In yoga we often talk about the ‘power center’, the core of our physical, mental, and energetic bodies. This internal strength or will is what gives us the self-confidence to live to our fullest potential. At times we can let our internal fire dwindle and we need to find a way to ignite our inner power in order to create a strong self identity, and a sustainable internal fire that will continue to burn even on the darkest of days.
This power center correlates with our ego, and the third chakra – Manipura. Chakras are ‘wheels’ of energy within our body. There are many chakras, but there are seven major chakras that correspond with our levels of consciousness. The lowest of the chakras beginning at the base of our spine and connects with our most primal level of consciousness and as you move up the spine the other chakras also develop into deeper levels of consciousness. All of the chakras are interrelated and cannot be separated, however, from an intellectual perspective they can be. By separating the chakras on an intellectual level we learn to understand them, ourselves, and our consciousness, which allows us to function in the world at a more present, and deeper level.
The manipura chakra can manifest in excess as overly aggressive, dominating, and controlling or deficiencies in the third chakra shows up as low energy, weak will, easily manipulated, and low self-esteem. Once we identify the excesses, deficiencies, or balances we can decide if we want to continue with our self-perpetuating tendencies or take action to create positive change in our lives. The purpose of focusing on the manipura chakra is to overcome inertia and help create transformation.
Tapas in sanskrit translates to ‘heat’ or ‘to burn’, and it is a term in yoga which describes the process of inner cleansing. Cleansing of not only the physical but mental impurities that no longer serve us. Tapas is a process of purification. The storing of excess fat, negative or obsessive thoughts, etc are burned away during a practice that focuses on twists and core. This is recommended as a daily practice as we daily need to burn away the impurities that we have piled on over the years.
The purification is not only of what you put into your body, but what you see, what you read, the people you surround yourself with. You can control what you eat, read, and most of what you see. When you begin to eliminate things that deplete you, you create space for those that you love, things that ignite you, your inner strength, and strong self-confidence.
The practice of tapas is not an aggressive act of purification, but a disciplined approach to change. The energy and power generated with the Manipura chakra is dependent on our basic self-confidence and our willingness to change. Our ability to identify and overcome our own patterns of inertia, and transform ourselves to the powerful self-confident self who can direct more attention to those people and things we love, to go after what challenges us, renews us, and ignites us.
In order to overcome inertia we must initiate movement – energy begets energy. Once we get up off our asses we get our muscles oxidizing and our heart pumping and we have more energy. It is not only through movement that we can begin to over come inertia and purify. Another way to purify is to remove ourselves from a situation that depletes us. It could be friends who make us feel smaller, television shows that cloud our judgements, or a certain job we are in, etc. It is by removing ourselves from something we don’t want to be a part of that takes us away from perpetuating situations and habits and then through stillness we purify.
So how can you apply this to your life? How can you make changes that will allow you to have a stronger sense of self, power, and will? Here are a few effective suggestions that you could try in your life today:
– Go for a run
– Take a Power Yoga class
– Go swimming
– Make decisions about your life that involve going for what you want
You will learn to follow your integrity, in your day to day life you will begin to notice it is easier for you to say no – to stick with your truth and values.
May we all live light, because everything is already okay.