By Amruta Kulkarni CYT 500
How can pranayama active the solar plexus? Our solar plexus is located directly above the belly button and below the sternum. This area of the body is also known as the Third Chakra or the Manipura Chakra. Manipura means lustrous gem in Sanskrit. This chakra is strongly correlated with internal power and self-esteem. The warrior energy that is harnessed through many of the standing Yoga poses is also generated from this chakra. The Manipura Chakra governs metabolism and digestion as well as the ability to manifest our dreams in the world. A well-balanced and vibrantly spinning Third Chakra will support us in taking appropriate risks, setting boundaries that protect our well-being while respecting others needs and wants, and asking for what we need financially, emotionally and spiritually.
A deficient or blocked Manipura Chakra can result in inertia, a dissipation of the sense of empowerment, low self-esteem, a feeling of being a victim and poor digestion. Practicing Yoga asanas and pranayama exercises that nurture and enliven the Third Chakra will help to revitalize your inner energy and your sense of possibility. Your degree of self-empowerment and competence to manifest your dreams will also increase. A balanced Third Chakra will also improve your digestion by increasing your body’s ability to turn food into energy. Many standing Yoga poses and pranayama exercises help to strengthen and activate the solar plexus (Manipura Chakra). The Ha Kriya is a very powerful Kundalini Yoga pranayama technique for activating and re-energizing the Third Chakra.
To practice the Ha Kriya, come to Mountain Pose on your Yoga mat. With your next exhale, step or jump your feet three to four feet apart with your feet parallel to the ends of your mat. Bend your knees slightly and feel the earth beneath you and the strength of your legs. Ha Kriya consists of a series of quick inhales and forceful exhales as you repeat “Ha” with each exhale. There is an empowering and noble feeling inherent in this pranayama practice reminiscent of an Asian martial art form.
To begin, inhale and raise your arms over your head with your hands in fists. As you exhale forcefully, repeat “Ha” and bring your fists down to hip level with the finger-part of your fists facing up. With your next inhale, raise your fists back over your head. Repeat the same breathing pattern four more times in rapid succession. Each exhale should be forceful and “Ha” should be repeated aloud with some vigor. Repeat this sequence two more times. To finish, come back to Tadasana at the top of your Yoga mat, you have managed to activate the solar plexus, and feel the energy vibrating in your Manipura Chakra.
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