Find the fire in your belly
We’ve moved up now, in our exploration of the chakras, to our 3rd chakra, the fire centre, Manipura.
This chakra is linked to our solar plexus, which can be a little misleading when it comes to it’s position. Our physical solar plexus can be found where the rib cage arches up. I know that other complementary therapies class this is as the fire centre, but, according to ancient yoga wisdom this is the position of another chakra altogether. In yoga the fire centre is to be found situated on the spine, level with the navel.
This chakra is the fire in your belly. Manipura is a main source of our energy. When it’s in balance we can expect good health, self confidence, creativity, dynamism and able to deal comfortably with pressure and stress. If you are challenged by poor health, low energy levels or exhaustion this is the chakra to focus on. Too much energy flowing through manipura, with no where to go, can cause anger, inflexibility and insensitivity (think about these phrases “I’ve had a belly full of this” “I can’t stomach this any more”), it’s time then to calm things down, go back to some grounding work and open the heart centre (the star of the next blog!).
Bright yellow is the colour associated with manipura, feel / visualise buttercup yellow radiating outwards from your navel, filling your torso, bringing strength & courage.
Working on our 3rd centre will also stoke the digestive fires, and should be the first port of call if you have digestive problems. In my experience all manner of digestive issues, from IBS to tummy upsets, from constipation to diarrhoea, indigestion and acid reflux, respond well to working on this chakra. Speak to your tutor if you need specific advice on any of these issues – we are all individuals and there is not a one size fits all answer sadly.
As always, in yoga, balance is key, and as this chakra is also closely linked to our adrenal glands, it’s important to get the balance right between raising energy, without burning out. We need to keep our batteries topped up. Use energising sequences such as sun sequence and Dru’s Vitality sequence to lift your energy, ensuring that you get an equal amount of relaxation time after.
Here’s a quick reminder of the classic sun sequence flow, check out any contra-indications and modifications with your tutor :
Settle in mountain pose, bring hands into namaste (palm press at heart). Inhale, taking arms up & over head.
Exhale as you fold into a forward bend.
Inhale, taking right leg back, lower into runner, chin up.
Exhale, as you lift into Dog.
Pausing your breath as you lower into the pose of 8 (toes, knees, chest & chin on the floor). Inhale as you slide into Cobra.
Coming back now! Exhale as you lift back into Dog. Inhale, moving left foot forward into runner. Exhale step left foot up so that you are in a forward bend. Inhale, uncurl into standing, arms up & over. Exhale back to the mountain with hands in namaste.
Now repeat on the other side.
Work up to 6 rounds and remember to relax fully after practice. Yoga tradition recommends that 6 rounds a day of sun sequence will keep you fit, healthy and full of energy.
Other great Manipura postures include the Warrior poses (use to give you energy, confidence & creativity), all the twists (great for digestion) and crocodile (calms things down!)
Give yourself some creative time every day too, it need only be a few minutes, but this is a great way of filling up your well. Be playful, do something you really enjoy. Think about what you liked doing as a child if you’re struggling for inspiration, that’s generally a good starting point.
Working on manipura will also help you develop / listen to your intuition. What does your gut tell you? Do you have a gut reaction to something? There’s a lot going on in the tummy that medical science is only starting to understand, the wisdom and intricacies of the digestive system, knowledge that Eastern philosophies have always tapped into.
Connecting with my fire centre
I hope you enjoy connecting with your fire energy, if it gets a little too hot and bothered though do give me a shout and I’ll help you to extinguish the flames! Love to hear your experiences so please do let me know, Ix