“Chakra,” in Sanskrit, translates to “wheel.” It implies a vehicle through which we perceive and believe as reality. Each chakra in our body corresponds to particular relationships we have had with others as well as our own physical organs, nervous system, senses, and body parts.
Our ability to see into the various dimensions of reality is reflected in the energetic ease or disease found in our relationships. The disease of feeling disconnected from oneself and others is often pervasive.
Now vision must not be confused with just the physical “seeing.” Rather, it’s the total awareness and consciousness we choose to exercise. And yoga helps us see the world as one and heal the disease of disconnection. A yogi attains clear vision by overcoming “avidya” or ignorance, which is a case of mistaken identity. Through the purification of perception, the radiant truth of the Cosmic Self is revealed, which is referred to as “Samadhi.”
How To Evolve Into The Samadhi Stage
Our present life is a result of our past actions or karmas. To purify the current life requires a purification of our karmas, which include thoughts, words, and deeds. All karmas are vibratory in nature like sounds. So all actions affect every aspect of the created manifestation, causing an altering of life itself. Resolving the past karmas will help conquer “avidya” and understand the truth about ourselves and others.
Yoga uses mantra and asana to help purify our relationships with others and ourselves. Every asana provides an opportunity to access and heal karmic relationships. Chanting a mantra while doing a particular asana can also help resolve past karmas.
What Is Manipūra Chakra?
Manipūra Chakra, the gem center, is at the level of the solar plexus. It is the seat of the fire within the body. Located at the navel, this is the chakra of the life force. It is also called Gorakhnath Nabhi-chakra because it is experienced within the Sushumna-Nadi at the center in the navel.
Manipura is related to the principle of sight. According to the Shiva Samhita, the adept who contemplates Manipūra Chakra not only conquers disease and death but also acquires the ability to enter another body.
Significance Of The Manipūra Chakra
After we have passed through the levels of unconscious and subconscious – the Mūlādhāra Chakra and the Svādishthāna Chakra – our consciousness reaches the third level, the Manipūra Chakra. With the realisation of the Manipūra Chakra, the aspirant reaches an important stage on the spiritual path. Under the guidance of a Realised Master, the aspirant can attain the goal of Supreme Consciousness in this lifetime. You complete more than half of your journey toward realization once you reach this Chakra.
Heated reactions such as rage, anger, and aggression also draw energy from the Manipūra Chakra and as a result weaken it.
On a physical level, the function of this Chakra is similar to that of a fireplace. When we put wood into the grate, the flames are fed; but when the wood is almost gone, the fire will gradually die. The “firewood” for our digestive fire (Jatharāgni) is the food that we eat. The foods that have a strong, positive vibration are grains, nuts, fruit, and vegetables. So just as bad wood does not burn well, food of a lesser quality also generates less power and poorer health.
When the energy of our food is not properly absorbed, utilized, and distributed in the Manipūra Chakra, we feel tired, weak, and ill. But with an active Manipūra Chakra, the body gets sufficient energy, even if we have only eaten or slept a little. This is why the Chakra is the most important energy center for our physical well-being.
Reflection In The Manipūra Chakra
The Moon in the Bindu extracts nectar that falls down to manipura, where it is being annihilated. But if Manipura is awakened, the energy of this nectar goes back to the brain, rejuvenating the whole body. There is no longer aging. The blockage of the third chakra manifests as a lack of material safety.
This is a great opportunity to reflect upon the food we have eaten and the other animal beings we may have harmed in the false hope of feeling stronger or healthier through their enslavement, harm, or death. Acknowledge your selfishness and ask others for forgiveness, and also forgive yourself for causing others harm.
Vow to do your best not to cause others harm in the future. The need to hurt others comes from a lack of self-esteem and a disconnection from life itself. This manifests as fear and plays out in our own fear of death, insecurity, and lack of true self-confidence – all of which stems from “avidya.”
The third chakra also anchors into our past: the beliefs and family karma passed down to us from our heritage. We may be trying to solve the challenges of an ancestor or a parent rather than walking our own path and soul development. Healing work with Manipura chakra is essential if we are to recognize and acknowledge family patterns and move on with our evolution.
This chakra is a center of physical and material strength, the center of will and dynamism, with emphasis on ruling over the lower regions. Its exact location is 2 inches above the navel. When it is not blocked, Manipura manifests itself in the increased sense of self-esteem, clear vision of one’s own meaning of existence and in the realization that dreams other people find impossible can indeed be fulfilled. The Spiritual becomes the basis of all life activities. There are no longer secrets about the physical body and no illnesses. The Moon in the Bindu extracts nectar that falls down to manipura, where it is being annihilated. But if Manipura is awakened, the energy of this nectar goes back to the brain, rejuvenating the whole body. There is no longer aging. The blockage of the third chakra manifests as a lack of material safety.
Unlocking The Heart’s Desires
Manipura chakra is imperative for developing will and a dynamic approach to achieving the “desires” of this lifetime. One acquires a spiritual perspective through the awakening of this chakra. With the balancing of the energy of Manipura, we also learn to bypass old karmas (having dealt with them in the first two chakras).
The power center is important for the creation of peace, generosity, and balance and not a way to develop purely self-gratifying skills or things like sex, money, social popularity via fame, etc.
Our consciousness can finally move from resolving old issues to achieving our heart’s desires, and the glorious possibilities of becoming fully human – that is, a spiritual being temporarily residing in a case of flesh. Many people start to develop the psyche to an extent that they become psychic, unlocking siddhis (special powers) associated with the full blossoming of this energy center. While becoming attached to an advanced level of intuitive powers is a blessing of an awakened Manipura chakra, it can also lead to a stagnation of developing one’s powers, since money, sex, and power start to come easily to a person with a developed “fire in their belly.”
Blocked, Open, And Under-Active Manipūra Chakra
Blocked Manipūra Chakra
A misaligned Manipura Chakra can cause problems in the adrenals, nerve tissue, skin, liver, spleen, pancreas and kidneys, arthritis. It can also cause hiatal hernia, anorexia, body pH, menopausal flushing, and eating disorders.
If the chakra is closed, feelings will be blocked. A person might not feel anything and would not understand the deeper meanings of emotions, and might not be connected to his/her greater purpose. Ulcers, diabetes, and/or hypoglycemia are related to this Chakra. Physical pain here stems from overuse.
Many healers believe that this center, if afflicted and out of balance, can cause people to be crazy about power and want to control everything and everyone around them.
A blocked Manipura Chakra manifests as the following:
- Feeling unexpressive
- Not doing what you truly want in life
- Feeling like others have control over your destiny
- Feeling lethargic and depressed
- Having an over-active Solar-plexus Chakra
- Being judgmental or critical
- Having extreme emotional problems and being very rigid or stubborn
- Have extreme anger/aggression
- Being a workaholic
- Having perfectionist tendencies (obsessive, never satisfied)
Open Manipūra Chakra
The functions of digestion, assimilation, and metabolism all work together in harmony. Someone with a strong Manipura Chakra will be able to use their feet swiftly, for example, good dancers.
Self-definition, ego identity, vitality, spontaneity, self-esteem are the defining features. There is a feeling of being “home” wherever one is. There is also a sense of strength from the center of the body, and this creates a sense of belonging everywhere.
Under-Active Manipūra Chakra
This manifests as follows:
- Severe emotional problems
- Doubt and mistrust toward others in your life
- Worrying too much about what other people might think about you
- Avoiding feelings of depression or anxiety
- Feeling afraid or alone when you start to look at what you have been avoiding
- Feeling that you are not good enough
- Seeking constant approval from others and thus constantly depending on others
The physical symptoms are poor digestion, weight problems, ulcers, diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, arthritis, pacreas, liver or kidney problems, anorexia, bulimia, hepatitis, intestinal tumours, colon disease
Healing Visualizations For Manipūra Chakra
- Visualize your breath moving in and out of you and chant the sound “Ram.”
- Visualize a golden sunflower or lotus, whichever is the easiest for you. Watch it rise to the sun and feel that same sensation with your solar plexus as it rises to the sun and stretches your spine and torso up as high as possible. Inhale as you do this. Exhale and relax, and repeat.
- Visualize the color of the sun, bright yellow at noon, streaming into your solar plexus and radiating out to your entire body with warmth and light.
- Take a walk and feel your feet firmly rooted to the earth and how healthy they are. As you walk, breathe slowly and watch your breath as you walk. Try to bring your breathing together with every step you take and count how many steps you can inhale, without any tension at all. Once you have done that, double the steps for exhalation. Continue to do this until you feel exhilarated.
- Sit in front of a candle flame and watch the flame. Close your eyes and try to visualize that same flame in your solar plexus down to your navel and up again through the trunk of your body.
Asanas For Manipūra Chakra
- While practicing various twisting asanas (ardha matsyendrasana, parivritta parsvakonasana, or paschasana), go to the Karmic root of the imbalance and disconnect associated with this chakra. To do this, focus on other beings in your life who you may have hurt and ask for their forgiveness. As you inhale, silently say, “Please forgive me for my selfishness and the pain I have caused you…” and on the exhale, silently say, “…due to my own ignorance of who I really am and who you really are.”
- Inhale while silently saying, “Please forgive me…” and exhale while silently naming that person.
- Inhale silently saying, “I give up the love of power…” and exhale silently saying, “…for the power of love.” Progress into a deeper contemplation and karmic purification incorporating breath and sound by chanting the Bija mantra, “Ram,” silently on the inhale and exhale, or out loud on the exhale while remaining in the asana.
Features Of Manipūra Chakra
This chakra is described as having five-fold whirls (pancha-varta) and appearing in the form of a five-times-coiled serpent (sarpa-vat kundala-kara). Within this chakra, Kundalini-Shakti reveals Herself with the brilliance of a crore of morning suns (balarka-koti-sadrishi) and enjoys a special bliss of union with Shiva. This is a higher plane of spiritual union between Shiva and Shakti than Muladhara and Swadhisthana.
The chakra’s vital breath is Samana. Samana vayu is one of the currents of prana, the life force, which pervades all limbs and is responsible for nourishing the body by distributing food as rasa. The presiding deity of this chakra, Braddha Rudra, represents the power of destruction. All that exists returns to him. He has camphor-blue skin smeared with ashes and a silver beard and sits in his wrathful form on a golden tiger skin. The tiger represents manas, the mind. Rudra is he who causes the disappearance of sorrow or who bestows knowledge.
The energy generated by him is Lakini Shakti—four-armed and three-faced. In one hand, she holds the thunderbolt, or vajra. In her second hand, she holds the arrow that is shot from the bow of Kama, the Lord of Sex, in the second chakra. Her third hand holds fire. With the fourth hand, Lakini Shakti forms the mudra (hand gesture) of granting boons and dispelling fear. The chakra’s associated animal is the ram, vehicle of the fire-god Agni.
The symbolic picture of the Manipura Chakra is a lotus with ten petals. These represent the ten Pranas, the vital forces, which control and nourish all functions of the human body. An additional symbol of the Manipura is that of a fiery red triangle with its tip pointing downward. This indicates the spreading of energy, growth and development.
It depicts the fire element. Through this element, manifested energy is given a form. The inverted triangle depicts downward energy. It obstructs the upward flow of energy until it is pierced. The first knot Brahma Granthi is found in this Chakra.
Location Of The Manipūra Chakra
Some people call this the solar plexus Chakra, but Sri Yukteswar places it in the area of the lumbar plexus, which is where the navel is found. The solar plexus is called the “belly brain” in ancient books. The books also mention that the solar plexus is like the counterpart of the brain, and that there is, literally, a gray mass of matter that looks like the brain in this area of the body.
Translation Of Manipūra: Jewel City
- Puranic: Nabhi chakra
- Tantric: Manipura, manipuraka, dashapatra, dashadala padma, dashapatrambuja, dashachchada, nabhipadma, and nabhipankaja
Bija Mantra: RAM
Associated Age: 14–21 years old
Element Color: Orange-Red
Musical Tone: E (Mi)
Organs: Stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas, and intestines
Number Of Petals: 10 (bluish, like a rain cloud)
Key Word: Confidence
Lessons: Fear of rejection, self-esteem, sensitivity to criticism, distorted self-image, and fear of your “secrets being found out”
Imbalances: Manifest as poor decisions, poor concentration, trouble taking action and getting things done, and an inability to judge a situation accurately; feelings that you are more or less than other people
Essential Oils: Juniper, lavender, bergamot, rosemary, peppermint, bougainvillea, frangipani, ylang-ylang, cedar, and clove
Flower Essences: Aspen, bergamot, grapefruit, honeysuckle, chamomile, yarrow, vetivert, petigrain, peppermint, lemon juniper, and marjoram
Crystal Therapy/Stones: Amber, gold, yellow or citrine topaz, tiger’s eye, gold calcite, gold, peridot, yellow tourmaline, laguna agate, labradorite, howlite, chalcedony, morganite, heliodor, yellow sapphire, malachite, jasper, citrine, golden berly, and rhodochrosite
Third Chakra Foods: Grains, pasta, bread, granola, cereal, flax seed, rice, and sunflower seeds; dairy foods like milk, yogurt and cheese; and spices such as ginger, mint, chamomile, cumin, turmeric, and fennel
Relationship: Others (forgive yourself for hurting others)