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The solar plexus chakra is the seat of your purpose, confidence, and motivation. When in balance, you can take on anything with determination and inner strength. When out of balance, you can be domineering, unsure of yourself, and even aggressive.
To bring balance to this important chakra, learn how to connect with it. Use specific yoga poses and other strategies to open it up and allow the energy to flow through it.
Not all yoga practitioners incorporate the chakras, but for a full and balanced practice, it’s worth considering them. The chakras are seven points in the body, visualized as spinning wheels. Prana, or energy, flows through the chakras.
A balanced flow through all of the chakras is associated with wellness and good physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health. Any blockages in a chakra can cause specific issues in these areas of wellness.
The idea of chakras come from the Vedas, ancient Hindu texts. Today, the chakras are used in yoga, meditation, and Ayurvedic medicine. If you get in touch with your chakras, what they mean, and signs that they are blocked, you can use yoga and other practices to balance the energy flow to improve wellness.
These are the seven chakras:
First chakra: root chakra (Muladhara) – bottom of the spine
Second chakra: sacral chakra (Svadhisthana) – near the pelvis, below the navel
Third chakra: solar plexus chakra (Manipura) – above the navel
Fourth chakra: heart chakra (Anahata) – the chest area
Fifth chakra: throat chakra (Vishuddha) – near the neck
Sixth chakra: third eye chakra (Ajna) – between the eyebrows
Seventh chakra: crown chakra (Sahasrara) – top of the head
Are you practicing to become a yoga instructor? If so, learn more here about what to expect when you finally teach your first yoga class.
The solar plexus chakra is also called the manipura chakra, which means lustrous gem or city of jewels. It is the third chakra above the root and sacral chakras. Together, these three are the more physical chakras. The heart charka acts as a bridge between them and the more spiritual chakras of the throat, third eye, and crown.
The spinning wheel of energy that is the solar plexus chakra is in the center of the torso, halfway between the belly button and the bottom of the sternum. Some people might describe it as the pit of the stomach.
Biologically speaking, the solar plexus is a system of nerves and part of the sympathetic nervous system. This chakra is connected to the solar plexus, the pancreas, and the digestive system.
Each chakra is associated with parts of the body but also with colors, symbols, minerals, behaviors, moods, and more. The manipura chakra is associated with:
An open and balanced solar plexus chakra makes you feel passionate, powerful, and ready to take on the world. A good description for this is “having a fire in the belly.” You are also confident, motivated, reliable, and full of purpose. You make decisions easily, are action-oriented, have good emotional control, and are willing to take risks.
If energy cannot flow well through the third chakra, you’ll notice it through physical and emotional symptoms as well as certain behaviors. Physical issues associated with a blocked solar plexus chakra include:
Indigestion and heartburn
Irritable bowel syndrome
Pancreas, liver, or colon disorders
Emotional and behavioral signs of a blocked solar plexus chakra include:
Low self-esteem and confidence
A negative self-image
Difficulty making decisions
Relying on others for validation
Unhealthy attachments in relationships
Less common but also possible is an overactive solar plexus chakra. If so, you might be angry, aggressive, competitive, stubborn, and domineering over others. Your self-control can be excessive or even harmful.
Yoga is a great place to start balancing and healing chakras. Doing something physical and active is often easier than quiet practices, like meditation. These poses stretch, strengthen, and open your core will help you open the third chakra:
Boat pose. Hold this pose for several seconds to build abdominal strength. Sit on a mat and extend your legs straight in front of you. Lean back to about 45 degrees and lift your legs to the same degree. Reach your arms toward your knees. You can hold onto your legs if necessary.
Bow pose. Stretch the solar plexus with this challenging pose. Lying on your stomach, reach your arms back and grab the outside of your ankles. Lift your chest and the tops of your thighs off the mat. If you can’t quite do this, use a band or towel around your ankles and hold on to that.
Cobra pose. Similar to bow pose but easier, this is a good stretch. Lying on your stomach, put your palms flat on the mat under your shoulders. Lift your chest up as you push down with your hands. Straighten your arms if you can.
Seated spinal twist. This is a great all-around core stretch. Sit on a mat with knees bent. Place your right leg flat on the ground and reach your left foot over your right leg. Place your right arm on the outside of your left leg and press into it to twist and stretch the trunk. Repeat on the other side.
Try these additional chest-opening asanas, which will also stretch the solar plexus.
Bring balance to your chakras that go beyond yoga for the best results. Meditation, affirmations, essential oils, and even certain foods can open specific chakras.
Solar plexus chakra affirmations should be self-affirming: ‘I am enough,’ ‘I have purpose,’ ‘I am strong and capable,’ and ‘I forgive myself for past mistakes.’
Essential oils that open the solar plexus chakra include bergamot, chamomile, rosemary, cedarwood, sandalwood, cinnamon, ginger, and saffron.
Meditation can help open any chakra. To work on a solar plexus chakra meditation, begin with your hand resting on the solar plexus area. Visualize the color yellow or the sun. Meditate while facing the sun, especially at sunrise or sunset.
For pranayama, breath work, try kapalabhati, or skull shining breath. This breathing exercise directs energy to the solar plexus. To do it, exhale forcefully through the nose while simultaneously contracting your abdominal muscles as you pull your belly button in toward the spine. Release your abs to inhale passively and repeat.
Balancing the chakras is a great way to enhance your yoga practice. Take it from just a workout to a more purposeful and spiritual practice by bringing awareness to the flow of energy in your body. When you focus on the solar plexus, you can expect to become more confident and purposeful.
Checkout the ISSA Yoga & Wellness Academy’s new Yoga 200 Certification course if you have a passion for yoga. This Yoga Alliance-approved course is great for starting a career as an instructor or for simply deepening your personal practice.