Everything is energy. All around us, there is an invisible sea of life-force energy connecting all facets of the universe – it is the energy present within every particle, atom, and molecule that binds our reality together and keeps us alive. As human beings, we are major conduits of this energy. In fact, running from the base of our spines to the crown of our heads, we possess several concentrated points of energy known as chakras. Our chakras are what connect our dense physical state and our lighter energetic bodies together: through them, we are able to experience just how deeply interconnected we are with everything around us.
The most literal translation of the word chakra is “wheel” which describes the shape the ancient mystics saw – in this way, you can think of chakras as spinning wheels of free-flowing energy. While modern society puts so much emphasis on caring for our physical bodies, in reality, it is the energetic body that is our greatest tool for cultivating self-awareness. When our chakras are healthy, vital life force energy spins through our chakra wheels unimpeded. Our bodies, minds, and spirits are in constant communication with one another which can reveal incredibly powerful information to us, so long as we are open and aware.
When our chakras are open, energy flows freely through and we experience harmony between ourselves and our environment. When our chakras aren’t functioning properly, communication between them becomes blocked. While chakras aren’t physical or physiological in nature, these blockages can translate to the blockages we experience in our outer world, even physical maladies. They are direct insights into how well we harmonize with our environment, both internally and externally.
While the exact size and location of the chakras vary from philosophy to philosophy, chakras are simply the cycles of energy that exist in the auric field of all humans. While ancient eastern mystics knew there to be hundreds, possibly even thousands, of chakras located throughout the energy body, our contemporary view of chakras focuses on just seven: the root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third-eye, and crown chakras.
The chakras are also associated with different colors, representing various elements of their energy fields. An individual’s chakra colors usually indicate their current emotional state – as the emotions in our bodies shift, so do the colors of our chakra wheels. The chakra colors are not set in stone and much like the fluidity of human emotions, they also are in constant flux. Usually the brighter and more full of light an individual chakra is, the healthier that chakra is functioning.
As our chakras are the energy centers of our bodies, working positively with chakra energy has been linked to increased lifespan, mental, physical, and emotional health, and overall personal well-being. When our chakras are in balance, we can experience each moment fully and completely. We are physically healthy, emotionally resilient, and our consciousness is able to expand. If consciousness and energy are one in the same, then our chakras are the embodiment of certain aspects of our consciousness–the more we nurture them, the more we are able to grow into our highest selves.
The Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura): What It Is and Where It’s Located
The solar plexus chakra–Manipura–is where we derive our sense of self and personal autonomy. It is our source of strength, discipline, and individuality. It governs our ability to confidently and courageously engage with the world around us. It is our distinct source of personal power that allows us to live life freely and authentically, unburdened by feelings of doubt and inadequacy.
The solar plexus chakra is our source of vigor–it is what gets us going, what powers us to take action towards our goals. Representing the element of fire, the solar plexus chakra impacts our ability to put our creations out into the world and make progress on them. Therefore, it has a huge impact on our ability to move confidently towards our dreams and the lives we wish to create.
Commonly associated with a bright yellow color, the solar plexus is located directly in the naval center–the same place as our gut intuition. It is the third chakra from the base of the spine, right above the sacral chakra and right below the heart chakra. The part of the body most strongly associated with the solar plexus chakra are the pancreas, the endocrine gland responsible for releasing insulin and glucagon to control and stabilize our blood sugar levels.
A well-functioning solar plexus chakra shines brightly and radiates its light into all areas of life, promoting feelings of self-assurance and alignment. A person with a balanced solar plexus will have a great amount of autonomy and high levels of self-esteem. They will feel strong and stable in body and mind, able to move energy and harness it toward anything they desire or life they wish to create. A strong solar plexus chakra allows us to co-create with the universe and live the life that is best for both us and the highest good of all.
How To Unblock Your Solar Plexus
But what happens when our solar plexus chakra is unbalanced, blocked, or stagnant?
If we aren’t active or intentional about caring for our solar plexus chakra, it is likely to experience blockages. A poorly functioning solar plexus will invoke feelings of powerlessness and low self-worth. It can cause an overall lack of stamina and motivation, leaving us feeling directionless and hopeless about the future. A weak solar plexus can also generate experiences of emotional overwhelm, rage, and anger. It can leave a person feeling like they have lost their sense of confidence or purpose.
As the solar plexus is linked to the pancreatic glands, a dysfunctional solar plexus can lead to serious conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. More common physiological symptoms of a solar plexus out of alignment are fatigue, digestive system disorders, and stomach pain.
So, how do we care for and increase the health of the solar plexus chakra?
- Crystals! You can use the power of crystal energy to restore your solar plexus chakra–try using the power of citrine to bring the power of the sun to lift your energy and spirits. Shop citrine crystals in our boutique next time you’re in the studio!
- You can also remove blockages in this chakra through meditation. To connect with your solar plexus in this way, find a quiet space for meditation and envision a glowing, vibrant yellow as you place your hands on your solar plexus. Try this quick meditation specifically created to support your solar plexus chakra!
- Remember that strong, energized feeling you get after your favorite barre class? Vigorous exercises such as strength training can be incredibly helpful in revitalizing the solar plexus. Moving energy through the body via physical movement is a powerful remedy for a blocked solar plexus. Fire up your solar plexus (aka your core!) in your favorite Ohana class.
- Another way to support this chakra is to work on building confidence and self-esteem–simply treating ourselves with kindness and respect goes a long way in clearing and supporting the solar plexus. Affirmations work really well in bolstering self-worth through the third chakra: try repeating “I am confident, I am powerful” to yourself as many times a day as you need.
Yoga Poses For Your Solar Plexus
The physical form of yoga, or asana, is another powerful tool for opening and balancing your solar plexus chakra, aka, your core. The health of the solar plexus chakra is strongly linked to the strength and stability of the core muscles. As your core is used throughout asana for balance, stability, and maintaining a neutral spine and pelvis, your solar plexus is impacted by nearly all yoga postures.
Think about any standing posture you encounter in a yoga sequence – from mountain pose to airplane to everything in between, core strength and engagement is crucial for holding yourself upright and keeping your spine straight and safely in alignment. The same goes for other aspects of life – the more we do things that empower our strength and confidence, the more in sync we feel with the world around us.
Below are examples of yoga postures that support the solar plexus – always remember to warm up your body appropriately before jumping directly into a posture! To explore the solar plexus further as well as the other six chakras through asana, try this chakra flow with Devon to thoughtfully and intentionally move your body through the seven chakras from root to crown.
By firing up your core muscles, the solar plexus chakra is also activated. This pose helps build the strength necessary to support your body throughout your practice. Building core strength isn’t just useful for improving your yoga practice, but it will also provide the strength you can access off the mat by cultivating your inner fire and igniting your personal power.
As a heart-opening posture, camel pose demands vulnerability. Being able to show vulnerability only occurs when we feel secure enough to express ourselves and be who we really are. This pose helps support the solar plexus by encouraging us to show up as authentically as possible, exhibiting our unique expression and individuality.
Warrior postures are physical representations of both inner and outer strength. The Warrior is determined, fierce, and unwavering. As standing postures, all variations of Virabhadrasana require a strong core and focused intention. These postures are incredible ways to work on building your personal power and confidence.