Svad: ‘to taste with pleasure’, to enjoy or take delight
Svadhisthana: the dwelling place of the soul
Located in the space just below the navel and above the pubic bone, the sacral chakra, svadhisthana, is strongly linked to our creativity and sensual pleasure. The element associated with this chakra is water and the colour is orange.
The energy of the sacral chakra is predominantly feminine, lunar and thus associated with the left side of the body. When we balance the second chakra we benefit from an increased sense of wellness, pleasure and joy. We become more creative and have a deeper ability to think outside the box. The negatives of an imbalance in this energy centre are emotional instability, reluctance to change, decreased libido and depression. It is important to engage this chakra regularly if you have a tendency towards becoming melancholy.
To feed the sacral chakra we need to engage in creative pursuits, allow our minds to wonder and indulge our creative whims. Colouring books, doodling, pottery, crafts all contribute to balancing svadhisthana chakra. As does playing with water, with water being the element of the sacral chakra, taking a swim, paddling barefoot in the sea and taking a long bath will lead you to the perfect balance. Conversely rules, structure, dry conditions aggravate the second chakra.
Working with the sacral chakra is pretty simple: the more creative we make our practice, the more we balance svadisthana. Our sacral chakra practice should be fluid like the water element that represents this energy centre. Fluid movement, breath and intention. Allow your creative take the lead here and move intuitively in the direction that your body leads you, this practice should be even more joyful than usual, indulging your senses and feeling instead of thinking. Practice to movement to make your asanas even more creative.
Start with an easy breathing exercise:
- Lye on your back in supta baddha konasana (reclining bound angle pose), allow the knees to move down towards the earth and place the hands just above the public bone and below the navel, relax the shoulders and close the eyes.
- Visualise running water, a continual flow. Be creative in your visualisation, perhaps you see a river, a waterfall, the ebbing waves at the beach, simply allow your mind to explore the scene that you create. Notice how water never stops flowing, continual movement, water fills any space that it is poured into.
- Try to replicate this flow and filling capacity with your breath, feel the hands rising and falling above your sacral chakra and work towards one seamlessly linked flowing breath.Allow the breath to fill every part of your body and expand into your full respiratory capacity.
- Add length to each inhale and exhale as you continue this exercise for 30 breaths.
Then try this sacral chakra flow to open your creativity centre:
If you’re a yoga teacher and you’re looking for a yoga sequence to teach that will help your students connect to and open their sacral chakra, here’s one that I used in my class:
- Cat/Cow pose flowing seamlessly from cat to cow, breathing into the lower spine. Close the eyes and move fluidly perhaps rocking the hips from side to side and moving the shoulders to make this warm up flow a little more creative
- Flow from ‘thread the needle’ pose to gate pose again using the breath to lead you. On your exhale you thread the needle and on your inhale you fluidly open the body into gate pose, expanding the breath and the body simultaneously
- Push back into downward dog on an exhale and on your inhale roll forward into high plank really rounding your upper back as you roll forward. On your exhale bend the knees and push directly back into downward dog again. Continue this flow 10 times visualising a crashing wave and creating this shape with your body
- Walk up to tadasana, mountain pose and exhale 5 times through the mouth, deep cleansing exhales from the base of the belly
- Move into standing side bend inhaling to reach up and out of your fingertips, exhaling to deepen the bend. Take 5 breaths to move deeper then on an exhale roll the chest down and forward coming into ragdoll pose, pedalling the feet one by one. Repeat on the other side.
- Move into Surya Namascar A, Sun Salutation sequence, flowing with the breath through 3 rounds
- Move through the following flow, spending 3 breaths in each posture: high lunge -> warrior II -> reverse warrior -> Trikonasana, move top arm around in circles like a wind mill-> pyramid pose, inhaling reaching the arms forward and exhaling to lower down deeper. Repeat this flow on the other side
- Come onto your hands and knees, all fours and flow back between Cat/Cow
- Push back into balasana, childs pose for 10 breaths breathing into the base of the spine. Embrace the child-like creative energy and come back to your breath.
- Lye on your back and draw the knees into the chest rocking the body left and right to massage the spine before moving into happy baby pose moving the hips and pelvis fluidly in whatever direction feels right for your body
- Finish in savasana optional visualisation: water washing through the body and cleansing your creative chakra allowing for more joy, fresh ideas and inspiration
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