Traveling along our energetic highway, we arrive next at the third chakra. Manipura translates as “city of jewels” or “lustrous gem.” This is exactly what we hold within us. A dazzling, radiant center of energy that distributes life throughout the human framework. Just as the earth would not survive without the sun, we rely on our third chakra to regulate and energize our systems’ activities. Yogi Bhajan’s gift of Kundalini Yoga is full of techniques we can use to stimulate, balance, and connect more fully to our manipura chakra. According to many traditions, including Kundalini Yoga, the third chakra is the actual place of awakening the kundalini energy. This is the fire that sets it off!
Physically, the third chakra is related to our navel center or solar plexus, the area behind and around the belly button. The bodily locations that correspond to this chakra are the pancreas, liver, gall bladder, spleen, and digestive system and muscles. If we are not fully connected to the third chakra, we can have troubles with these areas and organs, including things like diabetes, hepatitis, indigestion, and ulcers. According to Kundalini Yoga, strengthening the abdominal muscles is a great place to start to bring balance to the third chakra. A simple posture to work deeply into this area is leg lifts. Kundalini Yoga coordinates the breath with this controlled movement to strengthen our navel center. Start by lying on the back with the legs straight out on the floor and together. As you inhale, engage the abdominals and mulbandh (root lock), press the low back into the earth as you lift both legs up to an angle (30, 60, or 90 degrees) that causes your muscles to work fully. On the exhale, very slowly lower the legs back to earth and continue.
There are also many energetic aspects to the third chakra that the tradition of Kundalini Yoga brings to light. If our connection to our third chakra is weakened, we may feel angry and aggressive or hold guilt and self-doubt within. We can find ourselves looking outward for validation and using our power to manipulate others. It is also common to have difficulty with addictions and see obstacles everywhere we look. We may be inflexible, conform for approval, and refute our own wishes and emotions. Fear not! Kundalini Yoga has a wealth of knowledge to kindle a balanced fire in our third chakra! When we are firmly connected to manipura we have unlimited energy, excellent health, strong willpower, the ability to make commitments, and a solid inner balance. This chakra allows us to be exemplary leaders, to be fully aware of the effects our actions have on others, and to connect to our personal power. From this space, we maintain a strong sense of self-worth and empower ourselves.
An excellent kriya for resetting the navel center and strengthening the third chakra is Adjusting the Navel from Harijot Kaur Khalsa’s Kundalini Yoga manual called Infinity and Me. As luck would have it, this manual also contains a fabulous meditation called Working on the Third Chakra. In this meditation, Yogi Bhajan uses Tantric Har by Simran Kaur Khalsa and Every Heartbeat by Nirinjan K. Khalsa.
If you only have a few minutes and need a quick Kundalini Yoga posture or two to get your navel point set for the day, try these:
Chanting Har – The mantra Har means “the creative seed” and represents Infinity in its creative form. This mantra is strongly connected to the third chakra as it develops will power. If you are new to chanting, check out Kundalini Mantra Instruction by Gurudass Kaur. For a more musical version, try Tantric Har Too on The Heart Rules by Guru Prem Singh Khalsa. Sit and listen or chant along and awaken your inner power.
Stretch Pose – Lie on the back, keep the legs firmly together, and press the low back into the earth. Engage the abdominal muscles to lift your feet and shoulders 6 inches off the ground. Tuck the chin toward the chest, look at your toes, and begin a breath of fire. Continue for 1-3 minutes.
Bow Pose – After warming up the spine, lie on the belly with the chin on the earth and have the knees about two fists width apart. Bend the knees and reach back with the hands to grab the ankles. Press the hips into the earth and activate mulbandh (root lock). Use the strength of the legs pressing into the hands to pull the upper body off the ground and then lift the legs off the ground so you are balancing on the navel point. Maintain this posture and begin a breath of fire. Continue for 1-3 minutes.
Some simple lifestyle suggestions to assist in connecting with the third chakra energy: light some candles – meditating with candles can be very effective; allow some sun on your skin – about 20 minutes per day is ideal; get some daily, physically strenuous exercise; wear yellow or yellow stones; use daily positive affirmations such as “I can” and “I do” to increase a sense of self-worth. Striving for balance is a common thread for all of us, and the third chakra energy is a powerful place to start.