Solar Plexus Chakra Essentials ‒ Connecting with Manipura

Manipura Chakra

The solar plexus chakra (manipura chakra in Sanskrit) is the third of seven major centers of concentrated energy located in the body. It’s also referred to as the third chakra, navel chakra, or yellow chakra.

In yogic anatomy, the chakras are located along the spinal column. They ascend from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Each chakra controls unique aspects of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

In this post, you’ll learn about the qualities of the solar plexus chakra and how they correspond to the body, mind, and spirit. You’ll also learn how to strengthen, heal, balance, and connect with your manipura chakra.

Vishnu
Hind god Vishnu, who is associated with the manicure chakra, in repose. 6th century carving in Dashavatara Temple in Deogarh, Uttar Pradesh, India. Photo: Arnold Betten.

What is the solar plexus chakra?

In Sanskrit, the mani in manipura translates to “jewel” and pura translates to “place” or “city.” Thus, manipura is often translated to “city of jewels.” Another common interpretation for manipura is “lustrous gem.” Thus, the name references a core part of ourselves from which our personalities shine forth.

This chakra relates to areas of our lives concerning personal identity, strength, and willpower. It’s associated with the element of fire, the color yellow, our sense of sight, and the Hindu gods Vishnu and Lakshmi.

What does the solar plexus chakra control?

As mentioned earlier, each chakra controls the energies that relate to certain physiological, psychological, and spiritual aspects of ourselves. Here are some of the relationships between manipura chakra and our lives:

The Solar Plexus Chakra and the Body

The third chakra is located near the center of the spine, at or slightly above navel level. Its kshetram, or corresponding trigger point on the surface of the body, is at the navel center.

In the physical body, the third chakra is related to our:

  • digestive system,
  • metabolism,
  • adrenal glands,
  • muscular system,
  • and body temperature.

Manipura chakra is also connected to the:

  • stomach,
  • diaphragm,
  • liver,
  • pancreas,
  • colon,
  • spleen,
  • and bladder.

Since the solar plexus chakra is linked to our sense of sight, it’s also associated with our eyes.

The Solar Plexus Chakra and the Mind

Man Who Is Suspicious

The solar plexus governs the ego ‒ our sense of personal identity. It also controls our mental strength, confidence, and will. Accordingly, self-esteem, trust, “gut” instinct, decisiveness, and overall ambition in life are all charged by manipura chakra.

The internal fire that we hold in manipura chakra is a powerful symbol for personal transformation and purification. As we’ll reference throughout this post, the solar plexus is a place not only for physical digestion, but also for the metaphorical digestion of thoughts, emotions, and events in our lives. Additionally, it’s closely connected to one of the ultimate concerns in life ‒ our sense of purpose.

Solar Plexus Chakra and Spiritual Evolution

As you may have gathered by the name, the solar plexus is connected to solar energy. Like a personal source of light, this chakra is our center for harnessing, storing, and distributing prana. As our vital life force energy, prana “charges” the energy throughout the body. Manipura energy gives us physical and mental strength, directs us along the spiritual path, and purifies negative karma.

The solar plexus is also the location of samana vayu, one of the five flows of pranic energy according to yogic philosophy. Samana vayu acts like a spiraling wind that moves within our bodies, balancing our energy flow. It’s responsible for processing and purifying everything we take into our physical, mental, and emotional bodies. It also supports the physical and mental qualities of manipura chakra and our spiritual sense of self-awareness.

Solar Plexus Chakra Symbol

Yellow Chakra Symbol

Our major chakras are each represented by a lotus flower in the form of a mandala.

The manipura chakra symbol is a yellow lotus flower with ten petals. These petals stand for the ten pranas, or vital energy channels, that exist in each of us according to yoga. Furthermore, the petals are often labeled with mental qualities that we must overcome in order to purify manipura chakra. These qualities translate from Sanskrit to: sadness, foolishness, delusion, hatred/disgust, jealousy, fear, shame, ambition, ignorance, and treachery.

The center of the solar plexus mandala contains a downward-pointed triangle. This triangle is sometimes colored red to represent the element of fire. The inverted triangle also represents the first three (or “lower”) chakras that connect us to Earth yet help us to expand our consciousness.

The Color Yellow

Finally, the color yellow is associated with solar (masculine or “yang”) energy, intellectual knowledge, our sense of perception, youth, and new beginnings. Yellow is also naturally uplifting and often represents happiness. It is the third color of the rainbow and thus relates to the third chakra.

Signs of a Healthy Solar Plexus

Woman Happy in Sunflowers

When a chakra is in its ideal state, we fully embrace each of its positive qualities. Therefore, a healthy manipura chakra is associated with:

  • High self-esteem and confidence
  • Physical and emotional strength
  • Mental clarity
  • Healthy appetite
  • Joy
  • Purpose

Signs Your Solar Plexus Chakra Is Blocked or Imbalanced

Woman Who Doesn't Want to Eat

The chakras are like moving wheels of energy that are connected through energetic channels. Thus, when one chakra is blocked, overactive, deficient, or otherwise not functioning at its optimum, it affects the flow of prana.

Physical, mental, and emotional triggers can all affect manipura chakra. By recognizing the signs of a third-chakra imbalance, we can identify issues and begin to heal.

Physical Signs of a Solar Plexus Chakra Imbalance

  • Indigestion
  • Irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic exhaustion or fatigue

Mental and Emotional Signs of a Solar Plexus Chakra Imbalance

  • Anger or aggression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Laziness
  • Doubt or indecisiveness
  • Controlling or manipulative behavior

How to Open the Solar Plexus Chakra

Man Meditating in Yellow Sunlight

The good news is that there are many ways to consciously purify your chakras. Techniques for healing, activating, or “opening” your chakras include:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mantra
  • Working with crystals, oils, or other therapies
  • Dietary or lifestyle changes

In the following sections, we’ll share details about how to connect with and balance manipura chakra.

Solar Plexus Chakra Mantras

Mantras are sounds, words, or intentions that we can use to focus the mind. Sanskrit mantras also connect us to vibrational patterns that are associated with certain purposes. To practice mantras, either chant them out loud or silently recite them in your mind. You can do this while focusing on the solar plexus or something in your life controlled by this chakra.

Ram

Each chakra is associated with a one-syllable bija mantra or “seed sound” that resonates at the same frequency as that chakra. Thus, chanting the bija mantra for manipura chakra will strengthen your connection to your body’s solar center.

The bija mantra for the solar plexus chakra is ram (pronounced to rhyme with mom).

Har

Har is a mantra in the kundalini tradition that translates to “creative infinity.” According to kundalini, repeating this mantra strengthens willpower. A strong will is one of the main signs of a healthy solar plexus chakra.

Solar Plexus Chakra Affirmations

Affirmations are positive statements that guide our minds and bodies to fall in line with an intention. To work with an affirmation, you can speak it aloud, repeat it mentally, or write it down.

An affirmation for the third chakra can be something general like, “My solar plexus chakra is healthy.” However, it’s also helpful to create a personal affirmation that resonates with your sense of identity.

Here are some examples of affirmations to strengthen solar plexus chakra imbalances:

  • Everything I need, I have within.
  • I release judgments of myself and others.
  • The fire within me burns without fear.
  • I am aligned with my purpose.
  • My soul is radiant, my body is strong, and my mind is brilliant.

Solar Plexus Chakra Stones and Crystals

Pyrite

As a general rule, stones and crystals that are the symbolic color of each chakra will strengthen that chakra. Therefore, third chakra stones are typically yellow or golden in hue. These include:

  • Amber
  • Yellow jasper
  • Golden topaz
  • Fire opal
  • Pyrite

Furthermore, agate helps balance the solar plexus chakra. This is because it’s volcanic in nature, which connects us to our internal fire. Agate can also help us to control and release anger ‒ an emotion related to manipura imbalance.

Some options for using crystals or stones to balance manipura are:

  • Sit with them in the sunshine
  • Place them directly on your navel center
  • Keep them nearby while practicing sun salutations

Solar Plexus Chakra Essential Oils

Lemon Essential Oil

In general, bright, energizing, and uplifting scents are conducive to solar plexus well-being. Oils derived from yellow fruits or flowers and those that stimulate digestion (such as ginger, black pepper, fennel, and peppermint) are all associated with the element of fire, which strengthens manipura chakra.

There are many methods for using essential oils for aromatherapy. However, for connecting with your sun center, try massaging oils into the abdomen or adding a few drops to your pulse points (wrists, neck, and chest).

Recommended essentials oils to balance the solar plexus chakra include:

  • Rosemary
  • Lemon
  • Eucalyptus
  • Juniper berry
  • Chamomile

Solar Plexus Chakra Meditation

Meditation and guided concentration exercises are extremely beneficial for balancing all chakra or areas of life. Techniques for working with manipura chakra include:

Visualization

Focus on the color yellow or imagine a golden light or flame glowing at your navel center. Visualize this light radiating throughout your body and providing you with strength, vitality, and bliss.

Candle Gazing

As you’ve learned, manipura chakra is linked to both our sense of vision and the element of fire. Thus, the yogic practice of trataka, or candle gazing, is a perfect exercise for strengthening the solar plexus.

To practice candle gazing, place a candle about an arm’s length away from your body between heart level and eye level. Slowly focus your eyes just above the wick of the candle where the flame is the brightest. Relax your eyes and try not to blink.

When you lose focus, gently close your eyes and try to maintain the image of the flame in your mind’s eye.

Mantra

Chant or silently repeat one of the solar plexus chakra mantras or affirmations above. When you do this, set an intention to stabilize or increase energy to the third chakra.

Solar Plexus Chakra Mudras

The Sanskrit word mudra means “seal.” Accordingly, mudras serve to seal, direct, or stimulate energetic flow to achieve certain effects on the body or mind. The following mudras, all of which are hand gestures, can help strengthen your solar plexus:

Rudra Mudra

Rudra Mudra

Rudra is one of the many names of the Hindu god Shiva, who is associated with manipura chakra and the element of fire. Press the tips of your thumbs, index, and ring fingers together. Leave your middle and little fingers extended. If you’re practicing this mudra in a seated position, you can rest your hands on your thighs with your palms facing up.

Guru Mudra

Guru mudra (also called merudanda mudra) looks like giving the world two thumbs up! The thumb represents the element of fire, so by sitting with your fists on your thighs and thumbs pointed toward the sky, you can increase and balance solar energy.

Yoga for the Solar Plexus Chakra

The following yoga postures and practices serve to direct the flow of prana to manipura chakra. This helps to cleanse, purify, or balance the solar plexus area. By breathing deeply and directing your awareness to your sun center, you will enhance the effects of each practice.

Low Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

Low Cobra Pose

Lie on your stomach with your legs together and the tops of your feet resting on the ground. Bring your forehead to the Earth and place your hands on the floor on either side of your ribcage. On an inhalation, use your lower back muscles to gently peel your upper body off the floor. Keep your elbows hugged close to your body and your shoulders back. Continue to breathe deeply in this posture, feeling your abdomen expand and contract against the Earth.

Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana)

Thunderbolt pose is a simple sitting position that stimulates a healthy digestive system and, therefore, manipura chakra. (Fun fact: Yogis call this posture “rock pose” in the kundalini tradition because it purportedly increases digestive fire enough for your body to process a rock!)

To practice thunderbolt pose, find a kneeling position with the tops of your feet on the floor. Then, sit back on your heels. If this is painful for your knees or hips, you can add a blanket or cushion between your calves and your glutes. Check that your spine is straight and that your upper body is relaxed. Then, focus your attention on your abdomen as it expands and deflates with each deep breath.

Breath of Fire (Kapalabhati)

Breath of Fire is a yogic breathing, or pranayama, technique that stimulates the navel center as it cleanses and energizes the body and mind. Essentially, it’s a short, forceful exhalation through the nose followed by a natural inhalation.

To practice breath of fire, take a deep breath in, leaving some space in your lungs. Begin to puff air out through your nose at a rhythm. As you do this, your belly button will contract in towards your spine. It will feel (and look) like you are pumping your diaphragm. After each puff of air, a short inhalation will happen on its own. You can practice breath of fire in a seated position or incorporate it into core-focused yoga postures to increase their effects.

Uddiyana Bandha

Uddiyana Bandha

In yoga, bandhas are energetic locks that we can access using our bodies. By engaging these locks, we harness and direct energy. Uddiyana bandha is a lock located at the solar plexus that serves to stimulate this area of the body and direct prana upward towards the higher chakras.

If you are unfamiliar with the bandhas, you can learn how to practice uddiyana bandha safely with this video tutorial:

For those familiar with yoga, warrior postures, arm balances, seated twists, and all core-strengthening postures also benefit manipura chakra. Furthermore, you can practice sun salutations to increase solar energy throughout the body.

Solar Plexus Chakra Healing

Apart from the previously-mentioned methods for connecting with manipura chakra, it’s also beneficial to work through chakra imbalances on your own or with professional guidance. Further healing practices include:

Therapy

Practitioners in fields such as reiki, breathwork, emotion-focused therapy (EFT), and hypnosis can identify and help heal issues related to the solar plexus chakra.

Burn Something (Safely)

Bonfire

Spending time with the elements increases our sensitivity to the elements in our bodies. Thus, by lighting a candle, building a bonfire, or simply sitting in front of a fireplace, we can trigger our internal sense of fire.

Furthermore, we can utilize the element of fire to let go of the past. Here’s a basic exercise that can help you experience the transformative property of fire:

  1. Write down anything that is preventing you from experiencing your ultimate expression of your life’s potential.
  2. Light a fire.
  3. Throw your writing in the fire, watch the past burn, and let it go!

Diet for Solar Plexus Chakra

Yellow Fruit

Eating yellow vegetables and fruits (like sweet peppers, squash, corn, pineapple, lemon, and banana) supports manipura health. So do whole grains and foods rich in fiber.

Foods and spices that increase digestive fire, such as black pepper, ginger, and turmeric, also benefit solar plexus health. Additionally, according to Ayurveda (the vedic science of health), salty, pungent/spicy, and sour foods increase the element of fire in our bodies.

Sound

Man in Sound Healing Session

The vibrational power of sound can affect the vibrational frequency of each of the chakras. Thus, sound healing techniques, like using singing bowls or gongs or listening to binaural beats, are helpful for chakra balancing. You can also use your voice to work with each chakra. In fact, there’s an entire practice called “chakra toning” that you can use for this purpose. The solar plexus chakra corresponds to the note of “E,” and the Solfeggio frequency of 528 Hz.

When engaged with any healing practice, remember that the most effective way to balance chakras (and, thus, your entire being) is through intention and a well-balanced lifestyle.

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