In my first installment in this Yoga for Addiction Series, I talked about the benefits of conscious breathing. In this post, I’d like to discuss activating the third chakra and how that can help you move on from bad habits and addictions. What both of these practices have in common — along with everything else within the tradition of Kundalini Yoga — is that they teach you, show you, allow you to experience the strength you already have inside. I hope that anyone struggling with addiction will find that heartening. Everything you need to conquer your unwanted habits is within you!
The third chakra is located below the heart center and includes the digestive system, the liver, the pancreas, the kidneys and the adrenals. In yogic terms, it’s where the will power and the ability to commit reside. A strong will is crucial for resisting addictive impulses.
If you think of yourself as someone who lacks will power, stop. Let that go. You just have to tap into the vast inner resources of the third chakra, and the power is there waiting for you! But how do you awaken that power? Here are 3 ways to begin to activate the third chakra.
1. If you only have a tiny window of time, try Wake Up Series (on p. 21 of Guru Rattana’s Sexuality and Spirituality). It’s just three asanas and can be accomplished in less than 5 minutes. Even if you’re not dealing with addiction, this is a great way to start your day.
2. Also for busy yogis: You can pick and choose from among the techniques in Gurmukh’s chapter on the third chakra in her wonderful book The 8 Human Talents. There are many practices to sample, but I especially recommend alternate leg lifts (p. 88-89) to experience the energy of the navel center.
Gurmukh describes the power of the navel center beautifully in The 8 Human Talents. She says, “We first receive nourishment through this center via the umbilical cord when we are in the womb. This center continues to be a strong source of energy and can make us feel more vibrant and alive when it is activated.”
So, nourish yourself. Discover the power within. Awaken the third chakra and move beyond addictive behavior. You can do it! Sat Nam!
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