Mani means 'Jewel' and Pura means 'City' in Sanskrit, so this chakra is ''The City of Jewels''. In Buddhism, Manipura Chakra is considered the seat of Kundalini. Tantra-yoga says it resides at Mooladhara, because this is where we begin to become aware of ourselves, at no matter how rudimentary a level, also Mooladhara contains the sum total of our dormant potential, and because it is from here that the sexual energy may be transmuted into subtle pranic energy....but regardless, there is really no difference of interpretation, because both traditions agree that it is at Manipura that we can become self-willed.
It is said that if one is a sincere spiritual seeker, keen to pursue a higher life alongside the daily life, that Kundalini already resides in Manipura (or a higher centre).
Manipura is depicted as a bright yellow lotus with 10 petals. One interpretation as to why the Lotus is used to symbolise the chakras is that because the lotus exists in MUD, WATER and AIR, this is representative of the three stages we pass through in spiritual life - Ignorance, Aspiration and Effort, and Illumination.
Manipura is the centre of Prana in the body - the generator. It is often compared to a dazzling sun.
''It is the centre of dynamism, energy, will and achievement...in the same way that the sun continually radiates energy to the planets, manipura chakra radiates and distributes the pranic energy throughout the entire human framework....when deficient it is more like the glowing embers of a dying fire than a powerful intense blaze. In this state the individual is rendered lifeless, vitally deficient, and devoid of energy...poor health, depression and lack of motivation or commitment in life. Therefore, the awakening of manipura is an important precedent, not only for the sadhaka (spiritual practitioner), but for anyone who wishes to enjoy life more fully'
(Swami Satyananda Saraswati - Kundalini Tantra)
Manipura is located directly behind the navel, on the inner wall of the spine. It is associated with the solar plexus. While it is generally shown as a bright yellow lotus, in the old Tantric texts it was said to be the colour of heavily-laden rain clouds..... :)
In the centre the fire element (agni tattwa) is symbolised by a downward pointing red triangle. The animal associated with the chakra is the Ram...symbolic of dynamism and endurance. The Bija mantra or seed sound is also RAM (again R-Ah-M..the ''Ah'' between Aaaahhh and Aaaaww). manipura chakra is associated with the eyes and the sense of sight and with the feet - vision and the means of willful action. It is the seat of the digestive fire.
Manipura is the chakra where people become active and extroverted. They seek to impose their will on the world and the people around them. There can often arise a power-seeking dynamism and ambition - nothing wrong with those per se, as long as we recognise the drives. But it is also where we begin to question seriously our attitude towards life and our place in the scheme of things...
Manipura chakra is related to the adrenals and the 'fight-or-flight' response.
A weak Manipura may result in fearfulness, tiredness, introversion. An over-active Manipura may result in bullying behaviour, narcissism, the urge to dominate.
A practice for Manipura is as follows...
Sit in a comfortable position with the spine upright and the body relaxed. Eyes and mouth closed.
Allow the breath to gradually settle and slow a little. Feel the navel area move out as you INHALE, and contract as you EXHALE. No straining - just a natural movement.
Fix your whole attention at the navel, and feel or imagine that as you inhale the breath travels from the spine to the navel and outwards, and that as your exhale the breath travels inwards from the navel to the spine.
That's it. Just a simple breath and awareness technique. 5 or 10 minutes.