Instead, will is the realization that we can regard each challenge as an opportunity to awaken to our highest potential. This does not deny what has come before, but incorporates it, using it as a springboard for the future. While we can’t always control what happens to us, we can control what we do about it.
– Anodea Judith, Wheels of Life.
The solar plexus chakra, Manipura, is the third of the seven chakras.
Mani means gem and pura means city. Manipura translates as ‘lustrous gem’ or ‘city of jewels.’ The city of jewels is a metaphor for our personal development and the unique gifts to bring to the world. It is where our self-confidence and esteem manifest.
The solar plexus chakra is located above the navel. It represents our will, our purpose in life, and our ability to execute our passion.
The element is fire, capturing the essence of this chakra with its heat, intensity, and ability to transform. Manipura is connected to the digestive system and diaphragm. It is where we get the guts to take action in our lives.
Digestion, metabolism, and assimilation are the actions associated with the solar plexus chakra. It is where we digest food and also process and assimilate experiences.
Keep reading to see the solar plexus chakra themes, blockages, imbalances, yoga classes, and questions.
Solar Plexus Chakra Themes
The solar plexus chakra color is yellow, symbolizing joy, warmth, light, and egoism.
The bija seed mantra is Ram to bring energy and awareness to this chakra. Fire is the element of the third chakra. Fire brings the heat for transformation; it destroys all that it touches.
Through the fire, whatever it is that we’re uncomfortable with transforms. It’s not the fire that is uncomfortable. It’s what we’re bringing to the fire that has discomfort.
— Clara Roberts-Oss.
The organs associated with the solar plexus chakra are the pancreas, stomach, gallbladder, liver, and spleen.
The gut is home to many neurons communicating with the rest of the body. Our guts tell us how we feel about what we’ve physically or metaphysically ingested.
The vagus nerve, the longest nerve that traverses from the brain through the stomach, is responsible for regulating digestion and heart rate, and supports the immune system. Through the vagus nerve, your belly-brain and mind-brain communicate and send signals through the rest of the body.
What you ingest physically profoundly affects your feelings and thoughts—and vice versa.
The emotion for the solar plexus chakra is shame.
Shame is the opposite of courage and confidence, which are the attributes of the third chakra when its open, balanced, and the energy moves freely. The shadow side of the solar plexus expresses itself when we feel insecure or unsure of ourselves.
When in balance, Manipura helps one recognize their self-worth, take action and achieve success, and exude confidence without being overbearing or egotistical.
Psychological Function: Ego, Courage, Purpose, Will Power.
Body Part: Solar Plexus
Organ: Stomach, gallbladder, liver, and spleen.
Blockages and Imbalances
A blocked third chakra results in the stomach and digestive problems.
The inability to process nutrients and experiences creates a blockage that appears physically as constipation, IBS, ulcers, or diabetes.
Eating disorders are symptoms of a blocked third chakra as its the inability to nourish the body by balancing taking in nutrients and expelling waste.
Imbalances in food are often the symptom of deeper emotional issues such as insecurities and shame.
A blockage in Manipura chakra results in powerlessness and lack of control. Misalignment in this chakra could appear as being overly rigid, demanding, egotistical, dogmatic, challenging, or on the other end, needy, clingy, and with an utter lack of confidence and self-esteem.
Balance is crucial because that’s the distinction between force and assertion. Force is to impose the self on another, but assertion comes from the harmony of those three elements, those three levels of awareness that you bring to your purpose. Otherwise, you become inflated.
— Shiv Oss.
Yoga for the Solar Plexus Chakra
Strong, heat-building yoga with core work and stimulating pranayamas are ways to activate the third chakra.
Kapalabhati pranayama (featured in Vitality Slow Flow), also known as skull shining breath, builds heat in the body through forceful exhales. The Agni Meditation brings awareness to the transformative power of the spiritual and digestive fires. Illumination Yoga Nidra works with the solar plexus chakra through visualization and affirmations.
Core Yoga with Resistance Bands is a wonderful way to build strength in the abdomen and connect to the power of Manipura.
4 Yoga Classes with Strong Poses to Connect to the Solar Plexus:
In this open-level vinyasa yoga class, you’ll be challenged with a creative sequence that focuses on strengthening the abdominals, glutes, and hamstrings.
Inspired by the neighborhood of Las Ramblas in Barcelona, this creative and challenging vinyasa sequence will take you on an unexpected ride around your mat.
Rock the Boat Vinyasa.
A creatively sequenced class that tests your capacity to breathe through deep lunges, core work, and back bending.
Power Center Vinyasa.
A strong vinyasa class with several waves, this practice starts with the mantra RAM, goes through a heated vinyasa sequence, and ends with a meditation on our inner flame.
Questions for the Solar Plexus Chakra:
What is my gift? What do I contribute to the world?
How do I meet challenges?
What is my life’s purpose? What do I seek to accomplish?
What is my relationship to power?
Where do I feel strong in my body? Where do I feel strong in my life?
Who validates my work- what is my relationship to seeking approval?
What motivates me? What inspires me to act?
How do I express discipline? What are my responsibilities?
What rituals support your goals?
What is your relationship with your belly-brain? Do you listen to how you feel?
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A Brief Introduction to the Chakras
Chakra translates as ‘wheel’ or ‘disk’ and refers to the energy points of the subtle body.
We have thousands of chakras in our bodies. The ones we focus on as yogis go up to our main energy channel, Sushumna, the spine, which starts at the pelvis and goes through the middle of the torso to the top of the head.
The seven chakras are located at Sushumna. The first one, Muladhara, is at the base. The second one, Swadhisthana, is just below the belly button. The third one, Manipura, is at the solar plexus, and The fourth one, Anahata at the heart. The fifth one, Vishuddha, goes to the throat. The sixth one, Ajna, is at the third eye center, the middle of the head. And then the seventh one, Sahasrara, is the top, the head, or just above the head, depending upon who you talk to.
It’s said that at the base of our pelvis sits our creative force known as Shakti or Kundalini. This is this dormant creative force that lives inside of the pelvis. As yogis, we want to ignite or awaken that energy to have it rise from the pelvis to our third eye center, where our consciousness lives. When the kundalini energy rises, it’s said that we are awakened or receive enlightenment.
When the chakras are open, the energy flows freely, and we are awakened.
The asanas and pranayamas help to move the stagnant energy that day-to-day life can create in the body. Yoga is a way to clear the stagnant energy by observing the themes and blockages of each chakra and then creating a practice to clear and move the energy.
Prana (energy) flows through the human body’s 72,000 nadis (energy channels). The Prana that moves through the nadis is also what feeds and sustains the chakras.
The body is our initial connection to the earth, and yoga is a tool to shift how we feel. We can always return to the practice- asana, pranayama, or meditation. We might use these as tools to shift states of dis-ease. The practice allows us to return to a place where we are grounded and feel a sense of belonging.