Imagine a crackling log fire on a cold’s winter’s night. You are watching the glowing embers dancing and flickering as the different shades of red, orange and yellow morph into each other. You can feel the warmth wrapping around your bones like a big hug. Each piece of wood is slowly breaking down into a powdery ash. This vision represents the fire element in its Sattvic (neutral/balanced) state, heating, life-preserving, nurturing and enticing. Fire is transformational; it can turn lead into gold, dark into light and food into fuel.
Fire can easily rage out of control quickly. It rips its way through the physical world as the destroyer. The Alchemist on high turning everything it touches back to the earth, closing the cycle instead of sustaining.
If the fire is weak, it won’t hold its flame for long. Its light is low with little strength until it peters out entirely to a fizzle.
Manipura or the Solar Plexus Chakra is located in the centre of our torso, above the navel, below the breast bone. Its name means a city of jewels or sparkling gem. Just like the sun itself, Manipura is pure fire and heat. In the centre of our body and the third Chakra, it governs our sense of self and who we are, our identity.
Observing the differences
When we observe a fire, it is easy to see no two flames are the same. Fires change, evolve, shapeshift, grow or shrink. You can apply this analogy to our human existence; no two humans are the same. It is through Manipura we develop our uniqueness or characters. We learn to not to mould ourselves on other people and to carve our path.
It takes a strong will (another characteristic of a balanced Manipura) to stand up for yourself and say “no, this is who I am and what I believe in, I don’t have to follow or be like you.” When Manipura is stable (Sattvic), there is an air of lightheartedness. Allowing the true you to be seen can come with a ‘take me or leave me’ air, not in an arrogant way but with compassion. Understanding that others might not be as excited by crystals, yoga or essential oils as you are.
To some extent, our human worlds need order and rules to function smoothly. However, some of these practices can stifle the individual development of one’s Self. If the structures we are in are too rigid and use fear and shame instead of positive reinforcement to lead this can throw a massive bucket over water over our Manipura fire.
When we feel we are not enough
Feelings of never being good enough, not making the mark, having to please people or those deemed ‘above’ us to get ahead all drain the vital life force energy of Manipura. You are giving your power away. This is especially true when we are being ‘graded’ by someone else’s perception of our efforts. You may have baked the most amazing chocolate cake, but if the person ‘assessing it’ doesn’t care for chocolate cake then they naturally will be drawn elsewhere to award the top mark as they favour the other flavour.
Sometimes its hard to stand in your power, you might feel ashamed of what lights you up if others were to mock. Shame is a sign that Manipura is running low. Our self-esteem is weak; it’s difficult to complete tasks or follow through with what we say we are going to do as our fire is waning, there isn’t enough fuel. When our light is going out, and there is no passion for driving us out the slump we can be easily pushed around by others. We lack definite boundaries. If our fire is low we might reach for stimulants to lift us, give us a buzz for an artificial high.
Fire Running Wild
As I mentioned before a fire can get out of control quickly. If Manipura is overstimulated a person can come across as bolshie, easily angered, arrogant and always out to prove themselves. There is an “I am the best, and you will all know about it” attitude. When a fire is rampant it takes no prisoners; it’s my way or the highway. This behaviour can even come across as bullying. It’s in your face, loud and intrusive.
However when an overstimulated Solar Plexus presents it could be a mask for a deficient fire element. We’ve all heard the ‘fake it until you make it’ saying when someone is wracked with self-doubt, and lack of trust in themselves so they turn up the dial of enthusiasm or ‘fake confidence’ as a cover-up. Even if what is being said might not be exactly precise, some people have enough of this mentality to convince an audience that an orange carrot is actually polka dot coloured if it is presented in an overly confident and convincing manner.
Under the surface, there might be some deep wounds that are being played out in an over-active Manipura. It might be a learned behaviour that is showing through, especially if it comes from an ancestral line. If someone wasn’t encouraged positively as a child, then they might grow up to then pass this onto their children or work colleagues through shaming or negative comments. It’s just the way they know, and there is always room to break this pattern for the better.
Fire in the Yoga Room
In the yoga room, a supercharged fire element in a teacher may play out in them highlighting everything the students are ‘doing wrong’ and never praising what is right. Pointing fingers at their colleagues (who usually are not present) who teach postures/philosophies differently to them as ‘not the right way.’ When it’s not wrong, just different, calling out a student constantly on their ‘bad alignment’ in a way that is shaming instead of encouraging could also be a sign of overactive fire. Some students might respond to this method of teaching while others may feel like a sack of shit, disempowered and shamed in front of his fellow yogis.
Once a person is aware of any imbalances in their Manipura they can start to heal to move forward to a more balanced state. Remember healing and chakra balancing is an ongoing project, but it does get quicker and more comfortable to find the balance.
Healing and balancing Manipura Chakra:
If there is an excess of fire, it needs calming down through slower more restorative practices – cooling yin yoga and meditation to bring the focus from the external to the internal. These practices will help manage stress levels, so fire isn’t running on high. Take time off; be alone as continually being surrounded by people is stimulating. Seek calmer environments. Find a release practice to let go of anger or resentment. Try journaling or writing you releases on paper to burn.
For a low or under-active Manipura, more fire is needed. Stoke the fire with stronger yang practices focusing on the core. Be outside in nature to invigorate the senses and the soul. Get yourself out in the sun, fire up your Solar Plexus with sunlight. Take some risks; try something new as a sense of achievement will build your self-esteem. Travelling to a new place by yourself to take a solo adventure is a brilliant way to charge Manipura energy. Follow through with your intentions, take action, move forward. Again, there might be risk involved, take it and see what happens. Watch out for stimulating foods like coffee and sugar, try eating more naturally and gaining energy through fresh fruits and vegetables. Play and have fun, let your hair down and not get too serious.
Essential oils are my favourite for lifting my energy and Chakras for the Solar Plexus any citrus oils – wild orange, grapefruit, lemon, spices – cinnamon, clove, ginger & black pepper. My go-to crystals are citrine, sodalite, golden calcite and sunstone.
When you are feeling balanced, keep it up! Notice which activities are lifting you and where your passions are focused. Reflect on how you feel when Manipura is flowing and free. Write this all down. When your fire starts to derange you can refer to your list of fire balancing practices.
Enjoy exploring your fire and Manipura.