Chakra 3: Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
|Location:||Upper abdomen in the stomach area|
|What it controls:||Self-worth, self-confidence and self-esteem|
|Stone:||Amber, citrine or topaz|
|When it develops:||14-21 years old|
|Mantra:||“I accept all parts of myself” or “I use my power in healthy ways”.|
|Yoga poses:||Boat Pose or Reclined Twist|
Over the previous two weeks we looked at the first two chakras (the root chakra and the sacral chakra), which lay the foundation for your development. Your third chakra is the solar plexus chakra, which speaks to your ability to be confident and in control of your life. This is your power centre and also referred to as your personal sun. When people say a person brightens up a room, they have a strong solar plexus chakra. When your power is used properly, you exude peacefulness and generosity and are a force to make the world a better place.
Think back to the last time you had butterflies or felt a pit in the stomach: that’s the Manipura chakra at work. When this chakra is closed or blocked, we often feel insecure, unworthy, shame, self-doubt and physically blocked. The sacral chakra forms between ages 14 and 21 so any emotional wounding we experience then can lay the foundation for even more self-critical thoughts and limiting beliefs as we develop an inner critic to protect ourselves. This critical voice becomes loudest when we are at our most vulnerable or on the brink of major growth and expansion. Over time, these become long-standing thought patterns that shut down our ability to imagine what’s possible. Opening the solar plexus chakra gives us the courage, the will and the confidence to explore the possibilities waiting to be unlocked. It helps us feel empowered in our lives.
The solar plexus chakra is located near the abdomen so when this chakra is balanced, physically, digestion runs smoothly and, mentally, we can trust and act on our gut instinct.
Healing the solar plexus requires getting really honest about all the parts of yourself you want to change and accepting what you can’t. Here are a few practices to help with this embrace:
- Physical: Set yourself up in a forearm plank or ready for crunches or bicycle curls, engage your core muscles and hold it longer than you think you can. Start with a minute then build up to seven. Every time you think it’s impossible to keep going, think that you are burning through some of your self-limiting beliefs and keep going. There’s a reason core work is so difficult!
- Mental: Make friends with your inner critic. Make a list of all the ways you judge yourself when they are physical, behaviours or weaknesses. Include all the things about yourself you don’t like and the typical circumstances where you judge yourself harshly. Then, close your eyes and visualize yourself as a teenager. Silently tell your teen self that they are perfect as they are. Go through each item on the list and silently tell your teen self that all of these qualities are welcome. Thank your inner critic for protecting you all these years, then acknowledge that you no longer need that protection.
- Emotional: Try this mirror-gazing exercise. Stand in front of the mirror, look yourself in the eyes, and say the following words to yourself out loud over and over, getting louder each time: I AM enough. I AM worthy. I AM capable. I AM powerful. The louder you raise your voice, the more uncomfortable the exercise becomes. Don’t let the discomfort stop you. Keep raising your voice until you are screaming at yourself in the mirror. (Note: I don’t recommend doing this one in public!)
- Spiritual: Practice the breath of fire. Breath of fire is a kundalini yoga practice that is powered by the solar plexus. It is a rapid, continuous breath through the nostrils with the mouth closed. The inhale and exhale are equal in length, with no pause between them (approximately two to three cycles per second). Sit up tall, lengthening the space between your navel and your heart. On the exhale, powerfully expel air through your nose by pulling the navel point back toward the spine. On the inhale, allow the upper abdominal muscles to relax, the diaphragm to extend down, and the breath to flow in effortlessly. Start with three minutes and work up to seven.