November 1, 2017
Asans are not exercises. They are the gradual process of evolution in the body effectuated under sanidhya of a Guru. They are to be performed gently and with internal awareness. A mantra is codified form of energy in the form of sound and must be channelized by the siddha of the mantra for expanding consciousness. It is through consciousness and heightened awareness achieved through asans and mantras that the body becomes healthy. When the body is healthy, one gets experience of the subtler world and is in bliss all the time.
In this series we have been discussing the asans and beej mantras for the various chakras and how one can activate them and strengthen the corresponding body parts. Last time we discussed the swadhishthan chakra that is present two inches above the mooladhar. Now we move to the Manipoorak chakra.
Manipoorak (Navel Chakra): Located at the point of navel, it controls at the physical level the small and large intestine, liver, spleen, and pancreas. It is largely responsible for the power of digestion. At the pranic level it is the seat of power in a human being. It is from here that the body draws prana when there is depletion, and this is where the body stores prana when there is excess. Its base element is fire. The beej mantra for this chakra is RAM.
Maintaining the awareness of Manipoorak chakra, start with the chant of RAM. Keep the chant deep and slow. Continue with the chant as we graduate into the asans for Manipoorak.
Dhanur Asan (Bow Pose):‘Dhanur’ means ‘bow’ and this asan looks like an archer’s bow when one is in full pose. Gently, maintaining ujjai breath, lie down on your stomach. Bend your knees and hold your ankles. Inhaling pull your legs and thighs up with both your hands while your upper torso is also raised such that it forms an arc. Tilt your chin out and look up. Maintain this posture for as long as you can along with chanting of the beej mantra. Exhaling come down and lie flat once again on your stomach bringing both your hands to the side of the body. The asan must not be practiced in case of people suffering with peptic ulcer, hernia, or cases of thyroid or endocrine gland disorders.
Vyaghra Asan (Tiger Pose): Vyaghra is practiced on all fours. As you exhale, you lower your head and neck towards your chest making an upwards curve with your spine. Simultaneously your right leg also moves inwards with your knee touching your nose. As you inhale, the head and neck move upwards making a downward curve with your spine. Simultaneously your right leg moves upwards forming a downward curve with the sole of the foot facing the sky. This is one set. Repeat this seven times. Once through, do the same with the left leg. Throughout the asan, maintain awareness of Manipoorak chakra and the chant of RAM.
Ushtra Asan (Camel Pose): ‘Ushtra’ refers to ‘camel’. This asan when done resembles the neck of a camel. Sit in vajrasan. Gently raise your buttocks off the floor and stand up on your knees. Inhaling, gently lean backwards, reaching for the right heel with the right hand and then left heel with left hand. DO NOT STRAIN. Push the abdomen outwards, keeping the thighs vertical and bending the head and spine backwards. Keep breathing in ujjai and hold for as long as you can with the chanting of RAM and then come back.
Those who find this difficult, can begin with Ardha Ushtra Asan. In this, sit in vajrasan. Gently raise your buttocks off the floor and stand on your knees. Twist to the right and with right palm reach out for the right heel. Simultaneously raise the left arm in front of the head such that the hand is at forehead level. Keep breathing in ujjai and chanting RAM, hold for as long as you can and then come back. Repeat on other side.
This asan must not be practiced by people with severe back ailments. Those suffering from enlarged thyroid should also be careful.
In the next article, we will discuss the properties, asans and mantras for Anahad and Vishuddhi chakras. It is advised that you visit your nearest Dhyan Foundation center to learn the correct way to practice asans. The effect of all these asans becomes manifold when practiced under the guidance of your Guru who channelises energy into each asan.
Diclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own.