Manipura Madness

An interesting concept-turned-meditation flowed out of my mouth while teaching last night so I wanted to write it down and share.

What do you most closely identify your self with? What are some of the labels that you put on yourself? Most often it’s a job, or a relationship. My go-to label is that of “yoga teacher”. In past long term relationships I’ve closely identified with being the partner of whoever it was. But what happens if those things vanish from your life, then who are you? If I’m not a yoga teacher then who am I?

Before I got involved in teaching yoga I was studying music and was a jazz trombonist. I often imagined what would happen if I were to lose my hands and not be able to play trombone anymore. I remember it being a scary thought because I felt that my whole identity would be lost if I couldn’t play the trombone.

So the third chakra, manipura, is the naval center/solar plexus area. It is also referred to as the “I am” center; it’s where our true essence lies, beyond any of the labels we’ve slapped on ourselves.

It’s interesting to observe the qualities of this energy center. It is a power center. It is also a place where we hold fear (think of that painful feeling in your gut if you’re in a scary situation or even watching a scary movie).

When we know who we are, beyond labels and earthly identifications, this makes us very powerful. When we don’t know who we truly are beyond our job or relationships, this is terrifying! It’s all God. God has this quality of being nothing and everything at the same time. It can be a scary realization to have that we are this, and I can see why it may feel safer to not dive into spirituality at all.

Try this meditation: close your eyes and focus your awareness at your third chakra center, right above the naval center. Start to come up with every label of yourself you can possibly think of and then immediately negate it. So it will sound something like this in your mind: ” I am a yoga teacher. I am not a yoga teacher. I am a musician. I am not a musician. I am a sister, wife, mother. I am not a sister, wife, or mother. I am insecure. I am not insecure…” etc, etc, etc you can really come up with a whole lot. Eventually whenever you run out, just allow yourself to be still and notice.

Who are you?

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