Exploring the Chakras: The Solar Plexus – Manipura Chakra
The manipura chakra, also known as the solar plexus chakra, is the third chakra in the tantric seven chakra system. In Ayurveda, this chakra is deeply connected with the seat of agni or your digestive fire, which plays a significant role in not only the digestion of food but also of emotions, thoughts, and sensory impressions.
The strength of the manipura chakra is vital for balancing the entire body and mind and can provide you with the confidence and inner stability to achieve anything you set your mind to. Balancing the manipura chakra involves a deep process of tending to your inner fire on a physical, mental, and emotional level so that you can shine your radiant light forward in everything you do.
The Basics of the Manipura Chakra
The word “mani” means gem, and “pura” means city. So, the word manipura means city of gems or lustrous gem in Sanskrit. The correct pronunciation for this word is “maṇipūra” or “man-e-poo-rah.”
The manipura chakra is the seat of your inner fire or agni in Ayurveda, also known as your digestive fire. This chakra is also the primary location of samana vayu, one of the 5 primary winds in the body that moves prana and energy. See below for a brief summary of the main details of the solar plexus chakra.
Physical Location: A few inches above the navel
Seed Sound: Ram ( रं )
Mudra: Matangi Mudra
Action: Digestion, absorption
Organs: Pancreas, liver, digestive tract, skin, and central nervous system
Deity: Rudra, Vishnu, and Lakshmi
Symbol: Ten-petaled lotus flower
Stone: Citrine, Amber, Tiger’s Eye, Yellow Jasper, Yellow Topaz, Yellow Tourmaline, and Sunstone
The Development of the Manipura Chakra
The sacral chakra first develops between the age of 18 months to 4 years. During this stage of life, children are just beginning to discover their independence and land on their own two feet in the world. As they start to explore the balance between dependence, independence, and interdependence, there is a significant risk of developing shame, which can hinder this process.
The manipura chakra is deeply connected with confidence and learning to take responsibility for your own life and own your direction. It is common to go through this developmental process many times in life, beginning as a toddler and then repeating this differentiation process in puberty, at the age of 18, and again in adulthood. The balance of the manipura chakra is truly a process of discovering, connecting to, and finding confidence in your true self.
The Emotions & Energetics of the Manipura Chakra
The manipura chakra is the primary place of your inner fire, and due to this deep connection, it plays a major role in the strength and vitality of your inner light. When your manipura chakra is blocked, you may begin to feel issues around confidence, clarity, discipline, or internal power.
On a deeper level, the manipura chakra is where you begin to see yourself as separate yet also connected with everything around you. You gradually start to understand your independence and autonomy in the world, which plays a significant role in your self-esteem.
The strength of your inner fire directly determines the state of your physical health; it can either be radiant, or it can be diminished and struggle to thrive. When your fire is strong, you will also have a profound inner clarity and sight, helping you to make clear decisions and understand your path in life.
How to Identify When Your Solar Plexus Chakra is Out of Balance
The solar plexus chakra is directly connected with your digestive system, so you may struggle with digestive issues physically, mentally, and emotionally when it is out of balance. Your inner fire can be purifying, but when this fire is too intense, it may lead to anger and aggression, whereas when it is diminished, it may lead to low self-esteem or weakness.
By cultivating a balanced inner fire, you can access true radiance and clarity of inner vision. See below for the primary signs that your manipura chakra is out of balance:
Mental, Emotional, & Spiritual Signs:
• Low self-esteem
• Overly critical, stubborn, or controlling
• Difficulty making decisions
• Lack of confidence
• Anger or aggression
• Unhealthy attachments
• Lack of direction
• Weight gain
• Digestive issues
• Blood sugar imbalance
• Eating disorders
• Sluggish liver
• Circulatory disease
Have you noticed any of these signs or symptoms in your life? Cultivating your inner fire and balancing your manipura chakra is essential for mental, physical, and spiritual health. Thankfully, there are many ways that you can begin this exciting process and allow your inner light to shine its radiance forward.
5 Nourishing Ways to Balance Your Manipura Chakra
1. Practice Enlivening Yoga Asana
Yoga practices for the manipura chakra typically focus on stimulating the abdomen and energizing the entire body. Vinyasa yoga is terrific for the manipura chakra due to its naturally heating nature. However, it is still essential to take time to restore your nervous system through calming yoga practices as well. Uddiyana bandha or the abdominal lock is also an excellent practice to stimulate the manipura chakra.
Yoga Poses for the Manipura Chakra:
• Plank Pose (Phalakasana)
• Forward Fold Pose (Paschimottanasana)
• Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
• Boat Pose (Navasana)
• Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
• Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II)
• Twisted Triangle Pose (Parivritta Trikonasana)
• Child’s Pose (Balasana)
• Wind Releasing Pose (Apanasana)
• Supine Spinal Twist Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana)
2. Meditate on the Manipura Chakra
Meditation naturally awakens your inner light and fans the flames of the manipura chakra, but there are also some particular meditation practices that can be wonderfully cleansing for this chakra. Besides the typically suggested mantra meditation practices, the manipura chakra can also greatly benefit from the practice of trataka or candle-gazing. This meditation practice is cleansing for the eyes and can also help you connect deeper with the element of fire.
Visualization meditations are also excellent for the manipura chakra, particularly visualizations that involve fire, movement, or awakening inner confidence and power. Affirmations are also vital for the manipura chakra to build confidence and inner strength.
3. Ignite the Power of Prana
Any breathing practice that utilizes your abdomen is essentially to build prana while also stimulating the manipura chakra and balancing your entire body, mind, and soul. Other breathing techniques that enable your abdomen and manipura chakra are kapalabhati and bhastrika.
Balancing your inner fire is a delicate process of knowing when to increase your heat while also tempering the flames with cooling practices when necessary. If your manipura chakra is weak, try heating breathing practices, such as surya bhedna and ujjayi. But if your manipura chakra is overactive, try cooling breathing practices such as sheetali.
4. Harmonize Your Subtle Body Through Sound
When using mantras or sound to balance your manipura chakra, the best approach is to work on energizing and enlivening this chakra. Fire is a bright and creative force, and music to match can be fantastic for this chakra. But it is also important to remember not to burn out and always rest and replenish as needed.
The solfeggio frequency that harmonizes this chakra center is at 528 hertz, so listening to music or Tibetan singing bowls at this frequency can be profoundly healing. See below for the top affirmations and mantras for the solar plexus chakra:
• Gayatri Mantra – “Om Bhur Bhuvaḥ Swaḥ Tat-savitur Vareñyaṃ Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi Dhiyo Yonaḥ Prachodayāt”
• I am full of confidence and clarity.
• I can achieve anything I set my mind to.
• I stand in my inner power.
5. Feed Your Inner Fire or Agni
Your digestive fire is the most important thing to cultivate to achieve optimum health and a balanced manipura chakra. To begin to balance your inner fire, the most crucial step is to eat an organic, natural, whole-food diet filled with many vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables along with healthy fats, proteins, and grains.
See below for some additional tips for balancing your digestive fire and making your agni thrive:
• Avoid cold foods and drinks; opt for warm and nourishing options instead
• Limit overeating, and try to eat your meals mindfully without any distractions
• Avoid spicy foods, especially if your digestive fire is too hot
• Decrease snacking between meals
• Try to eat your meals at a set time every day
• Make lunch your largest meal between noon and 2pm
• Eat a piece of fresh ginger, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of salt 20mins before your meals
Your manipura chakra directly connects to your inner fire. When this fire is strong, it can purify you and bolster your inner self to thrive in whatever you do. But when this fire is weak, you can feel diminished, weak, and may struggle to connect with your inner light. Your inner light is never gone completely, though; you just need to fan the flames a bit more.
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