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Thoughts from Vintage Yoga...

Svadhisthana the Sacral Chakra

Last month, we learned about Muladhara, the root chakra, which was about stability, grounding and connecting with the Earth element. This month, we look at Svadhisthana (shwAA – dish- thAA – na) or the sacral chakra. When we break down this ancient Sanskrit word, we learn that “sva” means “one’s own,” “svad” means “to taste sweet" or "to enjoy,” and “adhisthana” means “home or dwelling.” The word itself translates to “one’s own abode.” As I think about that translation, to me it means that in a joyful, happy life, home is the sweetest place you can be. As Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz put it, “There’s no place like home.”

But there’s much more to Svadhisthana (shwAA – dish- thAA – na). Life is continuously changing! An important aspect of the second chakra is change. Every second of every day there is change, within us and all around us. There is the constant ebb and flow of life, of breath, and even blood in and out, in and out.

The element associated with the second chakra is water, the sustaining liquid of life, which is always moving. Interestingly, the Moon is the celestial body associated with the sacral chakra. This makes sense because the moon affects water here on earth causing the continuous ebb and flow of tidal movement.

Water shows us that change is inevitable, and movement is necessary. When we avoid or resist change, life can become much like water in a puddle. With no way to move, it becomes stagnant and unhealthy.  And, whether we realize it or not the same can be said for humans. Routine is good for us, but change is important to prevent stagnation. Too much of either creates imbalance.

The sacral chakra, Svadhisthana, develops between the age of six months and two years. This is the time in our lives when we learn how to crawl and then walk. It is the beginning of one of life’s greatest changes. As infants we are grounded and completely dependent on our parents and community. As we grow, we become mobile, which allows us to explore our world using all our senses. We learn about pain, when we fall down, but we also learn the joy and pleasure of moving and being more independent.

As young children, we love to move, and we move in a variety of ways. Watch how little kids love to run and dance, and they do so completely uninhibited. Movement brings them pleasure. But, somewhere along the way, many of us lose the joy we once got from moving.

As we get older, we tend to become more rigid in our bodies and in our mindset. We deny ourselves pleasure and feel guilty for doing things that give us pleasure. We become “set in our ways,” resistant to change, and we lose the passion we once had for things that at some point in our lives brought us joy.

I have a client who in her attempt to declutter, expressed feelings of guilt for having so many pens and markers. I asked her, “Do you use them?” She said, “Yes.” Then I asked, “Does it bring you joy when you write, draw and color with them?” Again, she said, “Yes.” And so, I “gave her permission to keep them.” Sometimes, all we need is permission to enjoy what gives us joy! So today, I give you permission to do whatever it is that brings you pleasure and joy!

But remember balance. “Ben & Jerry’s” chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream brings me great pleasure. But if I indulge too often, I will later have to deal with the consequences of guilt or the tight-fitting clothes. Buying a new outfit also brings me pleasure, but if I overextend my expenses, once again I must deal with the consequences.

The second chakra energy center is located in the lower abdominal area and is associated with the glands and organs of reproduction. Sexuality is another aspect of Svadhisthana chakra. Embracing and enjoying your sexual energy is one way to activate the sacral chakra. Our culture has created an atmosphere of shame around sexuality, but it is an important aspect of cultivating pleasure and sweetness in life.

This month, I invite you to consider what brings you joy and pleasure. Think about things that perhaps you haven’t done in a while or that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t, for whatever reason. Call to mind the feelings of pleasure that those activities once brought you (or might give you). And do them. This month is about moving, changing, and enjoying life! I give you permission!

With Love & Gratitude,

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