Around here, we’ve been taking a look at the Chakras. Chakras are centers of prana (energy, life force) that align down the spine and correspond to vital points in the physical body. Brush up on the meaning of the seven main chakras here, take this quiz to find out which of your chakras are under/overactive, and catch up from last month’s Muladhara study here.
Working our way up from the Root Chakra, the earth element of the Root Chakra dissolves into the water element of Svadhishthana (Sacral) Chakra. Dealing with emotions, creativity, family, and sexuality is what Svadhishthana is all about.
In my professional and personal experience, Svadhishthana (even more so than other Chakras) is a particularly sensitive one. So many of my students experience chronic lower back pain and tight hips from years and years of sitting at desks, hunched over computers, for hours on end. In addition to the physical release of the muscles around the lower back and hips (super important!), there’s also an emotional release through the muscles (super important!). In my first years of practice, I couldn’t quite figure out why hanging out in Pigeon Pose for a few minutes, although physically intense (but not painful), was enough to make me start gasping as tears streamed down my cheeks. It was a disarming experience that started to make more sense once I began a Chakra study. Trust, this isn’t a bunch of hooey.
For further reading: “The Psoas: Muscle of the Soul” over at Body Divine Yoga is an awesome post about the mysterious, misunderstood Psoas muscle (a yoganerd’s fave!) and its incredible connection to our Reptilian brain. Especially relevant to the Sacral Chakra. Mind blowing stuff and an important anatomy lesson!
At its best, a balanced Svadhishthana Chakra allows your feelings to flow freely. You express yourself with passion and integrity, but you also have the discernment to not get over-emotional. You’re creative and lively, spontaneous, and enjoy spirited and intimate relationships; you’re the fun one. As a visionary, you have no problem seeing the big picture.
An under-active Svadhishthana might lead you to be too closed off to people, relationships, opportunities. Your “Poker Face” gives the impression that you don’t let emotions out (nor do you let them in). You might come across as cold, detached, and stiff. Your sexuality also suffers.
An overactive Svadhishthana results in emotional attachment and codependency. Without a filter for feelings, you experience the highs and lows of your emotions to the utmost with no sense of balance or harmony; this eventually leads to emotional exhaustion. Creative juices may be abundantly flowing, but without focus or a “reality check,” you’ll have nothing to show for it.
Creating a balanced Svadhishthana through a physical yoga practice is all about stretching and strengthening the hips and pelvis, and stabilizing the sacroiliac joint. Pigeon, Bound Angle, Tree, and Cow’s Face Pose are excellent asana to incorporate into your practice that’s already grounded (thanks to a well-balanced Muladhara Chakra).
When meditating, visualize orange, Svadhishthana’s healing color. Draw your focus to your sacrum, the flat shelf of your lower back above your hips, and intuit that pulsating wheel of vivid orange. Also visualize the element water, and think of flowing waters to stoke your creativity and expressiveness: rivers, waves, and churning, bubbling springs. Think of the very best aspects of water: pure movement, calm and healing energy, freedom, creativity. Manifest these qualities in your yoga practice, and manifest these qualities in your relationships and creative projects.