Building on the last post and drawing on more info from this Yoga Journal article, let’s explore the Manipura chakra, or this third of seven energy centers. This one resides in the navel, belly, and digestive system.
“This chakra is involved in self-esteem, warrior energy, and the power of transformation; it also governs digestion and metabolism. A healthy, spirited third chakra supports us in overcoming inertia, jump-starting our ‘get-up-and-go’ attitude so that we can take risks, assert our will, and assume responsibility for our life. This chakra is also the place of our deep belly laughter, warmth, ease, and the vitality we receive from performing selfless service. Sensible risk-taking is one way of gaining confidence and flexing your third chakra power muscles. Risks may involve confrontation, setting limits, or asking for what we need—all ways of reclaiming our power.”
I love the idea of warrior energy. The wonderful Christen Bakken taught me during my kids yoga teacher training years ago that warrior two pose is the pose where you fill the whole mat, fill the whole room, and your soul shouts out “I am strong!” This assertion of power in our lives, in standing up for ourselves, in loving ourselves, in believing in ourselves- this is life changing!
From the label of my Manipura candle: “Protection: this chakra holds the ‘chi’ or life force or personal power, shielding negative influences. It leads to your own unique gift in work, art, and service, bringing harmony to your life.”
I love the idea of how when we are in a seat of power in our own lives, it creates a shield to keep out those who would rain on our parade, to keep out self-doubt and discouragement, to keep the power and fire within us shining bright.
As with all chakras, this third chakra can be deficient, balanced, or excessive. If it’s deficient, you might have digestive issues, low self-esteem, feel like a victim, feel disempowered, or feel like you frequently need re-nergizing. If it’s excessive, you might experience perfectionism, anger, hatred, and too much emphasis on power, status, and recognition.
To bring balance into your third chakra, practice the fiery poses that fan your inner fire and strengthen your core: boat, half boat, quarter boat, leg lifts, warrior poses, twists, and breath of fire. “Restorative, passive backbends that cool off the belly’s fire act as calming agents for third chakra excess” so try laying over a pillow in an gentle arched savasana.
Ana Forrest teaches that the core is the seat of the body’s power. “Forrest Yoga teaches you to connect to your core, to be strong and centered…. with intense core sequences and long holds of poses that generate heat and heighten the senses.” When we work the belly, we are taking out the trash, finding the joy and spirit in life, and emotionally healing ourselves.
The outcome? More genuine energy and relaxation, “to listen to what our body requires and to truly nourish ourselves,” and to feel real personal power.