The third Chakra, located around your belly button, completes the first three energy centers that connect our personal energy to the physical world. When I ask my patients where the body’s core is, they generally point to that place - the place where they have often tortured themselves by doing hundreds of “crunches”, thinking that they were doing something helpful and important. Aside from creating a hard gut by doing those - never a good idea - they may also have created disc herniations in the lower spine, giving true meaning to the word “crunch”.
Actually, the washboard abs are not really core muscles, but the outer “girdle” of muscles. Core, at least to me, is deep inside, under the protective layers of skin and fat, under the organs of digestion to the very center where the muscles that attach directly to the spine are. The elegance of this system is that, if you follow those muscles down toward your feet to the inner arches, you will find the core also. Connective tissues, the body’s network of communication, weave up from there, connecting the core through the body’s center, all the way up to the head and neck.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. The emotions that the third chakra holds involve personal power and Self Esteem, the “fire in the belly” that gets us up in the morning. I think of the third chakra as a ray of sunshine, right in the center of the body and it is no mistake that it houses the organs of digestion and the solar plexus. The solar plexus is the body’s largest center of sensory nerves, the seat of the autonomic nervous center where “fight or flight” takes place. It’s the seat of intuition where you get those “gut feelings” that can be as hard as a punch in the stomach or as light as a soft breeze.
Since thinking about the third Chakra, I’ve been hearing a lot of Gospel music in my head. The great Aretha Franklin sang about “respecting yourself”, no matter how badly you were treated. Medical Intuitive Carolyn Myss, PhD, talks about building the potential of the third chakra in four stages: Revolution, when we start to challenge things; Involution, self examination; Narcissism, the good kind; and, Evolution, creating the individual Self.
According to Myss, the third chakra is also where we hold our fears of rejection, criticism from others and looking foolish. Our fears and shame about aging live here. I have found myself hiding my hands around others to avoid them noticing the arthritis in my finger joints. Others may always where a baseball cap to hide a bald patch. On the other hand, this center holds our ethics, self discipline, strength of character and ability to take action - all strengths to continue developing as our lives move forward at any age.
Fire in the Belly
On a physical level, the third Chakra involves our digestive system and our relationship with food - particularly Carbohydrates. This is a big subject and where learning to choose complex carbohydrates over simple carbs that release Insulin too rapidly from the pancreas, is the much better choice. High fiber foods, like kale over highly refined breads, crackers and cereals, will satisfy the third chakra. Knowing that foods with high fiber content will create endurance over rapidly digested simple sugars is an important bit of knowledge. Understanding the Glycemic Index and knowing also whether your metabolism creates heat or cold is important. For instance, if you have a tendency to sweat easily, you will want to avoid spicy foods and choose more raw foods that are cooling. On the other hand, if you are often cold, have cold hands and feet and always carry an extra sweater, you will want to cook your foods well, pre-digesting them and eating them warm.
A Leaky Culture
By now, you have heard about Leaky Gut Syndrome, or intestinal permeability. This is a condition created by high cortisol levels released from the Adrenal glands, also in the third chakra. Consistently high levels of Cortisol from the many kinds of stress, break through the inner gut wall allowing undigested food to “leak” into the bloodstream creating autoimmune conditions. That’s a big sentence, but this has also become a big problem in our society. The good news is that Leaky Gut Syndrome can be healed with a bit of guidance and simple testing. Choosing the right foods for your body, getting good quality sleep and controlling stress are a few important ways to manage this issue. If you are not sure how to begin, contact me for guidance - I would be glad to help your third chakra shine brightly again.
Eating on the Wild Side
Jo Robinson has written a wonderful book on how to choose Real Food with the most nutrition and what the best ways are to choose, clean, store and cook your produce. It’s a great resource that I use often. Click here to download her shopping list.