Given the pace and stress of modern living, it might be hard to recognize when the Svadisthana (sacral) chakra is out of balance. Some of the signals, like the tendencies to be a workaholic, to cry easily, to suffer from sluggish circulation, are so common that they’re hardly noticeable. These physical, mental and spiritual issues are easy to chalk up to just another day where you need that 25th hour. It’s only when the imbalances move to extremes when the blocks in this creative center lead to infertility, dangerous forms of over-indulgence and life-limiting confusion, that many people understand fully the importance of keeping this focal point of life-force free and unhindered.
Balance starts with knowledge. The Svadisthana chakra is often translated as “one’s own place or base.” [Learn about all seven chakras.] It is located at the tailbone, roughly two fingers above the Muladhara (root) chakra. The pubic bone is the corresponding point in the front body. The second chakra has broader associations with the hips, sacrum, lower back, genitals, womb, bladder, and kidneys. Svadisthana’s element is water, and it influences all the watery flows of the body: circulation, urination, menstruation, orgasm, and tears. Its functions include procreation and the digestion of food. This is the center of your physical and emotional vitality and your sexuality. It also connected with the unconscious and with emotion.
Its color is orange and its sensory aspect is taste. Its gemstones are carnelian, coral, gold calcite, amber, citrine, gold topaz and peach aventurine. Not surprisingly, its foods are liquids and orange fruits and vegetables. In the bindi above its seed mantra, Vishnu, and Rakini (or Chakini) reign.
Yoga and pranayama, along with freeing this chakra is essential on every level. Water moves, ebbing and flowing, as it finds its own course around all of the obstacles in its way. Keeping balance in the second chakra will bring that flexibility, ease of mind, body and spirit and creativity into everyday life.
But it will also bring the kind of discipline that keeps this steady flow from becoming an uncontrolled torrent. Overeating is as dangerous as under-eating, while healthful eating, opens the door to bringing your chakras— and, with them your life-force--into balance. The same holds true for your sexuality, your need to relax and your need to pursue non-work related activities. In their proper place, these pursuits give meaning and pleasure to life. Done to excess, they lead to jealousy, confusion, and hopelessness. Addressed through a variety of yoga poses, it’s important to remember that “harder” or “more advanced” doesn’t mean better. Performing asanas isn’t a competition, even with yourself.
The aim of a chakra-based practice is to liberate all facets of self from unnecessary stress, unhealthy habits or ideas and anything else that no longer serves. Turning your eyes inside, it’s easy to imagine the possibilities of becoming truly “enlightened” as the chakras whirl unhindered, sending their rainbow of light and life into every cell.
Many of the poses used to bring your second chakra into balance focus opening the hips, making the body adaptable and increasing flexibility. Take a few minutes to transition away from your day. Assume Balasana (child’s pose) or sit in Sukhasana (easy pose), placing the backs of your hands on your knees. Draw the breath up from the pelvic floor, then through the lower abdomen, mid-body, chest, throat, and crown. Exhale in the opposite order, allowing the front body to release toward the back body. Continue this rhythmic breath for one to five minutes. Then try these poses:
Marjaryasana (Cat Pose)
Begin on your hands and knees. Make sure your knees are directly below your hips and that your shoulders, elbows, and wrists form a straight line perpendicular to the floor. On an exhale, round your back and let head grow heavy and hang toward the floor. Feel your vertebrae separate and open. On an inhale, return to a neutral spine.
Adho Mukha Svasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Start on your hands and knees. Extend your hands slightly in front of your shoulders and spread your fingers. Turn your toes under. Exhale and lift your knees, keeping them slightly bent. Inhale and lengthen your tailbone toward the ceiling. Exhale and stretch heels toward or down to the floor. Keep your head between your arms. The arms should be aligned with your ears. Make sure weight is shifted into your legs and the body is drawing up from your hands. Hold for 1-3 minutes. YogaPaws are great for keeping you locked in place for challenging poses like this.
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Lie face-down on the floor. Stretch your legs back with the tops of your feet on the floor. Place your hands under shoulders. On an inhale, begin to straighten your arms, stopping at a point where you can feel a connection between your legs and your pelvis (don’t strain or compress your lower back). Lift your navel toward your spine. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and release on an exhale.