The seven chakras are "wheels" or energy centers within the human body. Each one is like a conductor or storehouse of energy governing different bodily aspects from the gross to the subtle. They can seem mysterious and difficult to understand, but as you study them and develop awareness of your energy system, the chakras become more tangible and accessible.
This blog post explores svadhisthana, the sacral chakra, second of the seven chakras. You can read about muladhara (root) chakra, the first of the seven chakras in this earlier chattra post.
Svadhisthana translates as “sweet abode.” Each chakra has an associated color and seed sound: svadhisthana chakra’s color is orange and its seed sound is VAM.
Svadhisthana chakra governs fluidity, emotions, sexuality, reproductive organs, the bladder, and movement of the hips. Situated at the sacrum, it is dense like muladhara chakra, yet with water as its presiding element it is also fluid.
Water is essential to our existence, making up a large portion of our bodies. Cleansing, healing and powerful, water perseveres: it moves with constant flow around objects in its path, often shaping and reshaping the sturdiest of objects.
Balancing the water element of svadhisthana helps us flow with life, process our emotions, experience comfort with our sexuality, and enjoy ease and freedom of movement in the hips. Here are a few suggestions to access the power of the svadhisthana chakra.
Enjoy a hip-focused yoga practice…
Hips tighten from a lot of sitting. Activities such as walking, running and cycling develop strength, but they don't encourage range of hip motion. Yet we rely on our hips for so much: a location to balance kids, groceries, heavy loads. And they cradle an area of physical intimacy. Creating ease at the hip joint fosters fluidity, mobility and sensuality that extends throughout the body.
Try a practice that moves the hips in all directions, rotating them open in poses like pigeon and thread the needle. Flex them deeply in reclining hamstring stretches such as supta padagustasana and standing forward bends like uttanasana and parsvotanasana. To stretch thigh and hip muscles, try ardha bhekasana: simply lay on the belly and reach back, folding one leg toward the buttocks. Low lunges are great for extending hip muscles; and to access muscles in the back leg, practice warrior 1.Flow with your emotions…
Many of us struggle with processing emotions. This simple practice can help heighten awareness of feelings without becoming overwhelmed.
The next time you feel a surge of emotions, pause. Be still. Repeat in your mind the svadhisthana seed sound for water: “VAM VAM VAM.” Allow your feelings to flow without trying to stop, shape or judge them. Give the emotions a chance to move like water through your thoughts and your body; they will eventually lose their intensity and move on.Dive in! Immerse yourself in water…
Being in or around water is a wonderful way to relate to its qualities. Take a swim, soak in a tub, sit near a waterfall. A hike near a river or lake or a walk on the beach are more wonderful ways to experience svadhisthana's water element. Silently chanting “VAM” as you sit or walk near water will further enhance your connection to water.
And always stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water and herbal teas and eating fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in water content supports easing the digestive system.
Look for more chattra blog posts about the chakras from Nikki…the more you focus on the chakras, their location, qualities and seed sounds, the more real and accessible they will become — and the more aware you will be of your own amazing energy system.
About Nikki Estrada
Nikki Estrada has been in the yoga scene for more than twenty years. She lectures, leads workshops, teacher training and immersions nationwide. Nikki began her formal training in India, focusing on Ashtanga—a very physically challenging style of yoga. She is currently a senior yoga teacher and educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nikki's Vinyasa-based classes are a synthesis of her years of yogic and Ayurveda study and personal experience, with an emphasis on spirituality, intelligent alignment, meditation, and living life more joyfully. Her videos can be found on www.yogainternational.com. More information about Nikki can be found at www.nikkiestradayoga.com She resides in northern California with her husband and two daughters.