I like to think of the Manipura chakra as our POWER centre. Located above the navel and below the diaphragm in the solar plexus region of the body, it is often called the solar centre.
Sometimes it is called the jewelled city or the lustrous gem. For those who see the colours of their chakras, we are moving from the orange of swadhisthana to the bright yellow of manipura.
Whenever it is out of balance we may experience any of the following:
- digestive disorders (including irritable bowel and constipation)
- diabetes, eating disorders, ulcers
- liver issues, gallstones, lack of confidence or low self-esteem
- far too submissive, far too aggressive
- bullying and/or controlling behaviours
- being the victim, being judgemental
- critical of others, stubborn
- unable to accept advice from others (believing yourself to be always right!)
- repression of anger/frustration... or expression of these in a harmful way to others
If you do not have any of these symptoms or traits well, that’s fantastic, however our chakras tend to fluctuate in and out of balance so you may well have experienced some of these in the past, and if you ever become aware of them in the future you will know what’s happening and how to help yourself! You may also be aware of these imbalances in other people and you could now help them to bring manipura into balance!
It won’t surprise you to know that the element of this chakra is FIRE! When we achieve balance in this centre we are passionate and enthusiastic, have plenty of energy and vitality to help us to lead a dynamic and useful life with a clear purpose. We are positive, determined, strong and courageous. Getting the balance right is often tricky however…
So how can we bring this powerful centre into good balance and get it to serve our physical, mental and emotional health?
The SUN powers our planet and it powers us too. Simply standing outside and facing the sun, eyes closed, can be a great way to activate manipura, especially at this time of year as the daylight hours reduce and clouds predominate. Whatever the season and whenever you get the chance and the sun makes an appearance, get outside and allow those energising rays to soak into your solar plexus! Hopefully you will be standing tall in tadasana, elongating your spine and creating space in your upper abdomen which will immediately help you to feel more confident and positive.
And whilst you are outside enjoy some physical activity to suit you, walking, running, cycling, an outdoor sport, or gardening, etc. But beware, if your manipura is already overactive, don’t overdo it; if it’s already underactive, don’t push yourself too hard all at once. It’s a delicate balance.
Since this is the location of our digestive fire or AGNI, what we eat and how we eat are very important indeed for bringing us into balance. The science of Ayurveda is very helpful here but since it is a pretty complex area you will need to explore it in more detail for your own dosha type. However, generally speaking, it is good to eat the following: whole grains, legumes/pulses, certain spices (ginger, cumin and cinnamon) and yellow foods such as bananas, lemons, pineapples and cheese.
Postures which can activate manipura include the warriors, the sitting twist, the tiger, the bhima, the rotated triangle, the bow, the plank…
Fortunately we have lots of beautiful Dru yoga sequences to balance and/or activate this chakra: the Dru sun sequence, the inner fire sequence, the power sequence, the vitality sequence and the core power sequence. You can find many of these on the Dru online studio, https://druyoga.com/search/yoga-online/Inner%20fire
As for breathing practices, we can go back to basics with abdominal breathing or a more advanced technique is the kapalabhati or breath of fire which you can find on the online studio, YouTube or which you can learn in class with a teacher. Another very simple practice for creating more energy is to close the left nostril and breathe slowly in and out through the right nostril.
We can also use the surya mudra to bring the fire element into dominance. All we do is to bring the ring fingers into the palms of the hands placing the thumbs on top of them.
The following affirmations will definitely help support all of these practices:
- I am confident
- I am filled with enthusiasm
- I have the strength and determination I need right now
- I am filled with vibrant good health and wellbeing
- I have the energy I need to succeed
- I release judgement of others
- I stand fully in my power
- I trust and believe in myself
And finally, here is a fairly short meditation to help activate and balance manipura:
Find a comfortable sitting position settling your feet, legs and pelvis down into the floor or your chair with each out breath. Try to ensure that your pelvis is tilted forwards.
On your next in breath lengthen through the spine, creating space for all of your abdominal organs, and now maintain an upright spine in order to allow energy to flow and to keep you alert.
Take your awareness to your diaphragm noticing the movement of your abdomen as you breathe in and the diaphragm moves downwards; as you breathe out the abdomen subsides as the diaphragm moves upwards. Keep your awareness between the diaphragm and the navel in the solar plexus.
Now visualise the sun shining down on you and begin to feel the warmth and radiance of its rays in your solar plexus. See the bright golden yellow light intensifying with each in breath, the warmth and radiance are increasing. There is a source of great power within you...
And now with each out breath begin to expand this light, feel the warmth and radiance filling the whole of your torso, energising and empowering every single cell. Continue to allow the warmth, light and radiance to fill you, down into your legs and fee... upwards into your arms and hands… your neck and head. Take your time...
You are now filled with energising and empowering warmth and light. This may even begin to expand beyond your physical body into the space around you.
Sit in the light, warmth and radiance, feeling this immense source of power within you, filling you with confidence, passion and enthusiasm.
When you feel ready, bring your awareness into your heart… slowly begin to notice the rise and fall of your sternum, gradually deepening your breath.
Coming back into your physical body, arms, legs, hands, feet... take a gentle stretch and open you eyes when you feel ready.
OM SRI SURYAYA NAMAHA