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Supine Twists and Chakra Work



Contents:





Introduction



Twists are often thought of primarily as having an effect on Anahata chakra and supine poses as primarily having an effect on Muladhara chakra. However, the approach to a posture greatly influences the effect of the posture on the chakra system. So, what I offer here are some examples of the sort of approaches to supine twists 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 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

Holding a version that requires and uses strength e.g. lie on back with arms at shoulder level and legs straight and vertical, then tilt legs to one side to a 45 degree angle to floor and hold for a few breaths.

Staying in a twist that is fully supported by the floor so one can relax completely, allowing gravity to do the work of the twist.

Consciously pressing down through the body’s contact with the floor.

Being aware of all the body contacts with the floor – depending on the twist e.g. feet, shoulders, arms and back of head.






Swadhisthana Chakra


Stimulate


Stabilize

Moving in and out of the twist with awareness of the “sinuous” movements of the spine.

Moving in and out of the twist with awareness of legs, feet and pelvic girdle.

Using versions that direct the twist into the lower parts of the trunk (e.g. with feet on the floor and arms resting on floor at shoulder level, twist with legs together as opposed to apart).

Using versions that direct twist into hips as well as spine (e.g. with feet on floor and arms resting on floor at shoulder level, twist with feet and knees wider apart as opposed to together).

Having a sense of luxuriating and enjoying the movements and sensations of the practice.

Accepting the experience and sensations of practice.

Using versions that involve leg movement and tend to “free up” hips or spine to involve muscles being stretched.

Using versions that involve leg movement and have a sense of either stability and strength or of being able to relax into the practice.







Manipura Chakra


Stimulate


Stabilize

Using the breath to encourage one further or deeper into the twist – e.g. when in a twist, imagining diagonal muscle fibres between upper hips and the lower ribs of the lower side of the ribcage that contract while exhaling.

Moving in and out of the twist with breath.

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

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

Versions that direct the twist into the upper part of the trunk, e.g. those with knees close to chest (rather than with feet starting resting on floor) and those with arms resting on floor further away from trunk than shoulder-level (rather those with arms closer to sides than shoulder level).

Movement in and out of twist via arm movement.

Awareness resting in chest.

Awareness resting in shoulders and arms and hands.

Sense of openness and expansiveness in the chest.

Sense of relationship between oneself and things like the earth or the air around.






Vishuddha Chakra


Stimulate


Stabilize

Awareness resting in throat area.

Awareness resting on (length of) back of neck.

Observing (or being attentive to) subtle aspects of pose.

Observing (or being attentive to) the effects of small (or not so small) changes to posture (e.g. different leg or arm positions having an effect on where the twists seem to occur in the trunk).

With a sense of the space in the throat / neck and how it is affected by the twist.

Twist with movement occurring in neck area.

Taking attentive care over alignment and other aspects of improving posture.

Synchronizing movement with breath and / or synchronizing movement of one part of the body with movement of another part.

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

Incorporating / linking with affirmations.




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 practising posture – e.g. prana flowing in the hand and arm of the “closed” side and out through the arm / hand of the open side of trunk.

Practising with one’s awareness resting on a simple focus e.g. rhythm of breath, “third eye”, shoulder of the stretched side of the chest …..

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

Letting awareness rest on area where the head rests on floor.



Sahasrara Chakra


Stimulate


Stabilize

Allowing twist to occur, “as if” of its own accord.

Practising meditatively.



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