In yoga the past three weeks, we have been working with our lower three chakras. Each week, we move up the chakra channel, and so we have 4 more weeks of chakra work ahead of us, and a week of review. Chakra work is very important in both yoga and outside the yoga environment. It teaches us how to begin our own healing process.
Each chakra relates to an earth element, a color, locations in the body, and emotions. (There are many more relationships for the chakras, but we will focus on the body and emotions today.) If we are experiencing some kind of emotional or physical illness, we can work with our chakras to do some self-healing. This does not mean we don’t seek out medical attention as needed, but it does mean we bring our own attention to the process of healing and assist our bodies in healing faster and then staying well after our “treatment” is successful.
This week’s chakra worked with the third chakra. It is located in the solar plexus, that soft spot found just below the rib cage. The solar plexus relates to our digestive system, the gall bladder, and the intestines. If we are experiencing an imbalance with our digestive system, we would work with poses that strengthen the digestive system.
Emotionally and mentally, the solar plexus chakra relates to our power, self-esteem, and intellect. We also store our emotional feelings of anger and fear here. Ever notice how, when you are really upset, you get a stomach ache? Uh huh. Our ego, our sense of who we are, resides in the solar plexus. If our esteem is too strong (we are overbearing or expect everyone to change opinions to our position) or too weak (we let others make our decisions for us), we have an imbalance, and so yoga poses for the third chakra can help bring balance to our emotions.
Yoga poses that effectively help balance out the solar plexus chakra include the warrior poses, which help energize and strengthen the solar plexus; twists, which help energize the solar plexus while making us more flexible in our own thinking process; lateral flexions, which also aid us in flexibility of our thoughts; boat pose and any abdominal work strengthens the third chakra; and the sun salutations heat up the body and so help if we are deficient in third chakra energy. If we are very deficient in this energy, we might also consider attending a bikram yoga class (hot yoga), but if we have too much energy in the solar plexus, it would be best to avoid that type of class.
We can assist in healing our bodies. By taking into our practice just what we need for the day, we become advanced yogis. A typical yoga class offers many opportunities to heal any area of the body, as most poses work with more than one chakra. And let’s not forget that our breathing includes all the chakras, so the very breath we take can heal us.
Any time you come to class with me, if you are feeling under the weather or working through some physical or emotional ailment, please ask me what poses or where you should take your attention to while working in class. I will be happy to give you suggestions. If you email me before class, I can offer even more suggestions.