Looking at the ancient Eastern chakra tradition, we’ve reviewed some of the basic information about the first or root chakra (red, earth element, sense of smell) and the second or sacral chakra (orange, water element, sense of taste) and how they correspond to parts of the body, and the importance of balance.
This month we’ll look at the third or solar plexus chakra (going up the spine). It is located above the naval below the base of the breastbone (L-2 vertebrae). This is near to the physical center of our bodies. Its color is yellow and the energy spins a little faster than the first and second chakras. It is associated with the element of fire.
The Sanskrit name for the solar plexus chakra is Manipura which means, “shining jewel,” or sometimes, “shining pearls.”
This is the first chakra that isn’t just physical, but also brings forth the awareness of other beings and our connection to them. Swami Saradananda summarizes the chakra by saying it “provides the transformational power for your body and mind to be able to process matter and energy” (Saradananda, 2011).
When in balance and functioning correctly, this chakra is about personal power, ego identity, being comfortable with yourself, having respect for others, and acknowledging your personal strength. This, in turn, allows you the wisdom to identify and self-correct excesses or deficiencies through willpower. You establish appropriate boundaries in each area of your life and have the willpower to adhere to them.
This chakra is required for both personal growth and growth in your belief system, opening you to a higher level of awareness to everything around you. The sense of sight is aligned with the solar plexus chakra—seeing what is both around you and for that which is not visual.
The solar plexus chakra is what gives us those “gut feelings” about things, and is often relied heavily upon by business entrepreneurs, gamblers and other risk takers when making decisions.
From this area comes our creative expression, our level of awareness and in some, the beginnings of psychic abilities. When you are balanced, people are drawn to you, trusting your sensitivity, integrity, and strength.
The person with a balanced solar plexus chakra:
- Has stamina
- Has self-discipline
- Is expressive
- Is outgoing and has confidence
- Has tranquility
- Has a good sense of humor and is fun to be around
- Has wisdom and intellect
- Is understanding of others
- Accepts themselves as they are, and realizes what changes can be made
- Has great integrity
When out of balance it can be manifested as either excessive or weak energy.
The person with excessive energy in the solar plexus may manifest as:
- Dominating/controlling personality
- No sense of accountability—always blaming others
- Difficulty with authority
- Bad tempered, maybe with temper tantrums
- Passive aggressive patterns to get their own way
These are the people who misuse power and find themselves in unethical behavior situations (which we often read about in the paper), an indication their excess energy has turned on themselves.
The person with weak energy in the solar plexus may manifest as:
- “I’m a victim” personality
- Weak willed
- Overly concerned about what other people think of them
- Confused, indecisive, unreliable
- Bitter or resentful
- Fear of the future, and not be willing to try new things
- Digestive or heartburn problems
As you study your chakras, you’ll realize that they overlap somewhat both in behavior patterns or areas of the body. This is normal and should be used to your advantage. If the problem doesn’t lie with one chakra, try working with the one below or above it.
The body parts that may be affected by this chakra include the stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, kidneys and small intestines.
Stress can play a role with this chakra, especially when it shows up as digestion problems, e.g., constipation, diarrhea, and sour stomachs. Eating the right foods can help in this area.
OK, so you suspect your solar plexus maybe be out of balance. What can be done about it?
Tips On Balancing the Solar Plexus Chakra
I always look at nutrition first. You can look at either the color of the foods/herbs, or foods/herbs and their ultimate benefits for those specific parts of the body. Adding more fruits and vegetables to the diet and reducing the amount of processed foods is always a good thing!
Herbs & Garden Therapy
For this chakra, some beneficial yellow foods include lemons, bananas, pineapple, corn, squash, dandelions, sunflowers, lovage, and sunchokes. Others you might want to try for their benefits are brown rice, oats, millet, quinoa, flax, and amaranth.
Herbs to try are milk thistle, ginger, turmeric, marshmallow, mint, lemon balm, fennel, slippery elm, and goldenrod.
Lemon and ginger tea is my “go to” when looking for balance in this area, sweetened with either honey or stevia. (I just cut up a lemon and a few slices of ginger and put them in a quart jar, add boiling water, let it sit awhile, and drink it over a period of time. I don’t bother to strain it. I’ve also used just lemon or just ginger for the same purpose. You can slice and freeze lemon and ginger so it is always available to you.)
I try to add ginger to my diet on a daily basis. Crystalized ginger is a treat, despite the high sugar content, which I really don’t like. Following is the basic recipe I use. You can reduce the sugar, but you have to stay with it from beginning to the end of the cooking process.
1 pound fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced (try peeling with a vegetable peeler)
- Place ginger in a saucepan
- Add water to cover
- Cook on low until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain. Weigh and place in a saucepan the ginger, an equal amount of sugar and 3 tablespoons water.
- Drain. Weigh and place in a saucepan the ginger, an equal amount of sugar and 3 tablespoons water.
- Measure the ginger and place it back into the saucepan. Add an equal amount of sugar and 3 tablespoons water.
- Bring to a boil, stirring often, until the ginger is nearly translucent and the liquid is almost evaporated.
- Reduce the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until almost dry.
- Toss the cooked ginger in sugar to coat. Can be stored in an airtight jar for up to three months.
Other herbal options:
- Another of my favorites is to infuse mint, lemon balm, or ginger overnight in my water cup or bottle (in the refrigerator).
- Dandelion tea is another good choice.
- Marshmallow and slippery elm have been my “go tos” for sour stomachs or heartburn.
- I use powdered slippery elm mixed with honey and make little marble-sized balls (redipping them in the slippery elm so they aren’t too sticky) and put them in a plastic box in the refrigerator. I eat a couple as needed.
- Oatmeal or milky oats added to tea are both good for digestion.
- Sunchokes with their high inulin content can also be beneficial, but can cause wicked gas in some folks if not prepared properly. (I find that long slow cooking helps a lot!)
Some people try a one-day juice fast occasionally. I like to fast twelve to fourteen hours a day. I try not to eat after 7:00 p.m. or before 9:00 a.m. to allow for my system to digest and then rest. This is not good advice if you are pregnant or have an eating disorder.
- I do enough.
- I accept myself.
- I accept that everyone is entitled to be different. (My personal favorite)
- I am an individual.
- I am enthusiastic enough to achieve great things (or achieve my goals).
Common oils used with the solar plexus chakra include lemongrass, lemon, coriander, fennel, clary sage, myrrh, lavender, bergamot, rosemary, and cedar wood. Several are good when added to massage oils. Others, with a carrier, can be applied to the bottom of the feet. (Be careful with bergamot and expressed citrus which can cause phototoxic reactions.) Diffusing the oils is easy. Diffusing can involve a fancy diffuser or a cotton ball. Making your own incense with some of the above essential oils can also be effective.
If you’re into yoga, try the bridge, bow, boat, cow, camel poses, or a sitting or reclining spinal twist.
Just beneath your first and second toe, between the two muscles is a reflexology point that a reflexologist friend of mine recommended to me years ago. The same point is at the base of the hand. If you feel around, you will find the indent between the muscles. Try it and see if you feel any results!
Exercise that includes any movement of your muscles is always a recommendation. This chakra seems to balance best with transportation-type movement—walking or jogging, but any movement of the muscles is acceptable, including yoga. Aerobic exercise is especially good for those with excess energy.
Meditation in a calm and beautiful natural setting can do wonders for anyone, anytime, but is especially good for balancing your chakras. For this chakra, sitting on a yellow blanket or towel and think about the color yellow might be advantageous.
If you have excessive yellow energy, you might try visualizing a yellow ball of fire leaving your body. If you need more energy, that same ball of fire can leave your body (not in good shape), travel around the sun and return in a healthier condition to your body. In winter, I like to visualize a roaring fire.
Scheduling a “mental health day” just of your non-stressful, non-necessary activities of choice can help in bringing the solar plexus chakra into balance and in alignment with the other chakras.
This information just scratches the surface of the solar plexus chakra, but will give you some ideas if you recognize your chakra may be out of balance. Be sure to stay tuned for next month as we’ll be working with the heart chakra.
What tips can you share about the solar plexus chakra?
Saradananda, Swami, (2011). The essential guide to chakras. London, England: Watkins Publishing.