While an aligned Manipura is associated with self-esteem, self-confidence, self-respect, and a strong will, an imbalance is obvious through a lack of any of the previously mentioned traits, over-competitiveness, or a desire to manipulate others. Other issues may include fear, hate, indifference, and stress. Also residing in the solar plexus chakra are our "gut feelings" and intuition. Self-love and respect allow us to better understand our real and higher self over our ego, so it's particularly important for us to align this chakra to achieve true intuition. In understanding it and ourselves, it better helps us achieve our goals and our true life purpose.
Great exercises for this Chakra involve any meditative breathing exercise. Any form of cardio, for its focus on breath awareness, is also beneficial. I celebrated my manipura by going for a swim with my dad. Specific yoga poses associated with it are anything that opens up your chest, including Cobra, Cat, or the Bow.
With this chakra's color being yellow, I focused my day on foods of that color. I began the day with a cucumber-fennel (its flower are yellow)-golden delicious apple juice (even though it turned out green). It was surprisingly sweet and gave me an amazing boost into my day. I can definitely see why people are so into juicing. There's something about the freshness and pure vitality of a juice that immediately wakes you up. It's almost as if you can feel freshly pressed juice coursing through your veins rather than your GI tract!
I followed up with a (late) post-swim lunch which included one banana, some hummus, and a handful of hunza raisins (all yellow but not a juice, I know... I was at my parents' place and away from my juicer). However, remember the garden Andrew and I started at my parents' place last year? Well it's been doing incredibly well after only one year. The soil went from thick clay to rich dirt (thank you compost!) and the radishes I picked today were about three times the size as those from last year. I was also sent home with a whole bag of lettuce and kale because my parents can't eat enough to keep up with how fast everything is growing! Yay!
Finally, dinner was an amazingly tasty grapefruit (yellow on the outside!) almost the size of my head. As usual, I took all my Gaia Herbs for the day. I think I've gotten used to their taste, and am not sure whether they're doing anything for me or not. Not feeling tired or lethargic at all, so I guess that's good, but I don't know if that's related to the herbs. They're giving me something to do as part of this feast though, and that's entertaining enough!
I'll leave you with some affirmations I found that are particularly useful for today: