My intention for this series of posts for yoga teachers is to offer some tools that can be used to deepen the yoga class experience by creating a bridge from your student’s practice on the mat to their lives off of the mat.
Third Chakra: Power, Energy and the Core
The third chakra is located as a bullseye around the navel so a third chakra focused class will be heavy on core work and twists.
Breathing practices to complement a third chakra practice would be ujjayi breath to create continuous internal heat throughout the practice. Kapalabhati (skull shining breath) also energizes the body and can be used as a separate pranayama practice or during certain poses, possibly boat pose.
Some combination of poses that I have found to be really effective are:
-boat into a tolasana variation (feet stay on the floor)- repeated three times
-flying plank poses- begin in downward facing dog with right leg lifted behind you, as you exhale, shift forward into plank and draw the right knee in towards the chest, inhale and shift back into downward facing dog while extending the right leg behind you- repeat three times to the middle, then three times with the knee crossing the body and reaching towards the left elbow, then three times with the knee reaching towards the right elbow (these are intense which is why 3 per location- middle, left and right- is enough for most all levels classes!)
-revolved side angle pose works very well for an all levels class as there are so many variations (back knee up or down, bottom hand inside or outside of front foot, hands in prayer position with elbow resting on the front thigh)- it is also a great peak pose for a third chakra themed class
So much of teaching the chakras is about helping your students connect to what is going on with their chakras. I like to offer information about what excess and deficient amounts of that chakra’s energy looks like in a person. I also have found that posing open ended questions to my students as they are resting between poses is very effective at connecting the chakras to their lives off of the mat.
Ideas for some questions to ask students:
Can you recognize someone in your life that has excessive or deficient amounts of third chakra energy?
Can you recognize times in your life when you have had excess or deficient amounts of third chakra energy?
How is your energy right now?
What patterns do you notice in your energy throughout the day?
Is there someone that you blame in your life?
Is there an area in your life where you need to exert more power, be more assertive?
Is there an area in your life where you are controlling or domineering?
After all of the stimulating energy and heat creating poses of the third chakra, make sure that you spend plenty of time neutralizing that core work or your students may leave class amped up, jittery and unable to sleep if it is an evening class. Gentle and supported backbends are a soothing complement to a third chakra class.
Some ideas of how to implement this:
-hold sphinx pose for an extended amount of time
-take a supported bridge pose (with a block under the sacrum)
-use supported bound angle as a resorative pose before savasana or during savasana
-make sure your students have a nice, long savasana to integrate all of the energy created during the physical practice
I hope that a few of these ideas resonate with you and that you might find them helpful in your classes. I would love to hear from you- what third chakra practices, series of poses, questions and ideas do you weave into your classes? After all, one definition of namaste is “the teacher and light in me honors the teacher and light in you”. I am always ready to learn from you, my friends.
Blessings of love and light,