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Some Ideas for Working with Manipura Chakra




Contents:





Introduction



It is not uncommon for books or yoga teachers to suggest particular practices for working with an individual chakra. What I am attempting to offer here is something a bit more general: a flavour of my personal view of the sort of practices, and approaches to practice, to use when wishing to work with Manipura Chakra. I have also attempted to distinguish between practices and approaches that will tend to stimulate (make more active) this 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 given).











Posture Work


Stimulate


Stabilize

Using the breath to drive / cause the movements (and possibly movement to drive / cause the breath).

Linking movement with the breath.

That which, and approaches that create, strong pressure changes (especially in the upper abdomen). Exercises / approaches that use and strengthen the diaphragm (e.g. Bow pose).

Use of Uddiyana bandha (ashtanga style) and exercises / approaches that use and strengthen abdominal muscles.

Requires and develops ability to move powerfully i.e. fast(ish), forceful movements. Usually in asana work one would think in terms of increasing the force/resistance against which the movement occurs rather than making movement particularly rapid.

Requires and develops stamina (e.g. several rounds of Sun Salutation with little holding of poses).

Use of active abdominal breathing.

Use of passive abdominal breathing.

Any that feels stimulating or develops feelings of heat.

Sustained (continuous) practice which increases breathing a little or develops a feeling of warmth.


Tonal Words


Stimulate


Stabilize

  • Heat
  • Energize
  • Lively
  • Fire
  • Enthusiastic
  • Radiant
  • Excite
  • Combustion
  • Energetic
  • Temperament
  • Reduce
  • Dismantle
  • Achieving
  • Forceful
  • Consuming
  • Practical
  • Light
  • Amplify
  • Deconstruct
  • Able
  • Activate
  • Revitalizes
  • Applied
  • Stimulate
  • Active
  • Vibrant
  • Hot
  • Burn
  • Shining
  • Transform
  • Powerful
  • Change
  • Use
  • Ability
  • Intense
  • Dynamic
  • Kinetic
  • Success
  • Passion
  • Empower
  • Useful
  • Proficient
  • Vigor
  • Energy
  • Exhilaration
  • Challenge
  • Warm
  • Prepare
  • Vital
  • Sun
  • Motivated
  • Glow
  • Invigorate
  • Fusion
  • Efficient
  • Character
  • Subdue
  • Re-order
  • Facilitating
  • Effective
  • Acquiring
  • Interesting
  • Colour
  • Magnify
  • Forge
  • Capable
  • Manipulate
  • Restorative
  • Practised
  • Temper
  • Ready
  • Alert
  • Warmth
  • Fuel
  • Luminous
  • Modify
  • Potent
  • Adjust
  • Apply
  • Functionality
  • Concentrated
  • Assertive
  • Potential
  • Germination
  • Skill
  • Encourage
  • Versatile
  • Resourceful
  • Vitality
  • Capacity
  • Sustainable
  • Do-able


Breathing / Pranayama


Stimulate


Stabilize

Short and/or forceful and active exhalations (allowing pauses and inhalations to occur however naturally happens).

Lengthen inhalation and have awareness on inhalation. (Can, if wished, lengthen pause after inhalation but have minimal pause after exhaling). Allow exhalation to be relaxed however naturally happens.

Use of full (classical) Uddiyana bandha during pause after exhalation.

Use of “ashtanga” style Uddiyana bandha throughout breathing cycle.

Working at the edge or limits of one’s breathing capabilities – learning to take the practice further.

Regular disciplined practice.

Bhastrika (bellows breath), Kapalabhati (although technically a Kriya not a pranayama).

Surya bhedana (pierce the sun breath), Ujjayi, Bhramari.



Visualizations


Stimulate


Stabilize

Burning things (e.g. waste products, “impurities”, anger, frustration …). (Fire as a purifier).

Receiving things (e.g. energy, vitality, vigour, power, skill, warmth…) from Sun, external fire or other source of energy. (Fire as enabler.)

Based on internal metabolism (internal fire) or a very intense (e.g. centre of the sun) or near fire (sitting by a fire in a hearth).

Based on external fire which is either distant (e.g. sun-light, sun-shine) or gentle (e.g. a candle flame).

On achieving things.

On acquiring things (including intangibles like skills, courage …)

Using light or energy concepts.

Using colour or shapes.

Word-based : energy, ability, …..

Word-based : vitality, skill, …..

Based on one acting on or transforming things.

Based on being acted on or being transformed.

Based on feeling or imagining heat.
Based on feeling or imagining warmth.




Other Ideas


Stimulate


Stabilize

Sports and exercise requiring or using power (fast, forceful movement) such as sprinting, punching and kicking.

Stamina or “cardiovascular” exercises such as jogging/running, cycling and swimming.

Achievable challenges and working at the difficult but do-able – working at the edges of what one is currently capable of.

Practising, becoming better at what one can already do.

Bursts of energetic activity.

Long(ish) periods of sustained activity.
Acting to achieve things for oneself or that in some way personally matter to oneself.

“Self-less” service – Karma Yoga – acting without attachment to the “fruits” of one’s actions.
Getting emotional (especially the reactive emotions e.g. anger, hate, aggression, frustration, fear) and feeling challenged.

Laughter, humour.
Doing things because the results or outcomes matter/are important (to oneself).

Doing things because one can, because it is interesting or fun to have a go.


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