The third chakra, called Manipura which means "city of jewels" is located at the solar plexus in the upper abdomen and is the furnace for our internal fire which helps us to physically digest food and emotionally digest our experiences. It rules over the systems of digestion and metabolism. Imbalance here can manifest as increased acidity, control issues, frustration and even anger. When balanced we can learn the lessons from each challenging situation and face our obstacles with grace and calm.
Ganesha is the remover of obstacles in Hindu Mythology and two practices here share this namesake.
Location: Solar plexus, upper abdomen
Body Systems: Digestion, metabolism
Parts Affected: Stomach, lower ribs, middle back
When Excessive: Overly controlling, domineering
When Blocked: Lack of determination and drive
When Balanced: Skillful determination, manifestation of change
Mudra: Ganesha Mudra (see also Energizing Mudras)
Bija Mantra: Ram
Cross index finger over middle finger on each hand and touch tips of index fingers together. Press palms, ring and little fingers flat against one another. Hold hands at heart with fingers pointing away.
Benefits: Stimulates digestion & metabolism, grounding.
Practice Tips: Use when feeling anxious or unable to process emotional experiences.
Kaphalabhati (Skull Shining Breath)
Inhale thru both nostrils to fill chest. Exhale quickly draw diaphragm back toward spine and expel breath thru nose. Allow inhale to come naturally, expel exhalation through nose. Benefits: Increases oxygen absorption, cleanses the lungs, increases metabolism
Ganeshasana (Elephant Pose)
Begin standing with feet slightly wider than hips distance apart. Keeping the knees soft, begin to swing arms around the body like two elephant trunks, lightly tap the body with the hands wherever they land as you twist right and left. Go faster or slower depending on how it feels to you for about 1 minute. Then slow down the swinging until you are again standing still.
Benefits: Increases circulation of blood and lymph throughout the body, awakens the energy and detoxifies the abdominal organs.
I attend Cheryl's class regularly and feel that my practice has improved immensely over the past few years due to her expert coaching. Her teaching style is clear and compassionate and her previous experience in teaching adults is evident in her organized approach and easy to understand instructions. I also appreciate that Cheryl not only teaches us about how to correctly position ourselves, but also touches on many aspects of yoga philosophy, which in turn has deepened my personal practice and heightened my awareness of the connection between mind and body, breath and relaxation.