Harnessing Manipura: The Fire Chakra

Contributor: Jessica Luibrand
Photographer: Taylor Balding
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“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.” – Elisabeth Kubler Ross


Although chakra study commonly begins with the base chakra and works from the bottom to the top, our current focus is on the third chakra, located from the naval to the solar plexus.

Appropriate for summer, this chakra, known in Sanskit as Manipura or “lustrous gem,” is associated with fire, the color yellow, and the sun. The third chakra is our source of personal power; it represents action, will and vitality as well as inner joy and laughter (or, if out of balance, anger). Its purpose is transformation.

Manipura is connected to our ability to be confident and in control of our lives. When in balance, Manipura results in self-confidence, motivation and a strong sense of purpose—that inner light or fire. Meanwhile, if the third chakra is out of balance, an individual may experience low-self esteem, difficulty making decisions and anger or control issues.

“Fire is radiant, and the third chakra is yang and active,” writes Anodea Judith, author of “Wheels of Life.” “If we are afraid or feel powerless we withdraw, hold our movements in check, and use one part of ourselves to control another. We block our own power, our own expression. If we are withdrawn, we appear cold and controlled.”

Healing the third chakra and keeping it in balance can be attained in a number of ways, including, according to mindbodygreen.com, performing healing yoga exercises like Dhanurasana (or the bow pose) and Navasana (or the boat pose), dancing, and consuming foods such as grains and fiber like granola and whole wheat bread, yellow colored foods like corn, and teas such as peppermint and chamomile. 

Any yellow or gold gem—such as yellow topaz, tiger-eye and golden yellow labradorite—can also help open and align the third chakra area, as can chanting the mantra sound associated with Manipura, Ram. 

According to The Chopra Center, the power of Manipura can also be harnessed to, “assert your will in a healthy way and achieve any goal you set out to accomplish.”

The Center explains if you’re stuck with a decision or at a crossroads and unsure which way to go, look for guidance in the form of a gut feeling in the third chakra. The Center offers up these steps to do so:

Close your eyes, place your hand over the area slightly above your belly button, and bring to mind the problem or dilemma. Notice how the third chakra feels when you give it the choices regarding the subject you’re struggling with; a sinking or nauseated feeling may tell you the decision is wrong. A lightness in the third chakra area, or feeling like you can breathe easier, can be a sign of the right choice

The symbol for Manipura is a lotus with ten petals, inside of which is the powerful, energetic Ram, the animal associated with this chakra, as well as Agni, the Hindu god of fire. Agni is also the name for digestive fire which—it’s of no coincidence—is also present here; the third chakra rules over the digestive system, and chakra imbalance may manifest as diabetes, hypoglycemia or stomach ulcers. Tight, hard stomachs, pot bellies or sunken diaphragms are all indications of Manipura excess or deficiency. 

To strengthen the digestive fire, drink beverages at room temperature or slightly warmed, eat around two cupped handfuls of food at every meal to avoid overeating, and avoid spicy foods; take small sips of water while eating and avoid soda, alcohol, and fruit juice; and let your stomach rest between meals. 

In the journey to balance the chakras for vibrant living, awareness of the third chakra, with its transformative nature, is an important step.