Sitting in the center of the navel, between the belly button and the sternum, sits the third vital center, known as Manipura Chakra. Translated as “City of Jewels,” this energy vortex feeds the digestive system, stomach and pancreas/spleen. It is responsible for the consciousness of motivation, empowerment and creativity. When blocked, this chakra inhibits one from expressing uniquely and can show up as fear and discouragement. Let's take a deeper look at Manipura Chakra and how to awaken it.
As energy rises from the lower two centers, Moolandhara and Swadisthana, it comes to the third chakra only when one is ready to ascend beyond the “lower mind.” In ancient texts, it is said that once kundalini, the vital life-force energy, makes it to the third center in the awakening process, it will not drop again to the lower centers. What this means, I believe, is that once consciousness is able to reach beyond the shackles of the “lower mind,” primal instincts and karmic patterns, it will no longer drop again to see the world merely from these perspectives. Instead, once consciousness awakens beyond these points, it has come to “know too much” so to speak, and it simply cannot go to sleep again.
The third chakra is a powerful center. In other traditions it is the center known to hold the vital chi, and relates to the kidneys and their significant positioning behind the belly. The third chakra is where a mother holds a growing fetus, and is thought to be the center of the “Master Path,” also known as Motherhood. For when a woman grows a child in this center, she is able to jump over many lessons and experiences, such is the intensity and potency of the act of childbearing.
Birth is a powerful act, and when a woman experiences a cesarean birth, I feel it is only right to name it a “navel birth” instead. For a child who comes into the world this way is choosing to literally open their mother's 3rd center by exiting her body from this point. In ancient Hindu texts, like the Mahabharata, divine beings were always birthed from the navel center. This signifies a great spiritual advancement for the mother who would choose to see it this way, and to participate fully in the energetic process of healing the scars of a navel birth.
Manipura is a storehouse of treasures which can be accessed by one who puts full consciousness into the awakening of this center. It can grant one great strides of personal empowerment and land one in the arms of a leadership position swiftly where the jewels of an awakened Manipura can inspire and motivate many others around them.
When the Manipura chakra is closed or blocked it can manifest as digestive troubles, ulcers, indigestion or troubles with the spleen or pancreas. The adrenal glands may be implicated, though the second chakra is also involved in this case. Emotionally, one with a blocked Manipura center may feel much in the way of anxiety, fear, anxiousness and clutching in the stomach. Even the extensive experience of “butterflies in the stomach” could point to the need to activate the third chakra with exercises and chants.
In yogic breathing, the full yogic breath takes one clear down into the belly and navel center for the fullness of the breath. It connects the navel center to the throat center and thereby opens a passageway from the 3rd to the 5th chakra. By practicing full-yogic-breaths you may be able to enhance the third chakra as well as find connection and opening in the heart and throat.
In life, you may encounter others with closed or blocked navel centers and may recognize them as fearful or self-conscious. They might exhibit dreams for which they feel they cannot reach. Those struggling with issues of empowerment, standing up for themselves or in abusive or otherwise co-dependent relationships need to work with the third chakra and cultivate an awakening there. If advice can be given without deepening the offense, you may suggest as much; otherwise it is best to work more deeply on your own Manipura and intend for your personal work to be an energetic inspiration to all you meet – minus the ego.
When Manipura is awake and functioning optimally you see a person with humble confidence who is able to easily go after what they wish. An awakened third chakra gives one an inner drive that cannot be easily squelched and is also somewhat contagious. Those with functioning third chakras will not feel limited by food issues nor will they find difficulty in translating ideas into action and inspiration into form.
One thing that can help to awaken the navel center is the color gold/yellow. This means eating yellow foods such as bananas, yellow squash, lemons and onions, as well as wearing gold and yellow accessories and clothing.. Essential oils of lemon and lemongrass, as well as fennel, peppermint and all things pertaining to the stomach and digestive capacity can also awaken the navel center. Cedarwood is also great, as it supports the pancreas and spleen.
Balancing emotions and releasing the need to “take on” others’ emotions leads to a healthy spleen and triple warmer meridian, which in turn keeps Manipura balanced and active. Strong yogic breathing techniques such as “breath-of-fire” and others which pulse the belly in and out are supportive for this vital center as well.
Yogic poses which involve scrunching the belly, rotating the belly/hips and opening up the navel center – such as wheel pose and camel – are wonderful for the third chakra health.
Chanting, toning and belly massage can stimulate this center into action as well as relieve any tension or blocks there. When your third chakra is feeling good and flowing properly, life just seems to work better! Love up your belly and find balance in your Manipura Chakra today!
Want to balance your navel chakra? Follow our guided meditation below:
Photo Credit: "Yellow Mandala" by Sheri Miles is licensed under CC BY 2.0