Friday, February 27, 2009

Manipura Affirmations

This week, because the Manipura Chakra is associated with the color yellow, I do not recommend writing these affirmations in yellow ink, unless you do so on a dark colored piece of paper. Instead, use a sheet of yellow paper, even a piece of construction paper would work nicely. Use your non-dominant hand and consciously say each affirmation aloud as you are writing them. Always make time to repeat any affirmation you feel you especially need to embrace. You might also want to do this for any affirmation you naturally resist as resistance is often an indication of where we need most to grow.
I am strong, centered, and determined.
I am powerful, brave, and focused.
I am able to gracefully weather life’s unexpected storms.
I am strong enough to follow through.
My power radiates from the center of my being.
Up until now, I have not recommended any bandha practices but this bandha, Uddiyana Bandha (aka Upward Abdominal Lock), is one that works this chakra so wonderfully that I am going to introduce the idea of using bandhas. You do not want to do this particular bandha if you have high blood pressure, are menstruating, or pregnant. (Please see Yoga Journal for other contraindications.) This practice should also only be done on an empty stomach. You can do Uddiyana Bandha standing or lying down, whichever feels easiest. You will want to inhale and, as you exhale, slowly push all of the air from your body, beginning in the lower abdomen and working up, drawing in your abdominal muscles. Once you have drawn the muscles in as far as you can and released all of the air in your lungs, hold the bandha (lock) for at least five seconds. If you find this too difficult, do it for three or four seconds and work up to five. Gradually, with practice, you will be able to hold this even longer. Do this at least three rounds. I want to also note that it is a good idea, when working the Manipura Chakra, to focus your regular exercise routines on doing abdominal work. If you already have an exercise routine in place that you like, this is the week to push yourself to do more. The goal should be to empower your core for, from this center, comes much of your personal strength. If you have not tried Pilates, this would be a good week to introduce yourself to this form of exercise that works deeply into the core. You might also want to use a stability ball for doing crunches rather than lying on the floor. Another option is to use a foam roller for your abdominal exercises. Whatever you choose to do, don’t avoid those exercises that are especially challenging. You can avoid them next week. This week the purpose and your intention should be to build strength and stamina. But above all else, whatever practices and exercises you choose to do, listen to your body, honor what it says, and enjoy yourself. Namaste

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