Module 4: MANIPURA Chakra
You have the right to act.
To take the actions necessary to create the life you desire.
You have the right to claim your power and use it to heal, enhance and protect your life.
Our third energy center lives at the solar plexus influencing digestion and overall metabolism as well as the pancreas and adrenals. Manipura translates to “lustrous gem.” From grounding and flowing in the first two centers we come into our personal power in chakra three. Rooted in the body and informed by emotion we are ready to take action towards liberating ourselves from the ego and manifesting our Divine Dharma.
Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able, of themselves to impart purpose and direction in their lives.
This is no easy task. Symbolized by the element of fire, the work at manipura is to burn through layers of False Self. Fear, Anxiety and Tension flare up when we’re evolving the soul to new heights. The purpose of this center is to direct our energy and strengthen our will so we’re free to co-create with The Divine by following our bliss. Issues in these areas of life highlight the need for solar chakra attention:
strength of will
Here we meet “Shiva” the Divine Masculine energy. Merging the two, masculine (Shiva) and feminine (Shakti), we come into balance and are able to bring our desires from darkness to light, from within to without. Creation begins with the feminine principle as essence, inspiration, intuition, the felt sense of life potential. Shiva enters to destroy what stands in the way of Shakti and supports her in transforming dreams into reality, in taking what is felt and making it materialize here on Earth. This is an alchemical process.
This chakra represents our ego identity. It’s here we ask (and answer) the question “Who am I?” Ego attaches self-definition, the orientation of manipura, to things outside of ourselves, to the material realm. Our identity becomes dependent on body shape/size, wealth, career, relationships (co-dependency), etc. This is the cause of most human suffering, especially painful body image. Body image distress is born of the belief that our worth and ability to be loved is dependent on our worth in the world. With the sense of self separate from Source, we are vulnerable to addictions.
Shame is the imbalance of the third chakra. Shame differs from guilt in that guilt is “feeling bad” about something we do, whereas shame is “feeling bad” about who we are. Most of us inherited shame about our bodies and selves from various places; church, family, media. Many attribute this to the construct of original sin; the idea that we are innately wrong as humans because we are separate from God, that we “fell” from God. It bears repeating again, that yoga philosophy holds we are born perfect/whole/worthy and simply forget this. The work is to remember and heal through the layers of ego that were developed to protect our hearts from the pain of early trauma and this core belief. When we are connected to Source by being fully embodied in the present moment, accepting and allowing every part of our current human experience, there’s no shame, no suffering.
Being here is a continual practice. The karma of Forgetting Atman Temporarily is all of ours and has deep ancestral roots. No place is this more deeply entrenched than the non-acceptance of the feminine body in all her dynamic dimensions. The work of healing body image is a hard one and it takes continued conscious awareness to maintain Peaceful Body Image. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and embodied action. Most of all, it takes courage.
Knowing isn’t enough, we must apply. Willing isn’t enough, we must do.
Manipura is about will. Aligning our personal will with the will of The Divine which is communicated to us by our bodies through Shakti. It takes an inner strength to live out the path of the heart. It’s much easier, though unfulfilling, to stay stuck and play small. To shed away the personas we’ve developed to survive is terrifying but it is simply part of the process. Yoga gives us the “soul skills” we need to do it. It’s not about will power which is the thing people tend to go to to change. There’s a difference between will and will power. Most of us can push ourselves to do something that’s out of our comfort zone when it’s in the energy of fear. Forcing a change like running to burn calories so our stomach is flatter is using will power, it’s fighting with ourselves. It is fear-based because it is driven by a non-acceptance of the self as is. This dynamic is fueled by samskara, by the karma mala of “not enoughness.” This is why the behavior is unsustainable long term without becoming addictive (causes anxiety if not done) and more and more self-destructive. For example, turning into a compulsive exerciser or going back to being completely sedentary. It is also the attachment to the scale, to numbers, to certain body contours that trip us up when trying to find peace. Do what’s in alignment with love for your body in this moment without a “goal.” That will bring peace, not the outcome. The yama and niyama we explore along side chakra three are aparigraha; non-attachment and tapas; discipline. Pause your reading here and push play to learn more about these.
Let your concern be with the action alone, and never with the fruits of action. Do not let the results of your action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction.
Conversely, getting up to light our candle, affirm our True Nature of Divineness and simply sit “doing nothing” in meditation takes a totally different kind of discipline. The same holds true for moving mindfully, connecting with the body though yoga poses. This is will. This is fighting for yourself, your True Self while the other is feeding the ego. It’s so hard to just sit because our constant doing is driven by the fear we won’t be loved and accepted unless we meet certain criteria. To Practice Presence and Feel All Truth forces us to face that fear. It becomes powerless in the face of love, in that pure presence. This is what frees us, not thinness.
To heal and be empowered to take action towards our dreams we must allow emotions and desires to rise up from charka two through manipura to the heart and onto the throat chakra to be released. Allowing the movement of life through the body frees it from “The Fat Experience” no matter what size we are. This enables the body to come into physical balance. This energetic piece is fundamental. We are energy before we are physical so to simply focus on calories eaten and expended to balance weight will fail every time to be sustainable long term with any semblance of peace. Oh, and you body doesn’t have to change at all! The physical is important too but largely takes care of itself when we attend to the energetic. The main reason we struggle with imbalanced eating is because we are using food (or lack there of) to control Shakti. Dieting, overeating, compulsive exercise or not exercising at all, are ways we keep our feminine energy contained. Instead, of going down that tired (and ineffective!) road when feeling uncomfortable in your human experience; Practice PHAT and build your will, your true power, through yoga so you many shine like the gem you are.
Here’s your resources for practice to empower soulful, sustainable change that supports you and our world community in PEACE.
Exploring & Healing Manipura
It’s time to deepen your awareness of this power point and get your life moving in the right direction for you. Take some time and space to write your responses to the following prompts. Share thoughts, feelings and body sensations related to the experiences and any beliefs about you, your body or your life that you took on as a result of these. At this point in the journey you may be running into resistance. This is exactly what we must work through to heal. Not in the traditional way of fighting with yourself though. Don’t judge it or push. Simply sit with the tension between the desire for what you want and the hesitation to take the necessary actions to make that happen. Stay open.
When was the first time you experienced shame (embarrassment, feeling ashamed, humiliated) and why? What was the situation?
What is your relationship to empowerment? What does a strong woman look like to you? When have you felt powerful?
Where does most of your energy currently go in your life? What do you “spend” your energy on? What “consumes” you?
What/where would you like it to go and what keeps that from happening? List what actions you would need to take to redirect your energy where you want and need it:
What is your relationship to the masculine archetype (see the end of you Practice Guide)? How do you relate to the men in your life?
Did you feel (not think) you received adequate and appropriate fathering?
Reflect on how you treat yourself and see if there are any similarities with how dad treats himself and how he treated/treats you.
What is your relationship to control? Are you a “control freak?” Do you fear losing control? What does losing control mean to you?
Does your eating feel out of control at times? If so, when? What is the metaphor for your eating symptoms and your divine energy/power?
Describe your current and past relationship with your upper belly/waist. What do you think about it? How does it feel, what thoughts come up when you become more aware of it? What were you told about it? How do you want them to be different and why?
Do you have trouble making decisions and taking action? Journal about that dynamic? What gets in the way of getting clear and moving into action?
Energy Body Mapping
Pull out your Creative Expression project and move it on up to your power center. I suggest turning on some Alica Keys “Girl On Fire” and having your Vision Board in sight. Illustrate your lustrous gem of manipura chakra. You are a goddess girl! Reclaim your right to create your most awesome life.