Third Chakra: Reclaim Your Path!
Winter leaves a lot of mud on our flagstone garden paths each year, and every Spring, I get out there with my favorite garden tool and clear the paths of dried mud and fresh weeds, and eventually reveal the garden’s true identity. Although, I can never say that the work is done, there are moments when the whole garden looks beautiful and inviting. I am inspired to get my hands in the soil and do even more. In the same way, yoga can help us reclaim our true identity, our Inner Garden by working with our third chakra.
“Third chakra?” you may be wondering. How did I get from weeding the garden to yoga and third chakra? Third chakra, an energetic center located between the navel and the sternum in the solar plexus / core / low back / adrenals /organs of digestion area relates to the element of fire, radiance, and transformation. It is all about a healthy sense of identity, power, self-confidence, and self-worth. A healthy third chakra helps us establish good boundaries, the strength to persevere, and the will to act on what we know is best practice. Third chakra is about our energetic presence; it’s our fire and passion for life. It’s where we digest and metabolize prana – whether that energy comes from food, thought, watching a sunrise, or listening to bird song.
It has been suggested that Westerners have a weak third chakra. On a physical level, if our core is weak, our posture can resemble that of a slumper. Those with chronic fatigue and smartphone users suffering from iSlouch most likely have a weak third chakra. Lacking core tone, our shoulders and upper back slump, our breathing becomes shallow, and our neck strains to lift our eyes to the horizon. The job of maintaining some sense of posture falls to our inhale muscles in the neck and shoulders which strain to lift us up. We can’t afford to exhale because our posture would slump even more. So, we inhale deeply and hardly exhale as stress-promoting brain chemicals circulate giving us an unhealthy sense of alertness and vitality to keep us on high alert in order to deal with the “scary things” for which our brain thinks we need to be prepared. Does it sound like a vicious cycle? It is. It’s a very inefficient use of precious resources. Such inefficiencies in third chakra tend to result in sluggishness, weak-will, and a lack of confidence as well as a sore neck, shoulders and lower back. This is not a sustainable solution to find ease and comfort in our body, heart and mind!
To enliven third chakra, one of our most practical solutions is to tone the core muscles in our belly. Strong yoga poses, Pilates, aerobic activity including brisk walking are all excellent. By toning our core, we reclaim an elegant posture, our true nature brightens with natural vigor. In addition, a sense of well-being and inner strength is cultivated as our breathing muscles reset. Anodea Judith, in her book about chakras, Eastern Body, Western Mind suggests that to develop our will, “it is helpful to make a list of goals and intentions and then plan the steps needed to bring those goals into manifestation.” She also states that you know you’re making good progress when you notice that you have a playful ability to laugh at yourself.
Drop in on any and all of my classes this week to cultivate a healthy, vital third chakra and to reclaim the paths of your own Inner Garden.
Peace, joy, and light to you,