Chakras for Beginners: The Sacral Chakra
In the second in this series (first here) we're talking about the sacral chakra.
As mentioned before, chakra means ‘wheel’ and in yogic philosophy a chakra is a point in the body where energy comes together on its journey through the body (from bottom to top); a meeting point, if you like. We cannot see them, or feel them with our hands, but each is responsible for a different part of our mind, body or soul. Yogis believe that all of your chakras must be unblocked/aligned/opened in order for you to reach the state of 'Samadhi' or 'transcendental bliss' through meditation. If you have a blocked chakra you will never be able to leave the physical world (i.e. your body) through meditation.
In practical terms, think of the chakras like Maslow's hierarchy of needs; you cannot feel completely satisfied, happy or healthy if your chakras are not aligned/fulfilled.
In this series of 7 posts I'll be covering the basic elements of each of the chakras and how knowledge and awareness of those chakras may be able to help you in your day to day life.
So let's get started:
The Sacral Chakra
The second chakra is the sacral chakra, located just below the navel. This chakra is related to your ability to feel pleasure and joy, connect with others, be creative and accept change. It also has a strong connection with sexuality and your reproductive system.
People who have difficulty getting in touch with their emotions, forming meaningful relationships or who are very set in their ways may need to work on fulfilling or unblocking their sacral chakra. If you have a balanced sacral chakra chances are you are open minded, passionate, creative and deeply connected with your own feelings and/or sexuality.
As this chakra is related to being open-minded and able to accept change, some yogis believe that one of the symptoms of a blocked chakra is inflexibility (inflexible mind = inflexible body). Being a rather inflexible person myself (mainly due to injury) I'm not 100% down with this direct correlation, but as mentioned in the previous post, you've got to work it out for yourself. If you have obvious physical reasons why your hamstrings are tight (maybe you played football for 20 years and never stretched) then fine, but if you're inflexible despite years of stretching and you also struggle with some of the other symptoms then maybe start to look at the state of your sacral chakra.
What are the symptoms?
An unbalanced or blocked sacral chakra will cause various symptoms, including, but not limited to:
- Urinary problems and kidney infections
- Back pain
- Gynaecological cysts
- Irregular menstruation
- Infertility and impotency
- Fear and insecurity
- Low self- esteem
- Isolation and detachment from the society
- Addictive behaviour
- Feelings of lethargy, lack of creativity or feelings of being 'stuck'
Most of the physical symptoms manifest in the hips and reproductive area...this is why your yoga teacher always tells you that the hips are where we release emotional blockages (it's to do with the sacral chakra). Again, use your common sense, but also be open to the chance that your unexplained hip-pain could be to do with your difficult relationship with someone close to you and the negative emotions that have arisen because of it. Remember, some of these feelings might be subconscious.
As mentioned previously fixing the problem from the outside could do the trick, but when it comes to emotions it's not as simple as landing the promotion you've been dreaming of. Personally I find this second chakra to be the most complex to find balance in, and it takes constant work.
Yogis believe that certain asanas (postures) can help to release tension and blockages in the chakras, just as they do in the muscles. For the sacral chakra, this means working on postures which relieve tension in the hips and work the area around the lower abdomen:
- Low lunge
- Goddess squat
- Frog pose
- Butterfly pose
- Warrior 2
- Reverse Warrior
- Bow pose
As we've mention, your mental or emotional flexibility is linked to this chakra, as well as your ability to be open-minded, fluid & creative. This is why vinyasa flow classes, sun salutations and dedicated stretching can also really help you to let go of those feelings of being 'stuck' and lacking in creativity.
So what about off the mat?
According to the science of Ayurveda eating orange foods can help (orange is the colour of the chakra) as well a meditating on the colour orange or on images of water can help unblock the sacral chakra. Mindful colouring is also a really nice exercise for allowing creativity to blossom where it might be lacking.
If you're in Brussels and want to know more...I'll be running an Introduction to the Chakras Workshop at Corpus Studios on 27th May 2018. You can book online at www.corpusstudios.com