“Your body language shapes who you are.”

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I apologize for the influx of vlogs – video blogs – over the past few weeks. With the winter season upon us, I have been lazy with the written reflections. Instead, I’ve been indulging and playing catch-up with all the wonderful resources online as they relate to health and wellness, and that includes videos!

So, I’d like to share another video that is a TEDtalk by Amy Cuddy about the power of body language. She asks the question, can you change your mind/thoughts by changing your body? What do you think?

As a yoga-teacher-in-training, I don’t have to hesitate in answering, of course by changing the way our body is, we can alter our consciousness! That is what yoga is all about. Yoga was by design created so that yogis could sit in meditation for longer periods of time without those aching pains we get when we sit still.

Believe it or not, yoga was not about having killer abs or hot buns but was about spiritual development, and believe it or not, yoga still is a spiritual practice if you have the right outlook and teacher.

If you should watch this video, you will notice that the postures Amy studies very much resemble some yoga asanas (postures). Because I wanted to leave you with a little more than a video today, I put together some information that compliments Amy’s work, about the 3rd chakra, the power chakra, also known as the Manipura chakra or the lustrous gem.

To give you a brief intro, chakra is a Sanksit word that refers to each of 7 energy centers in an ancient energy system that correlates to the spinal column and much more. People who take yoga to the next level will often talk about the chakra system, and  the amazing things that can happen when all of these centers are open and in alignment…something similar to what Amy Cuddy suggests.

Healing touch chakras

The 3rd chakra is located at the solar plexus, seen to the left in yellow and is known as the power chakra. This area rules personal power and autonomy, and represents our ability to metabolize and digest. When in balance, this energy house gives us exactly that – energy – as well as a sense of purpose, spontaneity, and non-dominating power.

This chakra is also associated with the element of fire. Anodea Judith has a comprehensive book that scratches the surface of the chakra energy system, called Wheels of Light. In her book she explains:

       The energy in our bodies is dependent on our ability to connect, to merge, to nourish ourselves from what surrounds us. It is dependent on our comfort with power, with our basic self-confidence. This chakra is also related to self-esteem, which brings strength to our will. When our will is effective, our self-esteem is enhanced. Then, we can better direct our lives toward that which we love, that which ignites us, challenges us, renews us. These are all the elements that call for integration and development in the third chakra.

Her book is some 400 pages long, so I am going to stop here, but the point is, as you see in Amy’s video, there are certain postures that help develop our sense of power. These are postures that open our hearts and allow ourselves to create space for ourselves. These are postures that impact our bodies and minds on an energetic level.

There are many asanas and practices that help the 3rd chakra. Below, I listed some of my favorite poses and exercises that support the development of our “lustrous gem” and our personal power.

  • Jogging: This exercise helps break the inertia that hinders our ability to grow and assert ourselves in the world. When we feel sluggish we do not tend to seek experiences that keep us moving toward enlightenment. If we can get moving enough to jog, chances are we can also empower ourselves to rise to even greater challenges.
  • Walking: Sometimes, when we have too much fire, (when our power energy is in excess) we might find that we have the inability to slow down, the need to be in control, rage/anger, addiction, and/or stomach ulcers, etc, etc. If that is the case, then running may be too much for you. Walking would be better. Mindful walking  helps move energy from the base of the spine upward, supporting all chakras and unlike running, walking is good for all bodies.
  • Breath of fire: Rapid diaphragmatic breathing not only cleans toxins from your body but it raises internal fire and stimulates digestion. Letting go of “old stuff” makes room and more space for you.
  • Triangle pose: This pose is great for strengthening our legs and bringing awareness to stability in our lives. In order to feel power and empowered, we must first feel stable.
  • Fan pose: This asana is an inverted pose (head is lower than heart) that helps straighten the spine while keeping the chest/heart open, strengthening abdominal and back muscles.

Sources: Tanya Boigenzahn Sowards, Anodea Judith, and Alan Finger.

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