The Yogic tradition relates the core with the third chakra and the fire element, known as the Manipura Chakra, which is associated with determination, willpower, self-confidence, drive, action and digestion. You can imagine how the heat of the fire element is directly related to these qualities. An imbalance in the Manipura Chakra leads to being harsh with words, aggressive, brash, completely passive, depressed, uninterested or uninspired. It is indicated by digestive problems and abdominal pain.
by Sandra Shama Kaur
Core strength is simply essential. Not only does a strong core help you maintain good posture and support your overall health and vitality, there is power in moving from your physical core center. When you feel strong on the inside, you can start to lean on and trust your inner wisdom— your body’s inherent intelligence. Having a weak core results in frequent lower back pain and poor digestion.
On a mental-emotional level, you’ve probably noticed that you feel good in your body, your confidence will soar both on and off the mat, and stress and discomfort will start to melt away, igniting your personal power.
On a spiritual level, having a strong core allows us to have more compassion for others even when we feel we have been wronged. A strong core develops an inner unshakable self-confidence, which is not easily affected by what others do and say. Thus, we are able to forgive, embrace, and have tolerance for the differences of others and without feeling like pushovers or doormats.
Think of the word ‘core,’ and terms like ‘hard’ and ‘tight’ likely come to mind. But the secret to a strong middle is actually to soften in your practice. This sequence shows you how.
Core-strengthening poses work predominately on the third Chakra — known as Manipura, which means ‘Jewel in the City.’ It is located in the digestion area, including the stomach, intestines, colon, and liver. The gift of this Chakra is transforming fire into energy of action. The third Chakra is the core of our doing, confidence, self esteem and willpower and the element associated with it is fire , because it is the fire of internal heat that helps us digest our food, digest and process memories and transform energy of pleasure and pain into energy of action.
To balance this Chakra dance, wear the color yellow, practice breath of fire, tap or massage abdomen and use the affirmation “I am steady in my sense of self, personal power and leadership. My soul is aligned with my will power and higher calling in life. I enjoy the give and take of life and flow of being with others.”
Always remember that asanas need to be held steadily and comfortably. No pain should be experienced while holding the postures or in the hours or days that follow. In the words of Patanjali Sutra 46: “Sthirasukhamasanam’’ (II S tra 46): sthira = steady; sukham = comfortable; asanam = posture.
Sandra Shama Kaur is a Kundalini yoga teacher and founder of Yalla Yoga. Hip-Opening Poses
Here are a few recommended poses.
Crane/Crow Pose (Bakasana) A compact arm balance, Bakasana tones and strengthens the abs and arms.
Dolphin Pose Dolphin pose strengthens the core, arms, and legs, while also nicely opening the shoulders.
Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana) An ab and deep hip flexor strengthener, Paripurna Navasana requires you to balance on the tripod of your sit bones and tailbone.
Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana) Learn the four-limbed staff pose because it is frequently practiced as part of the traditional Sun Salutation sequence.
Scale Pose (Tolasana) Strengthen your wrists, arms, and abs, hanging in the balance of Tolasana.