I was leafing through my yoga literature while contemplating my upcoming yoga class on the 3rd chakra, Manipura Chakra. Associated with the color yellow as in the tip of a flame, this chakra correlates with the element of fire and is involved in self-esteem and the power of transformation. Churning movements of the belly can help balance this area where the spleen and liver reside, enhancing digestion and personal power. We can literally and figuratively “digest “ things in life better when this area is balanced.

This center is our seat of self-power or how we view ourselves. Every time we judge or criticize ourselves we weaken this center. When it is weak, we may find ourselves coasting through life without motivation. In the winter months, especially, I resonate with this apathetic feeling. It’s cold outside and my business is slow. Even though I have more time to practice yoga and meditation, I slump deeper into the drudgery and put off those daily practices that nourish me and keep me feeling alive.

As I read, I come across a description I had not heard before. According to Wikipedia, this chakra is the site of deep belly laughter. We all know where that is, don’t we? Deep belly laughing has to be my favorite thing to do. It is one of the reasons I like hanging out with my family. My mom, brothers and sister are natural comedians. No matter what the circumstance, each one’s viewpoint always has a unique comedic twist. What a gift! Even though from the same genes, I tend to be more serious and not as funny, but I really appreciate those who are and like being around them!

A few years ago, I ruled out watching anything violent on television. This decision wiped out many choices with so much violence on shows and especially the news. I would have difficulty sleeping thinking about all the killings I had witnessed on the small screen. Recently, I decided to take a cue from my brother David who, before work, would watch old episodes of Get Smart. For those too young to remember, Get Smart aired in the 60’s and centered around Maxwell Smart a bumbling secret agent, assigned to foil KAOS’, (an international organization of evil), latest plans for taking over the world. Invariably, Smart’s bumbling antics got him in trouble. He had a “shoe” phone, which was probably the first known cell phone (or should I say “sole” phone?)

It’s interesting to note that simply writing about this program makes me feel lighter. I laugh as a few episodes come to mind thinking more about my brother’s contagious belly laugh more than the show. Nowadays, I watch anything funny on TV from Modern Family to old episodes of Gilligan’s Island. I listen to Comedy Radio in the car, thanks to my sister, Kathy.

I happened to catch Oprah’s interview of Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest on Super Soul Sunday this week. Fr. Rohr talked about our true self versus our ego self. He said a true sign that we are functioning from our ego self is when we feel offended by someone’s actions or words. Our pure essence can never be offended. It is what we are, pure and perfect, our “inner diamond”. When Oprah asked how to best manage our reactive tendencies, which are innately part of being human, he said, just laugh about it. Be light in the recognition that something in our ego self is being triggered. That even with all our faults, our true essence is unchanging and connected to Source.

I look forward to class this week. I hope to introduce the lightness of being and encourage “fun” in balancing the Manipura Chakra, which means “City of Jewels.” One of the gems of this energy center is to live life fully, with enhanced will power and self esteem. I hope to not let another day pass by languishing in disengagement and laziness but instead thrive in feeling of love, purpose, and the pleasure of a good belly laugh.

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