Please note this article is copyrighted (c) June 2003 - Tanja Freedman - starfire_nz@hotPOP.com
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Solar Plexus Chakra Names and Meanings
As we continue our journey up the spinal column, the next chakra above Muladhara and Svadhisthana is known as the Solar Plexus Chakra, or Manipura. The intensely poetic Sanskrit name ‘Manipura’ translates as something like ‘Jewelled City’ (‘Mani’ being variously translated as ‘gem’, ‘jewel’ or ‘diamond’, and ‘pura’ being either ‘city’ or the more general ‘place’); a name that can be seen to reflect the value and beauty of this chakra’s energy when it is in balance.
The somewhat more prosaic Western term for the chakra is ‘Solar Plexus Chakra’, referring to its proximity to the ‘Solar’ nerve plexus (please see next section for a more detailed description of this location).
Other names for this chakra include ‘The Power Centre’, referring to the chakra’s function as a storehouse of energy and will; ‘The Seat of the Sun’ or ‘Gateway to the Sun’, referring to it as the location of solar energy within us, and our access to drawing that solar energy into us; ‘Seat of the Soul’ and ‘Solar Network’.
Additionally, various sources have associated the chakra with different organs of the body, so that it is also known as ‘The Navel Centre’, ‘The Liver Chakra’ ‘The Stomach Chakra’ and ‘The Spleen Chakra’. It’s possible, however, that these names arise more from the association of the chakra with the functions of these organs (digestion and purification), than with their physical locations.
Solar Plexus Chakra Location
The Solar Plexus is an area well known to martial artists. Because it is a physical structure, its associated chakra is often easier to find than are the Root and Navel chakras.
To find your Solar Plexus, place your finger on the ‘v’ at the bottom of where your ribs come together, then take the point about halfway between there and your navel. Be aware that different sources locate the chakra at different points along the line between the ‘v’ and the navel (some, for example, describe it as ‘two fingers above the navel’; others as ‘on the pericardium (which is just below the ‘v’). If you begin focusing on the midpoint, moving your awareness slowly above and below it, however, you should become aware of it as a point within you.
Note again that, if you still don’t ‘feel’ the chakra as you do this, you can just breathe into the general area around the midpoint, until you find it.
Sacral Chakra Correspondences
Bright yellow or gold (western)or black, dark green or dark blue (Indian)
‘D’ or ‘E’
Inverted red triangle located in a circle surrounded by ten petals.
Sphere or triangle
‘Ram’ ‘Aum’ ‘Rang’ ‘eee-oo-mm’
Western Astrological Sign:
Either Aries or Leo, and said to be ruled by either Venus, Jupiter or Mercury, depending on the source
Vahni, Rudra, Lakini, Agni
Either Netzah, or hod
Functions and Life Issues Controlled by the Solar Plexus Chakra
Appropriately for a Solar chakra, the issues Manipura governs are fiery ones – those with qualities of expansiveness, warmth & joy.
Action and Will:
The predominant function of this chakra is the motivation, will, physical energy, strength of personality, general attitude to & happiness with life, respect for oneself and others, self confidence, and decisiveness. In the Sanskrit tradition, this is where prana is stored in the body – a kind of inner battery – that, when fully charged, allows us to experience courage, confidence and the drive to follow our dreams. Manipura is the point from which we ‘make it all happen’ – the place we find our ‘get up and go’. It’s where we find our ability to overcome whatever life throws at as – our ambition and ability to handle crises. Where Muladhara controls our instincts, and Svadhisthana our desires, Manipura determines how we temper those desires, and which of them we go on to decisively put into action.
Boundaries and Self esteem/ Self Image
Through decisions about what we will and won’t put into action, Manipura is the point from which we set and negotiate boundaries for ourselves. It’s where we create our ‘this is what I am’, and where we need to go to learn to overcome the boundaries to being what our selves wish to be. Judgements about what is good and bad (both for the self, and in general) are a function of this chakra, as are acting on those judgements to avoid what is bad, and attract more of what is good (which can be seen as the building blocks of self respect.) Our ability to be independent (not relying on anyone else, thus strengthening our sense of self) also originates within Manipura.
Additionally, in the same way that Svadhisthana distinguishes the ‘me’ from the ‘not me’; Manipura distinguishes the ‘external, physical me’ from the ‘internal emotional/spiritual me’ and requires that both are honoured and respected.
Organisation and Balance:
Manipura wants everything to be neatly and tidily organised, and doesn’t deal well with chaos. It requires order to make things happen as they need to, in order for the emerging ‘self’ to develop what it requires. Additionally, it requires that all aspects of a given system be acknowledged and honoured, without neglecting or overlooking any parts, and in the fulfilment of that requirement, creates balance.
This chakra is related to constructive conflict resolution – the ability of two dissenting parties to come to a solution that leaves both satisfied that their own senses of self remain unthreatened, and their boundaries intact.
Manipura is the treasure-house of emotions relating to fire and drive. So self confidence, decisiveness, courage and the ability to control raw, fiery emotions like anger and frustration all have their origins in the Solar Plexus. Certain types of intuition are also regulated by this chakra – mainly the kind described as ‘gut feelings’. Finally those qualities that are thought of as ‘warm’ – outgoingness, cheerfulness, and spontaneity all fall within Manipura’s realm.
Physically, this chakra governs the autonomic nervous system, the liver and pancreas, the stomach, the large intestine, the gall bladder – basically, the digestive system, the muscular system and, to an extent, the respiratory system (in terms of cell respiration, rather than the lungs and drawing in of oxygen. If you visualise all the processes in the body that have fire behind them – those that involve burning fuel to create energy, purification, or the movement and action processes resulting from the energy creation – you will find that Manipura is the chakra regulating almost all of them. Additionally, the eyes, as the organs of sight (the sense associated with this chakra), fall under Manipura’s domain.
Relationship to Other Chakras
Many sources break the seven major chakras up into the upper and lower chakras. Lower chakras tend to be concerned with the physical, external world, while higher chakras are those that access the internal emotional, intellectual and spiritual worlds. Because of this, there are some who hold the lower chakras to be less important – less worthy of consideration – than the upper.
What the holders of such views forget is that without a stable foundation on which to build, no structure can remain strong; and without taking care of the physical, we have no base through which to ground and bring into the physical world the energies we access through the upper chakras. We may enjoy the energies while we’re experiencing them, but either they don’t leave any lasting impression on us, or we end up floaty, flighty, dizzy, or just generally unbalanced in ways we don’t seem to be able to recover from.
As the highest up of the lower chakras, Manipura’s function can be seen as a bridge between the upper and lower chakras. It integrates the stability of the three balanced lower chakras together, sculpting them into a stable base from which an individual can start to explore the wonders of their inner being. At the same time, it allows the emotional, intellectual and spiritual insights that are gained through work with each of the upper chakras are translated into appropriate action, which is then beneficial for the whole person.
Symptoms of Sacral Chakra Imbalances
As with any chakra, imbalances in Manipura will lead to imbalances in the areas it governs. Thus, if we find we are manifesting problems in the following areas consistently, then it is likely we need to do some work either cleansing or strengthening this chakra:
- Rage or excessive anger and hostility
- Depression (which is sometimes described as ‘anger turned inward’)
- Constant frustration
- Constant doubt and mistrust
- Inability to control raw emotions
- Lack of confidence
- Constant fear of failure
- Frequent feelings of isolation
- Fear of trying new things
Willpower and Action:
- Workaholic tendencies
- Being driven to succeed whatever the cost
- Being controlled by habits
- Inability to break old patterns
- Apathy and procrastination
- Fear of taking risks
- Tendency to give up quickly
- Constant worrying about what others think
- Needing other people around and feeling extremely uncomfortable in one’s own company
- Lack of self-respect, self-esteem, and self-honouring
- Inability to balance others’ needs with our own
- Over controlling-ness
- Complete inability to organise and frequent getting lost in chaos
- Poor digestion
- Colonic/intestinal problems
- Liver, pancreas or spleen dysfunctions
- Eating disorders or obesity
- General lack of energy
- Sluggish metabolism
Cleansing and Energising the Solar Plexus Chakra
As with the previous two chakras, cleansing and energising Manipura can take place on many levels – meditation, directing energy or physical activity in daily life. If you are experiencing problems you attribute to a blockage or weakness in your Solar Plexus chakra, you may wish to try any of the following:
Cleansing and Unblocking:
- Look for things that make you laugh – humour is a great way of unblocking this chakra
- Make yourself move, even if you feel as though there’s nothing you’d like to do less – jog if you are fit enough, or just walk. Try to make sure you mindfully move your body in some way every day
- Try to visualise the spinning chakra opening up, and see the blocks within it as dark areas. Breathe the colour yellow into the chakra as it spins, visualising the darker areas slowly being transformed into bright yellow. When everything is a uniform, intense yellow, visualise the chakra closing again, and affirm that it is clear, healthy and strong
- Detoxing – whether herbal or simple dietary, detoxing can be helpful in clearing blocks from this chakra. Be aware, however, that different detoxes affect people in different ways, so proceed with caution when trying anything new, and if you find that something’s making you feel even worse, don’t keep using it.
- Spend time outside in the sunlight
- Laughter will energise, as well as cleanse the Solar Plexus chakra, so seek out songs, situations, books, movies and TV programmes that make you smile
- Exercise will also energise Manipura – and for this chakra, aerobic exercise (which involves your body burning fuel, so is consistent with Manipura’s fire associations) is excellent
- Make sure you are including sufficient starches, grains and yellow fruits and vegetables in your diet
- Avoid programmes that require you to fast – they can often exacerbate a weakened Manipura (which makes sense – a fire chakra denied fuel to burn is unlikely to function at peak levels!)
- Bring more of the colour yellow into your life – bathe in it, drink it, wear it, decorate with it – whatever works for you personally (if you find you need to balance out Manipura because it’s too strong within you, consider bringing more purple into your life)
- Listen to music with fiery rhythms – flamenco is ideal
- Hum or chant the associated mantras
- Examine your own concepts of your identity. Where does it feel under threat? What do you need to do about? Take time to work out what you enjoy doing, and do it
- Work with affirmations
- Breathe using your diaphragm
- Burn candles – especially yellow or gold ones, but any flame will help you access this chakra’s energies
- Use physical aids to help you develop the chakra:
o Work with crystals such as Citrine, Chrysoprase, Lithium, Smokey Quartz, Golden Topaz, Turquoise, Malachite, Amber, Tigers Eye, Yellow Calcite, Gold, Jasper, Yellow Tourmaline
o Herbs – Rosemary, Sage, Juniper, Lemon, Clove, Ginkgo Biloba, Milk Thistle, Dandelion and Ginger are all associated with Manipura
o Essential oils - Cassia, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Lemon Balm, Juniper, Chamomile, Lemon, Cypress, Thyme, Bergamot, Carnation, Fennel, Chamomile (Roman), Lavender, Sandalwood
o Additionally, flower essences such as Clematis, Honeysuckle, Wild Rose, Olive, White Chestnut, Mustard, Chestnut Bud, Chamomile, Golden Yarrow and Peppermint have been found to strengthen aspects of the Solar Plexus Chakra
- Practice the yoga asanas which move energy in the belly and solar plexus regions. One particularly advised is Dhanaurasana - The Bow
- Visualise yourself outside in the bright sunlight, feeling its warmth on your skin, soaking up its energy
- Alternatively, visualise yourself in a golden field of ripened wheat or barley; or walking through a field of row upon row of head-high sunflowers
- Alternatively, visualise the chakra as a blazing sun at the very centre of your body, filling your body with warm solar energy, and supercharging your whole being
- Rub your belly and become aware of the energy radiating out from your solar plexus. Focus on this and breathe into it
- Meditate on the chakra itself, and see yourself drawing energy into it from the inside
- Meditate on the Sacral Manipura’s symbol. Visualise it in your mind; or find a picture of it online, and simply rest your eyes upon it, tracing its contours over and over with your attention
- Explore working with fire deities – Sekhmet, Brigid, Ares or Pele, for example
- Channel healing energies into Manipura
- And once more, you can simply meditate either directly on the chakra, or on the issues in your life through which its imbalance is making itself known to you and see what your intuition has to say on the matter, asking for help and guidance from whichever beings or Deities
If you do have any problems with any of these techniques, or any questions on any of the information in this article, please feel free to e-mail me on starfire_nz@hotPOP.com.
Blessings and hugs
Starfire – June 2003
The Solar Plexus Chakra
Learning About Chakras, Intro –Phylameana lila Desy
Solar Plexus Chakra article - The Brofman Foundation
Solar Plexus Chakra - List Owner, Kundaliniyoga
- Solar Plexus Chakra
- 3rd Chakra – Solar Plexus Chakra
Solar Plexus Chakra - Ruth McGregor
Solar Plexus Chakra - Freya Owlsdottir, 1986-2002
- Manipura, the Solar Plexus Chakra
- The Solar Plexus Chakra
And, as always, my own experience ;-)