Have you ever met someone oozing with self-confidence, who has an absolute passion for life?
Blessed with an incredible energy, they are fearless about the future or the past because they are firmly grounded in this very exact moment in life. Free of what ifs, should haves, could haves, they have this inner sense of peace just flowing from them that you want to be near them all the time.
More than likely, these kinds of people have an incredibly balanced Manipura or third chakra. Also referred to as the solar plexus, a balanced third chakra manifests as having solid self-esteem, strong feelings of purpose, a healthy sense of ambition, and great self-motivation.
This person embraces the world completely, and is perfectly at ease with themselves and where they are headed because they are in control of their own destiny. They embody self-love, compassion, emotional stability, and personal power.
On the other extreme, someone with an unbalanced third chakra will be constantly frustrated as they focus instead on feeling out of control. They will feel less grounded and insecure, and such blockages can manifest themselves as anger, fear, and a need for power.
The Manipura Chakra
Manipura is Sanskrit for “lustrous jewel” or “palace of jewels.” Located in our navel, the third chakra is the seat of our personal power: where the energy for turning ideas into actions flows.
A balanced third chakra manifests as having healthy self-respect and confidence in making decisions because there is this fabulous feeling of being in control of our life. This chakra gives us the courage to put ourselves out there, so to speak!
The more robust our confidence and self-esteem, the more likely we are to survive the curveballs that life can sometimes throw at us, and the more easily we will overcome obstacles, self-doubt, fear, and our deepest, darkest, inhibitions.
The outcome of this is that we become lucky enough to live an extraordinary and empowered life that allows us to follow our goals and dreams and move in the direction that makes us come alive.
Yoga can help keep these dynamic forces in balance, allowing yogis to tap into their limitless inner star power! Due to the location of the Manipura, the most beneficial yoga poses are those that massage the pancreas, stimulate the kidneys, and work our abdominal muscles, creating core strength.
After all, every action, movement, thought, and intention comes from the very center of our being—whether this literally means our core muscles, or, metaphorically speaking,our center.
You often hear your teacher ask you to “Extend you heart,” and “Engage your core” moving from Warrior I to Warrior III, or when entering Navasana or Crow. This is because the core is the center of a yogi’s world.
Yoga teachers endlessly emphasize the importance of engaging their core in a whole range of poses and in the transitions between poses. Have you noticed how, as soon as you do actually firm up your belly, drawing your pelvic bone towards your heart, it completely changes your pose?
That’s the incredible power of core strength!
Yoga Poses for Personal Power, Happiness, and A Lust for Life
This sequence includes gentle backbends to cool an overheated third chakra and open the heart, twists for cleansing, standing poses and abdominal work for strength and power, and restorative poses to calm the mind and encourage self-love.
Note: Start this sequence with three sets each of Sun Salutation A and B, then close with Savasana.
1. Downward Dog
- Start on all fours, hips above knees, shoulders above wrists.
- Tuck toes under, lift hips and straighten legs.
- Straighten arms, push into hands as you elevate hips.
- Reach heels away from toes, lengthen through torso and spine.
2. Warrior II
- From Downward Dog, step right foot forward, turn left foot to 90-degree angle.
- Bend right knee to bring thigh parallel with floor, knee above ankle.
- Keep torso above hips.
- Reach actively through arms, bringing them parallel to ground.
- Gaze over front fingertips.
- Repeat other side.
3. Reverse Warrior
- Keep lower body position of Warrior II.
- Extend front arm up and back in an arching motion.
- Lightly rest rear arm on back thigh or calf, or put behind back.
- Spiral chest open, and keep tailbone dropped.
- From Reverse Warrior, straighten front leg, bring shoulders above hips, turn back foot to 45-degree angle
- Lift and activate arms, bringing them parallel to floor.
- Extend front arm forward, reach fingers to floor next to front ankle/calf/knee.
- Raise top arm towards the sky, stacking shoulders on top of each other.
- Keep lower belly engaged and legs straight.
- Repeat other side.
- Start seated, knees bent.
- Keep spine long, lean back to float feet,then straighten legs, making V-shape.
- Extend arms forward and parallel to ground.
- Balance on center of tailbone and sit bones, with chest lifted and gaze forward.
- Squat with knees wide and insides of feet touching.
- Walk hands forward between legs until arms are straight, lower torso to level of thighs.
- Walk hands back until you can hug upper arms as high as possible with knees.
- Lift hips, gaze ahead of fingers, lean forward, stacking elbows above wrists.
- Lift pubic bone towards heart, drawing one heel at a time towards bottom and round back.
- Modify—use block under feet.
- Lie on belly.
- Bend both knees, lift chest, and reach back to grab outer edges of feet.
- Push abdominals into floor to elevate chest.
- Hold 5 breaths, do 3 rounds.
8. Reclined Spinal Twist
- Lie on back, draw both knees to chest.
- Drop knees to left side, open arms wide.
- Keep right shoulder down as you gaze towards right.
- Hold for 20 breaths.
- Repeat other side.
Chakra Strength = Core Strength
Use this sequence of sensible, risk-taking poses to confront your physical and emotional fears, build strength, and break through insecurities and increase your self-confidence. Now roll out your mat and conquer this kickass personal power workout today!