Having read previously about the Solar Plexus Chakra, we have learned that, a balanced solar plexus chakra can connect us to our feelings of personal power such as inner strength and instincts.
When balanced, we feel strong, confident and centered. Off balance, we can experience psychological symptoms such as insomnia, low self-esteem, poor concentration and physical symptoms manifesting in digestive issues, allergies and stress related skin conditions.
Located near the diaphragm between the navel and the breastbone, the solar plexus or manipura chakra is represented by the colour yellow. Here are some poses that can either stimulate the chakra to increase energy or release excess energy. Hold each pose for five, slow deep breaths.
Warrior I Pose (Virabhadrasana I)
- Standing in Tadasana, take a nice deep inhalation and as you exhale, step back with the right foot and turn it out slightly.
- Inhale as you raise your arms and exhale as you bend the front knee making sure the knee stays directly over the ankle.
- Many of us have tight shoulders and so it is more comfortable to keep the hands wide apart, palms facing each other however, if you are fairly open in the shoulders, bring the palms together.
- Ground into the back foot and stay here for a couple of breaths.
- To come out of the pose, inhale as you straighten the front knee and exhale as you lower the arms.
- Step back into Tadasana and repeat on the other side.
Warrior III Pose (Virabhadrasana III)
- From Warrior I, step the back foot a little closer to shorten the stance.
- With the arms still fully extended fold forward to bring your belly towards your front thigh.
- Begin to press down into the front foot as you raise the back leg.
- Firm both thighs, press out through the heel of the raised foot and reach through the fingers to create a long line from heel to fingertips.
- Make sure the hips are level and the ears are in line with the upper arms. Hold here for a couple of breaths.It’s important to keep the core engaged in this pose but remember to breathe!
- To come out of the pose, bend the front knee a little and slowly step back into Warrior I.
- Repeat on the other side.
- For a more detailed description of this pose, check out Warrior III in a previous article.
Revolved Crescent Lunge (Parivrtta Anjaneyasana)
- From Warrior III step back into a high lunge with the front knee bent deeply and the back leg straight and engaged.
- Press into the ball of the back foot and keep the back heel high.
- Lengthen the tailbone down, find your balance then bring your hands into prayer position in front of the heart.
- Inhale and, as you exhale, lean forward and gently rotate the torso to place the upper arm on the outside of the opposite knee.
- Keeping the hands in prayer position at the centre of the chest, relax your shoulders.
- With each inhalation lengthen through the crown of the head and with each exhalation, deepen the twist a little.
- Release out of the twist on an exhalation and repeat on the other side.
Boat Pose (Navasana)
- From a seated position, bend your knees with the feet together, soles of the feet resting on the mat.
- Keeping a long, straight spine, extend your arms parallel to the floor and begin to lift the feet until your shins become parallel to the floor.
- At this point the lower back may begin to round to try to be aware of that and continue to lengthen and elongate the spine.
- Imagine moving the spine towards the thighs. This is Half Boat pose. From here you can play around with alternating between extending one leg, then the other. Or may both and coming into the full pose.
- Hold for a couple of breaths and then relax. This is a great pose for strengthening the abdominals which provide support for the lower back.
- Lying flat on your stomach, rest on your forearms with your elbows lined up beneath your shoulders.
- Bend your right knee and reach up and back with your right arm to grab hold of your right ankle, making sure your shoulder is rolled back.
- Do the same on the left side.
- As you inhale, raise your upper body and your thighs to almost balance on your belly.
- Pressing you ankles into your hands and your hands into your ankles, use this resistance to lift a little higher lengthening the head and heart forward and up.
- Be careful not to let the knees spread wide apart here. Remember to breathe in this position as you can feel a little restricted here.
Tune into The LifeStyle Show podcast next week, I'll be talking to Taragh Loughrey-Grant about how yoga can help us transition into the winter months. RTÉ Radio 1 Extra on Saturday, 9th at 2.30pm. I'll have more on that in next week's article.