People tend to get ‘stuck’ in their work personas long after they are home from the office. After hours of being hunched over a computer and working furiously all day, it can be hard to switch out of your FMC mode. (For more about Fix, Manage and Control, go here.)
This can be problematic for many reasons. Not only is it hard to be present and to feel sexually inspired if you are weighed down by work stress, but it can also be an issue from an energetic standpoint. We each have masculine and feminine energies (or yin and yang). Our work personas tend to be very ‘yang,’ meaning aggressive, unyielding, and forceful. So, at the end of a long work day, we are often as yang as we can be…which explains why so many people are honking at others in traffic, grouching about the long line at the train, quickly pushing their way through the grocery store, or intently racing on the treadmill at the gym.
Getting out of this energy and moving blocked tension through the solar plexus chakra will be key for both men and women. An overactive solar plexus chakra is a problem no matter who you are and what gender you identify as. (Symptoms of an overactive sacral chakra can include anger issues, perfectionism, hyper-critical behavior, and a need to control. Physically, it can present as ulcers, digestive issues and eating disorders).
I find it helpful to perform an exercise that opens the solar plexus after a long day of work or a stressful meeting. It allows me to shift out of yang, do-it-all, go-go-go energy and relax into a state of awareness, openness, and power. It can also help you to get back in touch with your playful, sensual side and put away your ‘work persona’ until the next time you enter the office.
To perform this exercise, lay flat on your belly on the floor with your arms laying beside your side. Take a few deep breaths. Get into your body. You’re not in the office. You’re not in traffic. You’re not on the train or thinking about dinner or worried about tomorrow’s meeting or thinking about the show you want to watch on television tonight. You are just here, in your body, existing. Breathing. Watching. Letting it all happen.
Welcoming everything that comes. Thanking everything that comes.
On your next exhale, bend your knees and bring your feet as close to your buttocks as you can get. Reach your hands back and hold on to your ankles (remember, ankles: not feet). Once you have become accustomed to this pose (known as Bow pose, or Dhanurasana), you can begin deepening the stretch. Do so by lifting your knees higher into the air. This will have the affect of forcing your head and torso higher in the air.
Here is a beginner example:
And a more advanced example:
As you are in this pose, you will immediately begin to feel an opening in your chest, belly and shoulders. Your core (both front and back) will awaken. Now that you are in this pose, close your eyes and repeat this mantra in your head: I am a divine being with powerful purpose. I am a divine being with powerful purpose. I am a divine being with powerful purpose. I am open to this moment. I am open to this moment. I am open to this moment. Open. Open. Open.
Now, slowly release your feet.
Lay flat back on the floor again with your arms beside you and your palms facing up. Now raise yourself up on your outstretched arms, as if you were in a push-up position. Lifting your head and neck to sky, push away from the ground with your hands, feeling your back stretch and release.
This is cobra pose and it is excellent for opening the solar plexus.
Once in this position, imagine a shaft of light breaking out from the surface of the floor. As it does, it emanates directly into your belly, flooding your abdomen with beams of light, each new wave of illumination being brighter and warmer than the one behind it. Bask in the waves. Let each one come.
Say aloud: I forgive you. I forgive you. I forgive you.
The forgiveness may be for yourself, for all the tasks you wanted to accomplish today but maybe didn’t get to. For being short with your partner when you wanted to be sweet. For honking rudely at a cautious driver.
The forgiveness may be for an ancient transgression. Perhaps you have been brooding lately over an old hurt, something rude your mother said to you in sixth grade, or the time your partner forget your birthday a few years. Let the forgiveness be for whatever it needs to be for. For the brokenness in you. The brokenness in your spouse. The brokenness in the very world we live.
Famous songwriter Leonard Cohen once sang “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in,” and I want this to be the visualization that you bring to mind whenever you do this solar plexus exercise. You’re a stained glass window with a crack. You’re a torn sky with the light of the universe pouring through. There is nothing to fix. There is nothing to manage. There is nothing to control.
There’s just this: Observation. Non-judgment. Awareness. And acceptance of all things.
If you can stay in this state all day at work, all the better. But, it is totally natural and healthy to switch into your ‘yang’ mode while in the office. However, if you get stuck in this state and feel like you can’t shake the office when you come home, this is a great exercise to help you get back in touch with your sensual, playful and sexy side. Remember, you always have the invitation to stop, breathe, be present and unleash that powerful, playful, sensual and relaxed being within you.