Third Chakra: Solar Plexus

Road to Wellness

Sep 1, 2004 at 2:06 pm

This column is part of a series to help understand the Chakra System, the seven energy centers in the body. An overview of each can be viewed at or

Sanskrit Name: Manipura

Location: Located between the base of the breast bone and the navel (the solar plexus). It governs aspects of the nervous system (personal power) and action of the liver, spleen, stomach and gall bladder (digestion and metabolism).

When Balanced: This chakra attends to our personal power of self-motivation, willfulness and self-image so that we can take risks and assume responsibility for our lives. Organically we feel warmth in a belly laugh and ease in digestion.

When Unbalanced: The effect is powerlessness, doubt, greed, anger and guilt. Our bodily dysfunctions are ulcers, gall stones, hypoglycemia and hepatitis.

This is the clearinghouse for risk-taking and gaining confidence. This might involve setting boundaries, asking for what we need, becoming less tentative, moving forward into the unknown and making decisions.

Yoga postures are therapeutic to helping balance and maintain healthy chakra functioning. Some of the poses which benefit the third chakra have abdominal focus, which help us move from the strength of our center and feel the fire of confidence in our gut. Physically opening this area also gives space to our vital organs to function optimally.

Here's an easy one to practice sitting in a chair, called Seated Spinal Twist. Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. If your feet don't reach the floor, put them on books or sit more on the edge of the chair. Sit up as tall as you can and take one full inhale and exhale from your belly before you start to move. Put your left hand on your right leg and right hand behind you on the seat or back of the chair. Beginning at the belly area, start turning slowly to the right then deeper into the ribs, then into the shoulders. Look in the direction over your right shoulder.

Let go of doubt (holding back) and greed (pushing too far). Stay here for five complete breaths, directing the breath into your belly. Unwind slowly from the top down, feeling your personal power rush through your center. Pause and breathe, then repeat on the other side.

If you like you can use one of the following to help enhance your experience while you are in the posture.

Color: Yellow — Visualize this shade and its slow vibration in the opened area.

Sound: Ram (rhymes with hum) — Repeat this over and over, drawing out the letter "m."

Mantra: "I control" — Repeat this slowly and mindfully (aloud or to yourself).

If your question is chosen, win a free yoga class at the Cincinnati Yoga School.