Our last week of full classes before the holidays is perfect timing to bring awareness to our hearts, the location for our fourth chakra, Anahata (unstruck chord). Element air and vayu prana draws energy into us as we express our right to love and be loved. When lost or denied, we experience grief.
Our balanced heart chakra gives us compassion and empathy, providing love to others as well as ourselves. In caring for ourselves, we support a good immune system, feel peaceful and balanced, able reach out to others.
We connect to rising chakra energies with flowing vinyasas to bring focus to our heart. With stability, fluidity and power, we dispense with the need to shield and protect ourselves, ready to open our hearts, to be uplifted.
We finish our practice with a chocolate (or raisin) meditation, engaging all our senses to fully appreciate it, without haste. A timely reminder as we head into our festivities to slow down, savour each moment, let it linger. Give yourself the gift of now this holiday season. Namaste.
Our energy focus moves higher this week with the third chakra, Manipura, city of jewels. Located at our solar plexus region, we connect to the element fire and samana vayu to bring transformation: the nourishment we draw into us needs the power of conversion to fulfil its purpose- digestion and assimilation, will power and confidence.
This chakra represents our right to act as an individual and be our unique selves: to shine like a polished gem. To suppress or reject this is to experience a sense of shame with our self. Balanced energy here shows a person with self esteem who is in touch with their sense of personal power to meet life’s challenges. Combining warmth with confidence, they possess self discipline to realise their purpose, yet retain a sense of spontaneity and humour.
Our chakras energies build upon each other and are interwoven. The stability and movement we explored in the lower two chakras shine more brightly when we harness the power of our third chakra energy. In our practice, we work to activate this power centre, alternately relaxing then engaging to stoke the fire within, like a bellows fanning the flames. When the fire burns brightly, feel its impact in each asana to better support stability and movement and feed the body with energy as you support full breath. Also notice the change in energy as we move into more restorative poses. With calm vitality, shine bright!
Svadhisthana (sweetness) brings movement and flow, the element water. Located at the sacrum, which connects spine to pelvis, this energy forms connections, linking stability with sensate exploration of the world- through touch, emotion, locomotion. It signifies our right to feel and to have pleasure in our lives. When this is denied, we experience guilt. Balanced energy here reveals a person with healthy boundaries who embraces life’s pleasures yet shows agility in adapting to change. They possess the grace of emotional intelligence to nurture themselves and others.
Flow and connection brings the vital air of vyana vayu, sending energy from our core out to the periphery with stability and fluidity. Through our yoga, we can notice anywhere that feels blocked or stuck- in body, breath, or mind. As you extend your breath, let everything slow down: take time to find the stable ground you need to be able to embrace fluid movement. Bring awareness without judgement: sense expansion and openness and feel the energy flow within.
Ruth is a yoga therapist and yoga teacher based in Cheltenham, UK. She emphasises yoga as a tool for well-being, for individuals and in her classes, in person or via zoom.