“Still waters run deep” is a phrase which for me sums up the second, or sacral chakra. Svadisthana, is all about emotions and attachments, often deep seated and we never really know what’s down there until we start stirring the ocean. It will come as no surprise to you that this chakra is
associated with the element of water.
Did you enjoy focusing on your base chakra, following my last post? All those lovely balance, strength and grounding postures have hopefully left you feeling stable and ready to move forwards.
The sacral chakra rests, on the spine, just above the base. Focus on a beautiful warm orange, imagine it flowing around the low back and abdomen, dissolving tension, fear and anxiety.
When svadisthana is in balance we are emotionally well-balanced, sensitive to the needs of others’ without allowing ourselves to become wrapped up in or drained by their challenges. When out of balance, life may seem like an emotional roller coaster, with a tendency to over think and worry. We can become very attached to our possessions and indeed relationships, not able to let go of things / people / situations that are no longer helpful to us any more.
Physically, disturbances in the sacral chakra, may present as low back pain (from my own experience and 15 years of teaching yoga, stress and anxiety are just about always involved, on some level, with low back problems). The sacral chakra is linked with the element of water, and so is connected with all our body fluids, along with the kidneys and the bladder (Do you need to rush to the loo if you’re feeling anxious or nervous? Can you see the connection now?). Ladies problems, may also be eased by bringing balance to svadisthana.
Yoga for balancing svadhisthana are generally postures that encourage us to relax and let go. Include plenty of forward bends, postures which we can never force, we need to relax into them. I think learning to let go and not trying to force things is one of the greatest lessons yoga has to teach us, and possibly one of the hardest and I’m not just talking about yoga postures here either!
I particularly enjoy the lying head to knee pose, great for releasing tension from the low back, encouraging a restful night’s sleep and helping us to let go of unwanted emotions and other more physical blockages (it relieves constipation!) :
Lie on your back, legs extended if possible.
Inhale, bringing your right knee in towards your chest.
Exhale as you lift your head from the floor – keep your spine in a straight line, do not twist to touch the knee.
Inhale as you lower your head.
Exhale, extending the right leg along the floor again.
Do this 4 times with the right leg and then 4 with the left leg
(If you do suffer with constipation do this move after drinking a glass of water and reverse the breathing pattern).
Always a favourite at classes is the moon sequence, another great balancing and calming yoga practice. Rest after the sequence in crocodile, an amazing posture for calming an anxious mind in itself, before coming into sitting to do some alternate nostril breathing. The moon of course, regulates the earth’s water tables and tides,and many believe that as we are 90% water then the moon has an affect on us all and women in particular.
Some of the inverted postures can be helpful too, particularly the supported shoulder stand and the tranquility pose (notice the connection again – moon / tranquility / a posture said to bring peace and harmony). Check out any contra-indications with the inverted poses and remember to do a counterpose after. Fish or Bridge would be great choices.
All these practices are wonderful not just for releasing tension and anxiety, but also for regulating blood pressure. Blood pressure is in part regulated by the kidneys, so you can make the link there – amazing that the ancient yogis realised this thousands of years ago.
As always, work respectfully and mindfully with your yoga. Focussing on this chakra in particular may bring up emotional “stuff” that you’ve been trying to bury, if it becomes too much, stop all your yoga, with the exception of crocodile, until you have spoken to your tutor for guidance. Ultimately, it will help you to let go but it’s always wise to go steadily and treat ourselves with kindness.
Enjoy your water centre and I’ll see you next time when we are moving up into our fire centre. Ix