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In this blog post, I want to provide a high-level understanding of solar plexus chakra (also called manipura chakra or 3rd energy center), how it relates to the ADHD experience, and how we can use natural balancing techniques to manage our symptoms according to yoga science. The reason this is an important chakra to focus on for ADHD, is that it governs our ability to take action towards our goals and maintain our resolve to follow through on what we start.
The Functions of the Manipura Chakara – The ADHD Connection
Located at the navel region, the manipura chakra is considered the center of our productivity because it’s where we take action on our goals and create the structure we need to follow through on them. The functions of this energy center include digestion, managing personal power (or will power), and boundaries.
Digestion is related to food, but it’s also related to information and energy. Our digestion is largely an unconscious function, and we’re not often aware or paying attention to what’s coming into our experience or how effectively we’re digesting what we’re taking in.
In terms of personal power, it refers to our willpower. This is where we generate ideas, initiate action, and follow through on what we start. So when we’re out of balance and we’re not connected to our power – our ADHD symptoms are typically showing up in a big way.
Boundaries is another huge connection to ADHD. We aren’t great at boundaries – energetically, emotionally, or physically. And boundaries are a two-way street. It’s not just about having good boundaries with other people – it’s also about having good boundaries with ourselves.
Boundaries are rooted in our sense of self. The more connected and aware we are of ourselves, the more we can see when we are crossing a boundary, letting someone else cross a boundary, or even seeing where a boundary needs to be set.
This is such a critical topic for ADHD management that I dedicated an entire module to address it in Distraction to Action.
Distraction to Action
A science-based productivity program that helps ADHD’ers define what’s most important and follow through on it.
Vision to Action
A template to help you clarify and align your strengths, values + personal needs with your intentions.
The Organized Business
A robust template for getting your business organized with trackers, workflows and project planning.
What to Expect When The Manipura Chakra is Out of Balance
When this center isn’t working efficiently, we might experience physical signs like:
- indigestion or constipation
- irritable bowel syndrome
- eating disorders
- weight gain
- Issues with digestive system (pancreas, stomach, liver, intestines and mouth)
Emotional signs can include:
- overthinking + analysis paralysis
- irritability or frustration
- low confidence in self and others
- insecurity and low self-esteem
- always looking for validation from others
- rigid and controlling behavior
- always feeling like a victim
- lack of direction and motivation
- inability to set or maintain boundaries
How Our Beliefs Impact the Manipura Chakra
The development of this chakra happens between the ages of 2 and 4 years old. At this stage, our feelings start to solidify into ideas and beliefs based on our early experiences.
There are six major beliefs that all humans cultivate around this time. They include our beliefs about our:
- personal power
- and our sense of being good or bad
So if our early circumstances created unhealthy beliefs about ourselves. This will show up as an imbalance in this center, either as a deficiency or an overabundance of energy.
When we have a deficiency in this area, we don’t take our fair share in life because we don’t feel like we deserve it. We have lower personal power to go after what we want and we might consider ourselves unlovable or worthless.
By contrast, someone who has developed an overabundance in this area might have a sense of entitlement or an overinflated sense of value and worth. This can show up as being greedy, controlling and ridged with one’s own boundaries while ignoring the boundaries of others.
Balancing the Manipura Chakra
Now that we understand the Manipura Chakra and its relevance to ADHD, let’s dive into how we can balance it to manage our symptoms.
- To keep the digestive fire (known as agni) going strong, we need to avoid overeating or mindless eating
- Avoid sugar and processed foods
- Use ginger, turmeric, cumin + chamomile liberally
- Opt for yellow foods, such as bananas, spaghetti squash, yellow squash, lentils, and mangoes.
Specific breathing practices, called pranayama, are part of the practice of yoga and can help balance the Manipura Chakra. One specific breathing practice associated with the Manipura Chakra is “Breath of Fire” or Kapalabhati, which is great for ADHD because it helps generate ideas, initiate action, and follow through on what we start.
Meditation, Mantras and Affirmations
Meditation is a great way to balance the Manipura Chakra. It often incorporates a specific frequency, mantra, and perhaps affirmations. Frequencies associated with this chakra include 528, and the mantra is “RAM.” When you chant the mantra, you’re sending energy to that center. Affirmations for this center are “I am powerful,” “I trust myself to make the right decisions,” “I trust my gut,” and “I practice loving boundaries.”
Yoga is an obvious choice for balancing the Manipura Chakra. Poses that massage the digestive system, like bow pose, forward folds, and twists, and strengthen the core, like plank, boat pose, or reverse plank, are particularly helpful. Sun salutations are amazing for heat building, core strength, and stimulating the digestive system because it includes forward folds, plank poses, pushups and fluid movement.
If you’re a fan of aromatherapy, you may want to incorporate lemongrass, ginger, and rosemary, which are all great for balancing the solar plexus chakra. Also, anything citrus-related, like grapefruit or orange, can help.
Citrine, tiger’s eye, yellow jasper, and amber are helpful for balancing energy. You can wear crystals on your wrist or around your neck, or use them in meditation. Just lay down and put a crystal just below your navel when meditating, or even put a citrine crystal in a glass of water for 12 hours before drinking it.
Final thoughts on Balancing ADHD via the Manipura Chakra
Balancing the Manipura Chakra can help manage ADHD symptoms by improving digestion, increasing personal power, and creating healthy boundaries. By incorporating diet, exercise, breathing techniques, meditation, and other techniques, you can bring balance to this energy center and improve your overall well-being. Remember, self-acceptance and self-awareness are key to shining brightly as your true self.
Research on Energy Centers
There’s not much out there, but I did want to include what I found in case you want to dig deeper into the science!
- The Subtle Body: an interoceptive map of central nervous system function and meditative mind-brain-body integration. New York Academy of Science. May 2016.
Research on the Efficacy of Yoga to Manage ADHD, Anxiety and Depression
- Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. International Journal of Yoga, 2011
- The effectiveness of body-oriented methods of therapy in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Results of a controlled pilot study. (2006)
- Effects of an 8-week yoga program on sustained attention and discrimination function in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. (2004).