Listening to: First of all, this chick can sing. Second, as if the brass weren't enough, listen to the layered, rich arrangement of this song -- so different from average radio pop.
Today's Bliss: Ahhh, we have survived another summer and the children of the world are off to school. WOOT! Silence and serenity, welcome back.
(If you're new here, the first chakra was written about, as was the second.)
For various reasons, I have always labeled myself as a "quitter." Someone's favorite nickname for me when I was young was "Scarlett O'Hara" and not in a complimentary way but rather to denote my capacity for endless procrastination.
It has taken me into my thirties to realize that all of this has been a destructive -- and blatantly inaccurate -- story.
I am, rather, a determined and focused sort of animal. If anything, my willpower can be frighteningly intense, burning me up from the inside, as metaphorically demonstrated through a horrible ulcer in college -- a time when I held a job, went to school full time, was a Resident Assistant, and ran an organization that I had founded to help the homeless.
No willpower? What was I thinking?
And just because some of us are unsure of where we want to place that willpower -- constantly trying and learning new things -- does not mean that we don't have any. In this culture and at this time of specializing, cog-like humans, the artists and creators and dreamers are often mistaken for the lost and the floundering.
No, when your third chakra is out of whack, there are plenty of signals, and many people we call "productive" and "successful" actually exhibit those symptoms the most.
The third chakra is located at the naval and encompasses the digestive system, the diaphragm, and the adrenals. The color is yellow. The element is fire.
The Sanskrit name for this chakra is "Manipura" and means "lustrous gem." (I love that. Picturing a gem in my belly button!)
Keep in mind that the first three chakras are the base or the the roots of the whole human energy system. The heart chakra will act as the trunk, which connects the roots to the branches which, in turn, allow us to touch the heavens.
So, these first three chakras are of the utmost importance and are in constant need of our attentions and must be nourished on a daily basis. If we do not pay enough attention to the first three chakras -- out of some misplaced belief that the upper chakras are the "important" ones -- well, you'll find yourself eventually crashing into them. Literally. The baggage you ignore will be the baggage that trips you up.
If your third chakra is healthy, you have enough self-esteem, lots of will power, focus, a "fire in your belly," devotion, and stamina. Your energies are purposefully directed and organized. You project strength. You have courage. You can digest whatever is thrown your way.
Here are some questions and ideas to ponder related to this chakra.
Do you find yourself feeling scattered throughout your day? Are you unfocused in your endeavors?
Are you easily led off your path by the needs and desires of other people? Do you always put other people first? Do you respect your own need to do your own thing?
When people ask you how you are, are you always answering "crazy busy?" Do you have a hard time fitting everything you "need" to do into your days?
Are you always embroiled in some personal drama? Is your life like an opera, all high emotions and never any calm?
Do you feel frustrated by your life more often than not? Do you feel angry toward your life?
How important is power and status to you? Are your main goals in life related to gaining recognition?
Are you often choking back your emotions? Do you feel tight and constricted in your belly? Do you have a hard time crying?
Do you have chronic lower back issues? Are you breathing with your belly or with your shoulders?
What is your relationship to food? Do you eat in response to emotions? Have you ever had an eating disorder? Do you have disordered eating patterns?
Do you create rules around food? Or do you allow yourself to eat what your body asks for? Do you see cravings as bad?
How is your ability to follow through with plans? Do you have the necessary stamina to create and finish long term projects?
Yoga poses that can help with increasing and strengthening your third chakra include: stretch pose, spinal twists, alternate leg lifts (on your back), sun salutations, and cobra. For breathing, try sitali breath -- one of my favorites (and I can't curl my tongue!).
(Ravi Singh and Ana Brett also have a wonderful Kundalini yoga DVD for Navel Power.)
Aromas that can aid in third chakra work include lavender, rosemary, and bergamot. And, of course, you can wear tiger's eye or yellow topaz.
Most importantly, though, spend some time with the above questions.
Be clear about your intentions in life so that when you set goals, you can meet them. And above all, make sure to reward yourself when you do accomplish something. Sometimes we skip right to the next goal, forgetting to celebrate!