The solar plexus chakra is linked to the fire element, also known as agni, and it thus governs the fire of intelligence — our creativity, self-discipline, and self-confidence. The solar plexus chakra is also known as the navel chakra, and it regulates the fire element in the body. In Ayurveda, the fire of digestion in the stomach is considered to be vital to a healthy digestion and also to intelligence and creativity. The fire of digestion is called Jataragni and the fire of intelligence is called tejas. In Ayurveda a person who has a balanced fire element is very disciplined, innovative, and confident.
In this article, we will discuss three mudras that can benefit the navel chakra.
What are Mudras?
Mudras are hand gestures that activate a certain element or energy in the body. The five fingers represent the five elements. The energy activation point lies on the fingertips. When the fingertips are connected, the subtle energy in your body gets activated. The thumb represents the fire element. This element represents agni within the body, and it serves to activate all the other elements.
The index finger represents air, middle finger ether, ring finger earth and the little finger represents the water element.
When different hand formations, or mudras, are formed, the combination of subtle elements has a powerful effect on the mind and body.
An Overview of the Navel Chakra
Each of the seven chakras has defining features that make it unique. Below is the profile of the navel chakra, known in Sanskrit as मणिपूर (manipura), or “jewel of fulfillment.”
Physical location: The abdomen. By bringing your awareness to the solar plexus, or the bundle of nerves above your navel, you can feel the energy of your third chakra.
Developmental stage: 18 months to four years. During their initial years of life, a child learns basic motor skills and explores the immediate environment. In the toddler years, they begin to assert themselves as an individual. This is the task of the third chakra.
Chief domains: Individuation, activity, and will power. The navel chakra shapes our self-image and the way we carry ourselves in the world.
Emotional challenge: Shame. When the third chakra is out of balance, one thinks: “I am not enough.” We feel ill-equipped to face the demands of life. This leads to either disengagement out of depression and despair, or over-exertion as one attempts to compensate for their deficient self-worth with external achievement.
When your navel chakra is energized navel chakra, you feel powerful. It gives you self-discipline, responsibility, and a balanced approach to life. You live with integrity, and others know they can rely on you.
Element: Fire. The navel chakra is like the body’s engine. Its raw power drives us toward the things we want in life.
The Physiology of the Solar Plexus Chakra
The navel chakra balances the fire element, which relates to the digestive system. In Ayurveda the dosha associated with the fire of digestion and navel chakra is pitta. Pitta comprises of all the digestive juices in the body. Hence the functions of digestion and absorption are controlled by this chakra.
The samana vayu or the air that flames the fire of digestion in the stomach area is also controlled by the navel chakra. This chakra therefore is vital to confidence, as confidence depends on the energy in the body and quickness of intelligence. Eating foods that keep the fire of digestion working well and plenty of exercise benefit this chakra. A bad diet and lack of exercise leading to a weak belly throws this chakra out of balance.
RECOMMENDED: For a complete guide to the many mudras and their benefits, check out Healing Mudras: Yoga of the Hands by Yogi Nataraj.
Mudras for the Navel Chakra
As we have already discussed, each chakra deals with an element and an endocrine gland influencing the body. To purify the chakras, we must practice the mudras relating to the specifi element as well as the proper endocrine gland or system.
The navel chakra deals with the fire element, the pancreas, and the digestive system. The pancreas is vital for the secretion of insulin, which is responsible for helping your body absorb energy. The first mudra we will cover is the Surya mudra:
The Surya Mudra
First Fold the ring finger and cover it with the thumb. Make sure that the tip of the ring finger touches the fleshy part of the base of the thumb. This mudra activates the fire element. As we practice this mudra, we must meditate on the Manipura chakra, or the navel chakra. Concentration brings about activation. Practice this mudra for about 15-20 minutes.
When Should I Perform the Surya Mudra?
The Surya mudra is useful for the following:
- Stimulating digestion
- Calming stomach upset
- Preventing diabetes
- Maintaining body temperature
- Improving vision
- Gaining energy
- Energizing the mind and reducing depression / lethargy
- Stimulating the thyroid gland
Remember that it is very important to feel your pulse while performing this mudra.
The next mudra we will cover is known as the Samana mudra. The Samana mudra activates the fire in the solar plexus and generates heat and energy throughout the body:
The Samana Mudra
Touch the tips of all the fingers as shown, and carefully press the tips until you can feel the pulse of some of the fingers. Keep your fingers pointing upwards. Meditate on the gentle flame gently burning upwards in the belly as you practice this mudra. Practice the Samana Mudra for 10-15 minutes.
The last mudra we will cover is known as the Linga Mudra, which kindles the heat within the body:
The Linga Mudra
Clasp both the hands in front of your stomach area. Lift up the right thumb and make sure the part palms below the thumb of both hands touch each other firmly. As you hold the hands in this way meditate on the navel chakra. In sometime you should be able to see heat generated. This activates the navel chakra Hold this mudra for 10-15 minutes.
Bija Mantra for the Navel Chakra
When we perform the mudras we can also chant the bija mantras that activate the chakra. Bija means seed, this seed carries the energy of activation of the chakra. The Bjia mantra for the sacral chakra is ram pronounced “rang,” similar to how the syllable om is chanted.
When we chant the bija mantra along when we perform the mudra we get an even better effect of both the mudra and the mantra. Once we are situated in the mudra the soft chanting of the bija or the seed mantra along with concentration on the chakra is very beneficial.
Suggested Mudra Sequence for the Solar Plexus Chakra
- Sit in a quiet place if possible, sit with your back straight or against the wall. You can even sit on a chair.
- Perform the Surya Mudra. Meditate on the Bija mantra by reciting it softly or in the mind as you practice the mudra. Practice this mudra for 15 minutes.
- Perform the Samana Mudra . Meditate on the Bija mantra for 15 minutes.
- Perform the Linga Mudra along with the soft chanting of the bija mantra vam for 15 minutes.
You can practice the sequence based on your time available. If you have 15 minutes perform the first mudra. If you have more time you do the second one and so on.
This sequence will benefit you immensely in cleaning the chakra and becoming emotionally stable.