Archive for the ‘Chakra Theory’ Category

Lotus Flowers, Yoga and the Ajna Chakra

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

about ajna chakraBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

According to ancient Yogic texts found in the Hindu compendium of scriptures, the human body has seven major energy centers that lie along the front and back of the spinal column. Additionally, two of these major energy vortexes are found along the head. One of these energy centers in the head area is located at the point between the eyebrows. This point is known as the Ajna Chakra. According to Hinduism, the Ajna Chakra is the seat of the ability to summon or command the creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world. This chakra is essentially said to be the dwelling place of the energy of Brahman, who has the power to manifest and dissolve physical reality at will.

In the center of the Ajna Chakra, there is a scintillating indigo-blue lotus flower with two white petals. In Yogic texts, these two white petals are symbolic of Shiva and Shakti, the primordial male-female couple who represent the unending cycle of creation and dissolution. In some systems of belief, these two petals are said to represent the pituitary and pineal glands of the endocrine system. The two petals of the lotus flower in the Sixth Chakra are also said to demarcate the two energy channels that run up the spine, known as the Pingala and Ida nadis. When these two streams of energy merge in the Crown Chakra, great bliss is experienced as a seeker begins to ascend the stairway of enlightenment with the veracity of personal experience of the signposts of liberation, as described by countless mystics throughout the ages. 

The indigo-blue lotus flower that resides at the center of the Ajna Chakra pulsates with numinous beauty. The indigo-blue light is symbolic of divine beauty in many Asian spiritual traditions. In Hinduism, Vishnu is frequently described as the Lotus Eyed One. His skin shines with the same indigo-blue hue of the lotus flower that lies at the center of the Ajna Chakra. Likewise, Krishna is often depicted with skin the rich color of indigo-blue. In Buddhism, it is said that when the Buddha was born, he had the ability to walk and that lotus flowers bloomed from every step he took when he first began his journey on the earth. 

These are some of the stories that hold the indigo-blue lotus flower as a central thematic element or characteristic of a deity. In our daily life, meditating on the ability of this beautiful flower to grow out of the mud can remind us of the ability we all have to choose to make lemonade out of lemons! In other words, if we are mired in the mud and muck of life, we can choose to grow from difficult experiences and bloom into a Yogi or Yogini of exceptional strength, beauty and inspiration. 

Additionally, keeping the Ajna Chakra healthy and balanced will help to keep your endocrine system healthy. When this chakra is blocked or stagnant, a Yogi or Yogini may experience low thyroid function, depression and difficulty concentrating. On the other hand, when this chakra is overstimulated, a Yoga practitioner may experience mental agitation, hyperthyroidism, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Balancing and harmonizing your Third Eye Chakra will keep your entire body functioning well. In addition, the health of this chakra will help to nurture your creativity, insight and inspiration.

* Yoga Practices to Stimulate and Balance the Ajna Chakra 

There are a number of Yoga practices that can help to stimulate and balance the Ajna Chakra. These practices include physical Yoga postures, pranayama exercises and chanting the bija mantra of this chakra, “Aum.” Because the very essence of the energy that creates, sustains and dissolves physical reality resides in the Ajna Chakra, chanting this primordial seed mantra will re-calibrate this energy center, so that it is balanced and healthy. If you chant Aum while holding your gaze in Shambhavi Mudra, the effect of your practice will be much stronger. Shambhavi Mudra simply means to hold your gaze at the point directly between your eyebrows in an unremitting fashion. 

Chanting for five to ten minutes after practicing the healthy and balanced postures of Yoga is a wonderful way to close your Yoga class or personal practice. When you are ready to begin chanting Aum while holding Shambhavi Mudra, sit on a pillow or in a chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Rest your palms gently in your lap or on your knees. You may wish to light a candle and to wrap a meditation shawl around your shoulders for comfort and to create a sense of sanctity. Simply close your eyes with your internal gaze focused on your Third Eye Chakra and repeat Aum audibly or silently with each exhale. Let the sound resonate throughout your entire body as the energy you are cultivating expands and nurtures your Ajna Chakra.

© Copyright 2014 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about teaching yoga students and our selection of online hatha yoga instructor training courses.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!

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Singing Kirtan for a Balanced Throat Chakra

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

throat chakraBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

In the ancient Yogic system of the description of the energy centers that lie along the central axis points of the spine, the Throat Chakra is the fifth major energy center. It is the seat of our ability to speak up for ourselves by verbalizing our own unique truth. It is also intimately connected to the sense of hearing. Additionally, verbalizing our intentions, dreams and goals imbues us with the ability to harness the creative power of the manifestation of reality through language, by connecting with the impulse of Matrika Shakti.

On a physical level, the Throat Chakra is directly correlated to the health of the endocrine system. The thyroid gland sits right at the base of the throat and is intimately affected by the level of vibrancy in the Throat Chakra. It is not uncommon for the throat area to become blocked from painful life experiences. If this is the case for you, speaking up for yourself in front of a trusted friend, practicing Yoga asanas that open up the throat area, writing your thoughts in a journal and singing are all wonderful ways to enhance the energy of the Visuddha Chakra region.

Many Yoga practitioners find that singing sacred seed mantras can be a very enjoyable and powerful way of nurturing the creative energy of the Throat Chakra. This practice of call and response singing is also known as Kirtan. It is one of the primary practices of Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga of Devotion. Kirtan is frequently practiced in Yoga studios worldwide as a way to free the heart of heaviness, balance the mind and uplift the spirit.

Different Kirtans or Yoga chants are based on a variety of musical arrangements called ragas. These rages can illicit feelings of longing, melancholy, introspection, or jubilant enthusiasm. One Kirtan in particular that generates feelings of freedom and joy is: Govinda Jaya Jaya, Gopala Jaya Jaya, Radha Ramana Hare, and Govinda Jaya Jaya. This Kirtan is very uplifting and rousing. It means victory to Gopala, or baby Krishna, who resides in the very heart of Radha. In other words, Gopala is the playful, young and joyful child-like aspect of Krishna. Radha is his consort (when he is grown-up, of course!).

Instead of longing for his physical company, Radha realizes that the divinely playful aspect of Krishna resides in her own heart; so she dances in ecstasy. In metaphorical terms, Radha becomes a fully opened, blue and purple morning glory! Just like a fully opened morning glory flower that basks in the brilliance of the morning sun, after chanting a sacred bija mantra or sacred phrase for some time, your heart will be uplifted and your Throat Chakra will be freed of constriction and tension. Ok, so you may not feel that you want to dance and sway in ecstasy when you chant “Govinda Jaya Jay,” but your heart will surely be uplifted, and the raga that accompanies this Kirtan will bring a smile to your face as the energy of the chant frees up any constriction in your Throat Chakra.

A wonderful way to close your Yoga practice or class is to engage in a period of chanting for ten to fifteen minutes after you have completed the physical postures of your Yoga practice. I personally find that engaging in ten minutes of chanting after resting in Shavasana helps me to transition to the next activity of the day or evening in a fluid and energized manner. Depending on the time of day, you may wish to choose an introspective raga if it is in the evening just prior to bedtime, or a raga that is energizing if you are still involved in the active part of your day.

Chanting mantras and the sacred names of Gods and Goddesses with the ragas is an important element of Kirtan singing in the context of a Yoga practice. The musical arrangements of the notes themselves deeply impact the chakras. There are a number of Kirtan musicians who have recorded a variety of devotional chants in a classical Yogic fashion. You can find these Kirtan artists easily on iTunes or on YouTube. If you are a Yoga teacher, downloading a number of your favorite chants onto your iPod is an easy way to incorporate this timeless practice into your Yoga class.

© Copyright 2014 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about teaching yoga students and our selection of online hatha yoga instructor training courses.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!

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Morning Glories, Yoga and the Throat Chakra

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

yoga teacher trainingBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

The iridescence of the beauty of the blue-purple morning glory flower is beyond dispute. In the early morning rays of the sun, this enticing beautiful flower begins to open to the bourgeoning warmth of the sun’s rays. The blue-purple morning glory most closely resembles the scintillating colors of the Throat Chakra. The Throat Chakra is also known as the Fifth Chakra in the Yogic system of the swirling energy vortexes that are found along the central axis of the body. In Sanskrit, the Throat Chakra is known as the Visuddha Chakra.

According to ancient mystic Yogis and Yoginis, this chakra is a sixteen-petal flower that pulsates with a bluish-purple color and, upon which, the sixteen letters of the Sanskrit vowels are written in gold. At the very center of the Visuddha Chakra is a pure white color where its bija or seed mantra resonates with the sound “ham.” One of the most well known Sanskrit mantras is So-Ham. When this mantra is repeated for an extended period of time, it will help to remove blockages in the Throat Chakra area. Repeating this mantra also helps to soothe the heart and balance the movement of prana between the Heart and Throat Chakras.

When the Throat Chakra is blocked, our very sense of self and the ability to verbalize our thoughts and feelings is also blocked. Energetically, this blockage prevents the Kundalini energy from freely rising to the Crown Chakra. When the Throat Chakra is blocked from traumatic emotional experiences or physical injuries and/or illnesses, our life force energy can also become blocked and stagnant. According to some Yogic teachings, one of the primary reasons for a blocked Throat Chakra is a feeling of guilt.

Some other reasons for a blocked Throat Chakra may include not wanting to be truly visible to those around us because of the vulnerability that visibility may generate, or a deep-seated shame that surfaces when our own needs become evident. If you focus on your own Throat Chakra, you will have the opportunity to viscerally feel if this area is contracted and closed down. If so, you may experience tension throughout the front of your neck and hunched up shoulders that are trying to protect you from the potential backlash of speaking up for yourself.

As a Yoga practitioner, you have many options for keeping your Visuddha Chakra area vibrant and energized. Some of the physical postures of Yoga that help to keep this chakra healthy and balanced are Shoulder Stand, Plow and Camel Pose. Additionally, there are a number of pranayama exercises that help to remove energetic obstructions throughout the entire chakra system. Khecari Mudra and Jalandhara Banda also help to nurture a healthy Visuddha Chakra.

* Camel Pose

Camel Pose is one of the most effective Yoga postures for opening up the Throat Chakra, as well as the entire front side of the body (To practice Camel Pose, warm up first with a series of Sun Salutations). If you are not familiar with the poses of the Sun Salutations, please refer to a reputable Yoga teacher training website or visit a professional Yoga studio in your area for personalized instruction. Camel Pose is usually practiced after warming up with a series of Sun Salutations and Standing Yoga poses.

When you are warmed up and ready to practice Camel Pose, come to a kneeling position at the front of your Yoga mat. Keep your knees comfortably far apart and parallel to the sides of you mat. With an inhale, raise your arms overhead, and then fluidly bring them down and place your palms on your lower back with your fingers facing up. If you are feeling quite flexible today, you may wish to increase the intensity of the pose by placing your hands on your ankles. Keep breathing deeply, and with an exhale; gracefully open your chest area by gently dropping your head back.

If you have a neck injury, you may wish to keep your gaze straight ahead and not drop your head back. Hold this pose for 3-5 complete breaths, and with your next inhale, release your hands and come back up to a kneeling position on your Yoga mat. Slowly fold down into Child’s Pose and rest for a few moments before repeating Camel Pose two more times. During a Yoga class, Camel Pose is usually followed by several more back bending poses before moving on to seated forward folds, inversions and Shavasana.

© Copyright 2014 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about teaching yoga students and our selection of online hatha yoga instructor training courses.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!

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Spring Green Leaves, Yoga and the Heart Chakra

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

about the heart chakraBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

Finally, spring has blossomed. After a long, cold winter for many Yogis and Yoginis, we are experiencing the rebirth of spring flowers, delicate new leaves, and the return of many different kinds of birds. Even the bears are coming out of hibernation! If you find that your heart has also been in an extended period of hibernation, connecting with the gentle unfurling of the springtime energy in your Yoga practice will support you in the process of releasing the fetters that may be surrounding your own Heart Chakra.

Some good indications of a closed Heart Chakra are a collapsed chest area, shallow breathing and shoulders that are hunched up to your ears. Another accurate indicator of a constricted heart area is a sense of emotional numbness and being overly intellectual and analytical. In other words, living mostly in your head and being unable to feel your emotions. If you find that this is the case for you, you may have experienced any number of painful life experiences that created a situation where you feel that you need to protect your heart, even if this need for protection is peculating just below your conscious awareness.

Often, our bodies reflect our emotions, or the need to blunt our emotions, without us being consciously aware of this process. However, somatizing painful emotions by closing down your Heart Chakra will also block the flow of prana throughout your body. When pranic energy is not able to circulate through your body with ease, your vitality will likewise become diminished. Many different health problems can be directly linked to blocked energy throughout the body. In the long run, you may even develop heart or breathing problems if your Heart Chakra remains blocked for many years, hence the saying that he or she died of a broken heart.

* Restorative Reclining Goddess Pose

Restorative Yoga poses are a wonderfully nurturing way to release physical and emotional constriction throughout the body. If you find that you would like to release the constriction around your Heart Chakra, practicing Restorative Reclining Goddess Pose is a very gentle way of letting go of tension and suffusing healing energy into your heart area. To practice Reclining Goddess Pose in a restorative fashion, you will need three rolled Yoga blankets or towels to place under your shoulder blades and your knees. For an optimal sense of self-nurturing, you may also wish to use an aromatherapy eye bag and wear a warm pair of socks!

Restorative Reclining Goddess Pose is usually practiced at the end of a Yoga class and can be performed in place of Shavasana. When you are ready to practice this Yoga pose, take one blanket or towel and roll it up length-wise like a burrito. Place the blanket on your Yoga mat approximately where your shoulders will be when you lie down. Now, roll the other two blankets up width-wise and place them near your Yoga mat. These blankets will go under your knees for support. If you do have a pair of warm socks, please put them on before you lie down on your Yoga mat.

When you have your Yoga props assembled, lie back on your mat. Bring the soles of your feet together so that your legs form a diamond shape. Place the other two rolled blankets underneath each knee for support. Lie back on your Yoga mat and situate the long rolled blanket just under your shoulders blades at the back of your Heart Chakra. If you are using an eye pillow, place it over your eyes now. Rest the palms of your hands on your Heart Chakra and breath gently.

With each breath, breathe in the delicate green energy of the new spring leaves. With each exhale, allow the fresh green energy to carry out any painful emotions you may be harboring in your Heart Chakra area. Rest in Restorative Reclining Goddess Pose for five to ten minutes, and then remove any props that you are using, roll to your right side and slowly push yourself up into Easy Seat on your Yoga mat. Pause for a moment to feel the gentle pulsation of spring green energy in your own Heart Chakra before continuing on with the rest of your Yoga practice.

© Copyright 2014 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about teaching yoga students and our selection of online hatha yoga instructor training courses.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!

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Sunflowers, Yoga and the Svadisthana Chakra

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

svadhisthana chakraBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

As the sun travels toward her yearly zenith point, her warmth and energy begin to permeate the earth, coaxing new life to emerge from its winter stasis. With each passing day, we begin to witness the perennial growth of abundant flowers and plants. The sunshine and warm temperatures also bring bears out of hibernation and the bees back to the business of making honey! Traditionally, the Incas worshiped the yellow color of the sun as a symbol of optimism, happiness, pleasure, and wealth.

If you live in a temperate climate that was quite cold this winter, the very advent of the spring like temperatures and the return of the warmth of the sun’s rays may be inspiring a new found hope and optimism for creative projects, both large and small. This energy of optimism is embodied by the resiliency of the sunflower. The sunflower is a classical symbol of the sun. The vermilion-tinged yellow of the sunflower is also symbolic of the Second Chakra, known in Tantric Yoga as the Svadisthana Chakra.

The Second Chakra is located a few inches above the Root Chakra and just below the navel area. It is strongly connected to one’s place in the world in terms of a sense of home and belonging. The Second Chakra is said to have six petals according to ancient Yogis. These petals resonate with the seed mantra “yam.” This chakra is also strongly correlated with the element water, which is depicted by the silver crescent moon. In the process of balancing the Second Chakra, we are asked to embrace the watery, emotional elements of life and to let life ebb and flow with the symbolic tides.

Although this ebb and flow of life experiences (and frequently the people in our lives) can be painful, allowing things to flow and change is critical to the health of the Svadisthana Chakra. The shadow aspect of the Second Chakra is a clamping down of one’s creativity and sexuality, as well as being mired in issues of jealousy and betrayal. Staying mired in these shadow emotions will ultimately close down one’s creativity and hamper a Yoga practitioner’s ability to sustain a nourishing home base. Symptoms of an unbalanced Second Chakra usually include an inability to experience pleasure, resistance to change and being out of touch with one’s own emotions. Second Chakra imbalances may also be manifest by discomfort in the hips, lower back and reproductive organs.

Healing a Second Chakra imbalance includes the ability to release deeply held physical and emotional tension in the pelvic and hip areas through Yoga postures. If you have a history of sexual abuse, you may want to seek the support of a professional therapist as you gently coax your Second Chakra back into a vibrant state of well-being. Along the path, you may become conscious of experiences that are best integrated with the help of a professional who can offer you therapeutic emotional support and perspective on your experiences.

* Restorative Seated Wide Angle Pose

Restorative Seated Wide Angle Pose is one of the most profoundly relaxing Yoga asanas for opening up the groin and pelvic areas of the Second Chakra. If you would like to practice this Yoga pose in a restorative fashion, you will need a Yoga bolster, a rolled up blanket, or a pile of pillows to rest your head on while you are in the posture. Seated Wide Angle Pose is usually practiced at the end of a Yoga class, just prior to Shavasana.

When you are ready to practice Restorative Seated Wide Angle Pose, come to a comfortable seated position on your Yoga mat with your legs in a wide-angle position comfortably far apart. Place your bolster, blanket or pillows in between your legs. With your next exhale, gently drape your upper body over your bolster, blanket or pillows and rest your forehead on the Yoga prop you are using. Allow your energy to cool down and rest on the support of the earth.

Let the stress and tension melt away as you breath deeply and evenly. For the next several minutes, just rest and relax as you allow your senses to be pulled inward. When you have completed your practice of Restorative Seated Wide Angle Pose, sit up and place your Yoga bolster or blanket to the side and come back into Easy Seat. Pause for a moment and feel the quietude within you before moving into the final poses of your Yoga practice.

© Copyright 2014 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about teaching yoga students and our selection of online hatha yoga instructor training courses.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!

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Red Tulips, Yoga and the Muladhara Chakra

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

yoga  and the muladhara chakraBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

Finally, spring has sprung, as the saying goes! The time of regeneration and renewal is upon us. It is the time of year when we celebrate the return of succulent flowers, delicate green leaves, birds of all colors, and the warmth of the sun’s rays. As Yoga practitioners and teachers, following the rhythm of the earth around us during our practice will help to align our bodies and minds to the vibrancy of the spring energy the suffuses the world around us.

The tulip is a quintessential spring flower. It represents rebirth and resiliency and is often displayed at Easter time on many church alters. Historically, the tulip was revered in the Ottoman Empire as a symbol of indulgence, plentitude and material abundance. Additionally, it symbolized the veritable manifestation of heaven on earth. The red tulip is also symbolic of the wealth that arises from a steady and solid stance on the earth.

As Yoga students and teachers, we have a number of tools in our “Yoga asana tool kit” to help stabilize and strengthen our stance on the earth. According to Patanjali, who is the famous author of the Yoga Sutras, the regular practice of Yoga asanas, meditation and pranayama exercises are all intended to still the thought waves of the mind and create a steady seat, or asana on the earth, as a foundation from which to do our spiritual practices.

The central chakra that forms the very root of our seat on the earth is the Muladhara Chakra, which is also aptly named the Root Chakra. According to ancient seers and Yogis, this chakra emanates the deep-maroon color of the red tulip. It is the first of seven chakras that follow our spinal column from the pelvic area all the way to the crown of the head. A balanced and healthy Root Chakra is integral to allowing us to stand in a balanced and healthy way on the earth.

When this chakra becomes unbalanced, our very stance on the earth becomes unbalanced. When this chakra is out of balance, we also may experience deep restlessness, anxiety and insomnia. These energy centers ideally move freely and without impediment. However, due to a variety of physical health issues, emotionally painful experiences and/or karmic energy knots our chakras may be come stuck and stagnant. When this happens, our energy is dissipated and we may experience inertia, dullness and lethargy.

Practicing Yoga postures and specific pranayama exercises will help to release stagnant energy and allow the prana to flow freely throughout your chakra system. When the energy is flowing freely throughout the energetic matrix of the body, a Yoga practitioner will feel both relaxed and energized. When the Root Chakra is balanced and healthy, you will feel safe and grounded in the world. Your posture will be upright and your movement through the world imbued with a sense of optimism and dharmic nobility. 

* Utkatasana or Fierce Pose 

There are a number of Yoga poses that help to facilitate a healthy Muladhara Chakra. Most of these poses bring a Yogi or Yogini’s awareness to one’s stance on the earth. Some of the poses that strongly bring a practitioner’s awareness to the Root Chakra are Tree Pose, Standing Forward Fold and Fierce Pose. Utkatasana, or Fierce Pose, is one of the most effective poses for balancing and strengthening the Root Chakra. This is one of the primary Yoga poses of the Sun Salutation B series in Ashtanga Yoga. It is also known as Chair Pose because it resembles the action of sitting in a chair.

To practice Fierce Pose, begin by standing in Tadasana at the front of your Yoga mat. Take a few deep breaths, and with your next inhale raise your hands over your head with your palms facing towards each other. Keep your arms directly above your shoulders and perpendicular to the ground. With an exhale; sink down towards the earth by bending your knees 6-8 inches. Keep your knees comfortably far apart and directly over your ankles. Hold Fierce Pose for 10 full breaths.

When you are ready to come out of the postures, release your arms with an exhale and come back into Tadasana at the front of your Yoga mat. The springtime is a wonderful time to strengthen your awareness of your connection with the earth. If possible, you may wish to practice Utkatasana outside on a patch of fresh, green grass. As you sink down into Fierce Pose, remember to wriggle your toes into the earth as your reach your arms and upper body up to the blue sky of the heavens.

© Copyright 2014 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about teaching yoga students and our selection of online hatha yoga instructor training courses.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!

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Daffodils, Yoga and the Manipura Chakra

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

about yoga teacher training and chakra theoryBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

Ok, so you may be wondering, “What do daffodils, Yoga and the Manipura Chakra have in common?” Well, the color yellow, of course! Daffodils are one of the first flowers to peak their heads above the earth during springtime. They represent the continual process of regeneration and the optimism of new beginnings. In the east, daffodils are symbolic of wealth and abundance. In China, the daffodil is strongly associated with good fortune and is culturally associated with the Chinese New Year. In many cultures throughout the world, the color yellow represents lightness, energy, wealth, and the optimism of new beginnings.

The Manipura Chakra is the third chakra or energy center of the body, according to Hindu tradition. It is located at the level of the solar plexus. This chakra is primarily associated with the color yellow and is known as the resplendent gem. This fiery chakra governs the digestive fire, self-esteem and initiative. When the Manipura Chakra is moving freely, an individual’s sense of self-direction and self-esteem are strong. When initiative, self-esteem and the fire to follow through on one’s goals are strong, wealth often follows. However, when this chakra is closed or hampered in some way, a Yoga practitioner may find it more difficult to generate the initiative to start new projects and work towards personal and professional goals.

This sense of determination, energy and optimism may be dulled by the heaviness of the winter season. As springtime arrives, many Yoga practitioners find that there is a new sense of energy and hope that arises from within them. Practicing Yoga asanas that help to dispel inertia and generate more warrior energy will in turn support you in starting new projects and manifesting your dreams. A healthy Manipura Chakra will also make it easier to speak up for yourself, assert your own will in different situations and generate a sense of vitality and warmth in your belly region.

Surrounding yourself with the color yellow, whether it is in the form of a bunch of delicately scented daffodils or yellow pillows and curtains, will also help to nurture a healthy Manipura Chakra. Additionally, offering selfless service to your community and laughing are both said to increase the energy of the Manipura Chakra. In terms of a Yoga practice, incorporating poses that specifically release tension and generate energy in the solar plexus will help to dispel inertia and invigorate your entire being. This invigoration will help to fuel the process of initiating new projects, speaking up for yourself and following through on the many tasks that must be accomplished, in order to make your dreams and goals a reality.

If you are a Yoga teacher, teaching a sequence of Yoga posture during your class that help to generate energy and warmth in the area of the Manipura Chakra will support your students in feeling the warrior energy within their own beings. Likewise, if you are a Yoga practitioner, including Yoga asanas into your practice on a regular basis that nurture the energy and freedom of movement in the solar plexus region will help to dispel any inertia that may have settled into that area of your body during the long, cold winter months. Practicing Warrior I, Warrior II and Warrior III poses are some of the quintessential Yoga asanas aimed at increasing warrior energy throughout the body.

Additionally, practicing twisting postures also helps to release inertia and “stuck energy” in the solar plexus region. Yoga poses such as Eagle Pose, Seated Spinal Twist and Revolved Crescent Lunge all help to generate energy and warmth in the Manipura Chakra. These twisting postures release deep-seated tension in the shoulders and the thoracic spine, which will increase the flow of prana or life force energy throughout your being. A regular practice of Yoga postures that includes many of these poses will be sure to increase your warrior energy and fill you with new vitality and optimism, which will in turn support you in initiating and manifesting your goals, dreams and desires. For detailed instructions on how to practice these postures, please refer to a professional Yoga teacher training website or visit a Yoga studio in your area to receive personalized instruction

© Copyright 2014 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about teaching yoga students and our selection of online hatha yoga instructor training courses.

If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is. Namaste!

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Yoga and Reiki Chakra Theory

Lilacs, Yoga and the Crown Chakra

Monday, April 14th, 2014

power yoga teacher training intensiveBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed 

Many Yogis and Yoginis experienced a cold, difficult and long winter this year. This is particularly true if you live in northern area of the United States. Finally, we are seeing a resurgence of the gentle warming rays of the springtime sunshine. With the sunlight and warmth, comes the unfurling of new leaves and the blooming of spring flowers. The beautifully scented, violet-blue lilac is one of the first flowers to bloom in the springtime. Its heady scent is intoxicating. Symbolically, the lilac is said to represent love. This is all well and good, you may be thinking, but what does this have to do with Yoga? 

The practice of Yoga is a wonderfully effective way to reinvigorate your entire body. When we feel the pulsation of energy throughout our entire being, it is much easier to achieve our dreams and flow with the ever-changing panorama of life experiences. When our life force energy is stuck, it is far more difficult to initiate new projects, articulate our feeling and needs, or even be in touch with our own creative potential. Although the wintertime can be a cozy time of quietude and reflection, it can also be a period of time during the year when stagnation and inertia increase. 

On the other hand, the springtime generates a sense of new energy, optimism and hope that requires the release of stagnation and inertia. Many Yoga postures will help to increase the sense of energy and optimism as deep-seated tension is released through the practice. A regular practice of a variety of Yoga postures will also help to balance the flow of life force energy throughout the entire chakra system. According to ancient Yogic texts found in the Hindu tradition, there are seven main spinning energy centers that lie along the body, known as chakras. 

The violet-blue color of the lilac governs the Sahasrara Chakra, which is located at the crown of the head. This chakra is the seventh chakra in the Hindu depiction of the spinning energy centers that lie along the central axis of the body. Yogis and Yoginis who have experienced this chakra directly describe it as pulsating violet-blue lotus flower with a thousand petals that dance and sway in the internal light of divinity. Symbolically, the Crown Chakra represents the doorway to infinity and oneness with the Divine essence of life. It also represents a sense of detachment from the illusion of the permanence of this world. 

* Supported Headstand 

Inversions of all types will help to increase the flow of prana in the Crown Chakra. This includes Downward Facing Dog, Dolphin Pose and Standing Forward Fold. However, Headstand is one of the most powerfully effective Yoga Postures for increasing the flow of fresh energy, oxygen and nutrients to the Sahasrara.

Headstand is considered to be an intermediate Yoga posture. However, practicing it in a supported fashion along the wall will make it much more accessible to students who are still in the beginning stages of their Yoga practice. 

Headstand is usually practiced towards the end of a Yoga class. When you are ready to practice Supported Headstand, bring your Yoga mat perpendicular to a wall in your home or studio. Come to a kneeling position on your mat facing the wall, and then place your elbows on the mat approximately twelve inches apart with your hands clasped. Your forearms will form a triangle. Shift your weight to your forearms and hands and with an inhale; gently kick your legs up the wall. You may wish to practice a few times with some gentle kicks before extending your legs completely up the wall. 

When you have inverted your body and your legs are resting along the wall, hold Supported Headstand for three to five minutes. Keep your feet flexed and your legs together. Do listen to your body, and if you tire or are experiencing any neck or head pain, come gently out of the posture and rest in Child’s Pose. When you have finished practicing Supported Head Stand, slowly bring your legs down to the mat and rest in Child’s Pose for two to three minutes. You will feel a new sense of aliveness, energy and clarity in your Crown Chakra after practicing Supported Headstand.

© Copyright 2014 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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The Seven Chakra System of Hatha Yoga

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

yoga teacher education for the subtle bodyBy Dr. R K S Rathore, Ph. D

There are seven main energy centers of yogic subtle body called Chakras, situated at fixed places parallel to our spine. Each chakra has certain qualities and association. Just as the state of our physical health depends on our habits, so does the state of our chakra balance. If we are regular yoga practicener our chakras are generally get balanced and the flow of cosmic energy through these chakras is smooth. Since the imbalance in the chakras is caused by emotional stress, you can evaluate the state of your chakras by symptoms reflected by the individual chakra for its balance or imbalance. There are yoga postures that help us get these chakras in balance. Each chakra has its shape, color, element, Beejakshar, Beej-mantra and decoration with petals. Let us describe these chakras one by one from base of spine to the top of our head.

Mooladhara chakra (Root Chakra): Located at the base of our spine in the coccyle region it is rectangular in shape and red in color. Its element is earth, beejakshara- LAM, Beejmantra- OUM BHU and decorated with four petals. Someone with good balance will be healthy, grounded, centered and strong. Its imbalance may reflect greed, carelessness, hyperactivity, obesity etc. The yoga posture that helps to open and balance it is SETUBANDHASANA (Bridge pose). After attaining the posture of Setubandhasana, concentrate on Mooladhara keeping in mind its shape, color, element and chant Beejakshara- LAM repeatedly without uttering any voice. For better results repeat this asana 2 to 3 times.

Svadhisthana Chakra (Sexual chakra): Located at the base of genital organ in the sacrum region, its shape is like crescent moon (Dwatiya-ka-chand) and orange in color. Its element is water, beejakshara- VAM, beejmantra- OUM BHUA and decorated with six petals. Someone with good balance of this chakra will be sexually well-adjusted and able to use creativity constructively. Symptoms of its imbalance are sexual addiction or promiscuity, sexual repression and infertility etc. The yoga posture that helps to open and balance this chakra is BHUJANGASANA (Cobra pose). Attain the final posture of Bhujangasana pressing your thighs on the ground and both arms bent from the elbows, gaze towards the sky and concentrate on Svadhisthana chakra remembering its shape, color, element and chant beejakshara –VAM like that of Mooladhara chakra.

When Svadhisthana chakra is activated the sadhaka (Yogi) becomes free from disease and acquires vibrant health. Feeling no fatigue, he becomes friendly and compassionate.

Manipura Chakra (Solar plexus): Located at the lumber region of spine, its shape is like a triangle and yellow in color. Its element is fire, beejakshar- RAM and beejamantra- OUM SWAH and decorated with 10 petals. Someone with good balance will be productive, cooperative, flexible, focused, empowered, successful and well-adjusted. Symptoms of imbalance are related with arrogance, indifference, complacency, passivity, disempowerment, indigestion etc.

DHANURASANA (Bow pose) is recommended to open and balance Manipura chakra.

Anahat Chakra (Heart chakra): Located in the thoracic region of spine corresponding the heart, its shape has two triangles juxtaposed and green color. Its element is air, beejakshara- YAM, beejamantra- OUM MAHA and decorated with 12 petals.

Someone with good balance of this chakra will be loving, warm, affectionate, accepting and tolerant. Symptoms of imbalance are distrusting, reserved, uncompassionate, self-centered, weak immune system etc.

USHTRASANA (Camel pose) is recommended to open and balance this chakra.

Vishudha chakra (throat chakra): Vishudha means purification. It is located at the area of throat (cervical region), its shape is like a circle, blue color, element is ether, beejakshara- HAM, beejamantra- OUM JANAH and decorated with 16 petals.

Someone with good balance of this chakra will be expressive, eloquent, a great communicator and a good listener. Symptoms of imbalance are lack of confidence, inability to speak up, talking too much and not listening well, being argumentative with either overactive or underactive thyroid, asthmatic etc.

MATSYASANA (Fish pose) is recommended to open and balance this chakra.

Ajyan chakra (Third eye chakra): Ajyan means to command, this chakra is located at the junction of eyebrows where Hindus put “Tilak” before praying in the temples or doing meditation. This chakra governs our intellect. Its shape is round like full moon, color indigo, element- light, beejakshara- OUM, beejamantra- OUM TAPAH and decorated with 2 petals only.

Someone with good balance of this chakra will be intelligent, thoughtful, clear headed and with good memory. Symptoms of imbalance are ‘Matibhrum’ (hallucinations), acting without thinking, illogical, forgetfulness etc.

SEATED YOGA MUDRA is recommended to open and balance this chakra.

Sahasrara chakra (Crown chakra): Located at top of the head this chakra has a dot like shape, color violet or white, beyond all elements encompassing all beejakshara, beejamantra- OUM SATYAM and decorated with thousands of petals.

Someone with good balance of this chakra will be enjoying complete bliss, love life but not dread death and have a deep sense of connection to the Divine. Symptoms of imbalance are lack of spiritual beliefs, ungrounded, out of touch with reality etc.

HEADSTANDASANA for those who are capable of doing it, otherwise variation of SEATED YOGAMUDRA is recommended to open and balance this chakra.

If you discover that you have too much energy flowing through some chakras, it is better to simply focus on developing the higher qualities of the underdeveloped chakras.

OUM SHANTI, SHANTI, SHANTIHI

Dr. R K S Rathore, Ph. D., Ex- Principal, Govt. College, Port Blair is now working as Hon. Secretary in an NGO for Life Style Modifications and imparting lessons on Yoga at Ramlila Park, Jaipur House, Agra and 10, Govind nagar, Shahganj, Agra- 282 010 (India).

 

What Should a Yoga Teacher Know About Chakras?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

500 hour hatha yoga teacher trainingBy Kimaya Singh 

In its modern form, yoga tends to be a practical form of physical exercise. More adventurous contemporary scholars go so far as to acknowledge that yoga has meditative qualities as well as aerobic ones. What isn’t commonly acknowledged in most incarnations of modern yoga is the fact that yogic science encompasses mind and spirit as well as body. Chakras, one of the core elements of yogic science, are often ignored by modern yoga teachers.

Whether, or not, a teacher chooses to place emphasis on the chakras in their classes, it is important for a well rounded graduate of a 200 hour yoga teacher training course to know what the chakras are and how they relate to the practice of yoga. Like all sciences, yogic science is self-correcting. Information about chakras has been investigated from the earliest days of yogic practice, and continues to be studied and revised by successive generations. So just what is a chakra? In layman’s terms the chakras are energy centers which exist along the spine of every human being. Asana and pranayama practices seek to activate and strengthen these energy centers. Chakras are said to regulate a number of physical and spiritual conditions.

For the student, it is enough to know that the chakras exist and that yogic science places great emphasis upon them. For the teacher a deeper understanding is necessary. Knowing about each chakra helps the teacher to create balanced yogic exercise routines that target each chakra in turn. Teachers can also use their knowledge of the chakra system to design specific yogic prescriptions for individual students.

In yogic science, the chakras are responsible for a number of physical and mental conditions. When the chakras are out of balance, the body and mind suffer. The first stage in maintaining the proper alignment of the chakra systems is pranayama, the yogic science of breath control. Students understand that breathing is essential to yogic exercise. Yoga teachers further understand that one important purpose of this breathing is the maintenance and restoration of the chakras. While breathing is not the most demonstrative aspect of yoga, an educated teacher understands that it is by far the most important one.

The study of chakra theory relies upon the correct performance of yogic techniques. Just as performing pranayama and asana in the correct way is beneficial to the chakra system, improperly performing pranayama and asana can cause harm to the physical body. With the chakras in mind, teachers must correct their students and guide them to the proper postures. Yogic science is a practical one. It is not necessary for a student to believe in every aspect of yoga in order to benefit from it. Teachers on the other hand, need a thorough understanding of the reasoning behind each yogic method. This understanding must include the chakras, subtle body, marmas, nadis, and how each of these aspects fits into the overall world of yoga.

© Copyright 2013 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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If you are a teacher, yoga school manager, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Namaste!