We continue on our Chakra exploration series with Svadhisthana, the sacral Chakra and 2nd major centre of energy as we make our way up the spine. If you missed my Muladhara post introducing this series, check it out here.
Svadhisthan is the centre associated with pleasure, desire, emotion and sense of “I like, I do not like…” – it is all about me. If we have a healthy and balanced Svadhisthan, we are aware of our emotions and desires and are able to tap into our creative energy. We have good boundaries and can enjoy relationships with equal give and take – neither dominating others to get what we want nor diminishing our desires to satisfy others.
The sacral chakra is also connected to our sexuality and how we relate to ourselves and others as sexual beings. It is the seat of our vital energy, the place where life can be created, the well from which our desires spring. Like Muladhara, the root chakra, it is located in the pelvic bowl.
Mula bandha will also benefit the sacral chakra, while toning and strengthening the reproductive organs. It is a beneficial practice for maintaining sexual health for that reason. It also reduces risk of prolapsed uterus and recovery after childbirth (connect with your local yoga teacher to receive proper instruction).
My favourite way to work with svadhisthana is through the shakti bandhas, which are STRONG asanas for releasing emotional tension from the physical body. If you, like me, carry any tension in your jaw or hips (the two are connected) then these poses can be very beneficial.
Chakki Chalanasana, or the gentler version of torso circles with legs crossed is a good way to start flowing that energy, stirring it up and releasing any tightness or tension. With crossed legs, sit up straight and rest your palms on your knees. Find a comfortable position, sitting on a folded blanket if necessary.
Begin to make circles with the torso, leaning as far forward as possible in a sweeping arc, then rounding the spine as you pull back and around. Complete 5-10 times clockwise, then repreat 5-10 times anti-clockwise. If you want, you can begin a practice with torso circles, and end it with chakki chalanasana (churning the mill) when you are more warmed up.
Cobra is another asana to include here. Lie on your front, with palms on the floor under your shoulders. Feet are hip width apart or woder. The closer your feet are together, the more pressure you will put on your lower back, so start with them wider and experiment bringing them closer over time.
Keep your elbows tucked into your sides. Inhale to lift head chest and shoulders, then press palms firmly into the floor, press pubic bone into the floor and exhale, extend the arms to rise up. Gaze is forward – a cobra always looks at their prey. Breathe normally and keep your focus on the pubic bone pressing into the floor.
Squeeze the butt cheeks together and press the tops of the feet into the floor for stability and to release pressure on the lower back. Exhale to release to the floor. You can hold the pose for 5 breaths, or move in and out of it following your own breath.
Follow with resting pose Jyestikasana: Lie on your front with forehead against the mat. Interlace your fingers behind your head and let your feet flop to the sides. Allow the back of your neck to be long and breathe normally. Stay here for a few breaths before moving on.
Swan pose is a beautifully etheric pose to start opening and working your hips. Begin by flowing in and out of the posture, then hold it for a few breaths. This is a strong hip opener, so gently does it.
Begin in Sumeruasana (mountain/downward dog). Inhale right leg straight out behind, then exhale, tucking in your knee to your chest and moving forward to a high plank. Inhale here, holding, then exhale to lower that leg. Knee comes to the inside of your right wrist, foot comes as close to parallel with the front of your mat as possible. This may still be at a 45* angle and that is fine.
Untuck back toes and firm shin into the floor. Support yourself with your hands, arms are straight. If you have short arms you may need blocks here.Rest in the pose for a breath, then tuck the back toes, inhale to lift right leg, exhale to straighten it behind and return to mountain/down dog to rest. Repeat on other side.
Uttanasana, the standing forward fold. While it is also beneficial to practice this on the floor, there are the added benefits of the downward pull of gravity here. Energetically I think of this as encouraging kundalini upwards towards the crown chakra, releasing from the lower centres.
Begin standing. Raise the arms overhead, then bend forward from the hips, keeping the spine lengthened. Bend the knees so that the belly can rest on the thighs.
Hold onto opposite elbows or release the palms to the earth. You can also slip them, palm upwards, under your feet, joining the body in an energetic circuit. Uttanasana stretches the entire back body, from soles of the feet, hamstrings, hips, back, neck, scalp all the way to the forehead. Increase the stretch by lifting up your toes to point towards the ceiling. Play with straigthening and bending your knees.
When you are ready to come up, release slowly, curling up one vertebra at a time. If you have low blood pressure, keep your chin tucked for 2 breaths and eyes closed, allow blood pressure to normalise before raising the head and opening the eyes.
Peace and Light