Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Manipura, the Lustrous Gem

I've been tending to the fire of my third chakra lately; because its spring and because I need to. Tending this fire means building core strength to support my physical self and more importantly to support my emotional and mental health. The Manipura chakra, meaning lustrous gem, located at the very center of our being, the solar plexus, right at the base of where our ribs come together in the front body. The purpose of the third chakra, is transformation of energy into action and the power of will. Instinctual energy rising from below (lower chakras) meets the descending energy (consciousness) from above and thus transforming impulse into willed activity. This is where we find our will power by exercising our right to choose. We have the choice to continue to feed instinctual desires that temporarily satisfy the senses or the choice to meet challenges and move forward and deepen our understanding of our True Self. The choices we make shape who we are, and create our individual self. As Anodea Judith explains in Eastern Body, Western Mind, the ego is the one making all the executive decisions, becoming the operating system of our Self.

In the spiritual community, the word "ego" can sometimes sound like a bad word. As spiritual aspirants or yogis we are so hard on ourselves because we have not transcended the egoic self; as if we need to satisfy some spiritual expection based on tradition or a certain belief system. Unless we choose renunciation, the ego is necessary. It is like consciousness within consciousness. Goals, intentions, living affirmations would be meaningless without the help of our ego. When in balance, the ego helps us to transmit our interior Self with the outer world.

How does this relate with my personal practice as I tend to that fire? Discipline, discipline, discipline. Instead of collapsing (physically and energetically) I might say to myself, "I CAN do it". This is will power. This is transformation.

I am no where near the point of letting go of ego. I am actually nurturing my ego so that it can become stronger, more clear, ...however, being careful to inflate only enough to build confidence but not so much that it is overbearing.

Poses that help to build confidence: warrior one and two, most all arm balances including handstand, bakasana, vasithasana,

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Soul Needs Daily Nurturing

Nature cannot be forced. Growth cannot be forced. Like a seed needs to be planted in the depths of
darkness in the fertile ground, watered and tended to daily in order to sprout, grow, mature and fruit to its fullness; we too must tend to our deepest potential, to that center of our being that wants to break free of its protective shell and pour open, melt with the light of the sun and sit on the altar of the universe.

Like the seed, there exists a perfect alignment when it is ready to send roots and sprout; for the sprouting of our inner radiance, all bodies (mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical) must be clear and aligned. Supreme alignment is in our nature. But we get thrown off center, out of balance and cover up with layers of fear because we forget again and again that we are the seed, we are the sun and the universe all in one small container, the body, which is so powerful and confusing at the same time. It is fear that keeps us from living to our highest potential. Sometimes it is simply the fear of how high and far we can actually fly that keeps us tethered. For if we take off, it usually requires letting go of something. To align with the divine we must constantly tend the garden of our heart and allow the intelligence of nature to unfold and evolve. 

In the Yoga Sutras 1.14, Patanjali explains the meaning of abhyasa, uninterrupted continuous practice. It is through faith that we cultivate the patience and energy to continue to practice under any circumstance; when we feel depleted, full, radiant, angry, or depressed. And we must practice with satkara, willingness, reverence, and devotion.