Manipura: Follow the Sun
The sun is our source of power - inner and outer energy. Earth and our lives revolve around it. We come alive when we feel it’s heat. It’s solstice is a benchmark for religious celebrations worldwide. It’s the most important star in the sky. This same sun energy exists, spinning and glowing within us. Manipura, the Third Chakra, our own “lustrous gem” of light. When we activate this chakra, igniting the fire of our own sun energy, it shines light on all our shadows and allows us to fully step into our power.
Located between the navel and breastbone, the Manipura relates to our willpower, ego, and self-esteem. All three of which are so closely related. As Kartar Khalsa put it 2 weeks back, “As we believe, so we see.” The stories we tell ourselves are important to this chakra. Self deprecating thoughts are its enemy as they do nothing but deplete its energy and dim our shine. Using self-love and acceptance as your building blocks for Third Chakra activation allows you to live a lighter life in a brighter universe inside and out.
When your Third Chakra is open and active decision making comes naturally, you’re in control, you’re able to stand up for what you believe in with strength and confidence, reaching for goals leads you to reaching your goals. You radiate warmth. The light you shine encourages others to step into their own. That's why keeping ego in check is so crucial to this chakra. As you start to step into your power, be cautious of judgmental behavior and perfectionism.
As I’m sure you can piece together yourself, when your Third Chakra energy is low, you feel a lack of confidence, you may wonder too much about what other people think of you, or feel like you’re not good enough, which can lead to you seeking approval outside of yourself.
The beauty of the Manipura is that it gives us the power of choice. Everything we experience is internal. All of our happiness, all of our joy, our pain, our pleasure, our love, our sorrow, comes from the inside. At any moment we can choose love. We can choose light. We can choose to heal. We can use our own sun energy to ignite our souls and cultivate the strength to choose freely only what serves our higher purpose.
Accept that you have the power to choose. “Use your gut.” The feeling you get when you know something is wrong, or when you know you’ve found what’s right for you, that is your sun lighting your own path. Follow it. Trust it. Radiate and continue to light it up.
Any asanas that heats up your own solar energy will serve you well in brightening your soul shine. Some of the solar focused sequence we explored in class: Virabhadrasana 1, 2 & 3 (the warriors), Surya namaskar A & B (sun sals), Ustrasana (camel), Parighasana (gate) and a plethora of planks. In these poses notice any tendency to flee from your own power by releasing too soon. Explore them to your edge while you remain the witness. See yourself fully empowered and complete in each moment. Visualize a radiant golden sun within, and allow your breath to kindle your own inner flame.
Bhastrika, or Bellows Breath, is a powerful pranayam to ignite your inner fire. This breath consists of forceful inhales and exhales into the belly. Inhaling forcefully and rapidly as the belly rises or expands out, and exhaling forcefully and rapidly as the belly pulls in toward the spine. Think of a fireplace bellow, how you pump it forcefully to fan the flame. Turn that vision within and fan your own flame with the breath - with life.
Wearing or meditating on yellow, the color of the Solar Plexus, can also bring about a calming balance. Think of the summer sun. A sunflower. Surround yourself with yellow candles, etc... These bright vibe visions will start to work their way inside and create some warmth in your sun center. If you need a deep reboot and have the space, try starting and staring into a campfire. Write down some things on a piece of paper that you’d like to release from your life to throw into the flames, freeing space to invite in new intentions that brighten your shine. After your intentions of release, write down what you’d like to invite in and throw it in the flame as well; let this one inspire the ignition of your soul.
The Bija Mantra for the Third Chakra is RAM (soft a). As you chant this mantra think of the sun glowing and growing in between the breastbone and the navel. As your inner being starts to fill up with the light of 1000 suns, start to focus on radiating, projecting that light outward to illuminate the desired path for yourself so you can step powerfully in that direction. As you light up your world, know you’re lighting up others. By changing ourselves, we’re already making a difference on this Earth through what we bring into it. So shine on sunshines!
Your Agni, your digestive fire for all aspects of life resides here, so what we physically digest is extra important in maintaining Third Chakra balance. Foods that’ll feed your Solar Plexus are: bananas, grains - bread, pastas, quinoa, rice, and sunflower seeds. If you’re not full vegan, dairy can do your solar center a solid too; try working in some cheese and yogurt. Spice things up with turmeric, ginger, chamomile, cumin and mint. As always, keeping with the yellow vibrational balance will also serve the Solar Chakra. An easy everyday way to work in the yellows are lemons in your water (and drink it at room temperature). With these Solar Chakra meals, make sure you’re settled when you eat and minimize raw foods as they’re harder to digest than those that’re cooked.
I’d like to leave you with some things to say aloud that will help your Solar Chakra shine, affirmations. All these little bits of love and light are your essence, as you chant these truths, claim them, strengthen yourself in them, step further into you.
This coming Saturday at Sat Nam Yoga Chicago we’ll be stepping into our Heart Center, Anahata. Our intention will be to love, to compassionately understand, to forgive, and we’ll be starting with ourselves. I hope to see your smiles there.
Choose love, choose light, follow the sun and shine on!
Sat Nam & Namaste
Favorite Third Chakra Crystals: Red Tigers Eye, Amber, Citrine