Yoga Philosophy and Lifestyle

Balance Your Third Chakra with Pilates

July 25, 2021

When you think of the chakra system, you probably think of yoga and meditation. But, the truth is, your chakras exist independently of your yoga practice and different forms of exercise such as TRX, trail running, or Pilates are just as useful in activating certain chakras.

Today we will focus on the third chakra, the “navel point” or “solar plexus.” Activating this energy pool through Pilates can fuel your power center, increasing your determination, personal power, follow-through, and resilience. Do you want to meet your goals? Make sure your third chakra is open and balanced.

What are chakras?

Chakras are energy centers throughout the body that influence who we are and how we experience the world. The activated combined effect of our chakra system helps determine our physical and psychological state, including how we behave and think.

Different chakras map to different somatic and emotional states, and this mapping can offer a guide to establishing balance and harmony. When all your chakras are activated and flowing, you operate at your highest and best levels. And when your chakras are blocked or out of balance, you don’t function as well. Your mood suffers, your physical health may be poor, and your ability to enjoy life declines.

“Chakra” is a Sanskrit word that means “wheel” or “circle,” and these energy whirlpools can be traced along the spine. In most forms of yoga, seven chakras are described, although in some systems such as Kundalini Yoga, an eighth chakra is recognized.

The chakra system includes the following:

1st Chakra: Root

2nd Chakra: Sex Organs

3rd Chakra: Navel Point

4th Chakra: Heart Center

5th Chakra: Throat Center

6th Chakra: Third Eye Point

7th Chakra: Crown

8th Chakra (recognized by some yoga systems including Kundalini Yoga): Electromagnetic Field.

What is the third chakra?

The third chakra, called the “manipura,” is located at your navel point and operates as your power center. In simple terms, this is where your ability to project powerfully into a situation and your ability to follow through on your goals originates from. 

Have you ever been around someone who seemed totally calm, confident, and completely in control?  It might not have been the words they said or even the body language they used, but they beamed an unmistakable presence and radiated strength and confidence. This is what a strong, activated and balanced third chakra can feel like. Energetically, it maps to confidence, assertiveness, and executive presence. Somatically it aligns with good digestion, balanced eating habits, effective nutrient absorption, and restful sleep patterns.

When in balance, the energy from your third chakra fuels your ability to go after the things you want. But what happens when this energy field is blocked, weak, or out of balance? You might feel powerless, stuck, unassertive, or victimized. Or you might overcompensate by being controlling, rigid, quick to anger, or aggressive. Physically you might have poor digestion, ulcers, eating disorders, or liver disease.

Not sure if your third chakra is out of balance? Answer these questions:

  • Do you have strong willpower?

  • Are you able to decisively set goals and achieve them?

  • Do you know how to maintain your personal energy levels?

  • Do you feel self-confident?

  • Do you inspire others to see their personal best and potential?

If you’ve answered "no" or "not sure" to several of the questions and recognized that your energy is out of balance, you can approach the situation somatically, and change the energy of your physical body to adopt healthier lifestyle patterns. Pilates is one of the fastest tracks to a strong third chakra.

What is Pilates?

Founded by German-born Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise that strengthens muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility. Originally named “Contrology,” the practice was designed to isolate and strengthen specific muscle groups.

While Pilates does encompass a whole-body workout, it builds the “core” as the foundation for all movement to radiate out from. The core, consisting of the muscles of the abdomen, lower back, and hips, is also called the "powerhouse" and is key to a person's stability. Because the core is so fundamental to pilates, it is the perfect form of exercise to open, strengthen, and balance your third chakra.

Why Pilates for the third chakra?

If you were to summarize Pilates into a single phrase, many practitioners say:

Pilates is all about building a strong core.”

This goal of a strong core directly maps to the goals of opening and balancing the third chakra and while there are numerous reasons to practice Pilates, if strengthening your navel point is one of your main goals, you’ve come to the right place.

Pilates classes come in many different styles and durations but in all instances, you can expect a focus on your abdomen, lower back, and hips. Whether using a mat or a reformer machine, you’ll be challenged to isolate and strengthen different muscle groups, increasing flexibility and improving both strength and balance.

Not sure what to expect in your first Pilates class?

Read this guide to preparing for your first Pilates class. You can start by practicing this free core-strengthening Pilates class on YogaToday 2-3 times a week and watch your third chakra activate and strengthen. 

How will you know your third chakra is activated? You’ll feel stronger, more confident, and more in control. You might even find you start pursuing those goals you set at the beginning of the year. And who doesn’t want more of that?