We place a lot of importance on our core. Strong stomach muscles are not only attractive from the outside, they represent a lot of internal power that often radiates throughout. The navel centre is the seat of our well-being. Prenatally, the navel was responsible for our nourishment and survival. It acted as a lifeline and held a lot of energy. This prenatal connection remains with us into our adult years and some describe its greater purpose as the energetic connection to the infinite.
The navel represents the third chakra and is located just below the belly button. You can feel the navel after completing some abdominal exercises. Most of us have a slight imbalance and feel the pulse wither slightly above or below its mark or just off to one side or another. Psychologically, a strong balanced navel chakra gives us the power to stay on course.
The third chakra takes strong emotions like anger and provides the ability to turn it into creativity. It stops any onslaught at the door and allows us to deal with each issue as it comes our way.
The sanksrit name for the chakra is Manipura meaning “lustrous gem”. Fire is its element and it’s all about personal power. Key verbs to describe the third chakra include “I can” and “I do”. The chakra is associated with the sun and the colour yellow.
Physically, it is associated with the digestive system and has a strong link to the pancreas. Weakness can manifest as diabetes, hepatitis, indigestion and ulcers.
A person with a strong third chakra can be identified as one who:
- Has a firm handle on their life
- Shows great leadership skills
- Has tremendous will power
- Is aware of their impact on others (actions and words)
In Kundalini yoga we have a number of sets that honour and strengthen this chakra. One of my favourites is the Nabhi Kriya. As you could imagine, the abdominal muscles are given a great work out and you feel so refreshed after focusing so much on the core.
Here are two great exercises to quickly get the core conditioned:
Lie straight on your back and lift both legs to 90 degrees and then lower them. Keep your arms alongside your body and relax them. Try only to engage in the muscles necessary to perform the movement. Continue for a few minutes gradually increasing the time as you gain strength.
Lie on your back with your arms alongside your body – palms facing towards you. With your feet together, toes pointed, lift your feet 6 inches off the ground and raise your head 6 inches off the ground and fix your eyes on your toes. If you are familiar with breath of fire – do it here. Do this pose for at least one minute and work your way up to 3 minutes and beyond. Be gentle with yourself but do give yourself a push. You definitely reap what you sow.
Keep up your practice. After a while you’ll challenge yourself with longer exercises and you will notice a difference in your life.