Seven in total, the chakras are wheels of vitality that churn in your subtle body. They influence the energy you communicate to the world, and your physical health. The Manipura chakra, located at your solar plexus and symbolized by the color yellow, regulates your personal power and self esteem. It also affects digestion and metabolic health.
When this third chakra is open, you exude self-confidence and feel you have a purpose. Poses and exercises to stimulate this chakra can help you resolve anger issues, digestive distress and low self-esteem.
Use breath, yoga and meditation to exercise the Manipura chakra.
Yoga poses that emphasize twists and core work directly address the solar plexus chakra. Almost any pose that lights up the area from your navel to the breast bone is beneficial.
Reclined Twist: Lie on your back and pull your knees deeply into your chest. Allow them to drop to the right side as you open your arms to a wide "T." Turn your head left. Hold for 10 or more full, deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Twisted Lunge: From a lunge position with the right leg forward, draw your hands to heart center and twist to rest your left elbow outside your right thigh. Hold for five breaths, then switch legs and repeat.
Down Dog Variation: Position yourself in Downward Dog. Inhale and raise your right leg up behind you. Exhale and draw your knee in toward your navel as you squeeze your belly in to stimulate the Manipura chakra. Repeat two to five more times and then switch legs.
Boat Pose: Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet planted in front of your sits bones. Lean back slightly and reach your arms forward, past your thighs. Inhale and lift your feet off of the floor. Balance as you breathe, engaging your abdominal muscles, for five to 10 breaths. To make the pose more challenging straighten your legs to create a 45-degree angle with the floor.
Pranayama are breathing exercises. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is a way to stimulate your third chakra. A particularly relevant breath is Kaphalabhati, or Skull-Shining breath, which directly fires up the solar plexus chakra. This breath happens from deep in your belly, builds heat and heightens awareness.
To do Kaphalabhati breath: Sit in a comfortable position, such as Easy pose or Hero pose. Rest your hands on your knees, touching your first finger and thumb together lightly. Inhale and exhale through your nose in sharp, quick bursts. Focus on the exhale, the inhale will happen naturally. Feel the pulsation of your abdomen each time your exhale. Work your way up to 100 rounds.
Meditation on the sound "ram" stimulates the solar plexus chakra. Short mantras that celebrate your self worth are other good meditation points. Yoga Journal suggests phrases such as, "My happiness depends on no external source," or, "I release shame, self-critical, or over-controlling thoughts."
Meditation on a yellow gem, such as tiger-eye stones or yellow topaz, also has positive effects on the Manipura chakra.