“The right to feel” associated with the second chakra
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. - Rumi
The sacral chakra is called in Sanskrit: Svadhisthana.
Location; a little bit above the Mūlādhāra chakra, and therefore it is located at the lower abdomen, about three inches below the navel, but it also reaches right through to our back at the height of the lumbar vertebrae. It extends to the female and male reproductive organs (ovaries and testicles).
Swa = one’s own
Adhisthana = abode or seat.
Swad= take pleasure in
So it literally translates as; One’s own seat / abode
Bija (seed) Mantra: Vam
Associated right: The Right to Feel
“As we enter the second chakra, we encounter the watery realm of emotions and sexuality. Where we have worked for grounding and stability in the first chakra, we now cultivate feelings and movement; where we have been concerned with survival and structure, we now focus on sexuality and pleasure. Our associated element has shifted from earth to water, from solid to liquid. In this transmutation we encounter change. Through consistency consciousness finds meaning; through change it finds stimulation and expansion.” / Anodea Judith, Eastern body Western mind, p,106
When I started my yoga practice, I came into it because I had excessive anger. What we might call "anger issues".
I came into Yoga hoping to become someone else. I did not like myself and these anger explosions. There was a lot of guilt associated with these anger explosions and I was constantly feeling guilty expressing it to people who truly loved me. I felt as if I had not control over it, nor did I understand what was underlying it or triggering it. There was an enormous amount of guilt for these explosions, and guilt is the demon of an imbalanced second chakra.
I was hoping at the time, that with a consistent practice of yoga I will become a different person, a super calm person, the kind of person that never gets angry or annoyed or frustrated, the kind of person that is always in a “Zen” like state, regardless of what’s happening around them.
Well, 20 years later I can assure you I am not that person. But more importantly, I no longer want to become this person.
Through the practice of yoga Asana and the study of yoga philosophy I have come to experience many more emotions that were numb and suppressed. I have stopped to identify myself with the anger I was experiencing. I replaced resistance and suppression with curiosity and reflections. I replaced the “why is it happening to me” to “what can I learn from this”? or “what are you trying to protect me from? “.
I remember the first time I practiced pigeon pose. Oh my god!!!!!!!!!!!!! how uncomfortable I was! I was in so much pain! But experiencing the physical pain transformed over time to exploring and recognizing the emotional and mental pains that were held inside my body. Learning to become comfortable with discomfort is one of the many gifts this practice has to offer us. learning to observe these emotions as they arise and treat them with kindness and curiosity is what allows us to let go and set free emotions that have been buried for too long, and to shift their energy, to transform.
What I have come to understand was that anger has its place and time in life. It does not control me the same way it did. Over the years I have come to understand my emotional needs, what triggers me, what helps me to balance. Don’t get me wrong; I still lose it (just ask my husband and kids.... ). I am not proud of this, but I am also not ashamed.
Another big realization was that I do not want to miss on the emotions that life has to offer. if one cannot feel pain, then one cannot truly feel pleasure. One feeling does not exist without the other.
This is one of my favourite poems:
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jalaluddin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)
What is your relationship with feelings?
Have you ever thought about your right to feel?
Last month’ focus was about the root chakra, and the right associated with it; The right to be and to have.
As we keep examining the Chakras, we climb up the spine to Swadithana Chakra and its right to feel; The right to feel the pains and the pleasures of life, to feel our desires, our creativity, and our sexuality.
Some questions we can ask ourselves (do take the time to reflect on these and to journal some answers) are:
· What is it that you feel passionate about?
· Do you express it enough? In what ways?
· Do you have a good feeling / relationship about your own body?
· Are you open with yourself and your sexuality?
· Is there any shame around sexuality? Fear? Need to control or be controlled?
· What feeling do you feel comfortable expressing?
· What feelings do you feel uncomfortable expressing? And why?
· What is your relationship with having pleasures?
· Are you addicted to these? Do you feel guilty when you have them?
· Do you allow yourself to be creative, to go after your desires, do the things that you love and be in sync with your sexuality? If not, ask yourself what is it that is holding you back, what is blocking it. Do you feel guilt or shame?
· Do you trust your feelings, or do you doubt them?
“Emotions have a spiritual function as the language of the soul. This language is spoken through the body. “ - Anodea Judith – “Eastern Body Western Mind”
Sexuality is a creative energy. It is the energy that has the potential to form new life. The biggest creation of all. There are so many agendas that come with it. In my upbringing women had to be “respectful”. Meaning they were not to hang out with many men or have sexual intercourse with many men. They would be considered “a slut”. Men however were not judged the same way. On the contrary; they were more of a ‘man’, the more women they’ve been with. If this “truth” is not re-examined through mature and evolved eyes, through spiritual understanding, we may keep reliving this truth and preventing ourselves from pleasure.
Some people use this energy to gain control over others, while others give their power away through this center.
These are all elements of imbalanced second chakra.
So, if we have learned as a child that it is somehow wrong or unimportant to have desires or express our creativity, it might be a reason why our sacral chakra is out of balance.
The second chakra is all about a healthy relationship with yourself but also with others and nature. Not only pleasures and sexuality play a big role here, but also movement and movement does come naturally with change and allows change to take place.
Consciousness is only possible through change; change is only possible through movement. – Aldous Huxley
We are to become conscious about our actions, our choices, our movements. Many adults resist fear to the point that we will remain in unpleasant places, unhealthy relationships, because we prefer the unpleasant and unhealthy “known’ to the “unknown”.
“Desire invites the soul to expand by reaching out beyond ourselves, encountering the world around us, and taking risks.” – Anodea Judith
A balanced sacral chakra is described as:
When the second chakra is well balanced, there is a strong sense of harmony with our body, we accept and express our sexuality without feeling guilt or shame. This allows us to also have a healthy balanced relationship with a partner. We have no problem to empathize with other people, we are open-minded and have lots of vital energy and a strong life force. Our movements are more elegant, we have confidence and we just go with the flow and changes of life instead of resisting. We know our desires and we take time to do things we love and express ourselves creatively, no matter which way.
“It is important to remember that emotions are connected with movement. So what we need to remember is that something has to move or change. Therefore, we need to move the emotion, both physically and figuratively. We can dance, walk it off, shake ourselves out, do yoga, we can exercise, move it into creativity, such as drawing or singing, or simply allow it to move through the body into an expression of whatever we are feeling, even if that is only moving it into a pillow or yelling in the car while we drive. This expression of the more shadowy feelings can release them and actually take us to joy.” / Anoeda Judith
When out of Balance:
When the sacral chakra is out of balance in a deficient way, we will experience guilt, which is considered the demon of this chakra, and it will be leading towards a denial of pleasure. We will also be fearful for change, trying to resist. We won’t have a strong connection with our own feelings and emotions and therefore we lack passion and enthusiasm. If our second chakra is unbalanced in an excessive way, it shows in unhealthy addictions which might be for sex, food etc. We tend to be overly dependent and dramatic, and our emotions are too exuberant. Issues such as bladder, fertility and lower back problems or sexual disfunctions can be a manifestation of an imbalanced sacral chakra.
Here are a few specific suggestions to balance the sacral chakra:
Remember it is very important that our root chakra, our base – is in balance before we rush working on any other chakras. It is necessary to have our basic needs met before we focus on our desires.
1. As we said before, movement and change are two important elements. So regular physical activity is highly recommended to bring some balance into your Svadhisthana. But choose something that you love and enjoy doing. Don’t go jogging if you absolutely hate it – there is no good effect coming from this. Find out what you like. that you really enjoy; that makes you feel energetic – and try to do it regularly.
2. Do something creative; Write, draw, do handicrafts, build or create something in your garage from things that you don’t need anymore, cook … Creativity comes in many forms and shapes. Each of us has a way to express our creativity, maybe we haven’t found it yet, or maybe we take it for granted rathe than celebrate it, but even then, there is an open space – try something new – there is art in everything.
3. Tasting is the one sense associated with the sacral chakra: you could eat more sweet fruits like oranges, melons, or drinking coconut water. Do it mindfully. Close your eyes and really awaken your sense of taste. (there is a mindfulness meditation practice of tasting a raisin).
4. Hip openers are perfect to open and balance your sacral chakra: such as the Happy Baby Pose, Frog Pose, pigeon pose, the lunges, Warrior 2 and triangle pose. You could hold these for a longer period but remember that water and movement are another element of the second chakra so feel free to put on some music and just allow yourself to move in any way that comes through you. Do not over think it.
5. Take a bath or a shower or go for a swim in a nearby lake or ocean. Water is the element of the second chakra, and it helps us nurturing our body. Water is pure energy and it will refresh our mind.
6. Introduce a meditation practice; start with 2 minutes a day.
Meditate while sitting in the cross-legged position: focus on your lower abdomen, feel the connection with it. If you find it hard doing that, try to picture something orange as it is the color associated with this chakra. It might be just the color orange arising in his area, or you can awaken your sense of creativity and try to imagine an orange moon.
7. Add Mantras or positive affirmations;
“I am inspired and creative”
“I am enthusiastic and have a strong life force”
“I am open to change”
“I deserve pleasures in my life”
“I trust my feelings”
“I embrace and celebrate my sexuality”
“I move with ease and confidence and I am in touch with my emotions”
8. Chanting “VAM” – as it is the seed mantra of the second chakra
“Let us honor the second chakra as an exciting and necessary part of our journey, and in that honoring free ourselves to both enjoy it and embrace the realms beyond it.” / Anodea Judith.
May we all find a way to be led by our spirits’ desires, express our creativity and be at ease with our bodies and feelings.