By Adam Ruggiero
The solar plexus, home of the third chakra center, manipura. Here lay our personal power center, our wellspring of energy and capability. From this chakra we derive much of our confidence and sense of personal ability. When energy flows freely through and from this chakra, we tend toward optimism and a healthy degree of ambition. Physically, our appetite will be balanced and digestion optimal.
Conversely, a blocked third chakra inhibits the fountain of self-worth and assuredness. Oftentimes our eating habits reflect this; low self-esteem can lead us toward dietary surrogates to replace organic, internal highs, in turn further eroding our sense of self-determination and will. By the same token, an overactive manipura chakra, which manifests as power lust and over ambition, may correlate to intense dieting and self-deprivation – a not-uncommon method of exerting control over oneself.
Among the energies we derive through this chakra center are vitality, courage, will, focus, positive transformation and ego. By nature, these qualities are fundamentally opposed to yin work (sun salutations, core work and arm balances would comprise a healthy asana-based manipura practice), however the third chakra can be manipulated more subtly through long twists and focused, intentional breath work.
Try out these Solar Plexus Yin Poses
Breath of fire – fast, powerful breathing exercise to massage abdominal organs and stoke the internal fire.
Seated cat/cow and navel circles – begin to engage and feel your center of power.
Thread the needle – a gentle twist that wraps the spine around our core axis.
Twisted dragon lunge– an intense, self-centered pose that incorporates deep, diaphragmatic belly breath to connect with our power center; attention to whether we push to control, or shy away and hold back.
Down dog or child’s pose – release and relaxation for the core.
Half butterfly w/side stretch – bringing hand to belly to rotate solar plexus open; visualize the radiant yellow light of your inner power opening and shining outward.
Caterpillar w/bolster block under knees – remove the hamstring stretch by keeping knees bent; focus on massaging the abdominal organs as you fold forward.
Half-saddle – repeat inwardly: “I am strong and courageous. I honor my Self.”
Child’s pose – to release.
Twist over bolster – supported twist calms the fire, balances third chakra.
Supported bridge – allow the plexus to open and feel supported; grounding through the feet as second and third chakra expand.
Savasana – visualize again the golden light of your personal power growing and radiating outward.