Chakra Series – Manipura Chakra
How we digest the world and the cosmic energy or vitality we attain from it as well as how we digest our food and how well we convert it into physical energy and sustenance.
Manipura is our inner reservoir of energy that gives us the power and energy to sing our heart’s true song. The health of the Manipura Chakra is important to our whole wellbeing as this centre feeds all the others with prana (cosmic energy or life force). People with weak solar plexus chakras are prey to insecurity, low self-esteem and can be easily manipulated by authority figures, even when they may know in their heart of hearts that this is not in their own best interests. There is also the opposite end of the spectrum, some people may become defiant and reject an authority of any kind. The result is a lack of trust in people, even those who want to help them.
The fire in your belly will awaken your enthusiasm and give you the emotional warmth that will be felt by those around you. The Manipura chakra provides us with the energy upon which a healthy personality depends. It is the nature of the Solar plexus chakra to align us with our true authentic self and free us from our past experiences that may have interfered with our heart’s true song. It’s about authenticity and releasing ourselves from any self-built or conditioned prisons. Our experiences shape us but do not have to define us. Realising our inherent power and liberating ourselves from limiting belief systems.
Strong will and drive are qualities of a healthy Manipura chakra, no longer being a victim of circumstance. We realise we might be the cause of our circumstance and therefore also the cure. We build and can knock down our own walls. Break free from any self-built prisons and recognise your own strong healing intelligence. Some are born into misfortune (victimisation does exist) but dwelling on it increases powerlessness. To increase power we must overcome inertia. Feeling stuck can sometimes come from the intellectually enforced will either being too overbearing and not getting want we tell ourselves we should have or by feeling victimised. There are some things beyond our control. We cannot change where we’ve been but we can change where we’re going.
This energy centre is about our right to think, act and make choices that are in alignment with our own personal truth and seeing these decisions through with positive action. A major theme of this centre is transformation. Its element is fire. A symbol strongly connected with change, the legend of the phoenix being a potent example. The journey of aligning with our true nature is an ongoing process as our truth is ever changing; we grow and go through our personal metamorphosis continually throughout our lives. Daily our bodies cells are dying and cells are reborn so even on this cellular level we are reminded of this constant rebirthing.
Healing Manipura Chakra
Wear, eat and surround yourself in the colour yellow.
When we feel powerless or stuck in repetitive thought/emotional patterns sometimes this can be remedied by handing over our ‘stuff’ to cosmic will. Hand that $#!t over! Send it out to the universe, a higher power or just even write it on a piece of paper and burn it safely in a container and watch the issue turn to ash. Why bog yourself down with ‘stuff’. Keep going forward and just deal with what’s going on in present time. If you have some big stuff, I would most certainly suggest finding a suitable therapist or counsellor to guide you professionally through your journey of healing.
Castor oil packing
This is a practice that is great for soothing an overworked liver. This is a trait of Manipura Chakra dysfunction.
– Boil the kettle and fill up a hot water bottle.
– Place a good glug of castor oil on a piece of clean cloth (a flannel or tea towel will do but perhaps not your favourite as castor oil is hard to get out).
– Place the cloth over your liver on the right side of your body below your right ribs. Wrap yourself up tightly with clingfilm around your torso (weird I know but you’ll feel ace after), 2-3 layers will do.
– Wear an old jumper or loose t-shirt and lie back with your feet up for 45 mins with the hot water bottle over the cloth.
– Have a shower or just bathe the area afterwards, just to wash the smell of castor oil off. It’s not super unpleasant but you don’t want it getting on your clothes.
This is best done 3-4 days in a row if you need an intense cleanse then 2 x a week for maintenance. I get the best results with 3-4 consecutive days. My skin and eyes are much brighter when I do this. Just see what works for you.
Sit comfortably or lie on your back, somewhere you’ll be undisturbed for at least 15 minutes. Take a few deep breaths.
Visualise yourself in a forest, with the earthy smell of the trees and the strong ground beneath you. Somewhere in the distance, you can hear the sound of a flowing stream nearby. There is a gentle breeze and the sun is trickling through the leaves and branches, making the space around you glitter with rays of light. Spend a little time exploring the forest.
Now pick somewhere to build a fire and then go out looking for sticks to put on it to keep it burning bright. As you pick up these sticks notice words on them. These words are whatever you feel is in the way of your heart’s true song…for example; inertia, low self-esteem, the past, worry, anxiety or people pleasing. These words will be personal to you. Spend some time on this and see what comes up.
Then throw all these sticks on the roaring fire and watch as they turn to ash. As the fire dies down a gust of wind blows on the ash. Watch as all the things that held you back are scattered away leaving you with the clarity and freedom to move on towards your goals and your truth. Walk back through the forest to where you began but now a new person free from the bondage of old. Wallow in this fresh liberation of spirit and breathe deep.
Twists are great to stimulate this centre in the body. You can choose your favourite ones to add to your practice. Here’s one example to get you started.
Half Lord of the Fishes pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
– Sit on your mat with both legs straight out in front. Feel your breath- that sacred flow of life within your body. Connect to present time.
– Bend your right knee and place your foot flat on the floor, to the inside or outside of your left thigh, whichever feels best.
– Inhale and lift your left arm up towards the sky, exhale and cross your elbow to the outside of your right knee. Take your right hand behind your sacrum at your lower back. Keep your right elbow soft. Inhale and straighten up, exhale twist a little more to the right.
– Keep inhaling growing 2 inches taller and exhaling twisting to the right but make sure you are not twisting from your hips. You want your right hip coming slightly forward as your right shoulder goes back. The hips must be stable to keep the pose safe. Let it come from your solar plexus.
– You may like to visualise a warm yellow light glowing at your solar plexus. Let it grow brighter with every breath, feel its warmth radiate through your whole body and being. Feed this inner light with every inhale and exhale.
– Spend 5-10 breaths here and repeat on the other side.
Read our previous Chakra series blog, the Svadhistana Chakra here.
Rebecca Keenaghan is a yoga teacher who works with AdventureYogi on our retreats in the UK and abroad. When she isn’t teaching her pearls of wisdom to AdventureYogi guests she is teaching her own classes in North London.