Do you struggle with chronic digestive issues that you just can’t figure out, or feel trapped by addictions and habitual behaviors? Do you frequently talk yourself out of listening to your gut instinct or leave upsetting conversations feeling nauseous? If so, you may been experiencing an imbalance in your 3rd chakra, the solar plexus. This is one of the most common things I see in my private practice.
The solar plexus chakra is located near the abdomen, where digestion takes place in the physical body. This part of the subtle body, the energetic field that surrounds the physical body, is where we decide what information to assimilate and what to eliminate.
When the solar plexus chakra is balanced, digestion runs smoothly and our thoughts do not limit our potential. In other words, the sky’s the limit.
The Home of the Mental Body
My previous columns describe how the subtle body follow a developmental path that begins with the root chakra, the foundation for safety and survival, and continues onto the sacral chakra, the epicenter of emotional well-being. The formation of the emotional body lays the foundation for the next stop on this developmental path: the solar plexus chakra, home of the mental body. The mental body drives us to build our lives around the information we know and the things we know we don’t know.Opening the solar plexus chakra allows us to open up to the information we are unaware of. This opening gives us the courage, the will and the confidence to explore the unknown. A balanced solar plexus chakra allows us to trust that there is a whole world of possibility for us waiting to be unlocked? When the energy of this chakra is optimized, we feel empowered. When it is not, we can feel insecure, shameful or unworthy.
The unpleasant emotional states we experience when the solar plexus is blocked typically result from earlier experiences in our lives. The solar plexus chakra develops from age 14-21, after the sacral chakra, which governs our emotional well-being. Any emotional wounding we experienced while the sacral chakra formed can lay the foundation for self-critical thoughts and limiting beliefs about ourselves and our self worth. These become longstanding thought patterns that shut down our ability to imagine what is possible and create blind spots in our perception that further validate that limited perspective.
For example, one of my clients lost a parent as a child. She carried the wound of abandonment into her teens when the solar plexus chakra was forming, and developed the belief that her loved ones would always leave her. This blocked her from imagining any other possibility, so when she started dating again she chose emotionally unavailable partners. As soon as she revealed a desire to become serious, her partners would leave, validating the belief that a long-term, loving partnership was not a possibility for her. She could not see how her belief about being left was unconsciously running the show and keeping her in a painful pattern.
Working on the solar plexus chakra allowed her to move beyond that belief into an understanding that long-term partnership was possible for her and that she was worthy of it. Once she adopted this belief, she began attracting more available partners.
When the mental body insists on a perception of the world that is only based on the things we know, we become stuck. Then when it comes to moving beyond these limits, many of us feel inadequate or unworthy of the possibilities available to us. I see this pattern frequently in patients with chronic health issues. They have been ill for so long that they can’t even imagine feeling well, and because that’s so foreign, it’s actually quite scary. The fear of the unknown keeps them in their illness, and true healing requires breaking through that fear and trusting that what is on the other side is beyond their imagination.
I have successful patients with severe financial anxiety, yet they are not asking for salaries or fees that match their value. I have patients on antidepressants because they are settling for partners who don’t treat them the way they want to feel. Yet they stay in the relationship because the type of partner they want seems impossible to find. We cannot create the health or lives we want when we do not believe we are worthy of it. So we settle for illness, pain, dysfunctional relationships and lives that feel good or satisfactory but not great. When you are ready to move from good to great, you turn to the solar plexus chakra.
Healing the solar plexus requires
Worthiness is not possible without bold self-acceptance.
We develop an inner critic in this developmental phase to protect ourselves. This critical voice becomes loudest when we are on the brink of major growth and expansion. So when we move from good to great, those critical thoughts get louder and the only way to quiet them is through acceptance. These are our most vulnerable times. The solar plexus chakra holds the source of the critic and the cure. Self-acceptance is about welcoming all the pieces of ourselves that are hard to love — the ones we are most critical of — and integrating them into the psyche. Each time we reclaim a piece of ourselves, we move more into our power, our wholeness, our completion. This is foundational for healing the physical body and the recipe for self-worth.
It is not surprising to me that most of my patients have digestive complaints. Often the diet, the microbiome, bacterial or yeast overgrowth and chronic stress are contributing to their complaints, but the feeling of unworthiness is so common and balancing the solar plexus chakra is essential.
Here are 3 practices to balance the solar plexus chakra:
1. Practice screaming louder than you can even imagine.
I know it sounds crazy and uncomfortable, but the solar plexus chakra is about moving past that discomfort. So find a private place in your home or outdoors and scream as loud as you possibly can 5 times. This practice releases repressed anger and shows you your power.
2. Find your critical voice and embrace it
Make a list of all the ways you judge yourself. Include the things about yourself you find unlovable and the typical circumstances where you judge yourself harshly. Then visualize yourself as a teenager and tell your teen self that they are perfect as they are. Thank your inner critic for protecting you all these years and acknowledge that you no longer need that protection.
3. Look in the mirror
Stand in front of the mirror, look yourself in the eyes and say the following words to yourself outloud:
I AM enough
I AM worthy
I AM powerful
Because you are.
Seven Senses is a monthly column where Dr. Erica Matluck, ND, NP shares insights from the Seven Senses philosophy of health. Her holistic approach draws from eastern philosophy and western medicine, and emphasizes the relationship between the physical and subtle bodies. The framework applies a unique understanding of the chakra system to gain a deeper understanding of health and illness.