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We’re continuing our exploration of the chakras, moving up to the solar plexus chakra – the third, or manipura chakra.
WHAT’S A SOLAR PLEXUS?
First off, if you’re asking yourself, ‘what is the solar plexus?’, you’re not alone! As I began my dive into the manipura chakra, I realized that while I knew that this was the ‘core’ chakra, I didn’t really know what the solar plexus is.
A bit embarrassing, yes, but I always love an opportunity to learn something new. A plexus is a network of nerves, and the solar plexus (also known as the celiac plexus) is a network of nerves located in the abdomen.
So the third chakra is situated above the navel, just below the sternum (where your ribs meet & attach in the front). Given its location, the solar plexus chakra is related to our metabolic and digestive systems; so a balanced manipura chakra will mean a happy tummy!
MANIPURA CHAKRA OVERVIEW
The word manipura comes from the Sanskrit words mani, which means ‘pearl’ or ‘jewel’, and pūra, which means ‘place’ or ‘city’. So it is the city of jewels.
The element for the solar plexus chakra is fire. This is the element of transformation and change, which is what the manipura is all about. This chakra is the seat of our self-esteem, willfulness, willpower, and energy.
Have you ever been in a situation that just didn’t feel right? Or in a situation that felt like exactly where you were meant to be?
Where did you feel those cues in your body? Would you say you had a “gut feeling”?
This feeling comes from the seat of your personal power, your solar plexus; the manipura chakra.
OVERACTIVE SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA
The solar plexus chakra becomes overactive when our sense of personal power starts to become power over other people.
This can manifest as arrogance and ego, as well as becoming quick to anger, and feeling the need to control and micromanage. It might also look like greed, or a lack of compassion or empathy.
UNDERACTIVE SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA
When our personal power is taken away from us, either by another person or through some external circumstance or situation, we may be left with a depleted solar plexus chakra.
This can manifest as indecisiveness, insecurity, timidity and neediness. You could also feel stuck in sameness, or living a passive life, as well as poor self-confidence, self-esteem, or self-image.
FINDING BALANCE IN THE MANIPURA
When your third chakra is balanced, you feel a sense of wisdom, decisiveness and personal power. You feel motivated; with purpose and confidence, but not too cocky, you know?
The energy of the manipura chakra propels us to move forward, toward fulfilling our dreams and goals.
If you’re feeling a bit arrogant, or like your ego is getting the best of you (we’ve all been there), then your third chakra is likely overactive. Find balance with practices of loving kindness and compassion.
Practice a metta meditation and send loving kindness from your heart to all those around you. Dedicate your practice to someone who might need it. Refocus the incredible power you have and see yourself as a conduit for peace and love.
If you’re feeling a bit timid or stuck; or if you’ve been putting yourself down (again, we’ve all been there!), then your solar plexus chakra is likely underactive. You can energize the manipura chakra by reminding yourself what a badass you are!
Think about the things that you know you’re good at.
We all have talents and abilities. Make a list of yours and meditate on it. Feel the sense of confidence begin to grow in the center of your belly.
Whether your solar plexus chakra is overactive or underactive, yoga practices that focus on activating the core with strengthening and twists (like the class below!) can be super helpful in bringing balance.
Since the manipura chakra is located right at the center of the core, that’s what the following sequence and class are focused on. It’s a core-strengthening and twisting flow.
We build some heat to get the fire going, and then twist it out!
Here is the core-strengthening vinyasa sequence, if you’d like to try it at home. And if you’d like a printable pdf to save for later, sign up below and I’ll send one your way!
If you’re a more visual person, you can scroll down to the video below to practice this class with me!
- Start on your back, feet flat on the mat, knees pointing to the sky:
– Place strap underneath low back, under natural curvature of spine; you should be able to floss the strap back and forth underneath this curvature
– Place block between thighs & gently press into it
– Pull pubic bone to navel pressing low back into strap so you can no longer easily floss it
– Lift the feet, bringing the legs into a 90° angle
– Lift head and shoulders off mat, extending arms forward (5 breaths)
- Remove block. Keep strap.
– Pull pubic bone to navel so that the low back presses down into the strap
– Lift the feet, bringing the legs into a 90°, then extend the feet towards the sky
– Lower right leg, hover it above mat
– Lift head & shoulders, reach right hand towards left foot
– Switch the legs & reach for right foot with left hand (Repeat 5x each leg)
- Reclined Crow pose: 5 breaths
- Roll up to Navasana (5 rolls, hovering feet above mat each time you come up. Stay up in navasana on the fifth time. 5 breaths)
- Cat/Cow: x5
- Hip circles: x5 to each side
- Downward Facing Dog -> Plank (x5)
- 3 Leg Dog -> Knee to nose (3x each leg)
- Surya Namaskar A x3
- Surya Namaskar B x3
- Warrior 1 -> Humble Warrior -> Warrior 2 -> Reverse Warrior (back arm crosses in front of body) -> Side Angle (front arm crosses in front of body): 5 breaths each; R side, L side
- High Lunge -> Prayer twist -> Pyramid -> Revolved Triangle (5 breaths each; R side, L side)
- Malasana -> Crow (5 breaths each)
- Child’s Pose: 5 breaths
- Puppy pose -> Sphinx -> Locust -> Wheel x2 (5 breaths per pose)
- Seated Twist: 5 breaths each side
- Supine Twist: 5 breaths each side
- Happy Baby: 5 breaths
- Savasana: 15 minutes
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