The Third Chakra
Build strength and stability in your asana practice by focusing on the “city of jewels,” or the third chakra.
Radiant with fiery power, the “city of jewels,” or the manipura chakra, is the seat of transformation at every level of being. On the physical plane, focusing on the navel area during your hatha practice builds strength and stability while improving metabolism and assimilation. On a deeper level, consciously accessing this energetic center stokes both the fire of digestion (jathara agni) and the fire of consciousness (bhuta agni), and cultivates willpower and assertiveness.
Visualize the fiery triangle at the navel center when you practice core-strengthening poses.
The complex nature of chakras, the sages found, cannot be adequately described in words, so yantras, or symbolic representations, are useful tools for connecting with their essence. The manipura chakra takes the form of a bright red upward-facing triangle—symbolizing fire—inscribed in a 10-petaled lotus.
To begin integrating the more subtle aspects of the manipura chakra into your asana practice, visualize the fiery triangle at the navel center when you practice core-strengthening poses, such as paripurna navasana (full boat pose), silently and continuously repeating the bija (seed) mantra Ram (pronounced “rum”) at the same time. When using the manipura chakra as a focus for meditation, you can visualize an expanded triangle, with a base that stretches between the two frontal hip bones and an apex that reaches the base of the sternum.
Kat Heagberg is the editor of Yoga International and has been teaching yoga since 2005. She loves to write about ways to make challenging poses more accessible, the power of language in yoga culture, and to offer encouragement and advice to new yoga teachers. Though she initially trained in alignment-based styles of yoga (which continue to inform her practice and teaching), Kat likes teaching vinyasa flow best of all. Read her work and take her classes here on Yoga International!