If you have butterflies in your belly, an uncomfortable feeling in your gut or a knot in your stomach — in other words, anxiety — you can balance the energy in your third chakra. A chakra is an energy "wheel" that runs along your spinal column. The third chakra, located in your solar plexus near your navel, rules your sense of empowerment and your will.
Anxiety may alert us to a possible danger, but it can be debilitating when it interrupts your life. Symptoms include feeling apprehensive, powerless, unfocused, irritable, weak or easily fatigued. Physical symptoms may include rapid breathing, sweating, trembling, an increased heart rate, digestive problems, headaches and insomnia. See a doctor if anxiety is disrupting your work, relations, eating or sleeping.
Work with chakras takes a psycho-spiritual approach to problems such as anxiety. The third chakra, or solar-plexus chakra, governs your digestive system and generates energy. Its element is fire, like the sun, and its color is yellow. The solar plexus chakra involves self-esteem, personal power, will and a sense of security. When the third chakra is in balance, you are strongly intuitive, confident and emotionally fulfilled. When the third chakra is out of balance, you may feel emotionally overwhelmed, fearful, anxious and closed off. Blocks in this area may manifest as eating or digestion disorders, ulcers or diabetes.
The Sanskrit word for the solar plexus chakra is "manipura," or "lustrous gem," and is as fiery as the sun. Fire has the power to transform and utilize energy in a positive way. By opening this chakra, tradition says you are unlocking hidden treasure. "Ideally, there should be a free flow of energy between the personal will and the freedom to project into the world," writes Naomi Ozaniec in "The Elements of the Chakras." To open this area, you can do centering exercises connecting with your breath and meditation.
Developing strength in your core, located in the area of your solar plexus, can increase your self-esteem and help diminish anxiety. Start in the yoga pose called downward-facing dog. Inhale and bring your shoulders forward, directly over your hands into plank, or the top of a push-up position. Work your way up to holding the pose for a minute.You can also balance on your forearms with your elbows directly under your shoulders, which is easier on the wrists. For a bigger challenge, lift one leg at a time for a few breaths. Move back into downward-facing dog or child's pose for a rest.