This month we’ll move up to the 2nd Chakra – the Svadhisthana, also known as the Sacral Chakra. Sva means “self ” and adhisthana means “dwelling place”, therefore this chakra is considered the dwelling place of the self. It is the centre of pleasure and joy, the second chakra governs our emotions, our creativity, sensitivity, sexuality, intimacy, emotional well-being, and self-expression. That being said the opposite is also true, at times when this chakra isn’t in balance or in harmony we can experience the opposite of these emotions. It is a nice chakra to reflect upon and notice what things we are drawn to and what things or situations that we resist or repel.
The Sacral Chakra is a lovely Chakra when in balance as it creates feelings of abundance, pleasure, fulfillment, and overall good healthy well-being. However, balance in this Chakra can only be achieved if the Root Chakra (Muladhara) is balanced. If you haven’t checked out last month’s post on the root chakra you can do so here. As a brief reminder, the Root Chakra is the centre of base support where all our physical needs are met such as food, water, shelter, and security. It makes sense if we don’t feel safe and secure how can we experience abundance and joy?
The Sacral Chakra is related to the water element – the element of nourishment and vitality. Both the sacral chakra and the water element are connected to the kidneys, bladder, and reproductive organs as well as the lymphatic and circulatory systems. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the water element is associated with winter, however, it can help to balance over-active fire elements in summer.
Signs That Sacral Chakra is Out of Balance
When the sacral chakra is out of balance we may:
- Lack motivation.
- Have little to no control over emotions.
- Experience feelings of overwhelm or fear (the emotion of the water element).
- Loss of imagination or creativity.
- Reproductive issues.
- Addictions (not just drugs, alcohol, or gambling, but can also include becoming obsessed with anything, including yoga or over-exercising).
Physically you may experience:
- Pain or stiffness in the lower back and hips (similar to when the water element of out of balance).
- Urinary or kidney problems.
- Pelvic pain.
Of course, there can be many other reasons why we may experience these ailments however we mustn’t underestimate how our emotional health affects our physical body.
How Can We Help Keep the Sacral Chakra in Balance?
The colour of the 2nd Chakra is orange so wearing orange and eating orange food is believed to be helpful. Think foods like carrots, sweet potato, oranges, butternut squash, nuts, and seeds.
Because it is the centre of creativity, stimulating your creative juices can be wonderful to feel inspired again. Anything that brings you joy even if you’re not particularly talented at it – singing, drawing, mindful coloring, paint by numbers, baking, gardening, re-decorating, upcycling, sewing, dancing, yoga, playing the piano, organising your photos, the list is endless, the key is to do what you enjoy.
Yoga’s Part in Bringing Harmony to the Svadhisthana Chakra
The Sacral Chakra is located about 4 fingers (2″) below the belly button in front of the sacrum (the flat triangular bones at the back of the pelvis). So when it comes to yoga, hip movements and circles can be helpful to bring energy and circulation to this Chakra to prevent stagnation and encourage the energy to flow. Both the Sacral Chakra and the water element like movement and flow.
The S.I Joint (Sacroiliac Joint) is very stable but it does have the ability to move a little and should be able to move a little. The right and left side of the pelvis should be able to move independently of each other but only a small amount otherwise the joint becomes rigid which can cause pain, likewise if it is too mobile it becomes unstable which can also cause pain and discomfort so we’re looking for the Goldilocks effect of not too much and not too little! For this reason, it’s important to be aware of how your pelvis feels within a pose. In many standing asymmetrical poses (poses where the legs are doing different things) like Warrior stance poses, Trikonasana (triangle pose), and lunges the right and left side of the pelvis are doing slightly different things. If you know that your pelvis is a little on the tighter stiffer side it might be useful for you to spread your feet a little wider and isometrically try to pull your feet apart. If you know that your pelvis is a little more loosey-goosey and you know you need more stability, bringing your feet a little closer together and isometrically hugging your feet towards each other may be useful. Playing around with these actions while in a pose can help you understand what actually works for your body in each moment and remember if a certain action feels unsafe or painful. Try the opposite action or exit the pose altogether.
The energy of this Chakra is believed to feminine or lunar so including moon salutations or Nadi Shondana (Alternate nostril breathing) starting by breathing in through the left nostril and finishing by breathing out through the left nostril can help to bring balance into the left side of the feminine side of the body.
In our yoga practice when we are working with the 2nd Chakra we want to think along the lines of flowing movement that is smooth and nourishing, lots of hip opening and circling while also tuning into our sacral area, breathe into it and notice how it feels, does it need more stability or more softening?
Being aware of our own behaviors and emotional patterns and how these tendencies show up in the yoga practice can be a wonderful way to stay in tune with our emotions thus supporting the Sacral Chakra, what do we tend to resist? Do we know why, would it possible to let go off any resistance that shows up? This way we can begin to loosen our grip on trying to control life and let things come and go without it creating too much of a disturbance on our inner joy and peace?
Pose Focus For the Sacral Chakra
Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon Pose
Ardha – Half Chandra – Moon Asana – Pose
There are many poses that we can work with for the Sacral Chakra, I choose Ardha Chandrasana because it is a playful pose that enables us to tune into our sense of creativity. It also requires stability and awareness around the pelvis. Balance can be a challenge in this pose, giving us a nice opportunity to notice how we react when things might not go as planned. This can teach us to let go of frustration, reminding us that we practice yoga to help us feel good so why let a little wobble in balance ruin the entire experience of the class.
Mental and Emotional Benefits
- Teaches acceptance and self-compassion (when we lose balance)
- Relives stress
- Calms the mind
- Strengthens ankles, knees, and hips
- Stretches the groin, hamstrings, and calves
- Strengthens abdominals, glutes, and spine
- Opens chest and shoulders
- Improves balance and co-ordination
- Can help improves alignment (especially when done against a wall)
- Reduces anxiety
- Menstrual pain
Cautions and Contraindications
- Currently experiencing headache or migraine
- Low blood pressure
- Neck issues – Look straight ahead rather than up or down
Hints and Tips
- Use a block under your hand for greater support
- It’s ok to bend your standing leg
- Use a wall behind you – Great for pregnant mama’s for support and balance, also good to become familiar with how the alignment feels in the body.