Chakra Series – Svadhistana Chakra
The Svadhistana Chakra Themes – Relationships, pleasure, power, the unconscious, feelings and sensations
Before we begin our journey towards the light, we must first ensure we have strong foundations to build from. Understanding Muladhara, the first chakra, is essential. It is the ground in which we have become who we are – our conditioning. Overcoming fears, anxiety, gaining acceptance and serenity with ourselves is a must to move on and flourish. Yoga and meditation can be a priceless tool in this healing. In this blog I’ll touch on some of the themes of the svadhistana (sacral) chakra, ask some relevant questions and share some techniques I have found useful.
We learned from the teachings of Muladhara that our body is our home, the temporary home of our essence. We started our spiritual journey, we delved into the dark earth that has sustained and nourished us into who we are today. Whatever has happened before now YOU HAVE SURVIVED.
Go with the flow – element water
Virginia Woolf wrote ‘’I am rooted, but I flow’’. This fits beautifully with the chakra journey. In the first chakra we extend, establish and explore our spiritual roots. Now at Svadhistana chakra we connect with the life giving water element and bring fluidity, movement and creativity into the mix. We are made of about 70-80 percent water. Our blood flows through our body just as water flows through streams. Water is powerful, sometimes even dangerous to life (flooding, drowning). Yet it is also the reason we have a planet teeming with life below, above and on the Earth’s surface. In Jungian thought water represents the unconscious. The aspect of ourselves we are unaware of at this moment in time. Yoga helps to shine light on our unconscious and make it known. It is always advised to have a teacher, mentor or therapist assist you on this journey.
Fluidity of movement
The practice of Yoga, particularly forms that flow help to connect us to our fluid body. In all poses whether flowing or holding there should be movement, even micro movements. The breath moves us. The inhale is about expansion, creating space and length and the exhale is about contraction, coming back to centre and emptying ourselves of what we do not need. The sacral region where the svadhistana chakra resides, is the main centre of movement in the body. Walking, running, cycling or dancing all use this area, any dysfunction in this chakra can manifest itself in pain here. I know as I have had disharmony in my sacrum joint in the past. Even doing Yoga hurt. Alexander technique helped me become aware of how to move in a way that didn’t hurt and showed me the impermanence of my pain. I became more conscious of the unconscious movements that were not serving my body. Every action we make on our mat should feel like it’s nourishing us. Sometimes we can rush movements or check out in poses. Awareness of what honestly feels good for your body can take some learning. I altered my practice to encourage maximum attention to my core. I learned a number of pose variations that strengthened me from the inside out. I still use them today. I am so grateful to say that the pain I used to feel is no longer an issue. Joy!
Sensation, sensuality and sexuality
The teaching of Svadhistana chakra is that once we have our basic needs met we can rise out of survival consciousness and into feeling awareness. Sensation is a language, a non verbal communication that our bodies speak to us in. How in touch are you with your body’s language of sensation? How does your body feel right now? What is it ’saying’ to you? Do you listen when your body talks to you? The meditation I give later on in the blog is useful for connecting to our bodies.
The fluidity and ease of movement which is a quality of Svadhistana can be sensual in nature. Sometimes we can have guilt or shame come in the way of our sacred sexuality. This is something you can ask yourself during a practice of hip openers (examples given below). How comfortable are you with your sacred sensuality? Is historical guilt/shame coming in the way of your flow of joy, fun or pleasure? Where did you learn this pattern? What gives you pleasure and makes you light up?
Wants and Desires
The developmental stage of this chakra shows itself when we’re a toddler. Exerting the power to say no, learning safe/healthy boundaries, self image and social identity and getting our desires met are relevant themes at this time. But even many moons later they are still important matters. The teachings of Svadhistana chakra ask us to look at: How easy/hard do you find it to say no? What do you value about yourself and how did you establish this sense of value? What do you think others value in you? Do you have healthy boundaries with the pleasure in your life? Like food & drink, relationships, fun and even money.
Sometimes in life we don’t get what we ‘want’. This is when the ‘letting go’ lesson tests us the most. There’s a wise old Yogi who when asked at a ripe age what his secret to a healthy and happy life was he replied ‘When it rains I let it’. We cannot control the rain but we can control how we react to it. How do you react to life’s storms?
Poses for the svadhistana chakra
Garudasana- Mythical Eagle pose
Eagle pose teaches up to be like an eagle & rise above the storm. To watch as it carries on below us and wait until it passes. Stay calm and collected through whatever the pose brings and ride it out.
-Standing with feet hip distance apart with your gaze softly focused on a point in front and feel your breath.
-Bend both arms and cross your left arm over your right. If the shoulders are tight just take hold of your shoulders (right arm on left and vice versa) alternatively spiral the arms around one another until fingers fit snugly in palm. Lift elbows away from chest. Breathe with awareness. This might be enough for you. If your body wants more carry on.
-Bend both knees a little and transfer weight into your left foot and pick up your right. Cross the right thigh over left. Here you have some choice. You can place your right toes on the floor outside your left ankle for balance or keep the foot hovering over the floor. Or you can tuck your right foot behind your left calf as in the picture.
-Squeeze your thighs together, take your seat back and ease your knees towards the right (they usually tend to edge closer to the left, take them back to centre).
-Hold for 5-10 breaths.
Scandasana- side lunge or ninja squats
This is one hip opener that strengthens and lengthens the hips and legs. It also creates a lot of feeling in the body. Stay connected to your experience and try not to check out. See what arises and breathe space into your hips.
-From Downward-Facing Dog gently step your right foot forward between your hands, turn to face the left side of your mat then shift your weight toward the back end of your mat as you bend your left knee and straighten your right leg.
-Point your right toes up and keep your right knee straight but not locked. Activate the muscles around your knee. Press your left hand down into the floor and extend your right arm up and over your head and in line with right ear. Alternatively have your hands by your heart or even on the floor in front for support. Breathe deep on the inhale and as you exhale soften the hips with the grounding force of gravity.
I like to play around with the angle of my foot. Here are 3 variations to play with.
1. Have your toes facing up to the sky, sole of the foot off the floor.
2. Connect the outer edge of your foot to the floor and have it roughly parallel with the side of your mat.
3. Now roll onto the inside of your foot so the soul of the foot is off the floor but the big toe side is pressing into the floor.
Spend 3-5 breaths in each then return to Down Dog and switch sides.
Good luck balancing your Svadhistana chakra. Check out our last chakra blog on the Muladhara chakra here.
Rebecca Keenaghan is a yoga teacher who works with AdventureYogi on our retreats in the UK and abroad. When she isn’t teaching her pearls of wisdom she is teaching at her own classes in North London. See Rebecca’s retreats here.