In my post ‘A feeling of belonging’, I wrote about the sense of security which we find when our base chakra, mooladhara, is strong and open. When we feel secure and grounded, we find it easier to move and flow with the events and circumstances of our lives, and to deal with strong emotions a little more easily (they will always be a challenge!). When we come to our second chakra, svadisthana, situated at the sacrum, we come to the element of water – as opposed to the solidity of the earth at our base.
Water should flow. That’s what it does. And at this very emotional centre, we can learn to flow like a clear river or stream, rather than stagnating like a muddy pool (yuk!). We learn to allow our emotions to pass through us, to truly feel them, and then to let them go. We learn to be flexible in our lives, and to be truly in the moment, adapting to where we actually are, rather than dwelling interminably on where we hoped to be.
Svadisthana is the chakra which will be rocked by grief and its less intense cousin, sadness. When you are dealing with watery emotions, particularly when you feel blue without any idea why, you can be sure that swadistana may be needing some attention. Equally, if you find it hard to cry and to show your emotions, you may be experiencing a block at this level. This chakra, together with Vishuddhi chakra at the throat, is also associated with our creativity, with birth and renewal. And if you have experienced grief or depression, you may have noticed how these emotions really dull your creativity. They are stultifying emotions, extinguishing the ability to create new possibilities for ourselves. If we think of our creative impulse as a spark, then the waters of an imbalanced second chakra may quench the spark before it really gets going.
If you are working with the chakras, it is always worth working with an experienced teacher, who can help you deal with difficult emotions as they arise. Sometimes, there are current circumstances which elicit these feelings; at other times, they arise seemingly out of nowhere, or previous experiences may come back to the forefront of our minds. But when we work on svadisthana, through yoga asanas, sequences, meditation or concentration (dharanam), we learn to calm the turbulence of our emotions, as if calming a rough sea. In yoga, we may use the Moon sequence, Chandra Namaskara, to help balance this centre, visualising the moon shining serenely over still, calm waters. We may work with forward bends, such as Paschimottasana or Padahastasana, which powerfully affect the lower spine. In Dru yoga, we always precede intensive postures which will activate the lower chakras with heart-opening moves, so that any emotions released at the lower centres can be transformed at the heart. After a forward bend, we will stretch upwards, extending the spine and bringing the energy up through the spine to the higher centres. We balance our practice not just on a physical level, but also on an emotional and energetic level, simply by pairing our forward and backward bends.