You survived Thanksgiving! And now here comes more holidays…
Being with family and those from our past can present many challenges especially to our 3rd Chakra, otherwise known as the Manipura which is located at the navel.
There are the lucky few that do not have any challenges during these times, but it is hard not to have challenges in any relationship when you are constantly evolving. Right or wrong, change threatens the sense security of everyone else around you. We all like to know what to expect, right? It is safe. Maybe nothing happened at Thanksgiving, maybe you were aware of all the subtle activities going on around you or maybe you were not, but after being with family did you feel jammed up in the abdomen? Did you feel like it was missing afterwards? What you felt may not actually have to do with all the Tofurky® you ate!
The Manipura has to do with our personal power and self-worth. If we do not have a strong sense of personal power, we manipulate others to compensate and get what we need. This also open us up to being manipulated as well. Themes around personal power and self-worth come up a lot during family gatherings especially when everyone has been apart for a while. This is because many family constructs develop a pecking order and when one person no longer falls into their role in the family, it threatens everyone else’s sense of security and power.
Think about it. In families you may have “the smart one,” “the funny one,” “the creative one,” “the leader,” etc, etc. If you do not play your role anymore, you are not predictable and people don’t know what to do with you. It also works the other way around too when others don’t play their roles either. Putting ourselves and others under these labels is something we humans created for our own security, but it is very limiting. You can even seemingly taking another’s role in the family which threaten’s their sense of identity, or you can reject your role in the family which also causes issues.
There are many insecure things we can do in order to feel a sense of power. When we are always coming from this place, it is impossible to truly have an open heart with others. Also when our sense of power and identity are threatened, this is when we have those intense gut emotional reactions that have us wondering where they came from.
We compensate by having overly high self-esteem, control issues, violent behavior, addiction to anger, dominating behavior and manipulating others. These issues can manifest as a victim mentality, unreliability, low self-esteem, identity issues, low energy and having overall trouble facing life’s everyday challenges. Overall with an underdeveloped Manipura, our sense of power is substituted by shame. This shame gets passed on generation to generation when it is not dealt with. This is another factor that comes into play at family gatherings.
The Manipura is a challenge to most of us. This chakra is made up by the energies of the digestive organs, so it is no wonder that many have eating disorders. The holidays certainly bring up many issues around food as well. It is easier to numb yourself with food than to deal with your family and any kind of power struggles. The people in our families tend to be little mirrors to parts of ourselves we don’t always want to look at. Over time when these issues around the Manipura are not dealt with, it is said they can manifest as problems in the stomach, spleen, liver, gall bladder, small intestines, etc.
There is a great meditation/ kriya from the manual Reaching Me in Me called, “For the Tattwas, Pranic Rib Cage and Nervous System.” It is one of the best I have experienced for the 3rd chakra and completely brings me back to life. I realize that this doesn’t have this sexy title to it, so it is easy to pass it up, but I assure you that this is an amazing one and you have to try it!
Guru Dev, the Master of Sat Nam Rasayan has said that this meditation is especially good to practice when you are feeling dead inside, disconnected from yourself and you cannot find the your 3rd Chakra. All of this without having to do stretch pose!
For the Tattwas, Pranic Rib Cage and Nervous System
Open and Close Hands (3 minutes)
In Easy Pose, sit with your elbows in your rib cage. The palms are up and you will open and close the hands fast with the thumbs locking the fingers. Your mouth is open and your breath in and out through the mouth.
2. Flying (3 minutes)
The arms are out to the sides completely at shoulder height with the palms down. Lift first by bringing the shoulders to the ears and “flap” or “wavy” motion like you are flying. This is also done rapidly.
3. Alternating Punching/ Grabbing (3 minutes)
You are punching, but here is the trick: the right hand is forward in a fist and the left hand is back in a fist. Then bring the left hand open once it reaches full extension while the right hand also opens when it comes back. Continue as fast as possible while alternating.
4. Meditation with the hands up (11-15 minutes)
Still in easy pose, lean back 15 degrees. This will stimulate the navel. Bring the hands up with the palms facing forward. The elbows are down and perpendicular to the wrist. This is what is looks like if you were say, “Whoa stop!”
Meditate in this position and sing along with the recording of “Meditation.”
This meditation was originally done with tape, “Meditation” by Wahe Guru Kaur (now Wah). I am in love with this song by the way, but it only comes as a tape. If you cannot find it or want a digital version, Guru Prem Singh has a beautiful version of “Meditation” on his CD, The Heart Rules (which accompanies his book with the same title). This can be downloaded as a MP3 which is good if you are impatient like me.
The Heart Rules also includes other gems like Communication, Every Heartbeat, You Can Learn and Tantric Har Too, which all go along with other meditations that Yogi Bhajan taught.
If you want to continue work with the Manipura, here are a few great sets to work with:
-Nahbi Kriya for Prana Apana from Kundalini Experience (which is a great book to further explore the chakras)
-Abdominal Strengthening & Beginner’s Cleansing Set from Sadhana Guidelines
–Healing the Stomach from Self Knowledge (this is a personal favorite!)
-Strengthening the Stomach & Let the Liver Live (good for anger) from Owner’s Manual for the Human Body
Also another great overall manual for working with the 3rd Chakra is Transitions to a Heart Centered World. The theme of this manual is around the fact that we cannot live from our hearts without a balanced 3rd Chakra.
Also you can warm up with these individual asanas that are great for the 3rd Chakra: