Today, we are talking about the third Chakra: Manipura in Sanskrit, or the Solar Plexus in English. Its associated element is Fire and its color is yellow. It is located between the bottom of the sternum and the navel. Physically, the digestive system and musculature falls under its purview.
A balanced Third Chakra will manifest as a responsible, reliable individual. They will have good self-esteem, self-confidence, and have a warm personality. They will enjoy a sense of play and a healthy sense of humor. They know and understand their own power and are able to meet challenges.
A deficient Chakra will show up as low energy, poor self-discipline and self-esteem, passivity, depression and anxiety, unreliablility, digestive issues, easily manipulated and/or a tendency to blame others for their problems.
An overactive Chakra often presents as someone who is aggressive, dominating or controlling. They always need to be right, and can be manipulative and deceitful. They can be quick to anger, stubborn, competitive and hyper. Your stereotypical “Type A Personality” is a clear example.
Imbalances can also manifest physically, showing up as eating disorders, digestive issues, muscular issues, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, or disorders of the internal organs.
Experiences that cause Solar Plexus Chakra dysfunction include being shamed, having an overly authoritative or domineering figure in your life, physical abuse, fear of your environment, fear of punishment, and even inherited shame from a parent or caretaker.
The demon of this Chakra is Shame, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. After all, when you do something that makes you feel embarrassed or ashamed of yourself, where do you feel it? It’s usually a sinking, uncomfortable feeling in your gut.
I often refer to this Chakra as the “powerhouse” when describing it to my clients. It’s where your motivation comes from, your passion, and your “fire and drive.” It’s your mojo.
When you’re confident in yourself and your abilities, it shines through in everything. When your fire isn’t burning, so to speak, it can be hard to move through life. Nothing seems appealing, you wonder if you’ll ever be good at anything (hello, Imposter Syndrome).
So…. how do you sort this out?
Well firstly as I always say: if you are dealing with abuse or trauma of any kind, physical ailments, or if you feel it appropriate for your circumstances, I highly recommend finding a therapist or counselor. While all of the following suggestions can be helpful tools in your process, getting help should be your first priority.
While the first two Chakras were more about inhabiting and experiencing, this Chakra is more about doing. Whether it is over- or under-active, there are action steps you can take in the here and now to help.
Exercise/physical activity is a great way to stoke a fire nearly out, or burn off an overactive flame. In both instances, work with where you are, being careful not to overdo it and risk injury. Personally, I find my martial arts practice perks me up when I’m feeling low and helps me burn off stress and my Type-A tendencies.
Yoga can also be beneficial. If you’re feeling sluggish, look for a hatha or vinyasa class. If you’re riding high on positive energy and a good mood, look for a power class to burn off some of that extra positive energy. If you’re anxious, experiencing nervous or manic energy, or stressed out, look for calming classes such as a slow flow or a yin. Avoid high-energy classes as that will only make things worse.
An overactive chakra will benefit from calming, grounding experiences, such as meditation, quiet and calming physical activities, reading or a favored artistic pasttime. A sluggish chakra will benefit from stimulation, either mental or physical. If physical activity is too much to handle, find mental activities that you enjoy, find engaging, and challenging. The key is that it positively feeds your self-confidence and self-esteem.
If you’re suffering from depression, low self-esteem or low-confidence, do what you can to surround yourself with positive, uplifting people. Avoid people who do nothing but criticize and complain. Minimize interacting with these individuals as much as possible, until you can find your strength. This can be difficult if the harshness is coming from family or people from whom you can’t easily distance yourself. Do the best you can, and realize this is the “action chakra” (cue cape and super powers). There are steps you can take. Ask for help from trusted friends and/or professionals as appropriate.
If you find yourself always overreacting to people and situations, hyper-critical, telling people what to do, and quick to anger, you need to sit down and shut up. I know I certainly needed to, after I realized my actions (pretty much as listed) were hurting others. It’s time to go inside yourself and do some exploration. Why do you feel the need to control every little thing? Why do you need to throw your power about, and all over others? I highly recommend the book Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach, PhD. It helped put a lot of things in perspective for me personally.
Mantras and affirmations for underactive chakras include:
- I can
- I am powerful
- I accomplish tasks easily and effortlessly
- I am talented and capable
- I am strong
- I am worth it
For those of us who experience overactive chakras, perhaps this will help:
- I allow to world to unfold in all its beauty
- My actions are positive, kind, and compassionate
- Seeing other people succeed fills me with happiness and pride
- Listening to other’s ideas and suggestions helps build everyone up
- We are each of us enough
Whether stoking a low-burning fire or bringing a bonfire down to a slow burn, working toward balance within the Solar Plexus Chakra can help us face our day to day lives with the quiet confidence and energy we need to live a content life.
As always, this information is just the tip of the iceburg. I encourage you to explore on your own, and to get in touch with any questions you may have. And of course, consult a medical professional as needed, because sometimes yoga and positive thoughts aren’t enough.
Judith, A. (2004). Eastern Body, Western Mind (2nd Edition). Celestial Arts Publishing, Berkeley CA.
Judith, A. (2012). Wheels of Life: The Classic Guide to the Chakra System (2nd Edition). Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury, MN.
Mercier, P. (2000). Chakras: Balance Your Body’s Energy for Health and Harmony. Godsfield Press, New York, NY.