The third chakra (also called the Manipura in the traditional Sanskrit) is located in the solar plexus, right around the navel and digestive area of the body. The source of intelligence and intuition, as well as creativity and drive, the third chakra is the fire in one’s belly. It is often the reason why people feel hunches in their guts, rather than in other parts of their bodies ruled by different chakras.
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The Manipura is traditionally viewed in shades of yellow and gold, like a pure candle flame. The chakra itself is viewed like a flame, and when it is in balance it will be warm and bright, but controlled. It may be accompanied by a quiet crackling, like one would hear near a campfire, or by purer, golden tones that signal balance and light.
Knowledge of these attributes can be used to help balance the Manipura. Wearing yellow clothing and jewelry (like gold and tiger eye), as well as eating yellow foods (like bananas and squash) can help focus and shape the third chakra. This is particularly helpful if someone feels his or her Manipura needs to be stimulated. Meditating on candle flames can also be a great help for those who are seeking to either bank their inner fires, or to stoke them up to a more balanced degree.
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The Manipura is associated with anger, and if it grows out of control it can lead to an excessive focus on power, status, and the development of anger problems. When completely rampant, the Manipura may even lead someone to indulge in hatred. If the chakra is blocked, it can lead to health problems like digestive issues, muscle cramps, depression, and problems in organs like the spleen, kidneys, and pancreas. As such, it’s important to know how to open this chakra to prevent negative things from happening.
First, stretch. Poses like the warrior are helpful for reaching the core of the body that is the Manipura, but all stretches that relax the body will work. Control your breathing, and work to clear your mind.
Once you’re stretched, assume your meditative pose. Typically this will be seated on the floor with your legs crossed, and your hands resting palm up on your knees. Keep your back straight, and your head up so that you can draw in breath easily and comfortably. Some people will light candles or play soft music, and while these things aren’t necessary, they can be helpful.
After you have cleared your mind and achieved a calm state of being, direct your attention inward toward the Manipura. Visualize the chakra in your belly, and focus on opening it as if it were a flower that needed to spread its petals. Picture the energy inside as golden, and feel it spread throughout your belly and your body. Allow the energy to wash through the body, and then slowly fold the flower closed once more. This will refresh you, and help keep the energies of the Manipura in balance. Once you’ve closed the chakra after the meditation, stretch again, and slowly bring your mind and body back out of the state you entered. It will take practice, but the more often you do it, the easier it will become.
When the Manipura is balanced, an individual will notice a rise in self esteem, a well-functioning digestive tract, and even a sense of balance that is both mental and physical. As the Manipura is a creative chakra, it is often given credit for those who have the necessary balance and body awareness to become fluid, graceful dancers.