Solar Plexus Chakra: I DO
The Solar Plexus or Manipura Chakra is the third of the seven main chakras that we will be exploring on our Journey through the Chakras. It is located just above the sacral chakra in the upper abdominal area, about two inches above the navel, in the area of the solar plexus itself. It is the last of the lower three chakras which are principally concerned with the physical body and on a physical level it is associated with the abdomen, upper intestines, liver, adrenals, gallbladder, kidneys and pancreas. The word Manipura comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “City of Jewels”.
The Solar Plexus chakra is associated with the element Fire and its energy radiates and distributes heat and prana throughout the entire human body and energy system. The Manipura Chakra provides the fire and therefore it is the energy centre for our personal power, vitality and well-being. It also relates to the digestive system and is responsible for the function of other related organs involved, such as the liver, gallbladder, spleen and stomach. Key processes of the manipura chakra are transformation, extraction, detoxification, digestion and metabolism. It also represents feelings of power and expansiveness.
It is symbolised by the colour Yellow and by a lotus with ten petals (image above).
When your Solar Plexus Chakra is healthy and balanced and energy can flow freely around this space, you feel at peace, energetic and fearless. It allows you to know yourself and live with confidence and strength. You also have a strong sense of self-worth and positive self-value. A confidence in your decisions and a feeling of being in control of your life. As the centre for personal power, this is the chakra where the energy for turning ideas into actions flows and so finding the correct balance in this chakra allows us to harness energy for being positive and proactive. Someone with a balanced solar plexus chakra will be able to set boundaries and be assertive without being aggressive. It allows you to know yourself, judging yourself and others fairly but not critically.
As it is where our sense of self originates, imbalances or blockages in the solar plexus chakra can cause many problems which can lead to low self-esteem, lack of self-control, depression, inactivity, self-doubt, feeling like a victim, along with physical issues such as eating disorders and digestive issues.
So how can yoga help?
When we address the chakras in our yoga classes this manifests in a number of ways: the use of mudras that relate to the individual chakras which will be included when we sit in breath focus or meditation, through the inclusion of physical postures, or asanas, that specifically target the chakra in question and through the use of positive affirmations, visualisations and mantras again all focused on the individual chakra.
Mudras for the Solar Plexus Chakra
A key mudra that works to activate and open the Solar Plexus Chakra is Matangi Mudra. This mudra works to strengthen the digestive organs and is said to promote inner harmony and balance the energies of the solar plexus. To form, clasp the fingers together and extend the middle fingers away. Hold at the solar plexus and breathe into the solar plexus. Especially beneficial when used in combination with a meditation or breath focus.
Physical postures (asanas) for the Solar Plexus Chakra
Due to the location of the Solar Plexus chakra, the most beneficial yoga poses are those that massage the digestive organs, such as twisting postures, those that stretch the front of the abdomen and/or strengthen the abdomen or core of the body. With this in mind, including some of the postures below in your yoga practice will help to engage and open the Solar Plexus Chakra.
Navasana (Boat Pose):
This pose helps to strengthen the abdomen, hip flexors and spine and also helps to improve digestion.
Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Stretch):
This pose is believed to activate the Manipura chakra through the twisting movement involved.
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose):
This pose stimulates digestion and improves immunity. The pressure on the abdomen in this pose increases blood flow to abdominal organs.
Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose):
This pose is activating the core and thus strengthening the abdomen which is where the solar plexus chakra is located.
Affirmations for the Solar Plexus Chakra
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Start to become aware of how your body feels. Place your hands over your stomach and try to imagine your Solar Plexus Chakra as a ball of yellow light glowing in your abdomen. With each inhalation, try to visualise drawing a warm yellow healing light into your body and going straight to this area, making it glow even brighter. With each exhalation let this yellow light radiate through the rest of your body, your confidence and personal power becoming stronger.
Feel as though the breath is flowing in and out of this area, right above the navel. Imagine a warm yellow healing light is being drawn in through the solar plexus on the inhalation and dispersed all throughout the body on the exhalation. Inhaling in through the chakra and exhaling throughout the entire body.
Continue with this visualisation for as long as is comfortable and then when you are ready slowly bring your awareness back to the present moment. Take a few deep breaths, wiggle your fingers and toes and slowly open your eyes.
Each chakra has its own seed, or Bija, mantra which are one-syllable sounds that when said aloud activate the energy of the chakras. These Bija mantras have been universally used in meditative practice to harmonise one’s energy and purify and balance the mind and body. When you speak, or chant, the bija mantras aloud you resonate with the energy of the associated chakra.
The mantra associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra is RAM (pronounced RUM). Chanting this mantra will work to remove any impurities that may be stored up in the solar plexus chakra and to clear any blocked energy that is being prevented from moving through to the other main chakras.
I hope you enjoyed this insight into the Solar Plexus Chakra, next stop on our Journey Through the Chakras will be the Heart, or Anahata, Chakra. Previous chakras include the Root Chakra and the Sacral Chakra.