Exercising For Your Third Chakra

Exercising For Your Third Chakra

Our third chakra is located at our solar plexus, which is above our stomach and below our lungs. It’s level with our first lumbar vertebrae. The solar plexus comprises an extensive network of nerves that transmit messages from the abdominals to the brain.  The third chakra’s main characteristics are to transform inertia (earth, 1st chakra) and movement (water, 2nd chakra) into the conscious direction of willed activity.  The willed activity can invite delight or disaster depending on its results.

A healthy third chakra exhibits enjoyment, vitality, and overall enthusiasm for life. With this positive outlook, we are not afraid to venture into the unknown, take a risk, or make mistakes. We are less likely to get bogged down by obstacles.  The activity develops our sense of power through the constant presentation of new challenges.

When the activity is met with shame and disapproval, it diminishes our sense of power. We distrust our abilities and fear consequences.  This causes an internal battle between trusting a higher knowing and living in fear, creating exhaustion.  

When discussing spirituality, personal ego and autonomy are frowned upon. While letting go of attachment and transcending the smallness of the ego are essential to obtaining universal oneness, a healthy ego is needed to support such transcendence.  Autonomy is critical for personal responsibility.   If we cannot see ourselves as separate beings, we cannot take responsibility for our actions.  Therefore, we tend to blame others for our problems instead of looking inward.

As we become more physically fit, our energy flows more smoothly, and our self-esteem increases. If the third chakra is excessive, you need to relax, sit still, and let go of control.

By healing the third chakra, we create a healthy metabolism and balanced energy throughout the body. Now let’s begin to move through the third chakra, getting it to awaken.

Breath is super powerful and is centered right at our 3rd chakra. We can use our breath as a tool to help us with whatever we’re looking for: more energy, calmness, and focus.  It can even help us sleep.

Let’s start with Breathing Exercises...


Position for all three breathing exercises

The following Breath Exercises can be done in 2 positions; either seated upright in a chair with both feet firmly placed on the ground or lying flat on your back with your knees bent.  In either situation, you need one hand on your sternum and one hand on your abdomen.  Before you begin the intentional breathing exercises below, you will want to take a few breaths sending the inhales into your hand on your belly, making sure the hand on your chest is not rising and falling with your breath.

1. Diaphragmatic Breath for Focus 

When your intention is to relax and focus, you will want to practice your diaphragmatic breath in the following manner:  Inhale for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 4, and exhale for a count of 4.  Do this for at least ten breaths.

2. Diaphragmatic Breath for Energy 

When your intention is to increase your energy, you will want to practice your diaphragmatic breath in the following manner:  Inhale quickly, almost with a sniffing quality, and exhale firmly from the abdominals.  Do this for at least ten breaths.

3. Diaphragmatic Breath for Sleep

When your intention is to fall asleep, you will want to practice your diaphragmatic breath in the following manner:  Inhale for a count of 4, and exhale for a count of 8.  Focus on each part of the body, relaxing deeply with each exhale.  Do this for at least ten breaths.

Now Let’s Move...


Flexion and Extension of the Spine

Position:

Sit upright on the front edge of a chair, making sure you are right on top of your sitz bones.  If you don’t start on top of them because of chronic tightness, you will find the top of them after you have completed this exercise. It will loosen you where you are tight.

Movement for Extension:

Inhale and lengthen your spine. Imagine you are growing taller, straight up like a bamboo shoot. Exhale, allow your spine to extend (a.k.a. arching your spine). You will move towards the front of your sitz bones, your chest and eyes will start to look up, your shoulders will glide down your back.  The apex of this arch is at the solar plexus.  Allow the front of your ribs to glide up and hug your heart.  Inhale and return to an upright spine.

Movement for Flexion:

Inhale and lengthen the spine. Exhale and allow your spine to move into flexion (a.k.a. curling your spine). You will move towards the back of the sitz bones, and your stomach will hollow out, your solar plexus is the apex of the curl, your shoulders are in a relaxed state, the forehead is in alignment with your pubic bone, and your eyes are at your lap. Inhale and return to an upright spine.


Lateral Rib Movement (aka “Typewriter Carriage”)

Position:

Sit upright on the front edge of a chair, making sure you are on top of your sitz bones.

Movement:

Inhale, elevate your spine by reaching the crown of your head to the sky and making your sitz bones heavy on your chair.  Exhale and shift your rib cage to your right, keeping your head over your pelvis.  Inhale and return to an upright spine.  Exhale and shift your rib cage to your left, keeping your head over your pelvis.  While you are shifting your rib cage, imagine your rib cage is a typewriter carriage shifting straight to either side. 


Spiraling Up A Barber Shop Pole

Position:

Sit upright on the front edge of a chair, making sure you are on top of your sitz bones.

Movement: 

Inhale and elevate your spine. Exhale, rotate your spine, looking over your shoulder.    Inhale and return to looking forward with an elevated spine. Exhale, rotate looking over the other shoulder. Inhale and return to looking forward. As you are spiraling around, imagine your spine is an old-fashioned, red and white barbershop pole that continues to spiral up and up and up.


Cleaning the Barrel With Your Ribs

Position:

Sit upright on the front edge of a chair, making sure you are on top of your sitz bones.

Movement: 

Before you begin this movement, it helps to imagine you are inside of a barrel.  We will clean the edges of the barrel with our solar plexus and try and keep our head over our pelvis while doing it. Inhale and move the solar plexus forward and around to your right. Exhale and continue moving your solar plexus to the back of the barrel and the left.  Inhale, and you are back to where you started at the front of the barrel.  You are moving your rib cage in a circular direction.  Move four times in one direction and then switch directions.


Cat/Cow:

Position: 

On the floor, kneeling on all fours.  Place your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Start with your spine straight like a bamboo stick, reaching the crown of your head away from your tailbone.

Movement 1: 

These movements are the flexion and extension exercises we did earlier, but now in a seated position, with a slightly different breath pattern. Inhale and arch your spine by lifting your heart and sitz bones out and up.  Your belly will move towards the floor. This is the cow position, or extension of the spine.

Movement 2: 

Exhale and curl your spine by reaching your sitz bones and the crown of your head towards the floor.   Your belly will move towards the ceiling. This is the cat position, or flexion of the spine. The apex of your arch and curl will be your solar plexus.

 

Kneeling and Cleaning the Barrel

Position: 

On the floor, kneeling on all fours.  Place your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Start with your spine straight like a bamboo stick, reaching the crown of your head away from your tailbone.

Movement: 

Before you begin this movement, it helps to imagine you are inside a barrel lying on its side.  We are going to clean the edges of the barrel with the solar plexus.  Inhale and move the solar plexus towards the floor and around to your right. Exhale and continue moving your solar plexus to the ceiling and the left.  Inhale, and you are back to where you started at the front of the barrel.  You are moving your rib cage in a circular direction.  Your head and tail will always be reaching in the opposite direction from the solar plexus.  Move four times in one direction and then switch directions for four repetitions.


Thread the Needle:

Position: 

On the floor, kneeling on all fours.  Place your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Start with your spine straight like a bamboo stick, reaching the crown of your head away from your tailbone.

Movement: 

While keeping your right arm and both knees in contact with the floor, lift your left arm. Inhale and reach the left arm under the right arm, twisting your spine towards the right. Exhale and return to the starting position.  Repeat this twisting towards the other side.


Plank:

Position:  

On the floor, kneeling all fours.  Place your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Start with your spine straight like a bamboo stick, reaching the crown of your head away from your tailbone.  

Movement: 

Exhale and engage your core, imagining you have a girdle tightening around your midsection. While you are keeping the abdominals engaged, press down into your hands and feet to lift your knees off the floor.  Your body will be in a plank position.  Hold this position for five seconds, working up to one minute. 

Now that we’ve nurtured our third chakra, it’s time to enjoy our new-found vitality and overall enthusiasm for life.

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