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Transfomation Within Manipura Chakra
Warmth is filling the air, drawing us outside and bringing heat to our muscles. It makes us want to move. To feel. We rush from one moment to the next, invigorated by the warmth and the sunshine calling to us. In that energy, just ahead of our next step, is the all pervasive tendency to “turtle neck.” It helps us get where we are going just a little bit faster, right? Maybe, if we push forward just enough, we can get ahead, and out into that sun a little more quickly.
Except, that isn’t how it ends up working. The turtle necking rounds our thoracic spine from what I call the, “hunchin’ ligament”, because it pulls us in and forward, like a hunchback. If the hunchin’ ligament gets tight, it envelopes and effectively weakens the third chakra, Manipura. Manipura Chakra is located above the navel in the area of the solar plexus, just below the breastbone. It’s the golden flame behind our personal power and self esteem. It’s the energy in our digestion. It’s our confidence. When the third chakra is diminished by the effects of turtle necking and the resulting hunching, we lose the expansion required for transformation. We feel weak, and
anxious-- and so we protect and round more when we allow the head to lead, instead of the
That’s why it is important for us to live Yoga.
Yoga introduces us to the deliciousness of counter posture. It calls us to focus on core activation. It reminds us to be gentle, yet attentive to where we need to go further. Deeper.. It requests strength of us. It calls us to pay attention to our balance, our minds...and our turtlenecks. Yoga asks us to lead with the heart, which is incredibly vulnerable, and that is why it makes us stronger, physically and emotionally. To bear your heart, your belly, can bring up all kinds of feelings because we are opening what we have been protecting from harm. It’s not uncommon to feel dizzy or anxious or even tearful when you practice opening and lifting Manipura--but it’s the key to countering the fatigue of turtlenecking and hunching. Paying attention to expansion is such a simple way to bring energy into your body... Inhaling, bringing as much width as we can to expand the chest, we expand and relax. We find stillness. We find that our stillness...is safe. The anxiety begins to release us from our mind.
And, we breathe.
And we listen to where we need more or less, on the mat--and in our lives.
Once, several years ago, I had a student who asked me, “Brian, why is it that Yoga makes me feel like divorcing my husband?” What a question! At the time, I really wasn’t sure how what to say to her. I didn’t have an answer for her. But, after years of teaching, I’ve started to notice answers to that question, because it’s not as unique or strange as it sounded to me at first. Yoga opens what has been closed. Yoga changes how we hold ourselves, even if only during class. Even if you run through the day in pure turtlenecked fashion, when you sit on your mat, you roll those shoulders back, you lift your heart, and you expand. You breathe. You quiet the
That sixty minutes of becoming a more open you is transformative. It changes your body. It changes your mind. You start to notice when you are hunched over even when you aren’t in class and you crave expansion; so, you find yourself allowing the shoulders roll, and the heart opens and lifts, and you breathe with intention. As we find ourselves opening up, we might also find that we want the people we are closest to to notice the change we are manifesting on our mats and in our lives, and honor it, maybe even take the time to transform alongside us. But, we can’t control that part. We can only honor what is ours to work with. Our shoulders. Our jaw. Our breath. And, maybe the most advanced of all, our smile.
As we bring energy into our Chakras, as they open and expand and as we become more who we are being shown to be, we are also noticing what, or who, causes us to retract into ourselves. We notice how we really feel. As a new aspect of self awareness, those feelings can be disconcerting, as they were to my student who found herself feeling disconnected from her partner. It can change things when we weren’t asking for change in that particular area.
One often enters a yoga class looking for physical or emotional change or pain relief, usually not to alter their entire psyche. Yet, with a regular practice, all of those things do transform. That can play out in many different kinds of change and it will sometimes mean that you may need to make changes that allow you to continue to expand, because you won’t be able to pretend that what was good enough when you were hunched over, protecting the heart, will be good enough now that your heart knows what it feels like to press open, in vulnerability and strength, to face the sunlight. And, that’s a good thing for you, and for the people who care about you.
I’m excited to continue to offer Missoula with opportunities to expand at Inner Harmony with regular classes, acro, massage and some really fun workshops that are coming up! We have an acro workshop series going on with a nice sized group! You don’t need a partner, but I’m offering a reduced rate when two people sign up together. We’ll do 20 minutes of strength building conditioning and then you can expect to learn all the basics you would need to attend regular classes and jams! The more the merrier! I’m excited to see you there!
On June 24th, we’ll be celebrating Summer Solstice with our energizing quarterly practice of 108 Sun Salutations. There is absolutely no reason to omit yourself from this event. Add five daily sun salutations to your life and this practice will be entirely doable and promises to be empowering and a great way to honor the extra energy of the season.
On July 13th, from 7-9pm which happens to also be my 40-onederfulest birthday, I’m hosting an amazing Sound Bath Journey with Crown of Eternity that will absolutely sell out. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the show. Please bring a pillow or blanket to sit on and prepare to be delighted.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to grow as a teacher and for being willing to open your heart on this yoga journey.