word Ram written inside. The color of the chakra is yellow and the element associated with the chakra is fire. The animal that is associated with the chakra is the ram.  The ram represents strength, wisdom and bravery and carriers the seed sound.

Benefits: Stretches the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat, and deep hip flexors (psoas). Strengthens the back muscles. Improves posture
Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck

Contra-indications:High or low blood pressure. Migraine. Insomnia. Serious lower-back or neck injury

Breathwork: Inhale and Exhale Ram

Symbolism:Doctrine of Truth. Kingship. Virility

SUPERIOR POSE - 3 + minutes
The ruling goddess of the chakra is Lakini Shakti. She provides inspiration and compassion.  She encourages us to set and achieve our goals. The ruling god is Rudra who represents destructive forces. He is the chariot rider of the sun whose arrow causes destruction and disease reminding us that some parts of us need to be “burned away.”

Benefits: It is a good relaxation pose for all spinal complaints, especially cervical spondylitis and stiff neck or upper back.

Visualization:Visualize a golden sunflower or lotus, whichever is easiest for you. Watch it rise to the sun and feel that same sensation with your solar plexus as it rises to the sun and stretches your spine and torso up as high as possible. Inhale as you do this. Exhale and relax, and repeat.

Interestingly, the message of this chakra is often one of paradoxes: through humility, we find our power; through discipline, we find liberation; by cleansing the physical body, we become more mentally clear and attuned.

Benefits:  Deep compression and stimulation of sacral lumbar arch. Stimulates the door of lide. Tones the spine. In Seal stomache gets a great stretch.

Contra-indications: Bad back or tight sacrum problems. Pregnant use bolsters and don't put belly on floor

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Symbolism:Sphinx - Power, Watching Over. Seal - Being Comfortable in your own skin

PRONE TWIST - 2 to 5 minutes
Beings with excessive third chakra energy react to life circumstances, they have emotional outbursts and are often stressed out. Beings with blocked or deficient third chakra are passive and inactive - allowing life to pass by while they do nothing.

Benefits: Twists incorporate the center of our body, working the abdominal, obliques, the muscles that support the movement of our spine, our shoulders, pelvis, neck etc.

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Contra-indications: Pregnant Women

FLAPPING FISH - Both Sides - 1 + minutes
The third chakra is the center of your self-esteem. Every time you judge or criticize yourself, you deplete this chakra and weaken your willpower. Self love, self acceptance, and acknowledgement of your own worth are the building blocks of the third chakra.

Benefits: Stretches the spine, shoulders, and hips. Massages the abdominal organs. Relieves lower backache, neck pain, and sciatica. Helps relieve stress. Improves digestion. Especially good in the second trimester of pregnancy for strengthening the lower back. Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome

Visualization: Visualize a candle flame. Now visualize that flame  in your solar plexus down to your navel and up again through the trunk of your body.

A person with an open and balanced Manipura Chakra values herself and her work, is confident in her ability to do something well, loves and accepts herself, is willing to express herself in a powerful way, knows that she has the freedom to choose to be herself and direct her own life.

Benefits: BKS Iyengar said that twists are detoxifying because of the squeeze and soak action. The organs of detoxification and elimination are compressed pushing out old blood and so then when we release the twist fresh blood can flow in.

Breathwork: Ujjayi

CAMEL POSE - 30 plus seconds
The ruling planet is the Sun. The solar plexus chakra is like having a bright sun in the middle of our bodies.

Benefits: Deeply arches the sacral/lumbar spine and opens the top of the things.  Opens the ankles.  Stretches hip flexors and opens the shoulders.  Great for dropping shoulder or hunched backs

Contr-indications:  Those with weak backs should do gentle variation.  If you have neck issues don't drop the head back keep chin to chest.

Visualize: The sun at the middle of your body

Symbolism:Endurance.Transport. Protection. Survival. Conservation. Journeying. Stamina.

TWISTING DRAGON POSE - 2 to 5 minutes
Fire is the element of the Manipura; fire purifies the past and energizes progress towards mental awareness and spiritual development. This chakra is where we get our "gut instincts" that signal us what to do when we need guidance.

Benefits: Hip and Groin Opener. 

Contra-indications: Can be uncomfortable for kneecap or ankle

Symbolism:The most common message a Dragon totem carry to us is a need for strength, courage, and fortitude. Dragons are also messengers of balance, and magic - encouraging us to tap into our psychic nature and see the world through the eyes of mystery and wonder.More specifically, Dragons are the embodiment of primordial power - the ultimate ruler of all the elements. This is because the Dragon is the master of all the elements: Fire, Water, Earth, and Wind.

Breathwork: Start with an Upright Dragon and Do Breath of fire Before Completely getting in pose.
Ujjayi while in the twisting version.

DEER POSE - 2 to 5 minutes
SIGNS OF A BALANCED SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA: Feeling secure, Flexibility, Well Nourished, Healthy Weight, Feeling at ease, Strong Will Power, Discernment

Benefits: A balanced way to rotate hips. Improves digestion and eliminates gas. Helps with symptoms of menopause. Reduces swelling of legs during end of second trimester of pregnancy. good for high blood pressure and asthma.

Contra-indications: Knee  issues.

Affirmations: I make choices that benefit me.  Inhale: Beneficial  Exhale: Choices

Symbolism: Beauty, Delicacy and Grace. The deer is linked to the arts, specifically poetry and music. 

MODIFIED SIDE PLANK - 1 plus minutes

Stomach ulcers, Diabetes, Pancreatitis, Indigestion, Anorexia, Bulimia, Colon diseases, Anger, Lack of self esteem, Insecurity, Lethargy, Feeling Threatened, Jaundice

Benefits: Strengthens the arms, abdomen and legs. Strengthens the wrists
Improves sense of balance. Tones and stregthens the core, with a focus on the oblique muscles

Affirmation: I am strong and courageous

Breathwork: Inhale Strength, Exhale Courage

HALF LORD OF THE FISHES or MARICHI ASANA - 2 to 5 minutes each side
Balance your Solar Plexus Chakra: Ways to strengthen your yellow energy: Awaken lost curiosities; develop your photographic memory, do puzzles, pick up an old hobby. Regenerate your sense of smell, use aromatherapic extract oils like rosemary, grapefruit and orange. Wear a gold bracelet or necklace, or carry with you yellow gemstones like Amber or Topaz.. Find the time to be outdoors and bask in the yellow energy of the sun.

Benefits: Stimulates the liver and kidneys. Stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck. Energizes the spine
Stimulates the digestive fire in the belly. Relieves menstrual discomfort, fatigue, sciatica, and backache
Therapeutic for asthma and infertility. Traditional texts say that Ardha Matsyendrasana increases appetite, destroys most deadly diseases, and awakens kundalini.

Contra-indications: Back or Spine Injury

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Symbolism: Being a great student and a great listener

"Shiva, the destroyer, came out of a ten thousand year meditation and decided to descend Mount Kailish to visit his beloved Parvati. Parvati had a way of knowing such things and knew that he would come on this day and put together a picnic lunch and started toward the river. Shiva arrived just after she set out.

Shiva began to tell Parvati about the miraculous discovery he’d made during his many years of meditation – yoga! He explained that this was the ultimate path to union between the individual self and the Divine. While he went on and on about yoga, Parvati fretted about lunch. Shiva was confused by her apparently flippant attitude and asked her why she wasn’t listening. He felt he’d made the discovery of a lifetime and that she was not interested in hearing about it. Parvati told him that of course she was interested and asked that he carry on. Shiva kept on with his discovery. What he didn’t know was that Parvati already knew about yoga and in fact had been practicing for as long as she could remember. She just assumed that Shiva knew about yoga as well. She was humble, though, and let him have his moment and listened to him describe the glories of yoga.

Meanwhile, in the river, Matsya, (sanskrit for fish) was swimming by and heard Shiva speaking. Having never heard Shiva lecture on the nature of life and the universe before, he decided to listen in. Shiva continued to speak and Matsya continued to listen. As he listened, he felt the techniques and theory of yoga take hold of his body and begin to live through him. Through his perfect listening Matsya became enlightened. It was at that moment that Shiva became the first Guru (teacher) and Matsya became the first chela (student). This is a relationship that has lived on throughout the years."

FINAL SAVASANA - as long as you wish
palms on abdomen
normal breathing

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