Parivrtta Anjaneyasana: Revolved Lunge Pose Highlighting Manipura Chakra

Parivrtta Anjaneyasana: Revolved Lunge Pose Highlighting Manipura Chakra

{NOTE: originally posted in the SUMMER August 8, 2009 – here: pose of the month Parivrtta Anjaneyasana: Revolved Lunge Pose Highlighting Manipura Chakra with Chrisandra Fox | F a e r n – I n – T h e – W o r k s. }

Manipura chakra, “lustrous gem” or “city of jewels”, refers to the psycho-energetic center located behind the navel at the solar plexus. Characterized by the color yellow, the element fire, and a lotus of ten petals, manipura holds the radiant power of the solar energy that regulates digestive fire, heat, and metabolic function in the body. Manipura governs the stomach, liver, and small intestine, and is the seat of agni, or the fire that metabolizes our food and experiences. Its vital wind is samana vayu, the “wind” of the body that regulates prana and circulates the essence of our food to the entire system. Manipura chakra evokes our life force, dynamism, individuality, and personal power.

This third chakra holds the space between heaven and earth, in that it separates the lower chakra centers from the higher ones. As the seat for transformation of food, prana, and experience, manipura is where the raw energy of the lower chakras is converted into consciousness. In yogic practice, the downward wind, or the apana is reversed to meet the upward wind, or prana at the navel center. At this juncture, the yogi is said to gain a spiritual perspective into realities of the higher chakra centers. This is where our willful action aligns with our sense of connectedness and higher purpose.

When the third chakra is in balance, one may benefit from responsibility, self-esteem, confidence, the ability to meet challenges and take risks, physical and emotional warmth, and good digestion. In a deficient condition, one may experience the symptoms of low self-esteem and decreased energy, inconsistency, lack of discipline, physical and emotional cold, and poor digestion. In its excess, manipura may manifest as aggression, manipulation, the need to be right or in control, excessive heat, arrogance and digestive disorders such as ulcers.

Caring for our power “center” is key to living a balanced life, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Exercise

Sit or stand with your feet hip width apart. You may also sit in simple cross-legged position or lotus. Close your eyes and bring your awareness to the space behind the navel. Feel the sensations of your navel center as you breathe. Notice the temperature of this spot, and any colors or sounds that come to mind. Continue to rest your awareness at the space behind your navel and visualize the breath moving simultaneously from the navel towards the heart and the perineum on the inhalation, and returning to the navel on the exhalation. You may chant the seed mantra, Ram, or repeat an affirmation that rings true for you. For example: I move from the center of my being with strength, grace, and power, or I am filled with the radiant source of all light and energy.

The Pose

Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Inhale and extend your arms overhead. As you exhale, press your palms together and lower your hands to anjali mudra (hands in prayer at the heart). Turn your fingers towards the earth and bend your knees to Utkatasana (Chair Pose). Extend both arms alongside the outer left thigh. Bend your elbows and bring you hands back to prayer at the heart as you sit in your twisted chair pose.

Step the right foot back and extend the leg into a full lunge (Beginners may want to lower the right knee to the ground). Keep your left knee bent and positioned above your ankle. As you reach through the sole of your right foot, maintain symmetry in hips, left to right. Keep your hands in prayer pose, so that the inner elbows are bent. The power of this twist comes from the ability to dissolve the belly in the twist rather than from overworking the muscles of the arms.

The Work

Turn your navel and coil the right ribcage towards your inner left thigh. Can you feel the spiral of the spine as you twist? Keep the right hip from riding up into the waist by drawing back through the right heel. Turn your gaze towards the earth to release any tension in your neck. As you wind more deeply into the twist, relax your eyes, the base of your tongue, and both sides of your jaw. Feel the compression of your organs as you turn your belly towards your inner thigh. Coax your inhalations into the spaces between your ribs and collarbones, feeling the length of your spine. As you exhale, release the navel more deeply towards the spine, softening your ribcage. Turn your head in the direction of the twist (towards the sky) so long as the neck does not feel strained.

To come out of the posture, step your right foot forward to meet your left foot, so you are sitting in your revolved chair pose. As you inhale, unwind your twist, straighten your legs and extend your arms overhead. As you exhale, fold into uttanasana (standing forward bend). On an inhalation, slowly roll up through your spine to return to mountain pose. Repeat on the right side.

Vinyasa Variation

You can increase energy, balance, coordination and confidence by practicing this simple vinyasa of the revolved lunge pose.

Come into the pose, using the sequence listed above. Once you are in the posture, use an inhalation to unwind your torso from its twist. As you lift your torso, turn your right foot towards the wall behind you; turn your left foot in and twist your torso towards the inner right thigh. You are now in parivrtta anjaneyasana to the right. On an inhalation, unwind your torso from that twist, and as you come up through your spine, turn your right toes in and your left toes out to position your feet and legs for the twisted lunge on left side.

Repeat this simple sequence, refining the movements and your breathing until you feel yourself in a slow, rhythmic dance between the breath and the movement of your body. This sequence teaches us how to find peace, comfort, and confidence within the moments of the “unknown”, or the transitions, and to move with strength and grace from our center of being.

Chrisandra Fox teaches six weekly classes at Yoga Tree, Yoga Garden and leads The Heart of Renewal Retreats in California and beyond. She teaches in Yoga Tree’s 200-hour Teacher Training.

Chrisandra@gmail.com

Faern is a mixed media artist, photographer and yoga practitioner in San Francisco. Visit her website, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.

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