I’ve noticed a good portion of the asanas I do at the Prison involve the third chakra…

In conversation with a local yoga teacher, I mentioned that a number of these asanas worked on the third (Manipura) chakra and she asked me, “Why are you working on that one?”  I did not have a snappy answer  to that but as I thought it over, this approach developed from several things and was proven in practice to yield some good results.  I have some hunches about why this might be working but here is the story.

 I developed my standard class for the prison with some very basic warm-ups to flex all joints followed by three sun salutations.  Once this is done I select from a group of asanas that were recommended to people for high blood pressure and weight control.  I follow this with balance poses, then an inversion and close with self massage and corpse pose. 

These asanas recommended for high blood pressure and weight control overlap and focus on the Manipura chakra.  I think this is because the Manipura chakra is associated with the fire element and within the body fire is associated with digestion.  This means that work on this chakra will aid digestion and metabolism.  Ayurvedic medicine focuses on digestion and elimination to a great degree in order to help maintain the health.  Often people eating institutional food have issues with this area and these asanas can help balance things within the body.

I have had more than one class participant find the first part of the workout very strenuous.  They also report feeling very relaxed after the middle portion of the class.  I have also noticed some of the participants shifting in demeanor toward a quiet confidence.  Of course, this is a subjective intuition and nothing more.  If it is true, why might it be true?

The Vrttis are the human tendencies that are barriers to experiencing yoga or an enlightened state.  There are 50 vrttis and here are the ones associated with the Manipura chakra:

  • Shyness, shame
  • Sadistic tendency, cruelty
  • Envy, jealousy
  • Lethargy, inertia, staticity
  • Melancholy
  • Peevishness, irritability
  • Craving, thirst for acquisition
  • Infatuation
  • Hatred, revulsion
  • Fear

On looking at this list I think that reducing these tendencies to some extent will boost the confidence in dealing with others.  I have more to think about here and would love to have your comments on this area.  Also, you can check out Kristine Kaoverii Weber’s post on yoga psychology which contains some more chakra related info http://www.subtleyoga.com/yoga-psychology/


About sordog1

Shiva Steve Ordog is a Yoga Instructor certified by Yoga Alliance - RYT 200, a Thought Field Therapy Practitioner (TFT-Algo) and a Zen practitioner. He is the author of a book on meditation, mindfulness, and yoga called "Hey, Yoga Man!: Yoga Practices for Everyday Life from a Prison Yoga Practice"
This entry was posted in chakras, meditation, nc, prison, yoga. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to I’ve noticed a good portion of the asanas I do at the Prison involve the third chakra…

  1. Great post, Steve! Thanks for sharing your insights into the Manipua chakra and the vrittis. I’ll make sure to consciously incorporate more 3rd chakra asanas into my women’s prison program.

  2. ManipuRa 🙂

    (danged typos!)

  3. Karen Haynes says:

    Dear Steve,
    What a great place to teach yoga. I love the simple way you are explaining things. If I ever left the work I am doing (teaching pre-school/kindergarten), I think my first choice would working in a prison. Keep sharing. I love to hear about your work

    Karen Haynes

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