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Chakra 3 – Manipura (Solar Plexus)

ManipuraManipura is the Sanskrit term meaning ‘city of jewels’. It relates to the element of fire and the colour yellow or gold and is often depicted symbolically as a bright glowing Sun. Likewise in the same way that the Sun radiates heat and light throughout the solar system, manipura chakra radiates and distributes heat and prana throughout the entire human body and energy system. Manipura chakra s the centre of our personal power, vitality, dynamism and willpower. It provides our being with confidence, the energy to endure and the self worth and motivation to see projects through to their completion.

Anatomically it is situated just above and behind the navel and governs the solar plexus of nerves and pancreas gland, which control the digestive fires and metabolism of the body, transforming food into energy and heat (Solar means Sun). Manipura is also responsible for the functioning of the related organs involved, such as the liver, gallbladder, spleen and stomach. Key processes of manipura chakra then are extraction, detoxification, digestion and metabolism.

If we look at the Liver and Gallbladder it best explains the underlying functions of manipura chakra on a spiritual and physical level. Chinese medicine calls the Liver the General who makes the plans and the Gall Bladder the ‘decision maker’, which means our ability to organize, plan and make decisions is down to the well-being of the Liver and Gall bladder. So the health of manipura chakra is vital for our self esteem and achievement because it provides us with a life plan, a sense of purpose and direction. The Liver also processes food from the stomach and intestines, extracting what is essential and discarding what is not and neutralising toxins along the way. This fundamental detoxification process of the Liver makes manipura chakra an important and popular focal point in any yoga class involved with detoxing and clarifying.

The organ of activity for manipura is the eyes and the sense power associated with it is sight. Manipura however provides clarity and the function of sight at every level of our being, which includes not only our eyesight but also seeing in the form of knowing and discrimination, in the light of awareness and clarity of our thoughts. We can literally see the vitality of this chakra reflected through the sparkle in the eyes or lack of it.

Alongside mooladhara, manipura chakra is also linked to the function of the adrenal glands and in working with the immune system to ward off stress and maintain a healthy immunity and defense system against disease. Stress is said to have quite an impact on manipura chakra and is often felt as a tightening of the solar plexus area, especially if the ego personality feels a loss of control, as power and control are the central issues of this commanding chakra (often nicknamed the general, as is the liver, its governing organ).

It is sometimes easier to identify the symptoms of a chakra when it is unbalanced because symptoms then go to polar extremes and become more clearly defined. If manipura chakra becomes volatile, symptoms may show as excessive heat in the body, high blood pressure, hot flushes and sweating, and our character may become more aggressive and domineering in seeking power over others and trying to control. Fortunately there is nobility to manipura chakra, which can more easily assume the responsibility that comes with power. It has the discriminative powers to recognize its own shortcomings in being pushy sometimes and also the strength to change quickly and harness their drives in support of others needs. If stress causes manipura to go under active instead of overactive, we may experience the opposing symptoms in lack of body heat, low blood pressure, feeling cold all the time, apathy, lacking self esteem and the ability to assert and commit ourselves.

When manipura is strong and healthy, its natural fire will radiate confidence, warmth, well-being and friendliness throughout our being. Being related to light, fire and sight, the mind becomes clearer and our thoughts and actions become more organized. We feel in control of ourselves and our lives, being more able to make decisions quickly and extract the essential meaning from what is being said to us, or from the situations going on around us. The Sun is often symbolized as a male energy, a warm hearted natural leader and positive centre of influence and someone who has a healthy manipura chakra will noticeably demonstrate these very same qualities in their personality. They are usually well respected and well liked.

The life lesson given to this chakra and to activate its higher potential is in handling power for the betterment of humanity. Power is a quality of this chakra and power is a quality most easily given to given to this personality. It requires strength and vision to handle power correctly and fortunately manipura chakra is blessed with both these qualities. They naturally assume the responsibility that comes with power, however it can also be abused especially with a weakened mooladhara chakra creating insecurity and stronger leanings towards material attachments and desire for power. This then brings out the worst in this charismatic energy and character, making them manipulative, pushy and persuasive but to their own ends yet often guised under the false pretense of altruistic causes. We can see this awful trait in some politicians who will say almost anything to obtain influence and power.

All the chakras create a connection with other people and the world around us, but whereas mooladhara chakra provides this connection in a tribal and dependent sense of belonging to them, and swadhisthanas emphasis on our personal relationships, manipura energy is more about the power of individuality and our unique relationship to humanity. It has a stronger defining principle than the lower two. Here the self emerges from the group mentality or ideology and becomes its own thinker. This can bring them into conflict with some groups as most groups are bound by an idea or central cause and unless this cause is all inclusive and governed by sound reason, manipura energy will instinctively resist and rebel, either quietly or loudly depending on the personality. We can see this instinct very clearly during our teenage years when manipura energy is most active and dominant, between the ages of fifteen and twenty one. During this period we really begin to develop our self esteem, individuality, our own ideas and codes of conduct separate from our parents. It is no co-incidence that the animal related to manipura is the Ram with its fiery driving energy and enduring character.

According to Swami Satyananda Saraswati who studied and practiced Chakra yoga all his life, ‘like the bright Sun in the sky, a Yogi who has who has had kundalini awakening of manipura chakra, will rise above the mire of the earth and begin to see things as they really are’. All personal prejudices and complexes fall away and all the noble views, perfect ideas, beauty and greater possibilities of human consciousness are seen and experienced. Like the Sun, one becomes very generous and gives all freely, not asking for or needing anything in return, due to the newly found freedom attained at this level of awakening.

However there is still danger here for the yogi, because one has yet to achieve emptiness and surrender to the divine cosmic force. Although at this point the aspirant will have a very controlled mind and a far more enlightened perspective than most, the ego still gets in the way. Past habits are still energized in latent form in the sub-conscious mind and can influence the personality very subtlety and give rise to ego desire for power and influence (manipuras achilees heel). This desire for power is still governed by attachment to the outer form and still seeks fullfillment in the dream projection of its own mind. So Swami advises that this point is pivotal and requires great perseverance to not become distracted by transitory worldly attainments and to keep up our practice more than ever to cope with the sudden gifts and attentions that come so naturally to this powerful personality.

Throughout our life there is a natural awakening of chakras which is more clearly described in the short essay on this website titled the developmental cycle, but a kundalini awakening of a chakra is something different. Our Yoga practice if done with understanding and sincerity, can remove blockages in the chakras and prepare the way for kundalini awakening. Gradually over the years we remove the subtle karmic blocks hidden deep within our energy system and we slowly change and transform into more loving and enlightened human beings. A kundalini awakening however fully illuminates the chakra with a cosmic force and its highest potential is activated and any impurities dissolve. Certain powers are spontaneously absorbed into our body and mind and simultaneously this unlocks doors that were once closed in the outer world. We immediately have more influence. It is said in the book Kundalini Tantra written by Swami Satyananda Saraswati that a kundakini awakening in manipura chakra enables a yogi to control on the inner level of consciousness. They have the ability to perceive deep into peoples hearts and are able to help them because they have good control over energy, mind over matter. They literally will things to happen and the world seems to respond and help bring it to fruit because their will resonates with a powerful high vibration that brings order and greater wisdom to all things and every situation, and often through the most unusual and unconventional ways.

Keyword Associations

Fire, Warmth, Vitality, Discrimination, Detoxification, Generation, Preservation, Self Esteem, Charisma, Confidence, Motivation, Individuality – Eyes, Sight, Metabolism, Digestion, Solar Plexus, Liver, Pancreas, gallbladder, Spleen and Stomach.

SOURCE: cosmothaiyoga.com

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