By Shameem Akhtar
When a certain pose appears difficult, it is advisable to check the chakra connected with it, and work on bringing it to balance, says Shameem Akhtar
Interestingly, when you hear people talk of chakras (psychic centres) – and currently there is a huge excitement all over the world on this topic – you will hear them seek to ‘activate’ the chakras. There is somehow the assumption that if a chakra is malfunctioning, then it must be underactive. Often, the problem actually comes from an overactivity of some chakras. The topic is huge, amorphous, with several schools of thought, compounded further by newbies in this field insisting that ‘intuition’ (or how you ‘feel’ about a chakra) should play a role.
But as things get more confounding, I find that an easy route to avoid the pitfalls of self-prescription (which can be dangerous, counter-productive and egotistic), is to use the body to tell you what needs to be done about a chakra. Here are a few pointers: often, for those who have an overactive heart chakra, certain backbends can be very tough to hold, because it pushes the heart centre to further expansion. Such people can even burst into tears or cry continuously. The tears may not be sad, but just a powerful release. I have seen those who are very empathetic but acting tough suddenly become emotional in the unsupported headstand (which is pure crown centre, and therefore a bliss centre pose).
Perhaps a good guideline would be this: If a pose is giving you trouble, it is perhaps because that psychic centre (chakra) that is most challenged in the pose, needs your attention. The trick to bring that chakra back into a state of balance is through attempting variations of that pose that challenge the chakra. And to continue practising them till you find them easy.
Not surprisingly, you will find that people subconsciously and without knowing it, will avoid just these poses that are good for their chakra health. For this to fall in place, you have to appreciate the role of a classical sequence, which takes into account all the chakras. Instead of stacking up your practice with just your favourite poses, your sequence should have sets that focus on specific chakras, in a flowing manner, so that the duration in each set is equal. Just favouring poses you like is most likely to create a chakra imbalance.
It is similar to the headstand and ideal for those who are missing out on its practice. Go on fours, keeping feet apart. Place crown on the ground, between the palms. Raise the knees off the ground, straightening the legs, coming up on your toes. Keep them flared for better balance. Hold for a few seconds, repeating to build stamina in the pose. Later do only once, but for longer.
Benefits: It involves the crown chakra, and is ideal for those who are unable to practice poses that harmonise this centre. It sends blood to the brain, keeps face younger, removes wrinkles, improves balance, and tones the whole body.
Avoid: In case of eye problems, weak neck, and ear infections.
About the author :
Shameem Akthar has trained as Yoga Acharya with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Kerala, and is a master-trainer in neuro-linguistic psychology.
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