"The City of Jewels" - The Solar Plexus Chakra
Manipura means full of gems. This chakra is situated above the naval at the solar plexus. The colour associated with it is golden yellow and the element is fire. It is linked to the sense of sight. At the solar plexus chakra we move from the base world to the ephemeral. This is the seat of our personality, the power house of the chakra system. It is where our gut feelings reside. This chakra offers passion and energy laced with opinion and logic. Opinions are formed here, our truth emerges. It is about inner strength and freedom, tenacity to continue in adversity, the will to succeed, to realise our ambition and be happy. No more blaming others for anything. The rewards of being independent and responsible include self-realization and confidence to be who we are, inner peace, self-respect and the ability to respect others. We appreciate our individuality but within the context of a balanced totality – being complete but part of a greater whole. The Solar Plexus must be open so that we can enter into a bond with another - to commit. We have to give in order to receive.
The Solar Plexus opens the way to true prosperity.
This centre is the seat of Agni, the digestive fire which is related to digestion of both food (Jathara agni) and experience (Jnana agni). Digestion is a process of change and when the fire is strong we can handle challenges and are able to adapt. Fire purifies and refines and anything we consign to the fire of Manipura is burnt to ash, therefore we should guide our negative energies and emotions here rather than to the head or the heart where they may cause blockages. Here we can free ourselves once and for all of bad habits and qualities. When the fire is weak impurities gather in the system. When Manipura Chakra is out of balance we feel like victims of circumstance, there may be low self-confidence and low energy, depression, life becomes a great effort and exhausting. Blocking emotions to avoid pain also means blocking the joy and love we need. If this chakra is too open we may pick up negative emotions from others and therefore it is really important that it can close at will. Working at this chakra can release negative emotions but need not be overwhelming and can be a good catalyst for change.
There are two basic functions within the body - reception of energy (Prāna) and elimination of waste (Apāna). The energies of Prāna and Apāna meet at the Manipūra Chakra. They represent the two basic functions of giving and taking, expansion and contraction, assimilation and elimination. Both forces should be able to function freely as disturbances or blockages may lead to illness. Prāna and Apāna not only have a physical but also a very important spiritual function. Through certain advanced Yoga techniques (Kriyās) the energy currents of Prāna and Apāna can be united in the Manipūra Chakra and guided into the Sushumnā Nādī. When this occurs the Kundalinī energy rises to the Sahasrāra Chakra and the meditator experiences the state of Samādhi, supreme consciousness. This Prānic energy is also influenced by our individual qualities, feelings and thoughts, if these energies contain karmic “waste” it is not possible for the energy to rise and unite with the divine.
Useful Practices for the Solar Plexus Chakra
The Solar Plexus Chakra is to do with inner strength, self confidence and empowerment so when choosing asana the Warrior poses immediately come to mind. Likewise Boat pose, Plank and others that awaken core strength are useful here. Surya Namaskar is also an obvious choice when working with our inner sun and is particularly nice when practised with the Surya Namaha chant. In fact using sound throughout the practice adds an extra dimension to the experience and really helps to tune in to this chakra. The Bīja Mantra of the Manipūra Chakra is RAM. This sound developed from the vibration caused by the meeting of the Nādīs in this centre. If we sing RAM for some time and specifically allow the “R” to vibrate, we become conscious of a pleasant feeling of warmth and the flow of energy.
Nutrition for the Solar-plexus: Bananas and grains such as bread, pasta, rice, flax, sunflower seeds. Cheese, yogurt, and spices that include ginger, chamomile, turmeric, cumin and fennel and mint.
Aromatherapy/Essential Oils for the Solar-plexus: Rose, rosewood, sandalwood, chamomile, rosemary, myrrh and frankincense extremely beneficial.
Crystals for the Solar Plexus: Jasper, Tiger’s Eye, Citrine, Yellow Tourmaline, Golden Berly, Rhodochrosite