Updated: Jul 30, 2020
When speaking of digestion in Yoga, we refer automatically to the energy of 3rd chakra, the solar plexus, commonly known in yoga language as “Manipura”. It is the center of will and power. This chakra is connected to the fire element. Chakras are energy centers located on the body’s midline (center channel). There are seven of them (8 in Kundalini Yoga) and they control our psychological and physiological properties. The chakras located on the lower part of our bodies are our instinctual side while those located on the upper part represent our mental side. In an ideal world, all our chakras should contribute to the proper functioning of our being as well as all our systems. However, this is not always the case. It happens that some chakras are not open enough (as-active), but to counter-balance this, other chakras are over active. The ideal state is where the chakras are balanced.
Here is the list of our 7 main chakras:
1er Chakra – root Chakra
2e Chakra – sacred Chakra
3e Chakra – solar Plexus Chakra
4e Chakra – heart Chakra
5e Chakra – throat Chakra
6e Chakra – 3e eye Chakra
7e Chakra – Crown Chakra
8e Chakra in yoga Kundalini is less known. It is the Aura.
Travelling along our energy road, we stop today at the solar plexus, center of digestion, located in the hub of the central region, the area behind and around the navel. Physical locations that correspond to this chakra are the pancreas, the liver, the gallbladder, the spleen and the digestive system. But how does this chakra work in the digestion? Its element is fire and as such, its energy is characterized by transmutation and heat during the food processing which will regenerate the whole body. The digestive fire is a psychic transformation of essential energy to rebound the decreasing energy of the two first chakras.
In cases where stress accumulates in the 3rd chakra, we feel this famous node in the solar plexus. If we are not entirely balanced in terms of this chakra, we can have problems in the digestive system level, including conditions such as diabetes, hepatitis, indigestion and ulcers.
We call the 3rd chakra “manipura” which translates as “bright jewel”. This precious treasure is exactly what we have in us: a dazzling center, radiating with energy throughout life, it distributes its light in the human body. Just as the Earth could not survive without the sun, we rely on our 3rd chakra to regulate and stimulate the activities of our systems including our digestive system.
In Kundalini Yoga, as in all other types of yoga, there is a variety of techniques that we can use to stimulate, balance and connect more to our chakra ‘manipura. The strengthening of the abdominal muscles is a great place to start bringing the balance of the 3rd chakra. Here is an example of posture that will have great results on the health of the solar plexus:
First, lie on your back with your legs stretched on the floor and glued together. To protect your lower back, you can place your 2 hands, palms (down) under the buttocks.While inhaling, engage the abdominals and press the lower back into the ground and lift both legs up to an angle (30, 60 or 90 degrees). Upon exhaling, slowly lower legs toward the ground and continue for 1 to 3 minutes.
There are also many energy aspects related to the third Chakra that Kundalini Yoga tradition highlights. In the case where our connection to our third chakra is weakened, we can feel anger, aggression, guilt and doubt about ourselves.Consequently seeking self- confidence from outside rather than from within ourselves and use our power to manipulate others. We can feel a certain rigidity and refute our own wishes and our emotions. If this is the case, yoga has a wealth of knowledge to revive a balanced fire within our 3rd chakra! When we are strongly connected to this fire, we have an unlimited energy, an excellent health, a strong will, the ability to make commitments and a solid inner balance. This chakra allows us to become an exemplary leader in being fully aware of our actions’ effects on others and connect us to our personal power. In this state of mind, we can maintain a strong sense of self-esteem and fully appreciate our life.
If you do not have much time and you are looking for other ideas of postures to regain your balance at the level of the 3rd chakra in just a few minutes, here are 2 examples of postures to practice:
Stress posture (Stretch pose) – Lie on your back with your legs stretched on the floor and glued together. To protect your lower back, you can place your 2 hands palms (down) under the buttocks. Engage your abdominal muscles to lift your feet and shoulders to 6 inches off the ground. Tuck the chin towards the chest, look at your toes and start the breath of fire while maintaining a good posture. Continue for 1 to 3 minutes in accordance with your abilities.