How to balance your chakra for digestion
Human beings are made up of seven chakras; the ‘wheels’ or energy centres that act as pumps throughout the body to distribute and regulate energy. The chakra system supports the immune system, encourages steady blood flow to our organs, and healthy management of stress and emotional turmoil. It also encourages us to take stock of our health and well-being, with a more holistic approach.
Each chakra has its own role and responsibility within the body. These are:
- Root (Muladhara): strength, stability and security
- Sacral (Swadhisthana): sexuality and creativity
- Solar Plexus (Manipura): inner power and vitality
- Heart (Anahata): love, compassion and emotional acknowledgement
- Throat (Vishuddhi): communication and sense of self
- Third eye (Ajna): an all-seeing eye for intuition and decision making
- Crown (Sahasrara): spiritual connection and well-being
When one energy source is blocked or becomes unbalanced, negative energy is stored in the chakra, and the repercussions can be felt within the physical body. The chakras are connected to the major nerve plexus, which is why emotions and feelings are often felt as physical pain or discomfort.
We’re going to look at the role of the third chakra; responsible for digestion, which is often offset by a number of things, not just the food we eat, but difficult emotions and stress. When it comes to supporting your digestion with a more holistic approach, it’s helpful to acknowledge the whole body.
How Manipura affects gut health
The third chakra, Manipura, represents our individual power and vitality and is related to self-esteem and confidence. Located just under the breastbone, above the navel, Manipura – also known as our Solar Plexus – is responsible for optimum digestive functioning and keeping the digestive fire stimulated (gut microbiome and digestive enzymes).
If you struggle with digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux or regular stomach aches, it’s likely you have a blockage of negative energy in Manipura.
Thimela Garcia, a Kundalini Yoga teacher and holistic practitioner, explains the importance of a balanced Manipura. “This chakra has the responsibility to control and balance the energy within our bodies and as the seat of the digestive system, the Manipura chakra also oversees and regulates the functions of the organs involved in the digestion process; stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, small intestine and liver. When our Solar Plexus is off-balance, we experience physical and emotional ailments that can manifest from mild to more serious problems in our bodies.”
“Manipura is governed by the element fire and it is represented by the colour yellow due to its association with heat and the sun. It acts like a magnet that absorbs Prana (energy) from the sun which is then processed by this chakra and distributed around the body.”
As Manipura is directly responsible for distributing energy, when this chakra manifests negative energy, blockages can occur, which then affect the chakras closest to it (heart and sacral) and you can sometimes experience insecurity in your relationships, poor self-image, depression or anxiety.
How to avoid blockages in Manipura
To maintain a blanched chakra and healthy digestive system, Thimela, a chakra expert, says it’s all about awareness. “Primarily, we should bring awareness to this energy centre. We should notice how we feel emotionally and physically in this area, and focus on the type of food we are consuming as that is an important source of energy.
“Our food should be nourishing, natural, fresh and less processed. The more natural the food we consume, the fewer toxins we are putting into our bodies.
“Practising purifying and cleansing breathing exercises regularly such as Kapalbhati, Bhastrika and belly breathing are highly recommended due to their immediate results. Yoga poses that stimulate the Solar Plexus chakra, alongside regular chakra meditation, can keep a good flow of Prana on this chakra and therefore a good digestive system and overall a good health.”
How to keep your digestive fire healthy
Agni, which translates to fire, represents your digestive enzymes and gut health and is key to healthy digestion. Located in Manipura, you can manage your Agni imbalances by trying the following:
- Remove ice from your diet, and always drink water and beverages at room temperature.
- Increase your consumption of yellow foods such as peppers, cheese, sunflower seeds, pineapple and banana.
- Sip Aloe Vera juice, known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Apply natural essential oils to your stomach, massage gently. Use eucalyptus to activate Manipura, or helichrysum to calm it down.
- Add nutmeg to your diet which can kickstart a sluggish Root chakra.
- Use ginger, turmeric and cinnamon in cooking to aid digestive enzymes.
- Sip chamomile tea, known for its antioxidant properties.
- Practise simple yoga poses including ‘downward-facing dog’, ‘cat-cow’ and ‘corpse pose’.
“A healthy Solar Plexus not only means that we are able to process our food to get the necessary energy we need to live a happy and healthy life, but it also means that we are able to process challenging situations in our lives with ease and confidence, absorbing and learning from those experiences and releasing what no longer serves us,” says Thimela.
Find out more the chakras and how balancing them can support whole-body health.
If you would like to work with a therapist to better understand your body and have guidance making these changes, use our advanced search tool to find a nutrition professional, using the keywords ‘chakra’ and ‘Ayurveda’.