Sinking Into the Sacral Chakra: Finding Your Creative Center
When I was in my early-20s, my doctor discovered a benign tumor on one of my ovaries. Though my health was fine after surgery to remove the growth, with my doctor chalking it up to "one of those things." For me, one of those things, was more than just random, in knowing the mind and the body are inextricably intertwined, whether we like it or not.
Ayurveda tells me these kinds of tumors can be, simplistically said, signs of stagnation. And for me, this stagnation on one of my chief reproductive, creative organs was a message that there was work to be done in my second chakra—our mind/body’s chief creative center–sexually, yes, but also in all the forms creativity can manifest in one’s life, from painting a gorgeous work of art to making a delicious meal.
In the second installment of a seven week series here on MindBodyGreen, I'm taking a closer look at each of our chakra centers. The chakra centers can easily sound inaccessible, regulated to people named Sunshine or Moonbeam. Lovely names–don’t get me wrong. But I was raised in union halls in the Midwest among beer-drinking Germans, so my take on the ethereal is to take what is practical, what works in real life, and set the rest to the side (at least for now).
When you look at the chakras, and the psycho-spiritual questions that each center asks us to consider, what you really have is a practical way to figure out what it is that you want to create in your life and, importantly, what might be blocking you from getting there.
If you missed the first installment on this series, about the root chakra, Muladhara, click here to catch up. Otherwise, onward…
Rising from the root chakra upward, the second chakra, sometimes called the sacral chakra is, Svadhisthana in Sanskrit.
Color associated with Svadhisthana: Orange
Location in the body: In the lower abdomen, between the navel and the genitals.
Considerations: At the sacral chakra, we examine not only our ability to express our creative essence through sexuality, but via sensuality as well, an important distinction lest we think it’s all about the sex. At this center, we learn to connect and find nurturance through sensate experiences. By making sensory connections, we can also connect to pleasure, via all of the senses. Think: music, food, nature, movement and really anything you might find enjoyable, beautiful.
Out of balance: When our energy in Svadhisthana is excessive or overblown, we may struggle with addiction, emotional instabilities and even hedonism.
When we are deficient in Svadhisthana, we feel bound, unable to emote, to find what our creative expression is to offer to our world. Recently, one of my teachers asked me if I was a creative person, in trying to help me discern what was blocking me from manifesting some of my intentions. “Yes,” I replied. “But, it is something I’ve cultivated.” I was never one of those people for whom creative energy oozed; I’ve had to behave my way into it. I mention this to underscore that just because you weren’t born into an artist’s life, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to cultivate what is creative for you; everybody’s got their something, right?
Though I urge reader to look beyond the sexual realm, our first and most formative sexual experiences to govern how we operate in this chakra. Across the spectrum, from survivors of sexual abuse, to those afraid of their own sexuality incarnate, it’s something to look at, to work with.
In balance: When Svadhisthana is balanced, we feel secure in expression our emotions, creative impulses, sensuality and sexuality.
- Come into your meditation seat, perhaps with the aid of a blanket to slightly elevate the pelvis and allow for an elongated spine. Rest the hands, palms down, on the knees. Allow the eyes to close. Visualize yourself in your life, maybe in the midst of a situation that typically leaves you feeling unable to communicate your emotions or connect with another person in the way you’d like to. Now, visualize yourself in the same situation, but embodying fluidity, flexibility and juiciness. See yourself behaving, speaking, feeling as you would were you completely connected with the water element, able to rise and fall like the ocean tide. Stay with the visualization until you see clearly how you would manifest as this more fluid version of your self, even if it feels silly, improbable or even impossible. As you begin to come out of your meditation, take your breath in and out through the nose, and imagine sending the exhalation down through your pelvic floor, connecting you with the ground. End by chanting VAM three times, then Va-Va-Va VAM, three or more times, emphasizing the V sound. Slowly open the eyes, beginning with the gaze at the ground, eventually moving it up to eye level.
Svadhisthana supportive practices
- If you live near an ocean, or other body of water, by all means, get your self into it. Ask the Divine embodied, whether in expressive prayer or silently, to help you embody the qualities you seek.
- Some of us (your author, included) aren’t able to get to an ocean more than a time a year, if we are lucky, so, what do we do? Get into your body. Svadisthana-stagnation is tremendously aided by fluid movement. If you feel brave enough to get yourself into a dance class, go for it. If it’s not your thing, settle for some wide circling of your hips and a few other movements that will allow you to connect with the fluidity which births Svadhisthana’s creative flow. Here are a few ideas:
1. Stand with the legs a bit wider than hip’s distance apart. Bring the hands to the pelvis and circle the hips wide, as widely as you can. You can reserve this movement for when you can be alone, so you can really get into the juiciness of the movement. Make sure you go in both directions, allow it to be silly or feel weird, whatever arises. Practice allowing yourself to move past that self-talk and continuing the movement, as a practice.
2. Relax into the Goddess Pose (good for guys, too!). Lay on your back, perhaps on your yoga mat. Bring the soles of your feet together, and allow the knees to relax apart, toward the floor. If you feel your hip flexors grabbing, put yoga blocks or rolled up towels under your thighs so your legs feel relaxed. Rest your hands on your lower belly.
3. Take in a fully sensate experience. There are a million options here–you might start with the sense you already feel most connected to. Then explore it, listen to some music and do just that, keep your computer off and maybe even move your body along with it. Make dinner and imbibe not only the food itself, but the entire process of the meal, the smells, the sensation of the food against your skin–all of it. Take a walk outside–even in the seemingly barren Midwest right now, there are still squirrels scrabbling along sidewalks, dried leaves to be smelled and Christmas lights to be seen. Find something. Take it in fully.
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