5 Poses to Open Up Your Solar Plexus

This article originally appeared on Yoganonymous.com.

 Image via Body Hacks

Image via Body Hacks

Your solar plexus is your energetic center of self-worth, motivation, confidence, and personal vibrancy. So, what happens if your solar plexus is shut off or blocked?

You will experience high levels of anxiety, engage in self-sabotaging behaviors, feel extremely self-conscious, and may have deep feelings of loneliness. Others will have a hard time understanding you, as they can't see your inner-light, and you'll likely feel overlooked or misunderstood by those around you. 

If you resonate with these feelings, chances are your solar plexus is blocked—but don't fret, there's good news for you: Your solar plexus can be healed, cleared, and restored to its natural levels of vibrancy. You don't have to visit an energy healer to have your chakras opened and realigned, you can assist yourself right at home by using these five poses on a daily basis.

Please note: When you first start working with these poses, you may feel waves of emotional discomfort or anxiety, which is part of the clearing process. As these energies leave your body, they are replaced with fresh, non-judgmental energy that will restore and heal your body's energy centers with ease. Hold these poses for a full one to two minutes for a full clearing effect. 

5 Poses to Open Up Your Solar Plexus

1. Breath of fire

Warm up your diaphragm with breath of fire. Start by sitting up in a straight, seated position, and pulse the breath out of your stomach. This breath work energizes the lower half of your body, pushing out stagnant energy, and flushing in fresh oxygen. Most of us are so focused on shallow chest breathing, or even deep belly breathing, that we completely forget the area of the mid-abdomen. The lack of breath to this space will cause your third chakra to be mildly blocked, which can make you feel all kinds of blasé. Reverse those affects by engaging in breath of fire for at least two minutes each day to feel a rejuvenating (and calming) affect on your body and mind. 

2. Twisted high lunge

The energy of your third chakra, the solar plexus, spans through your entire core. Most people are under the impression that your chakras only affect the areas in the center line of your body, but that is not true! Your chakras are such powerful energy sources, that they affect the health of your entire body, meaning it's important to ring out the internal and external muscles that surround each energy center.

For your solar plexus, one of the best ways to open up space in-and-around your upper abdomen is to head into twisted high lunge. Start with your right foot in front, entering into high lunge, stretch your upper body back as far as you can, breathing deeply into the space in in your lower ribs, and twist your body to the right—sending your left arm forward, and your right hand back. Breathe here for eight rounds of breath, and repeat on the left side. 

3. Bow pose

Now that your core is warmed up, head into bow pose. This pose is typically taught as a heart and shoulder opener, but this time when you enter the pose, focus on breathing into the top of your upper abdomen. As you focus on your upper abdomen, you are working to reconnect your solar plexus with your heart chakra, which allows your sense of self to be more connected with feelings of compassion and unconditional love.

As you breathe in this pose, it may feel uncomfortable. When this discomfort pops up, ask yourself: Am I uncomfortable because of my emotional blocks, or is it sharp physical pain? If it's sharp physical pain, come out of the pose immediately. However, don't be afraid to challenge yourself to stay with the pose for an extra five rounds of breath if your discomfort stems from emotional issues. Counter this pose with a gentle child's pose to protect your back muscles, and have a healthy core. 

4. Upward dog

Glide into upward dog, and stay here for at least four rounds of breath. As you breathe into this pose, focus on opening up your side bodies—shake your hips from side to side, turn your head to look over one shoulder, then the other, and breathe deeply into your upper abdomen. As you take deep breaths in this posture, you'll find that the front and back sides of your body begin to release tension. Stay for two extra breaths, and head into your downward dog.

Feel like you need more? Return to upward dog, or modify by entering into cobra pose. 

5. Full wheel pose

Your spine is warmed up, your body has been stretched, and you are ready for the real deal! Head into full wheel pose. Begin to breathe as deeply as you can, and then breathe in a little bit more. Keep hands and feet planted on the floor, and start to straighten your legs, pushing the front of your body directly over your wrists, continuing to stay with your breath. Aim to stay in this posture for five rounds of breath, and roll out your back as soon as you come down from this pose.

Need a little less? Modify by moving into supported bridge pose.