PS is practicing yoga since the age of 11. Her yoga retreats in India have helped her gain deep insights into self-awareness.
Manipura chakra can be awakened through various methods. As per yogic texts, Manipura is in direct relation to your eyes. This means the awakening in this chakra causes the stimulation in Ajna as well. They are linked in the same way in which the willful action and vision are the interdependent operations. That’s why the continuous practice of Trataka causes the awakening of both Ajna and Manipura chakras.
Tantra doesn’t ask you to follow a specific diet. However, awakening the Manipura chakra demands for a simple diet as it is the core of the digestive fire. This chakra is also responsible for synchronizing the gastrointestinal system. That’s why you need to follow a pure diet and may even need to fast at some times. On the other hand, your faulty diet can cause harmful reactions in your body on the awakening of the Manipura chakra.
Uddiyana Bandha and Nauli Kriya are the major part of the practices related to the Manipura chakra:
- Uddiyana Bandha: In this exercise, you need to contract your abdomen, control the muscles of your abdominal wall, and balance the working of digestive and visceral organs, also including small and large intestines. It synchronizes and controls the interaction of the gallbladder, liver, spleen, stomach, and pancreas. Before Uddiyana Bandha, you must practice Agnisar kriya.
- Nauli Kriya: Nauli kriya requires lots of balance and resilience. It is quite difficult for beginners and may require a year or a half to attain perfection. In this exercise, you need to control the rectus abdominal muscles as well as the churning of the whole abdomen. On mastering this technique, you can create the union of Prana and Apana in your navel. This will cause the awakening of the Manipura chakra.
The following asanas are highly recommended for Manipura chakra:
- Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
- Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
- Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
- Marjariasana (Cat Pose)
- Pawanmuktasana (Wind-Relieving Pose)
- Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)
- Chakrasana (Wheel Pose)
Now, let’s learn about the practices for awakening the Manipura chakra:
1. Focusing on the chakra location and its Kshetram
- Sit in a meditative posture.
- Place one finger on your navel.
- Place one finger of another hand on your spine leveled with the finger placed at your navel.
- You can check the level of your fingers by standing sideways in front of the mirror. When they are on the same level, you can sit down.
- Firmly press the finger on the navel at least for a minute, then remove your finger.
- The pressure must be so intense that you should feel the continuous sensation.
- The area little lower to this point is the location of your Manipura chakra.
- Now, focus your attention on the navel, which is the Manipura chakra Kshetram.
- Chant the mantra ‘Om’ or any other mantra suggested to you by your guru.
2. Purifying the Manipura chakra
- Sit comfortably on a cushion or mat.
- Close your eyes and keep your back straight.
- Take long and deep breaths.
- Feel the contraction and expansion of your navel with your breathing.
- When the navel expands, observe the breath filling in your navel.
- When the navel contracts, your breath flows away from the Manipura chakra located in the spine near the navel and out of your body.
- Practice this daily and chant the mantra with full concentration.
3. Agnisar kriya (Burning the Digestive fire)
You must practice this kriya on an empty stomach in the early morning. It has two forms: simple and advanced. You should not practice advanced version unless you have perfected the simple one. Pregnant women shouldn’t practice this kriya. Also, including people who have undergone abdominal surgery in the past 12 months or suffer from heart disease or peptic ulcers.
Form 1 (Simple):
- Assume the pose of Vajrasana
- Keep your toes together
- Separate your knees as far as possible
- Keep your hands on the knees and straighten your arms
- Lean forward slightly
- Open your mouth and bring your tongue outside
- Breathe rapidly also contracting and expanding your abdomen simultaneously
- Your respiration and movement of your abdomen must be in harmony. It must be like the panting of a dog.
- Breathe in and out at most 25 times
Form 2 (Advanced):
In the advanced form, you need to increase the digestive fire. You need to sit in the same pose as mentioned above. However, the technique involves some more steps:
- Assume the same pose as mentioned in Form 1.
- Exhale completely
- Perform Jalandhara Bandha
- Contract and expand the abdominal muscles rapidly
- Stay in this pose as long as you can sustain the breath retention
- Now, release the Jalandhara Bandha and inhale completely
- When your breath has returned to normal, practice it again at least four more times.
4. Uddiyana Bandha (Abdominal Lock)
- Sit in a meditative posture in a way that your knees touch the floor.
- If this sounds difficult, you can practice the asana while standing.
- Considering you are performing it in a sitting position, place your palms on the knees, relax your body, and close your eyes.
- Exhale completely and stay still
- Perform Jalandhara Bandha
- Contract your abdominal muscles as much as you can both upward and inward. This is the sucking action of the muscles.
- Hold this position as long as you can keep the breath outside
- Focus your awareness on the Manipura chakra and chant the mantra
- Relax the muscles slowly, release the asana and inhale.
- When your breathing has turned back to normal, you can repeat the process.
- Practice it a few times in the starting, then increase it to at least ten times.
5. Nauli kriya
You should only perform Nauli kriya if you have perfected Agnisar kriya and Uddiyana Bandha.
Stand with your feet at a distance of a meter. Place your hands on the knees and slightly bend the knees. Practice Uddiyana Bandha in this posture. Nauli kriya has four stages as stated below:
Stage 1: Madhyama Nauli
- Contract your rectus abdominal muscles
- Isolate them at the center of your abdomen
- After perfectly mastering this form, move to the next stage.
Stage 2: Varna Nauli
- Isolate the rectus abdominal muscles at the left side of your abdomen
Stage 3: Dakshina Nauli
- Isolate the rectus abdominal muscles at the right side of your abdomen.
Before proceeding to stage 4, you must be able to perform the above three stages without any difficulty. Now, the steps for stage 4:
- Practice Uddiyana Bandha while standing.
- Isolate the rectus abdominal muscles.
- Roll these muscles in a way that they move from left to center to right and then in reverse flow.
- Repeat this process as many times as you can while your breathing is completely exhaled.
- When you feel overwhelmed, relax your muscles, take long and deep breaths.
- When your breathing is back to normal, repeat the method and the rolling movement must start from right to left for the second time.
- Practice it at least 4 or more times depending on your strength - 2 times from left to right and 2 times from right to left.
6. Union of Prana and Apana
- Attain the posture of Padmasana or you can go for Siddhasana (Siddha yoni asana) as well.
- Relax your whole body for a while such that your body becomes completely still.
- Focus on your breathing, how it passes from your abdomen to your nose, and then it goes back to your abdomen.
- Center your whole awareness at this movement. Continue it for a few minutes.
- As you achieve deep awareness, you’ll realize there are two forces - Prana and Apana, traveling from and to your navel.
- Apana rises from Mooladhara to the navel.
- Prana moves down from nose to the navel.
- It is extremely important that these two forces together arrive at the navel during the full inhalation.
- When it comes to your awareness that the two forces have united in the navel, practice Kumbhaka (breath retention).
- Raise your mental awareness for the joint force existing in your navel but don’t strain.
- As you become accustomed to this practice, practice Moola Bandha while you are in the state of Kumbhaka.
- Contract the Moola Bandha as much as you can. This will increase the strength of the force present in your navel.
- Hold your breath as long as you can.
- Then release your breath along with Moola Bandha.
- Practice it for 5 or more minutes.
You must continue doing this practice, for a month, to awaken your Manipura chakra. Then, you can start with the Anahata chakra.
Nauli kriya is the most effective technique for awakening the Manipura chakra but it is quite difficult too. Never strain or overexert yourself. It is better to perfect Agnisar Kriya and Uddiyana Bandha, first. With these practices, you should also continue the exercises related to Ajna, Mooladhara, and Swadhisthana.
© 2020 PS Tavishi