It was refreshing to get back to teacher training workshops after the holiday season. Although the break was good, I was happy to get refocused on my journey as a yoga teacher.
This workshop was focusing on the abdomen - not only with the poses we were to review and teach but also Manipura Chakra, the navel Chakra. I’m first to admit that I’ve only explored the Chakras by reading a couple articles and doing some minor research on the concept. It was interesting to not only learn from a senior teacher but also others in the room who have studied the Chakras more extensively than I.
I can’t lie, I have had some stomach upset over the past week and was hesitant to see how my body would react (good or bad or neither) in regards to the practice ahead of me.
The mental practice, however, was probably the most intriguing. In discussion about Manipura Chakra, it was discussed as the “City of Jewels” where we learn our gifts and talents (senior teacher hint…that is a quick and dirty summary of what the Bhagavad-Gita is all about; more on that another day!). Since this Chakra is considered the navel, if the diaphragm is tight then the flow of energy (prana) can get stuck or not move easily through this area. Why a tight diaphragm? Maybe an anatomical reason due to poor breathing or tight abdominal muscles (‘suck in the gut!’) or maybe related to more emotional reasons like holding on to ones fears.
I loved the quote “take courage to be who you are” which was stated by the senior teacher. Prompting to release, soften and open the navel Chakra.
As we practiced, connecting to Manipura Chakra was the thread through the entire workshop. During our pranayama practice, we directed our breath to the navel but also incorporated breath work to the pelvic floor and the root Chakra. One such sequence was on inhalation to lift the root Chakra to the second Chakra (sacral) and finally to Manipura Chakra with breath retention. With exhale, release the Chakras back to their originating positions. This was new to me and have never focused on the Chakras this much with my breath.
Our asana practice consisted of:
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana
We focused our attention on Jathara Parivartanasana (straight leg spinal twist) as it can be a challenging pose for alignment. The version we practiced as an individual and as a group was the bent knee supported (with blocks between the knees and under head) asana. Funny enough, I got to be the 'demo girl’ showing my tight scapular region. Oh was a stretch I had when supported by fellow students. I also found that I haven’t been positioning myself correctly with spinal alignment and arm placement. AND maybe most importantly, I could not necessarily connect to Manipura Chakra in the pose. Something to work on…or as the senior teacher said, ‘explore’. It was a great time to explore my version.
Needless to say, this single session was jammed packed with lots of learning. More things that I can’t expand on today but maybe another.
Oh - and how did my abdominals fair? Really good! My GI symptoms subsided and felt back to normal…if not slightly more aligned, physically and energetically.
Fired up in the belly,
After a long day of rumbling kids and many points of discipline, this mom needed a time out.
I was quite content to have all little ones under the age of five, down for a nap.
*Sigh* - A quiet house.
I could have sat in exhaustion and ran every crying/whining/screaming scenario through my head but instead I rushed to my mat!
The best cure for a timed out mom is yoga!
Adriene delivered once again. Her "Yoga for When You're In a Bad Mood" was aptly titled and it delivered.
The practice hit on one thing I have great interest in understanding; yet have not fully taken the time to comprehend (note: I still don't completely understand!).
That one thing is the yogic chakras.
From the reading I got to this week (thanks, Wikipedia and others), I see that there are many versions of chakras. For my purposes, I'm going to focus on the ones that fall under the umbrella that is yoga.
In practice, we worked on our "third eye chakra" or the sixth charkra. It is also known was Ajna, meaning “Command Post” as it is the seat of intuition located at the brow point. This momma needed to recalibrate at the command post after multiple scenarios of frustration and anger. I assume like me that most people feel physically and mentally awful when they have many points of exasperation.
Working on the sixth charka provided an opportunity to
see the deeper meaning of the situation as it allows seeing everything as it is from a point of "witness" or "observer".
Was it really THAT bad of a day?
How could I handle competing demands of multiple children under five?
How can I be more gentle with them?
Time for contemplation and trying not to think too much allowed my physical self to calm my mental and intuitive self.
Now how did we do it?
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.