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Dwi Pada Pitham and Chakra Work



Contents:







Introduction



Bridge pose is often thought of as primarily having an effect on Anahata chakra or Vishuddha chakra. However, the approach to a posture greatly influences the effect of the posture on the chakra system. So, what I offer here is some examples of the sort of approaches to dwi pada pitham to try for having an effect on a particular chakra. I have also attempted to distinguish between practices and approaches that will tend to stimulate (make more active) the chakra and those that will tend to stabilize (strengthen) the chakra. Inevitably there is significant overlap in this and you may well find that, for you personally, something that I suggest as stimulating is more stabilizing and vice versa. In any case, what is offered here is very much a personal view (rather than a consensual view of experienced experts) so my strong recommendation is that you play and experiment with these ideas both to find what works for you and to help you form your own views (as opposed to absorbing and trusting these ideas as they are.) [For information about the chakra system please see the Pranic Anatomy section of this website.]













Muladhara Chakra


Stimulate


Stabilize

Actively pressing feet downward both as a means/cause of lifting up into the pose and while in pose.

Exploring the contact of the feet with the floor e.g. effect of pressing down pad of big toe joint and pad of little toe joint on knee position and sacro-iliac joint.

Holding the pose with active muscular effort (especially of the legs muscles), so developing strength (& endurance).

Holding the pose with a sense of allowing some of the body to relax (e.g. abdomen and chest in suspended bridge) and observing the effect of gravity.

Emphasizing the work of the leg muscles e.g. working with feet and knees together (as opposed to hip-width apart), leaving arms and shoulders relaxed.

Being aware of all the body contacts with the floor – feet, shoulders, (arms) and back of head.










Swadhisthana Chakra


Stimulate


Stabilize

Lifting into and lowering out of pose with awareness of the “sinuous” movements of the spine.

Lifting into and lowering out of the pose with awareness of legs, feet and pelvic girdle.

Awareness of the “front of hips” both of “openness” and “liftedness”.

Awareness of the sacro-iliac joint area and the relationship with pressing down of the pad of the big toe joint and the outside edge of the feet.

Awareness resting in the pelvic girdle and contents.

Awareness resting in hips, upper legs and knees.

Awareness resting in lower back – lumbar and sacrum and the mobility of the spine.

Awareness resting in the spine as a whole and its stability and the strength of the associated muscles.












Manipura Chakra


Stimulate


Stabilize

Maintaining tone (contraction) of abdominal muscles while lifting into and holding pose.

Lifting into and lowering out of pose with breath.

Active abdominal breathing (i.e. actively squeezing the abdomen in towards spine while exhaling) while in pose.

Observing the breath and its effects/movement without deliberately controlling the breath.

Awareness resting in abdomen and feelings of movement or pressure changes in abdomen.

Awareness resting in mid-back and the general shape of the spine as a whole.










Anahata Chakra


Stimulate


Stabilize

Emphasizing the lifting and opening of the chest – e.g. use of pressing down of shoulders/arms or lifting arms over head, mentally directing inhalation into chest and working with feet and knees hip-width apart (as opposed to together).

Being aware of the lifting and opening of both the hips and chest and the general opening elongation of the front of the trunk.

Awareness resting in centre of chest.

Awareness resting in shoulders and arms.

Actively pressing shoulders &/or arms downwards (i.e. making them an active part of the foundation of the pose).

Using arm movement either while entering pose &/or while holding pose.

Awareness of the air above the chest (perhaps with a sense of lifting upwards into it).

Awareness of the air under the trunk (perhaps with a sense of trunk & bottom resting on a cushion of air).












Vishuddha Chakra


Stimulate


Stabilize

Awareness resting in throat area.

Awareness resting on (length of) back of neck and perhaps also where back of head and shoulders rest on floor.

Taking attentive care over alignment (e.g. position of feet & neck / head position) and other aspects of improving / refining posture.

Observing (or being attentive to) the effects of small (or not so small) changes in posture e.g. the effect of feet together or apart or arm position.

Taking particular care over head & neck alignment with trunk and taking lift as much as possible into upper chest (to encourage lengthening of back of neck) – e.g. working with feet & knees hip-width apart and then either pressing down through shoulders and arms when by side or having arms lifted over head.

Synchronizing arm movement with breath while in pose (e.g. arms lifting overhead while inhaling & returning to side while exhaling) and synchronizing movement in and out of pose with breath.

Use of Ujjayi &/or listening to sound of breath.

Incorporating / linking with affirmations.

Awareness resting in “space” in throat.

Awareness resting in the space around one (& particularly under trunk & buttocks) and / or space between the vertebrae.





Ajna Chakra


Stimulate


Stabilize

Analysing some aspect of the posture (e.g. effects, muscle use …).

While practising, observing the experience of practising the posture.

Imagining or visualizing practising the posture or some aspect of the posture.

Practising “meditatively”.

Using “imagery” to aid practicing posture – e.g. imagining a string attached to the breastbone gently pulling chest at a 45 degree angle to the floor towards space above head – perhaps with imagining light (or something else) traveling down string into chest while inhaling.

Practising with one’s awareness resting on a simple focus e.g. rhythm of breath, “third eye”, heels …..

Letting awareness rest on “third eye” area – just above mid-point between eye-brows.

Letting awareness rest on area where back of head rests on floor.





Sahasrara Chakra


Stimulate


Stabilize

Allowing bridge pose to occur “as if” of its own accord.

Practising meditatively.



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