The Alchemy of Hatha Yoga
This morning I am looking at working with Asanas that move my energy from the third Cakra at the navel, Manipura, City of Jewels, to the fourth cakra at the heart, Anahata, the place of Unstruck Sound.
I’m considering the relationship between the psoas muscle and the crura of the diaphragm, the ligaments that attach the diaphragm to the lumbar vertebrae.
Their attachments to the spine are both located in the area of Manipura cakra, and today I am considering how looking at the relationship between them can inform my practice.Their relationship and functions bring to mind the downward triangle of Manipura cakra, and the balance of the downward and upward triangles at Anahata cakra. This speaks to me of the potential for me to take my energy either upwards or downwards, and harmonizing it at the heart. By working consciously with the energy of Manipura Cakra, I can engage my will and apply it to my enquiry.
Physically, the diaphragm is the boundary between the lower and upper chakras, and the fire cakra, Manipura, a place of potential transformation.
The psoas connects to the lumbar and even the 12th thoracic vertebra at the level of the 12th rib so has a role to play in the mechanism of breathing, exerting an influence of the quality of experience at the level of the chest.
And, the psoas connects the Manipura cakra to the legs via its insertion at the lesser trochanter at the top of the inner thigh.
It occurs to me that my legs carry me forward. By being conscious of the location of the psoas I can choose what action I want to take forward with this enquiry.
If I can free up and lengthen through my psoas, I create freedom for my energy to move upwards, which is my chosen desire, to move the energy from my third to my fourth Cakra.
The ligaments of the diaphragm, the crura, connect to the lumbar vertebrae at L3 and 4, also in the area of Manipura Cakra.
Consciously working with the breath in my practice with this enquiry can bring my awareness up to the light and expansive quality of air in the chest at Anahata, the Heart Cakra.
This helps me to consider how I can raise my awareness from the egoism and will of Manipura Cakra to the freedom and expansiveness of altruism, qualities I associate with the Heart Cakra.
Within just the physical practice alone, I ask myself how I can move from imposing my will on my body, to altruism and practicing in a way that is best for the overall wellbeing of my entire being, not just the physical.
I am struck by the gift of transformation available through the alchemical practice of Hatha Yoga, and how working at one level of enquiry ripples through every level of my consciousness.