We began exploring the ancient yogic framework that is the chakra system, here.
Progressively working with the chakras can be a way of bringing reflection, clarity, and transformation into our lives. Thus far we’ve solidified our foundations, explored emotions – and now we turn the heat up to work with the fire element at the solar plexus chakra.
What is the solar plexus chakra?
Located at the diaphragm, Maṇipūra, or the Solar Plexus Chakra, is the centre of personal power. It’s themes are willpower, authenticity, self-esteem, humour and choice. Here, we take action to evoke change; transforming inertia into movement. Our element here is fire; and such, this Chakra rules the creation and expression of energy in the body.
Fire is a transformer, transforming matter to energy in the form of heat and light. Whereas our first two Chakras (earth & water), are subject to gravity (flowing downward), fire sends its heat upward. Our natural states of being, when met with the fiery energy of Chakra three, become will: the conscious direction of our life energy towards a goal.
Shame and inauthenticity are the main undoing of the Solar Plexus Chakra. When we don’t feel safe enough to act in accordance with our own integrity, lose our freedom of being, or feel unsafe to be ourselves… the Solar Plexus Chakra suffers. We can no longer push ourselves forward, and life becomes uninspired. When this occurs we can experience jealousy, weakened sense of self, inauthenticity and inertia.
Some key symptoms of imbalance include:
- Sense of overwhelm
- Digestive disorders
- Low self-esteem
- Excess worry
Working with the Solar Plexus Chakra
To ignite (and sustain) the flame of our solar plexus chakra is to step into the fire of life, to learn how to handle challenge and hardship, with courage and fortitude. As we continue to step into the unknown, we develop a knowing: that inside us we already have everything we could possibly need to overcome life’s curve balls. Life may not hand us our dreams or desires on a silver platter, but if we’re willing to step into the heat of the kitchen, we’re always provided with the perfect ingredients required to create them.
The nature of fire is to rise and transform. The same is true of the fire in our belly. As humans, we have an innate desire to flow with the rhythms of life; to grow and evolve; and to burn through stagnation. Yet, when fear and other dynamics cloud the mind – we can suddenly want things to stay the same, predictability, and sense of ‘control.’ Unfortunately monotony dilutes the power of our solar plexus chakra, causing sluggishness as well as overwhelm. When we continuously try to row our boat against the rapidly running rivers of our lives, we become drained and burnt out. Resisting change causes us to feel stress, and a myriad of accompanying symptoms. To accept change, however, is to embrace life in its true form.
The Solar Plexus is assisted by any kind of movement, as this Chakra is forward moving in its nature. In other words: exercise, in whatever ways call to you. The tradition of Yoga has many poses designed to facilitate Solar Plexus healing, such as those below:
- Plank pose
- Warrior I, II & III
- Revolved triangle pose
- Sun salutations
- Boat pose
- Downward dog
Blockages in the Solar Plexus Chakra can manifest as sluggishness, dullness, and/or poor self-discipline. On the other hand, when we regularly move our body in a way that builds internal heat – we burn through stagnant energy, revitalising our bodies and fanning the flame of Manipura. Routinely showing up to a movement practice, whether that’s yoga, walking, pilates or a team sport – reminds us us that good things happen outside our comfort zones, and that what is good for us is not always easy!
While we digest more than food at this chakra – eating with discernment is crucial for ensuring that the energy of the Solar Plexus flows freely and consistently. Our nutrition habits can either fuel the fire in our belly, or smother it. Our specific needs are of course, unique – but systems such as Ayurveda can provide ideas.
While nutrition details vary from body to body, most approaches agree that our meals should be highly nutritious, as close to nature as possible chewed thoroughly, and sized appropriately. Regularly consuming processed foods or larger portions than we can easily digest robs us of valuable energy, as it’s redirected from other vital bodily functions to to the stomach. We only have so much energy (prana) at any given time, and when allocate larger portions of it to breaking down our food (especially foods with limited nutritional return), we deplete our systems and rob our bodies of time and energy that could be spent creating new, healthy cells. Consciously eating in a way that gives us energy (rather than detracting), means we’ll stay more vital, energised and physically healthy.
Sound can be also used to stimulate each of the Chakras. A method is to stimulate the Solar Plexus Chakra by making the mantra sounds of Ram or Ah. Close your eyes and play with the pitch of the sound, taking it up or down with your voice – until you find the note that causes you to feel the most relief in the stomach area. Alternatively, find binaural beats, singing bowls or different harmonics for the Solar Plexus Chakra. Here at Happy Buddha we offer Sound Healing retreats a few times a year!
Self-reflection Questions for Manipura Chakra:
- What’s my relationship to challenge like?
- Do I find adversity overwhelming? Or do I allow it to have a meaningful effect on my life?
- What is ‘power’ to me?
- When do I feel most powerful?
- When do you feel least powerful?
- Do I believe I can achieve what I set my mind to?
- Is there anywhere I feel completely stuck?
- What practical steps can I take to catalyse more movement and change in my life?
- What steps can I take to feel more empowered?
- Do I regularly connect with humour and joy?
Nisha is a freelance writer and Vedic astrologer, based in the magical Byron Hinterlands. As well as running her candle business, her life and loves involve: yoga, gardening and all things esoteric. You’ll find her out in nature, or curled up at home with a good book. Happy Buddha is one of her most treasured places on earth (and indeed where she met her fiancé!).