Before diving into this piece, I suggest reading my Introduction to the Chakras and posts about the first and second chakras.
The third chakra, known as the solar plexus chakra or manipura, is yellow in colour and located around the area of the stomach. It is responsible for looking after the health of the stomach, liver, pancreas, spleen, gallbladder and digestive system.
Associated with the element of fire, manipura is the source of your power, energy, personal will and ambition. It governs your ability to:
- stand up for what you believe in (even if it’s unpopular)
- feel and follow your ‘gut instinct’
- have a healthy self-esteem
- be ambitious and feel empowered to create a life you love
- set clear boundaries in your personal and professional life
- let go of thoughts, attitudes and behaviours that no longer serve you.
When this chakra is NOT working to its full potential, you may find that you:
- aren’t assertive and tend to ‘go along with the crowd’, even if it goes against your personal beliefs, wishes and values
- are hard on yourself, doubting your attributes and abilities
- feel tired, weak and ill
- have sluggish digestion
- lack drive and motivation
- cling to negative thoughts, emotions and patterns.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. – Anais Nin
As with all the chakras, these imbalances can be brought into harmony with these tried and tested tools.
1. Yoga and meditation
Given that the element associated with the solar plexus chakra is fire, harmonising this energy centre requires heat!
Be prepared to work your core with this yoga sequence designed to build your core strength and stability. Strengthening your core muscles will fuel your third chakra, building confidence, self-belief and mental stamina.
Getting a big dose of Vitamin D by spending time in the sunshine is also key when it comes to healing and balancing this chakra. So, find a comfy place in the sun and press play. This guided meditation invites you to visualise sunlight and feel the heat (remember, the element of the solar plexus chakra is fire), lighting you up from the inside out.
2. Mudra (hand postures) and mantra (words)
When this chakra is out of balance, you might find yourself holding on to an idea, relationship or belief in your life. You might also find yourself getting caught up with wanting to be right, or sometimes getting lost in habitual emotional patterns and stories. If and when this happens, repeat the mantra sometimes letting go is the most empowering choice silently to yourself.
– Sometimes letting go is the most empowering choice –
Honour whatever you’ve been grasping and holding on to. It has served a purpose in your life but it is now time to allow it, and all its related stories, to float away. You have empowered yourself. Breathe into that feeling of empowerment. Feel the energy shift in your belly. This mantra reminds us that sometimes in life, letting go is the best and most harmonious solution.
For greatest impact, combine this mantra with vajrapradama mudra to promote inner strength, trust and confidence. Interlace your fingers and resting your palms directly over your stomach. Your thumbs should point up towards your collarbones.
3. Pranayama (breath)
Breath of fire is a powerful breathing technique used to cleanse and ignite your inner fire and build heat in your body.
To practise breath of fire:
- Sit on your bottom with a tall and straight spine
- Breathe in and out through the nose. Actively pull your navel in towards the spine each time you exhale. While the exhalation is forced, allow your inhalation to be spontaneous (it almost becomes an afterthought)
- As this becomes comfortable, shorten each breath and do the sequence more quickly. The breathing should be loud and fast.
Breath of fire is a strong and, sometimes, challenging pranayama. Start with short, slow periods of practise. Try it for one minute and gradually increase the length and speed over time.
4. Zesty essential oils
Citrus oils, such as orange, grapefruit and lime support the health of this chakra. These oils help strengthen, detox and invigorate the digestive system.
But my favourite oil to bring balance to this chakra has to be bergamot. Extracted from the delicate rind, bergamot essential oil has a sweet citrus aroma that is both calming and uplifting. Known as the oil of self-love, self-worth and self-acceptance, bergamot supports the processing and release of:
- fears of failure
- the need for approval
- feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, shame, despair + worthlessness.
It encourages us to love and accept ourselves as we are: PERFECTLY IMPERFECT.
Foods that are yellow like the manipura chakra, help to balance it and bring it into full health. Tumeric, Bananas, yellow capsicum, lemon and corn are perfect!
Easily digestible foods are also a godsend when it comes to the health of this energy centre. Think porridge, lentil or chickpea daal, slow-cooked stews and simple soups.