When speaking of digestion in yoga, we refer automatically to the energy of 3rd chakra, the solar plexus, commonly known in yoga language as “Manipura”. This stomach chakra is the center of will and power. This chakra is connected to the fire element. Chakras are energy centers located on the body’s midline (center channel). There are 7 of them (8 in Kundalini yoga) and they control our psychological and physiological properties. The chakras located on the lower part of our bodies are our instinctual side while those located on the upper part represent our mental side. In an ideal world, all our chakras should contribute to the proper functioning of our being as well as all our systems. However, this is not always the case. It happens that some chakras are not open enough (as-active), but to counterbalance this, other chakras are overactive. The ideal state is where the chakras are balanced.
The 7 Chakras:
1st Chakra – root chakra
2nd Chakra – sacral chakra
3rd Chakra – solar plexus chakra
4th Chakra – heart chakra
5th Chakra – throat chakra
6th Chakra – third eye chakra
7th Chakra – crown chakra
Bonus: The 8th chakra in yoga Kundalini is less known. It is the Aura.
Also see our blogs on:
- Using Healing Crystals
- Solar Plexus Chakra Healing
- The Breath of Fire
- Meditation Techniques for Beginners
Traveling along our energy road, we stop today at the solar plexus, the center of digestion. The solar plexus chakra location is also the hub of the central region and is the area behind and around the navel. Physical locations that correspond to this chakra are the pancreas, the liver, the gallbladder, the spleen and the digestive system. But how does this stomach chakra work in digestion? Its element is fire and as such, its energy is characterized by transmutation and heat during the food processing which will regenerate the whole body. The digestive fire is a psychic transformation of essential energy to rebound the decreasing energy of the two first chakras.
What is the 3rd chakra meaning?
We call the 3rd chakra “Manipura” which translates as “bright jewel”. This precious treasure is exactly what we have in us: a dazzling center, radiating with energy throughout life, it distributes its light in the human body. Just as the Earth could not survive without the sun, we rely on our 3rd chakra to regulate and stimulate the activities of our systems including our digestive system.
Blocked Solar Plexus Chakra
The solar plexus is also referred to as the celiac plexus. In cases where you’re experiencing solar plexus chakra blockage (or a celiac plexus block), stress accumulates in the 3rd chakra. This blockage can sometimes lead to solar plexus pain. While this pain may be centralized to nerve fibers around the solar plexus area, you can also experience: chest pain, stomach pain, anxiety, intestinal contraction, painful sensations in the upper abdomen or even severe abdominal pain. If you are experiencing chronic abdominal pain, you may need to look into other forms of pain management with your healthcare provider.
In addition, if we are not entirely balanced in terms of this fire chakra, we can have problems at the digestive system level, including conditions such as diabetes, hepatitis, indigestion and stomach ulcers. Other physical symptoms of solar plexus chakra blockage issues include nausea, bloating, and other digestive issues.
Aside from physical symptoms, a chakra imbalance in the stomach can also lead to emotional distress as well. Common signs of an imbalance in the body may include low self-esteem, a dominating personality, aggression, lack of purpose, and feelings of helplessness. A small or single blockage may only influence one aspect of your life like work or relationships, however, larger blockages can spread and influence many facets of your day-to-day life. For this reason, it’s especially important that you find balance in your manipura chakra.
It is also recommended to alter your diet to complement the navel chakra. One of the easiest ways to unblock or align your chakras is through a change in diet. Professionals suggest reducing sugar and saturated fat while increasing fiber intake, but you should consult with your healthcare team before drastically changing your diet.
How to Open the Solar Plexus Chakra
There are several basic approaches you can take to stimulate and balance your navel chakra. One of the biggest issues with an imbalance in this chakra location is low self-esteem. For individuals struggling with an imbalance, it is highly suggested to first work on your self-image and long-term goals. Envision what you want out of life and think more carefully during the decision-making process. Another easy way to reverse negative thoughts or patterns in our lives is to read aloud or in our heads positive affirmations. This will help reverse negative thinking patterns and will allow you to think more clearly when it comes to goal-setting.
How to Balance the Fire Chakra Through Yoga
In Kundalini Yoga, as in all other types of yoga, there is a variety of techniques that we can use to stimulate, balance and connect more to our chakra ‘manipura. The strengthening of the abdominal muscles is a great place to start bringing the balance of the 3rd chakra. Here is an example of posture that will have great results on the health of the solar plexus:
First, lie on your back with your legs stretched on the floor and glued together. To protect your lower back, you can place your 2 hands, palms (down) under the buttocks.While inhaling, engage the abdominals and press the lower back into the ground and lift both legs up to an angle (30, 60 or 90 degrees). Upon exhaling, slowly lower legs toward the ground and continue for 1 to 3 minutes.
There are also many energy aspects related to the 3rd chakra that Kundalini Yoga tradition highlights. In the case where our connection to our third chakra is weakened, we can feel anger, aggression, guilt and doubt about ourselves.Consequently seeking self- confidence from outside rather than from within ourselves and use our power to manipulate others. We can feel a certain rigidity and refute our own wishes and our emotions. If this is the case, yoga has a wealth of knowledge to revive a balanced fire within our 3rd chakra! When we are strongly connected to this fire, we have an unlimited energy, an excellent health, a strong will, the ability to make commitments and a solid inner balance. This chakra allows us to become an exemplary leader in being fully aware of our actions’ effects on others and connect us to our personal power. In this state of mind, we can maintain a strong sense of self-esteem and fully appreciate our life.
If you do not have much time and you are looking for other ideas of postures to regain your balance at the level of the 3rd chakra in just a few minutes, here are 2 examples of postures to practice:
Stress posture (Stretch pose) – Lie on your back with your legs stretched on the floor and glued together. To protect your lower back, you can place your 2 hands palms (face down) under the buttocks. Engage your abdominal muscles to lift your feet and shoulders to 6 inches off the ground. Tuck the chin towards the chest, look at your toes and start the breath of fire* while maintaining a good posture. Continue for 1 to 3 minutes in accordance with your abilities.
* Breath of fire Exhale air through the nose pushing quickly and strongly the belly button to the spine, and then breathe simply by releasing the pressure. Adopt a consistent pace with equal inhaling and exhaling, and always through the nose.
Posture of the Arc – After a good warm-up of the spinal column, lay on your stomach, the chin supported on the ground , spread your knees to be aligned with your hips, bend your knees and lift yourself with the hands to grab the ankles. Press hips to the ground and use the strength of the legs to press into the hands to pull up the upper body away from the ground, you can decide to keep the thighs to the ground if it suits you better or lift them so you are balancing on the navel center. Maintain this posture and start the breath of fire.