“The self has inconceivable powers and possibilities but it needs a world in which these powers and possibilities can become conscious.” ~ Carl Gustav Jung
Healing our chakras—the spinning wheels or vortices of energy that exist within our subtle body—is much like the hero’s journey.
The voyage toward “individuation” a term described by psychoanalytic theorist, Carl Jung as the realisation of the self through transformation and integration of our unconscious and conscious parts.
The quest to awaken, transform, and heal our chakras is one and the same. For us highly sensitive, empathic souls, we already know that this drive toward expansion is our destiny. This evolutionary impulse is also what we call yoga.
This all-familiar feeling of purpose, ambition, and vision—that our lives are meant for service and impact—is an expression of our third chakra, Manipura, “the city of jewels.” This chakra carries the fire element, tejas, which functions to burn, transform, and purify energy in the form of thought, emotion, and food. Its throne is the solar plexus, between the sternum and the navel.
Manipura is also associated with perception and clarity, as purification by fire gives clear sight. Archetypes include the Sun and the Warrior—embodiments of masculine energy—unlike the root and sacral chakras, which are dominated by feminine energy.
The solar plexus chakra, moreover, reflects our feelings of personal power, strength, and vitality—and the state of our ego, or our personal and physical identity. The first step toward individuation, or in a broader sense, wholeness, according to Jung, is to become aware of our shadow self—our alter-ego. Once our basic needs are met, we can tend toward the process of inner observation and connect with the deeper parts of ourselves—the ones in “shadow,” in order to bring them to light. This practice prepares us to align with our purpose because our vision becomes clear.
A strong manipura chakra:
Reflects a person who is comfortable expressing who they are, what they stand for, and what they want to achieve. Assertive and autonomous people, they have a fervent willpower and sense of purpose. The ruling deity here is Agni, the Vedic god of fire; the Sanskrit word is also a connotation of “digestive fire.” This chakra determines how well we process what enters into our life experience—the intangible (thoughts, images, and emotions) and the tangible (the food we consume and how well it is digested and assimilated into our body for nourishment).
Because this chakra governs the area above the navel, the organs it manages include the large intestine, the stomach, pancreas, and liver—the entire digestive system. Metaphors are important in chakra healing; this process of physical “elimination” also denotes how well we can “let go” of that which no longer serves our purpose—old habits, relationships, and mindset, for example.
Strong solar plexus people are able to make calm and controlled decisions without unnecessary worry, and are therefore often great leaders. These are self-assured action-takers!
The warrior energy is located here, because this is the domain of the planet Mars, the commander-in-chief who rules alongside the king, who is Sun. A person here is in a harmonious relationship with their inner authority and therefore their boundaries are strong.
A weak manipura chakra:
Reflects a person who expresses a general lack of self-esteem and suffers from poor self-image and self-doubt. They can’t seem to move their goals and vision forward and are likely to have illnesses to do with the stomach—mainly digestive disorders, which are usually triggered by fear and anxiety. A slow metabolism is likely. Lack of direction and clarity in daily life and goals is a sure sign of blocked or unbalanced energy here.
Prana, or vital energy, is low, so the person feels fatigued and can succumb to feelings of laziness or overindulgence, and therefore, self-discipline becomes too difficult to exercise or may even be impossible.
As warrior energy is depleted with a weak third chakra, we’re unable to assert and express ourselves, and can therefore be terrible at managing boundaries, thus inviting in toxic relationships. We can get stuck in “victim mode,” not knowing how to reclaim our personal power. We find it hard to confront our inner authority (the Sun) and take self-responsibility—a painful task for many, which is why it gets delayed.
If the chakra is overactive, then the negative aspect of Mars shows, such as anger, aggression, and self-destruction—states of conflict are high. We become too egoic and impulsive in our pursuit to “win the war” or achieve success.
To end the ambivalence with our power and align with our third chakra, as Jung would advise, we need to look at what lurks in the shadow that’s blocking our path.
What is your relationship to your inner authority?
The dominating masculine figure, or the father, in real life could provide the clue. This knowledge must be integrated and transformed by taking different action. This movement and change will provide liberation.
Here are five practical steps to initiate the strengthening of your third chakra:
1. Exercise frequently.
The Sun and the Warrior archetypes are related to how strong and vital we feel in our physical body. Movement is also great for the elimination of physical waste and the healthy workings of our digestive system. In bias of my own passions, I’m going to suggest some form of martial arts practice. What a perfect idea for cultivating strength and a warrior mindset. Practicing hatha yoga warrior poses, including skandasana, the side lunge (named after the war god) that gives you as much of a workout as warrior I and II. Focus on building core strength through Sun Salutations. Jumping rope is also great for overall body conditioning.
Schedule in your next three workout sessions, whether these are practiced at home or at a class.
2. Step out of your comfort zone.
Speaking of going to a class, attending a new group exercise programme, whether this is yoga, martial arts, or dance is a great way to expand your horizon and cultivate personal power. Try to learn a different form of these activities if you already do one of them. Do the activity that you have been putting off, like running. But know, this action of stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be a sport.
Always do what you’re afraid to do. And as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do the thing and you will have the power.”
Spontaneity builds confidence. Begin with small steps or take a leap of faith. (I function in extremes myself!)
3. Play to your strengths and trust your gut instincts.
The best way to boost esteem and confidence is to narrow your focus to your strengths, What are you good at? What do you enjoy? Do more of that and share your joy! Shine like Surya, the Sun. This is healthy self-expression.
Conversely, in Kung Fu training, my experience has been to work twice as hard on my weaknesses. I don’t play to right or wrong. Practice is key. Do what works for you. Follow the guidance of the good feeling in your body. Your physical body speaks to you. Start making decisions based on your intuition and instincts. How many times have you told yourself, “I knew I should have done that!” How many time have you ignored your physical sensations that told you whether doing a certain thing was going to prove bad or good for your well-being. Strengthen Manipura by trusting your body’s wisdom.
Practice taking action by listening to your gut, your inner authority, and build self-trust.
4. Meditate on the solar plexus.
Begin by connecting to your breath and placing your attention to the place between your heart and navel. The colour of Manipura is yellow; so visualize this hue flooding this area. Imagine a yellow flower emerging and opening up its petals. The light turns golden. Feel it as a healing energy. Another option is to gaze into a candle flame as you meditate, concentrating and contemplating on the fire, in yogic terms–this is to practice Samyama. Deepen your wisdom of tejas, the fire element that is part of you. (Alternatively, practice using my guided meditation mp3 specifically for this chakra!)
5. Writing Exercise.
Grab your journal and answer these questions for greater awareness and clarity of purpose:
>> On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest), how powerful do I feel right now?
>> In which area(s) of my life am I lacking personal power? In what way? (Think to health, home, career, and relationships.)
>> Where do I want to be in three to six months’ time with regard to this (or these) area(s) of my life?
>> What three simple action steps can I begin to implement and schedule into the next three weeks that move these goals forward?
>>What is my long-term overall vision? (Either in five years time or more.) What is the purpose behind this vision? What is the next right thing I can do to align with this vision and feeling of purpose?
In these uncertain times, you may wish to find more clarity and alignment in your daily life and overall vision. Join my Chakra Challenge: A free Seven-day journaling and meditation course.