In the past couple of months I have been in and out of doctors offices working with my irregular menses and the effects it has on me. One of the processes to assist the doctors was using ink to see if the body was okay. It was a little painful, like really bad indigestion where the belly expands but it seems impossible to go to the bathroom. After the procedure, the nurse said, “Sit for a few minutes and then you are good to go. If there is pain take a few Ibuprofen as needed but you should be fine to go to work.” I was resting in the waiting room when the nurse came back to get the next client, when she saw me she said “Suzanne, really, you can go, we don’t need you any more today.” I said, thanks I am letting my body relax. With this comment, as anyone would do from the west, there was this strange face as if I was weird and mentally impaired.

When I was ready, I did not go back to work but drove to a nature reserve and went for a long walk, I felt my feet touch the earth and let my body be connected to the emotions I was feeling as well as the slight bit of pain. As I walked I breathed deep into my abdomen, ovaries, anus and felt the process of the body soften and the clenched muscles let go. The body realized it was safe and could un-grip. As I breathed, I began to cry and felt my body let go and could process the whole experience. In the west where a ‘small procedure’ can be done in a day it is looked at only from a physical standpoint. Then, when one can take pain pills to assist in disconnecting or not feeling the pain, the body is not heard. Then the disconnect becomes greater: The emotions are not dealt with, the mind escapes the body that is in pain and one does not train the mind to stay present, but shows the mind how to continue to be separate from the body.

This month we are studying the third chakra, Manipura- translated as ‘the City of Jewels.’ This is the home of our fire, of our personal power and knowledge. It keeps us balanced in observing and uncasing the knowledge we have while letting go of the attachments and habits we no longer need. In Pantajali’s ‘Yoga Sutras’ it states that there are two things needed to reach enlightenment: practice and non-attachment. The third chakra is our processing center to balance our fire for practice and understanding the aspects of non-attachment.

Taking time to process small events keeps us listening and seeing that which unveils the truth. This listening allows us to minimize attachments and old habits and recognize our virtues. Often times when someone has a difficult day by getting into a fight with a loved one or a boss, there usually is a habit to escape by watching TV or a movie. Instead we should observe the day and take time to process and digest. If one does not digest properly, it stays in the bones and muscles in a state of dis-ease. Our bodies and minds are constantly taking on things to listen to and absorb and we need to take time to listen to our bodies, to observe our minds and to see how well our breath is connected to these entities. We need time to process our day in silence and be with ourselves, not escape ourselves.

In a physical sense of the third chakra, the organs associated with the third chakra are the stomach, gallbladder, liver and intestines. Per the ‘National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ there are 60 to 70 million people in America who are affected by digestion disorders. If these organs are not healthy and we have a difficult time digesting on a physical level it carries over to digestion on an emotional level. In March, take time to process and digest letting go of the food and attachments that no longer serve you. Take time to process and digest so that you are able to soak up the nutrients needed from food and drench the muscles and bones in experiences that assist your growth. Pandjit from Himalayan Institute shared this simple line during a lecture: “Feel your virtues and have strength to face your weaknesses.”

A simple practice you can do: Write about a very bad day you have had and let it go. Let your pen free you and do daily writings to observe what you are holding onto. Write and let go. Spend time with and see your weaknesses and strengths.