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The third Chakra is the center chakra, the Manipura Chakra, located at the navel. The element here is FIRE, the home of the ego, and the transformational process from the small self to the empowered higher SELF, a place of union. The solar plexus is a powerful space of great transition and of union. With confidence we can move us forward, with the ego we stay stuck in ignorance.
Through the “Fun and Healthy Lifestyles” practices, we explore Yoga, which encompasses all three aspects; MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT. The integration of these three aspects moves us toward enlightenment.
Yoga means union, to yoke, unite. Unite what, you might ask? All there is. Yoga is the ultimate connection of the mind, body, and spirit. Yoga originated in India over 5000 years ago, although it seems relativity new in the west. Yoga is a way of being, a lifestyle that is beyond the physical movements in Sanskrit called asanas. Yoga is made up of many practices, and it is also a state of being enlightened. The Asthanga Yoga system created by Patajali consists of eight limbs. This is the most common form of yoga practiced in the west today.
The first chant I ever learned in Sanskrit was “Lokah Samasta Sukinoh Bhavantu.” The English translation is, “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life, contribute in some way to that happiness and freedom for all. This is a powerful chant. It is truly the heart of what a yoga practice or a yogi can be!
An overview of the Astanga Path: The Eight- Limbed Path of Yoga.
Yama (Restraints or Abstinence)
- Ahimsa (Harmlessness) The practice of kindness toward all beings (includes animal beings)
- Satya (Truthfulness) Speaking the truth without creating harm
- Asteya (Non-stealing) Not taking what does not belong to us and letting go of the need to control other beings/things
- Brahmacharya (Sense Control) The acts that move us toward our truth: commitment, focus, and responsible behavior toward our goal of yoga
- Aparigraha -Greedlessness, letting go of our pack rat tendenencies and living a simple life.
Niyama – Observance of Disciplines or Devotion)
- Sauca (Cleanliness) Taking care of our bodies and minds, as well as practicing healthy nutrition
- Santosa (Contentment) A sense of being happy or at peace with what is
- Tapas (Burning Desire) The need to continue to move forward on the path of enlightenment
- Svadhyaya (Self Study) Willingness to know the self
- Isvarapranidhana (Devotion) Honoring the sacred or divine in any form of the lord or god that connects you with spirit.
Asanas (Yogic postures) In the west, when we see people practicing yoga, we see them moving through these postures, or asanas
Pranayama (Breath Control) Controlling the breath by counting each inhalation and exhalation, rapid breathing, or simple, conscious breathing
Pratyahara (Retraction of the Senses) Drawing the senses inward without distraction
Dharana (Fixation of Attention) Contemplation on a single object
Dhyana (Devotion, Fusive Apprehension) Focus on a single object
Samadhi (Fully Integrated Consciousness) A state of bliss, nirvana, super consciousness