Sep 30, 2019

The Naval Chakra

the-naval-chakra

The 3rd Chakra, otherwise known as Manipura Chakra, or the solar plexus chakra is located at the naval or abdomen. Manipura’s color is yellow, element is fire, and bija seed sound is Ram.

It is here we find our sense of self, develop our personal power and self-confidence. It is the center of our ego. This is where we connect to who we truly are. We begin to let go of outdated ways of being and thinking and individuate from our family. 

Traumas or life experiences that can impact this chakra are growing up in an authoritarian environment, being shamed (by parents, teachers, religion), systemic exclusion, abusive relationships, physical abuse of any kind, manipulation or oppressive situations. 

When Manipura is blocked, when energy cannot freely flow here we get stuck in a place of shame, which is the shadow, or the demon of the 3rd chakra. 

The location of Manipura is in the muscular system, stomach, pancreas, liver, spleen, gallbladder and intestinal tract and so in the physical body a blocked 3rd chakra can create digestive problems, chronic fatigue, ulcers, and hypertension.  Food allergies, eating disorders, diabetes, liver problems, gallstones, adrenal imbalances and arthritis. 

In the mental/emotional body an imbalance in the direction of excess in this chakra can leave us feeling angry, compulsive, overly aggressive, manipulative and power hungry, deceitful, resentful and greedy. We have a strong desire to be right. It leads to arrogance, stubborness and an unreasonable competitive drive. It’s a classic ID complex, if you are familiar with Freud’s structural model of the psyche. 

If you notice this in yourself seek out practices that are passifying, self-care that invites you to find deep relaxation and stress reduction. Restorative yoga, for example, can be really helpful.

On the other hand, a deficiency in the third chakra can lead us to become apathetic, where we have little self-discipline and a lack of follow through. We are unreliable, easily manipulated, passive, and indecisive. It can leave us with low self-esteem and poor self-image. We might close ourselves off emotionally and come across as cold. We have low energy and perhaps are drawn to stimulants. We may have a hard time setting and reaching goals, make excuses and get stuck in a victim mentality.

Just writing the ways that imbalances in Manipura Chakra can present themselves brings up so much for me. I can certainly see myself in both of these spaces. And with this knowledge of the chakra system it is so helpful because now when these ‘red flags’ show up I know what to do to shift back into balance. It’s not always easy, and I definitely can’t do it all on my own. Having a spiritual accountability partner is helpful, someone who can gently call me up when I am stuck in a place of excess or deficiency. Sometimes it’s a therapist, sometimes a friend that I trust. 

At the cultural level, we are all swimming in a culture of Consumerism and Capitalism. Both impact the third chakra and our feelings about who we are and what we are capable of. Consumer culture tells us everywhere that we are not good enough, that we need this or that product/program/class, etc. in order to be enough. 

This is especially present when we consider the Beauty Myth that is presented to us in the media. The idea that there is one standard of beauty for women and that this is the single most important goal to have. A thin, fit physique. Clear skin. White teeth. No cellulite. Smooth, shiny hair. No wrinkles.

What a waste of precious time!!! When we buy into this it takes up WAY too much space in our mind and wastes valuable time that we could be using to change the world. Think about what else we could be creating and doing with our time if we weren’t worried about the shape of our bodies. 

One of my favorite quotes: ‘Mother Teresa didn’t walk around complaining about her thighs. She had shit to do’. --Sarah Silverman

Each one of us has shit to do. When we get stuck in a shame spiral we can't step into our place of power. 

I invite you to answer these questions: Who do you want to be in this world? How do you want to show up? 

Once you can get stable, grounded and centered (1st chakra) and connect with your emotions, allowing them to be fully felt and then let go (2nd chakra) you can step more fully into your purpose, your reason for being here. And we each have a reason for being here. So allow yourself to be unapologetically you. If you are not being you and offering your unique gifts, the whole world is missing out. 

Tips and Tools to Heal the 3rd Chakra:

Take risks. If you notice some of the symptoms of a deficient third chakra invite yourself to take some risks. Do something that scares you today. Speak up for yourself. Let people see you. Be unapologetically you. 

Work with a trained therapist: Release anger in a safe container. Look at your shame and vulnerability. 

Self-care practices:

  • Running and other high intensity 
  • Deep relaxation (excess)
  • Read Brene Brown’s work on shame and vulnerability
  • Martial Arts
  • Breath of Fire
  • Aromatherapy: lavender, chamomile, lemon and anise
  • Massage
  • Belly breathing (and elongate your exhales)
  • Get outside and feel the sun on your skin
  • Bring more fire into your life (candles, bonfires, fireplace, etc.)
  • Acting classes or interpretive dance (new ways to express who you are and how you feel)

Yoga Poses: 

  • Deep twists 
  • Forward folds, with belly compression 
  • Core exercises such as navasana (boat pose) and plank variations
  • Floor bow
  • Reverse plank
  • Embryo pose
  • Wind-removing pose (knee to chest on back)
  • Child’s pose with fists massaging abdomen

***Many of these postures are contraindicated for pregnancy. You can still do them, but modify so that you are making space for baby. Open twists and wide-legged forward folds are fine. 

Mantra:

  • I am enough
  • I am strong
  • I have purpose

Why balance your 3rd chakra? 

Healing the Manipura chakra brings a balanced sense of power. It allows you to approach life with confidence, where you can take on the challenges that present themselves, follow through with your commitments, become less reactive in the face of opposition and also take responsibility for your own behaviors and actions. When our third chakra is balanced we can laugh at ourselves and admit when we have messed up without shame, but rather with the sense that we are human. 


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