As we embark on a new year and a new decade, I see the familiar words everywhere, Resolutions….Goals….Improvement….Fixing…..Be Better. Many times I have attempted to improve myself with resolutions. The problem was that often these solutions came from a place of scarcity, “not enough” as if I were a problem to be solved or something broken to be fixed. From the wisdom of age, of self-study and of yoga, I no longer feel compelled to make huge or drastic changes to my life whether it be on New Years or any other time of the year. I do love looking back at the past year, noting the lessons learned and the growth toward my own heart and authentic light and practicing gratitude for these lessons and the teachers whether they be people or situations that have softened and grounded me.
I also like to dream about my future and vision for the world in which I want to live and how I can do my part to build that world. The energy and impetus to build that vision will not come from the harsh lens of “not enough” but will instead come from the softness and the energy of self-love. We are beginning our study of the third chakra, the solar plexus chakra located just above the navel, Manipura in Sanskrit which means "lustrous gem". The purpose of the first chakra was to build a strong foundation and the second chakra was movement, creation and connection and the purpose of the third chakra is transformation. This is the energy center of our identity, purpose, self-esteem and will-power. When it’s in balance we feel empowered and clear on who we are and what we stand for. It teaches us to find and build our strength so that we may show up confidently and authentically with a strong back while maintaining our soft front. The yoga we practice to support a balanced Solar Plexus chakra will be focused on strength, twists, stamina and trying new challenges with concentration and mindfulness of effort over product. We will approach this learning with softness, self-awareness and compassion. Working with the third Chakra helps you find your dharma, your unique life’s purpose, the contribution you alone make to the world. Following are a few mantras to light your path as well as a poem from class.
I honor the power within me.
The fire within me burns through all blocks and fears.
I have a unique and vital contribution to make to the world.
by Em Claire
Do not pretend that The Longing
has not also lived in you
swinging like a pendulum.
You have been lost
and thieved like a criminal
into the darkness.
But life is tired, Dear Friend
of going on
It is like the hand of the mother
who has lost the child.
And if you are anything like me, you have been afraid.
And if you are anything like me
You have known your own courage.
There is room in this boat:
take your seat.
Take up your paddle, and all of us
All of us
shall row our hearts