Chakra Series :: 3rd Chakra

manipurachakra

chakras_map-svgWe are activating our 3rd Chakra this month as part of the chakra series. The 3rd Chakra, called the Manipura Chakra, is located at our solar plexus. This chakra is where our self confidence, courage and trust comes from. When I think of this chakra, I think of owning my power. If I am nervous or fearful, I work on activating this chakra. It’s earth element is fire. It’s color is yellow and its sound is “RAM.”

Yoga Poses

Different yoga poses can activate certain chakras. Here a few beginner-level poses I like to use to activate my 3rd chakra:

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I):
Think of this pose as your spiritual warrior, arising from the strength of your 3rd chakra. Practice this pose with firm determination, awakening the warrior within you. From Mountain Pose, step your left foot back about 4 feet, bend your right knee and bend it so that it aligns directly over your right ankle. Spin your back heel down to the floor while hugging all of the muscles of that leg to the bones. I like to have my feet hips width in this pose. Square your hips by bringing your left hip forward and your right hip back. Once stable, lift your arms overhead. Stay for 10 breaths, then complete on your other side.

Plank Pose:
This pose invokes the idea of trust, trusting that you have the strength and integrity to hold yourself up in this position. Your body is solid and strong in this pose, and your strength radiates from your core. Start in Downward Facing Dog, then draw your torso forward so that your shoulders are directly over your wrists. Make your body in a straight line through your core, and lengthen your tailbone towards the back of your mat. Externally rotate your shoulders and hug all of your muscles to the bone. Stay for 10 breaths.

L Stand (Handstand Prep):
Inversions can be scary. That is why I love this pose for the 3rd chakra, as doing this handstand prep pose makes you face your fears about going upside down. Do start, sit with your buttocks firmly against a wall with your legs extended out straight in front of you. Note where your heels touch the floor. Then, place the palms of your hands where your heels where, fingers pointing away from the wall. Walk your feet up the fall until they are as high as your waist. Keep your shoulders over your wrists. Your are now in L stand. Breath deeply. When you are ready to come out of the pose, walk your feet down the wall to the floor and take Downward Facing Dog pose.

Healing Foods for the Chakras

You can also nourish chakras through the foods you are eating. The sacral chakra’s element is fire, so foods with heat building and nourishing spices are best. Try this yummy soup recipe to nurture your 3rd chakra.

Indian Lentil Cauliflower Soup
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1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 quart vegetable stock
1 cup red lentils
1 cauliflower chopped into bite-size florets
1 sweet potato peeled and diced
4 swiss chard leaves, chopped (could also use kale or spinach)
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh cilantro for serving (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 5 to 6 minutes, until translucent. Stir in spices and saute for 2 minutes more, until fragrant. Add the broth and red lentils and stir to combine.

Bring the mixture to a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes more. Stir in the cauliflower and sweet potato. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cauliflower and sweet potato are tender.

Season with the salt and pepper, and add more curry powder, if desired. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cilantro if desired.

Adapted from the Happy Foodie recipe.

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