The third or navel chakra (Manipura in Sanskrit) is where the human talent of commitment is found. Located in the solar plexus it encompasses all of the digestive systems organs, the stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and gall bladder. The centre, or bulls eye, is the belly button. Given its location and centre is it any wonder that it is through this chakra that we receive nourishment?
It is through the umbilicus that you receive your first nourishment and this centre continues to be a source of strength throughout life. Being balanced in this chakra, connected to the power of the Universe, can make you feel more vibrant and alive.
When this chakra is weak it can result in a loss of the sense of self and identity, which can leave you feeling out of control. Being ‘out of control’ can leave you more vulnerable to stress and seeking to control things outside of yourself. It is the people who do not feel in control of their own lives who try to control others.
“The essence of a spiritual warrior is fearlessness, the ability to act with integrity, regardless of conditions.” – Dr Gurucharan Singh (in Meditation as Medicine)
When functioning at its peak, the third chakra provides the “will of the spiritual warrior.” When your third chakra is strong you have the will and fearlessness to take on the challenges that cross your path. The commitment to take on the challenges and see them through cannot happen without the will of your spiritual warrior, the strength of your centre. Yet this is not a centre for reckless action, rather it is with the guidance of intuition. That gut feeling that helps to warn you about something which is not right is the intuition at work through this chakra.
A shadow emotion of the third chakra is anger, an emothion that is often associated with the the liver, which sits within the third chakra. Anger goes with heat, giving rise to terms like “they were having a heated discussion”, or “he was burning with anger”. It is not surprising that the element for the third chakra is fire. In Kundalini Yoga we have a cooling pranayma (breath meditation) called sitali breath. The breath is inhaled long and deep through the mouth over a curled tongue and exhaled through the nose. The inhaling of air over the tongue has a cooling affect. It is common to have a metallic or bitter taste on the tongue when you first start practicing this breath as the toxic effects of inner heat and anger are released.
There is an exercise in Kundalini Yoga called stretch pose that is most effective in strengthening your commitment. It is a very challenging posture for everyone, however it is also doable by everyone. It is done by lying on the floor and lifting both your feet and shoulders 6 inches off the ground and doing a breath of fire. Even with variations to lessen the intensity of the posture it has a powerful affect on the abdominal (third chakra) area, If you can keep up with this posture for just 1 to 3 minutes a day for 40 days you will have the strength and the wisdom to commit to all that is needed.
Other postures that strengthen the third chakra include spinal twists and stomach churning, which massage the liver and spleen. Any postures that work directly on the abdominals, such as leg lifts, are also good.
The 8 Human Talents – Gurmukh with Cathryn Michon
Meditation as Medicine – Dharma Singh Khalsa and Cameron Strauth
The Kundalini Yoga Experience – Guru Dharam S. Khalsa and Darryl o’Keefe