As we journey through the body in this series, we take a look at the third chakra - the Manipura chakra - which governs the fire inside of us.
You can find the third or solar plexus chakra somewhere between the navel and the base of the sternum, a couple of fingers above the belly button. You may like to visualise it in the centre of the body, rather than at the front.
In Sanskrit this chakra is called Manipura meaning city of jewels. Together with the first (the root) and second chakra (the sacral) these energy centres are often referred to as the lower triangle. These energies are the most clear and easy to understand.
The components of Manipura
The navel chakra governs the fire element inside of you. It is your strength, your vitality, your ego, your willpower, your stamina, your inner power. It’s the centre where you get things done and your sense of self.
Digestive system, gall bladder, pancreas, adrenals and liver.
The Manipura chakra is also all about being able to deal with things, it’s how you ‘digest’ your life. Can you stand up for yourself? Are you strong and courageous, worthy of love and respect? Do you feel strong in your body and in the world? Fire is action and transformation. Allowing yourself to grow and become a better version of yourself means taking action and leaving behind what no longer works for you.
Fire is action and transformation. Allowing yourself to grow and become a better version of yourself means taking action and leaving behind what no longer works for you.
Being free to choose your path in any situation, being proud of your achievements and being the master of your own destiny. To know where you're going and how to get there. To understand you have the strength to achieve your goals.
Due to stress in any layer of the body (physical, mental, emotional and energetic) you can slow down, stagnate or completely go into overdrive. When life gets too overwhelming and you've experienced a couple of significant experiences one after the other, it can be difficult to process. So we might feel our fire is not burning as strongly, we need time to ‘digest’ what has happened. Therefore, it may be hard to get out there and deal with everyday situations, because you are simply already full.
Getting to know your body and its different layers and learning about the chakras can give you valuable insight into where you have imbalances and stagnation.
Checklist for the third chakra
- Do you feel you can do anything you set your mind to?
- Do you digest your food easily? Or do you suffer from indigestion and an upset stomach?
- Is your energy stable and do you wake up in the morning eager to start the new day?
- Is there enough spice in your life? Things that make you feel excited and want to do things.
- Do you feel your life has too many toxic elements in it?
- Do you always feel tired?
- Do you get snappy easily?
- Do you feel like a victim of the world?
Coming into balance
There are many things you can do on and off the mat to balance the third chakra.
I find that the most effective way to balance your energy centres is to do targeted yoga poses such as:
- Dhanurasana (bow pose)
- Kapalabhati pranayama or breath of fire
- High Lunge Twist with Anjali mudra (prayer pose)
- Parvritta Trikonasana (revolved triangle pose)
- Vajroli Mudra
- Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
Mudra for third chakra: Hakini Mudra. Sit in an easy cross-legged position and sit up tall. Bring your hands to the height of your solar plexus, palms facing each other. Now touch the fingertips of both hands together and leave space in between the palms. The thumbs are pointing to your solar plexus and the rest of the fingers are radiating out, middle finger straightforward.
Meditate on the fire inside of you. Visualise a transformational fire, all things no longer needed burning away to ashes. Fire is needed for any aspect that involves movement in your life. Movement of the bowels, movement of the body, movement in your life. We want to maintain our inner fires, strongly burning, but not burning out. Fire is burning each day to transform our food into fuel for our bodies, to move through the day, and burning away whatever is no longer needed, no longer of service, no longer who we are. When our fire is strong, we dare to live our dreams and be out there in the world doing what we believe in, living in alignment with who we are.
When our fire is strong, we dare to live our dreams and be out there in the world doing what we believe in, living in alignment with who we are.
And your mantra could reflect this - vibrating mentally or out loud - I AM STRONG or I AM CONFIDENT (or something that reflects a concept that you feel comfortable with).
Yellow is the colour for this chakra, so use it in during your relaxation or meditation. A nice and powerful visualisation is making your centre radiate like the sun.
Singing mantras or sound vibrations. RAM is the vedic bija mantra. By chanting RAM like you would OM, but more continuously, works on the same vibrational frequency.
You can chant or recite Humee Hum Brahm Hum from the Kundalini tradition. It means ‘We are We. We are God”. It may sound a bit grand, but it’s meant to connect us to the ultimate reality of non-duality. And in that sense there is no separation between us and the creator.
Try this class, which is great for anyone who needs a little help to get going - be it your digestive system or life! Are there things you want to do, goals you have set, but can't seem to get started on? Does your digestive system feel clogged up? If so, this is the class for you.
Ignite your fire - practice for third chakra - 30 minutes, Kundalini-inspired, all levels