The solar plexus, or also called the manipura-chakra, is located in the middle of the body, right above the belly button and below the ribcage. It’s also called the ‘City of Jewels’.
The element of this chakra is fire, which you can feel immediately when you activate the core of your body: you can feel the heat and start to sweat. Whenever you decide to work with this chakra you may not want to drink anything during your practice as this would ‘put out the fire’, which you’re trying to blaze up. It’s better to drink before or after doing Yoga.
Keep your belly button sucked in gently all the time, but avoid holding your breath while doing that. Let your breath flow gently and evenly and let your muscles do the work.
Yoga for the manipura chakra
Basically all asanas can be practiced that involve the muscles of your belly and that demand and benefit your core strength.
Asanas to activate the solar plexus:
- Navasana – the boat (see photos of different variants)
- Phalakasana – the plank pose (on your hands or on your forearms)
- Core-exercise – bring your knee towards the tip of your nose and go back to the three-legged downward dog over and over again
- Vasisthasana – side plank and its variations
- Trikonasana – triangle pose
Activate your core
Core-exercises don’t seem to be very popular among beginners, as I often notice in my Yoga classes. The reason for this might be that in the beginning there’s often a lack of core strength which doesn’t make exercises that involve the manipura chakra especially fun. But strength can be built up so fast, and a regular practice is the key to it. A strong core also is important for most of the Asanas, because if there’s a lack of stability, then the whole practice can become wobbly. Also, the body needs to compensate for this lack which could lead to misuse of other parts of the body, like the joints for example.
Kapalabhati – the breath of fire is another method to activate the core. I will tell you more about this special technique in another upcoming blogpost. But for all of you who already know how to use the breath of fire, it can be a wonderful warm-up-tool to stimulate the solar plexus before a core-focused class.
All the best and stay strong ;)