Picture this: You have been working your butt off toward a big goal. Many hours have been spent, and many sacrifices have been made. Sleepless nights have added up, and you've missed more than a few opportunities for fun or relaxation as you've toiled away toward the fruition of your dream. Maybe you had to miss doing things with friends or attending an event or two that was important to someone close to you. Now, the payoff is within reach. The work is done. The moment of setting forth on your new path is almost here. Time to bask in your success and welcome the good things to come. Right? Or.....
Suddenly, you are filled with self doubt. Was this really the best path to pursue? What if you are super successful, and it drives people away? Things have been going too well...something bad is probably going to happen. Why did you think you could do this? You think to yourself, "I have been so selfish in spending all this time on MY goals for MYSELF. I don't deserve the good things to come."
Does any of this sound familiar at all? If it does, you might need to tune up your third chakra, my friend. Located at your solar plexus, this chakra is about your perception of who you are. It is the seat of your self-confidence, willpower, self-discipline, and the warmth of your personality.
Back up. Solar Plexus? Where is that. And what is that? I have to admit that before I looked this up, I thought it was a figurative place, like the third eye. Come to find out, it's real. The solar plexus is located about where your ribs meet your sternum. It is described by the Oxford Companion to the Body as a "network of nerves; a 'spaghetti junction' which many nerves pass through..." There are also a bunch of other things going on there related to the autonomic nervous system. Let's just say, there's a lot of stuff going on there that is crucial to getting messages around the body so that the body can do what it needs to get done.
This Solar Plexus chakra is called Manipura, and its characteristics are pretty fascinating. This is where we define ourselves. The obstacle to this chakra is shame. When it's blocked, we get those feelings that we don't deserve something or that we should just settle for the way things are. Also, when this chakra is running into overdrive (the opposite of being stuck), we can't honor another person's goals or ideas, so we shut them down.
So, how do we heal this chakra and keep it healthy for our own positive well being?
For one thing, we need to take risks.......the kind that aren't crazy but that get you going and give you confidence once accomplished. Getting in vigorous exercise is another thing the Manipura Chakra needs to be in balance. Go, go, go all the time? No. Balance your exercise with deep relaxation and meditation (more on that later).
The color of this chakra is Yellow, which makes sense, because the area of the solar plexus is represented in yoga as a yellow light. Amber and Topaz are the stones associated with it. The essential oils that support balance of this chakra are Lemon, Ginger, Cedarwood, Black Pepper, Ylang Ylang, Peppermint, and Cinnamon.
Short Meditation for Tuning Up Your Manipura - Let the Light Within You Shine:
1. Take a comfortable seat, close your eyes, and begin to breathe deeply and evenly. Make the effort to be present. Notice the noises around you, how you feel, and slow your breath down.
2. Bring your focus to your solar plexus and its yellow light. As you continue, breathe and focus on the light, and think about that thing that you want to accomplish, whatever it is (Getting up the courage to speak up, making a big change, forgiving someone, taking on a big project, etc).
3. Now, as you continue the deep and even breathing, picture that light growing and spreading within you as it fills your belly, chest, limbs, head......until you are all light. While you are filled with light, picture how you feel with your goal accomplished. Breathe deeply and make an intention to commit to the goal.
Come out of the posture slowly by making small movements and opening your eyes. This exercise just takes a few minutes, but it might be the best thing you do for yourself all week.
Here's me, working on my third chakra. There's nothing like a lovely endurance challenge to tune it up.
Yes. Real flames at the bottom. I'm currently finding other risks to take that don't require barbed wire, fire, and electricity. (But those Tough Mudder 12-milers......there was nothing like them....)
Next week, we take a break from the chakras and get some YOGA going on the blog. If you like what you read here, please share it with friends who might be interested. I'm working on getting more people to attend my Yoga in the Park and for booking my Yoga for Athletes program and Yoga in Schools Workshop. If you know someone who might have an interest in any of these, I'd appreciate it if you would please spread the word. Thank you! <3
Have a wonderful week!