This article was originally published on one of my yoga teacher’s (Allision Kaplan) blog, here!!!
Your core is the very center of your physical, emotional and spiritual universe. Everything about us somehow relates to this real and magical place; where energy, courage, passion and self-confidence generates. The famous psychologist, Carl Jung, once said that Manipura chakra is where we burn through our passions and desires in order to become a completely realized individual. Becoming a fully realized person will take you to the test. Believe me, I know how uncomfortable and scary change can be and that it usually requires us to give up something big (really scary) to make room for something else (much bigger) that often ends up as unexpected amazing.
Keep reading! There’s a great core strengthening workout for you further down the page.
“Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses toward growth.”
According to the Kundalini yoga tradition, traveling along our energetic highway of chakras, the third chakra, Manipura translates as “city of jewels” or “lustrous gem”. This is exactly what we hold within us. A dazzling, radiant center of energy that distributes life throughout the human framework. Just as the earth would not survive without the sun, we rely on our third chakra to regulate and energize our systems activities. There are many techniques one can use to stimulate, balance and connect more fully to our manipura chakra. According to many traditions, including Kundalini Yoga, the third chakra is the actual place of awakening the kundalini energy; the center of will and action. This is the fire that sets it off! You can read more about this on Spirit Voyage.com. It really is interesting stuff!
So, what is one such way to get this glowing fire going? Simultaneous breath work and simple movement will stimulate the navel center and surrounding area. I’m not saying that the exercises you will hopefully be doing are going to be easy and painless – not at all. You can expect the sensations in your belly and in your head to be intense and challenging. This is how change begins. You gotta feel in order to grow! So, stay with it and you’re going to feel amazing!
Begin creating change by setting aside time for a morning ritual.
First thing in the morning, these exercises, practiced regularly, will shift your energy from slow, sluggish and unmotivated to strong, radiant and ready to roll. Your body, mind and spirit will become brighter, lighter and more powerful than you ever could have imagined.
Before you get started…
A good nights sleep is vital to your whole health so don’t skimp on those precious healing hours of rest. Train yourself to go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. This will allow you the time needed to complete your core awakening workout without compromising your nightly rest. Here you go!
Begin with one to three minutes of Breath of Fire (rhythmic nostril breathing that sounds much like a panting dog) Sit cross-legged with your spine tall and eyes closed. Raise your arms over your head, palms facing away from you and bring your thumbs to touch with your fingers softly curled into your palm. Or, rest your hands (palms up) on your knees. Begin to breathe in and out of your nose. Keep this breathe work going for one minute. Be patient with yourself ; new is strange and uncomfortable but soon becomes an old friend. Don’t rush it; allow the process of daily practice to bring you to this place of comfort and ease. Click here to watch a great video and learn more about breath of fire.
Maintain awareness of breath while doing the following core exercises for one minute each. Beginners start with 30 seconds for each exercise. End each one minute core exercise with a huge inhale, hold for 3 seconds, followed by a long exhale. These are just a few of my favorites.
Regular Crunch – with bent knees, feet on the floor: Just lift shoulder blades off the floor and go!
Reverse Crunch – Lift hips off the floor while keeping your torso on the floor
Double Crunch – Lift BOTH hips & shoulders off the floor simultaneously
Left Crunches – Take right elbow to the left knee
Right Crunches – Take left elbow to right knee
Straight Leg Raises – Alternately lift & lower your legs (slide your hands under your butt for more support)
Double Leg Raises – Lift & lower both legs together
Bicycle Crunches – Alternate elbows to opposite knee by bicycling the legs
Hold High Plank Pose – on your hands and toes
Hold Plank on your forearms
Allow all this awesome energy to settle while you rest for a few minutes in child pose
15 minutes each morning and you will create a core defined – radiant and powerful forever more. That’s you!