Whether you believe in or understand this the concept of chakras doesn’t matter – as it’s not about what a chakra is or isn’t; it’s about what it represents.
The Manipura Chakra, located at the solar plexus (just above the navel center) represents the element of fire, and links to ‘transformation’, digestion, and a feeling of personal power and inner & outer strength. When we connect to this place of power, we can more readily tap in to our own inner strength; enabling us to transform in to our most empowered self.
By recognising the ‘symptoms’ of a deficient or over-active chakra, we can learn what it is we might be able to do to enable ourselves to feel more balanced, happier, healthier and fulfilled in life. Again, it’s all about what these chakras represent that matters – so if you’re feeling like you need a little more inner power and a sense of self confidence, read on….
A Balanced Manipura Chakra
A person with a ‘balanced’ Manipura chakra shows signs of reliability, good self esteem and confidence, a warm personality, good sense of humour, spontaneity, self discipline, a sense of empowerment, and an ability to meet life’s challenges.
A Deficient Manipura Chakra
Someone with a weak solar plexus may exhibit low energy, low self esteem, poor self discipline, poor digestion, a reliance upon stimulants (eg, coffee, cigarettes, energy drinks etc), unreliability, and a tendency to blame others.
An Over-active Manipura Chakra
If you have a tendency towards being manipulative, aggressive, controlling, have a ‘fiery’ temper, are overly competitive, arrogant, ego-drive, reliant upon sedatives (eg alcohol or marijuana, or heavy foods), it’s likely you have an excessive or over active manipura chakra.
Recognise yourself in any of these three categories? There are lots of ways to become more balanced and therefore more emotionally and physically healthier….
Strengthening a Weak Manipura Chakra
Asanas (Yoga Postures):
- Navasana & Ardha Navasana
- Parivrtta Trikonasana
- Ardha Matsyendrasana
- Dhanurasana, Paschimottanasana
The combination of these poses helps to strengthen the area around the manipura chakra, and also aid in digestion. To build more strength through the center of the body, add mula bandha (a lift at the pelvic floor) while you practice.
- Kappalabhati / ‘Shining Skull Breath’; sitting up straight – take a big inhale through the nose, allowing the belly to expand. Exhale forcefully through the nose, drawing the belly in strongly. Allow the next inhale to come naturally and concentrate on the forceful exhale and drawing in the belly. Continue this at a fairly rapid pace for 10-20 rounds if you’re new to it, and more if you’ve practiced this before.
- Agni Sara / ‘Breath of Fire’; Similar to kappalabhati, but this time your inhales and exhales are both forceful, pressing the stomach out on the inhale and in on the exhale.
Off The Mat:
- Take risks; do something that scares you every day – even if that thing seems like a tiny accomplishment!
- Take control: Realise you are responsible for your own happiness or unhappiness. Spend time with people you love in places you enjoy, and realise who in your life is adding to your sense of inner power and who tends to try to take it
- Heart-pumping exercise like running or aerobics
- Core strength exercises
- Boost your confidence by doing something you love and are talented at – even better if you can share it with others or teach someone a new skill!
- Make a physical or mental list of all the things you’ve achieved at the end of each week – again, it doesn’t matter how ‘small’ the achievements may seem, it all counts!
To Aid Digestion:
- Cut down on sugar and stimulants
- Drink plenty of water
- Add cayenne pepper to foods to help metabolism and digestion
- Consume raw ginger before meals
- Drink a warm drink 20 minutes before a meal (Apple cider vinegar in warm water is amazing for helping with digestion)
- Drink less water at meal times; consuming cold water, especially with ice at a meal or straight afterwards slows down our metabolism and rate of digestion.
Calming an over-active Manipura Chakra:
Asanas (Yoga Postures):
- Upavistha Konasana
- Ananda Balasana
- Supta Baddha Konasana
- Sitali Breath: This is a very physically cooling, calming breath; if you can roll your tongue, do this while poking the tongue out of the mouth. As you inhale, draw air in through the rolled tongue and tilt the head up to the sky. Repeat a few times. If you can’t roll your tongue…. Take some long, deep breaths in and out through the nose, letting the exhale be a little longer than the inhale and allowing the belly to expand when you breathe in.
Off the Mat:
- Deep relaxation
- Having emotional contact with others
- Spending time in nature
- Cutting down on sedatives
- Spending time away from Technology
Trying any or many of these healing and balancing practices can help to bring the body and mind back in to a healthy state of balance; so if you need a boost of inner strength or if you feel your ‘fiery’ side is taking over a little, try them for yourself!