Welcome to the Summer Chakra Series! The last of the so-called “lower chakras”, the sacral chakra is third in line on our journey up the spine.
I’m 19 years old, in Seville, Spain, being chattered at by a surprisingly imposing personage, despite not being even 5 ft tall. She is speaking at 90 MPH, in Spanish. To say I have a rudimentary understanding of Spanish is generous, and definitely not at light speed, so I am mostly just blinking. Very emphatic, talking with her hands, getting out her old flamenco stuff to show us. The joy, the passion, is palpable.
If you knew my friend Gigi’s Grandma Pastora, you knew fire (if you know my BFF Gigi, you know fire, too). Pastora was a flamenco singer (as was her husband), and she was a happy, pint-sized ball ‘o spitfire. Not sure how old she was (I was young, so everyone over 30 was old), but she was full of life (just like my mother-in-law, super fiery, playing soccer with the grand-kids effortlessly at age 84).
Pastora’s son, (Gigi’s dad), Gualberto is a wonderful and highly regarded musician and composer in Spain (and known throughout the world). He strolls through the house strumming his guitar, though he is most well-known for his sitar playing. He co-founded the “iconic rock band” Smash, and is regarded as a pioneer of “flamenco fusion”, also called Andalusian rock. Gigi’s mom, Jessica, a native New Yorker-turned-Spaniard badass, has her PhD in Virology AND is a veterinarian. She also wrote lyrics for and sang on Gualberto’s early albums. At Gigi’s wedding, the marvelous Jessica let my then-boyfriend, now-husband know on no uncertain terms that he was to take good care of me or she was coming for him (and she wasn’t being cute: she was dead serious). Gigi’s sister is an opera singer and her brother is a lawyer and activist.
And Gigi is Pastora, MD, Medical Director of one hospital and staff physician at another. She is a saver of the teeny-tiny babies, and on the side she searches for solutions to the opioid crisis. She is a single mom who, this summer, took her four kids to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Spain, and Myrtle Beach. Powerhouse, Yo.
Major. Life. Embracers. This family just GOES FOR IT. They are ON FIRE.
And FIRE is exactly what the solar plexus is all about: personal power, courage, commitment.
Solar Plexus Chakra: #3
The first two chakras, the root and the sacrum, were about REACTING (in a way). These hard-working vortexes help us get our footing in this world; they help with moving our spirits into our bodies. And if the first two chakras are the basics of Earthly life, then the solar plexus chakra is the muscle of this operation. It’s go-time. Time for ACTION.
We gain confidence from action. We start to trust ourselves and see ourselves in a new light. Yes, we ARE the kind of people who persevere! We get it done. Lets work on this chakra to bring clarity and focus to what is needed – the ACTION to manifest the DESIRE.
Manipura means FIRE!
The solar plexus chakra governs the fire element inside of you. It is your strength, your vitality, your ego, your willpower, your stamina, your inner power (all of which my Gigi has in spades). It’s what’s HOT in you! This is the center where you get things done and where you get your sense of self.
How do you digest life?
The Manipura chakra is also concerned with being able to “deal”; it’s how you ‘digest’ your life. Do you have any physical digestive issues, like diarrhea, constipation, pain? (go see an MD). Can you stand up for yourself? Are you strong and courageous, worthy of love and respect? (why yes, yes you are!) Do you feel strong in your body and in the world? (you can get there!)
Fire is action and transformation. Allowing ourselves to grow and become a better version of us means taking action and leaving behind what no longer works. We don’t have to burn the house down, but we can heat things up.
Manipura can go rouge, for sure
Years ago, I ran into a woman who was my next door neighbor at the time, an MD at our mutual place of work. She exclaimed: “Oh, you’re my little neighbor!” Little? Excuse? I was like “Wha?” I am almost 5’7; we are about the same height and roughly the same age. As I stood there, stunned, she waltzed away without a backward glance. “What just happened?”
Beware of the jellyfisher
Bridget Jones (oh, Bridget!), called a person like this a jellyfisher. The jellyfisher is “that friend” who makes little cutting comments and put-downs, all the while pretending to be perfectly friendly and ordinary. You are swimming along happily and suddenly, under the guise of sweetness, the person says or does something that completely stings.
Such blatant power plays are irritating, and are totally about the other person with an out-of-whack solar plexus. You do you, girl. Let me wipe you off me quick.
I was glad when this nutter built a fence between our houses and then I was RILL glad when she moved OUT (we were not loud, I swear). Get your insecure jou-jou off me, thank you sooooo much!
If someone is unskilled/lashing out, one way to protect yourself is to shield your solar plexus with your arms (casually or blatantly) – just hold your arms in front of your upper abdomen. Then mentally enclose yourself in a warm bubble, in whatever color seems best (I use golden light).
Located: Directly below sternum over the stomach
Musical Note: E
Essential oils: Lemon, grapefruit, juniper
Crystals: Topaz, citrine, amber
Psychological Function: Ego, Courage, Purpose, Will Power
The Power Center: The Mighty Lion
“Show me how big your brave is.”Sara Bareilles
A gorgeous sunshine yellow, the solar plexus is the “power station”. The solar plexus chakra is about personal power. It governs courage and self-esteem. It’s the center that helps us commit to something, and then and see it through. The solar plexus is also where we get our intuitive feelings – our gut instincts.
The lion is the animal associated with this glorious chakra. Oh, the majesty of the lion! When we have a well-functioning solar plexus, we have agency over our lives, we have personal sovereignty. We are mighty.
Archetypes: Warrior vs. Servant
The archetypes for the solar plexus are the warrior and the servant. The warrior is empowered and has a strong sense of self. They know who they are in the world. Warriors have inner strength and the resilience to see their dreams and goals through to fruition. They are CLOSERS.
A warrior welcomes challenges in life as a way to develop grit and personal power. They fight the good fight, MOFO!
The servant is the person whose sense of personal identity is coming from the external world, always looking for validation. Like: “I don’t exist unless you see me”. They work hard to get acknowledged by others. What a heavy burden.
Someone in a servant mentality sabotages themselves by giving away their power to others, letting them define who they are and what they should be doing. “Servants” spend all their energy people-pleasing and are unable to give to themselves.
Blocked Solar Plexus
A blocked solar plexus will manifest both physically and emotionally. Digestive issues of all kinds indicate an unbalanced solar plexus (pooping too much, not pooping enough, stomach pain, acid reflux, gallbladder issues), as well as eating disorders and low energy levels.
Emotionally, when the solar plexus is wonky (too much or too little), feelings of anger, greed, envy, shame and despair may pop up. These are all signs that we may need to do some work on our solar plexus.
Help is here, solar plexus dear!
To maximize our sunshine power, we gotta engage that core every day. In kundalini yoga especially, they say that you must activate your solar plexus every day. Why? Because it activates our POWER center. Strengthening this chakra will render you POWERFUL! Who doesn’t want that?
We tend to think of “power” in negative terms, referring to people in positions of power for no other reason than that they can afford it, they were born into it, they have the “right” color skin and/or gender, or they have taken it by nefarious means or force.
But here we are talking about personal power. Some people with the MOST personal power are also the MOST unassuming, the quiet ones of the bunch.
We can activate this center physically, with yoga (see below), and then it will activate vibration-ally. This activation will help us manifest what we want; it will help us move our lives in the direction we want it to go.
We “wake up” the solar plexus with some AM yoga and then can act in a powerful way all day.
Don’t have time? Engage the ‘ol core when you pick up your (heavy) (screaming) toddler who has just pooped everywhere but the potty for the third time that day (you got this, Elsie!). Think of it as exercise! Let’s DO this! With a big Thank you, John-John!
“Instant Remedy for Nerves”
There’s lots of nerve-action in the stomach, and that’s why we feel those wonderful “butterflies” when we are a bundle of nerves. This is a breathing exercise from Maya Fiennes (and ancient yogis) to calm the gut down. Do it anywhere, super loud if you want to scare people away (or do it in the car before a big meeting, etc). Try it once. For some reason, it makes me crack up when I do it. Just do it hard. Spit all over your dashboard.
Inhale thru nose, then exhale powerfully through the mouth, making a loud SHHHHHH sound.
Affirmations for the solar plexus
Affirmations that we HEAR with our OWN VOICE are super-charged! And if you write your own, specific ones, you may just to get what you want (or better).
- I am a powerful force for good
- I feel powerful
- I am ready to face challenges
- I’ve got this
- I am aligned with my purpose
- I believe in myself
- I feel calm, confident, and powerful
- I can create positive change in my life
- I have the power to create the life I want
- I handle things as they come; I am resilient
- I can say no
- The only approval I need is my own
- I am allowed to take up space
- I am whole and complete
Yoga Poses for the solar plexus (though any yoga pose can benefit the solar plexus when the core is consciously engaged)
- Plank Pose
- Boat Pose
- Bow Pose
- Crescent Warrior
- Downward Facing Dog
- Warrior III
- Chair Pose
- Balancing Table
- Half Moon Pose
- Extended Side-Angle Pose
Kundalini Poses for the solar plexus
This one is brutality (hurts so good) but you will be surprised how quickly you improve, which is very motivating. Prepare for sore abs.
Lie on back, place arms under butt to protect lower back. Raise head and legs 6 inches (oof, dude), tuck chin to chest, stare at your toes, and start the Breathe of Fire – noisy inhale/exhale through nose with mouth closed, like sniffing.
So hard but so good. Infuses CONFIDENCE and POWER throughout your aura.
Sit up straight, cross-legged, eyes closed. Extend elbows parallel to the ground, elbows relaxed down. Make tight fists with hands (oh, yes), and forcefully and rhythmically sweep your arms towards the diaphragm (solar plexus area) and back to starting position, criss-crossing the hands (see picture). Make the movement hard, without touching the body.
Yell out “Har” as loud and proud as you can.
Do for five minutes. You might cry or start really hollering, FYI. Gets the anger out in a positive way.
Recipe: Manipura Shake
Helps with digestion (aka pooping; you know who you are)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup filtered water
2-3 large fresh figs – peeled and chopped
1 date, pitted and finely chopped
Pinch of ground cinammon
Place all ingredients in blender and puree.
Your power is there. Roar.
Next time you face a challenge, sit up straight, tuck in the gut, do a SHHHHH breath, and make it happen. You got this. Own your power and have fun with it. Walk like Mick Jagger and see what happens.
Check out this song and be BRAVE.
“Say what you want to say, let the words fall out. Honestly, I want to see you be brave.”Sara Bareilles