In the Spring, it rains a lot, even in the Desert. Water is essential to life; it nourishes, sustains, and purifies. Plants need water to grow and bear fruit. Humans need to drink water daily to function. But all living beings require just the right amount.
In Yoga Philosophy, as well as other major belief systems, humans are made up of the physical elements and develop physically and psychologically through a series of stages, or Chakras. In Chakra one, we learn what it means to be made up of Earth.
Water is the element associated with the Second Chakra, therefore, this is the energy center where we discover how to embody the element Water. Our souls expand as energy moves up from the base of the spine to the hip region. We move from the stressors of our daily routines to newfound excitement and freedom.
The Sacral Chakra, known in Sanskrit as Svadhisthana (one’s own abode) influences emotions, sexuality, and the ability to enjoy oneself. It allows us to flow through life and experience the magic of getting outside ourselves and merging with others. An imbalance results in the Sacrum and reproductive organs being either closed tightly or excessively open. The first step in healing this Chakra is to identify your relationship with pleasure, emotions, and intimacy.
Emotions are energy. Like all forms of currency, they can be used for good or get the best of us if not properly channeled. Emotions make life worth living and illuminate our desires and soul purpose. Without them, we are void of feeling and may lack motivation, enthusiasm, or purpose. Without properly containing them though, we may become out of control and self-destructive. The key is learning to balance Svadhisthana.
When in balance, we know how to enjoy life and have fun without going overboard. We are open enough to experience intimate relationships and physical pleasure, but strong enough in our bodies to contain ourselves and maintain solid boundaries. We appreciate people and outer stimuli without becoming dependent or addicted. Finally, we are in touch with and honor our feelings, which allows for further growth and expansion.
You deserve to not only survive, but to also feel good about yourself & own who you are.
Need For Flow
“Second chakra deficiency results in, above all, restricted movement; physically, emotionally, and sexually. Since movement and change are essential to resilience, the rigidity of second chakra deficiency makes us fragile. To protect this fragility, boundaries are kept very strong in order to keep out unwanted energy that might induce change and threaten stability. Such a person tends to avoid pleasure, often because of a harsh inner critic that cannot allow fun without self-condemnation. On an emotional level, deficiency produces a feeling of emptiness, a dullness about life, a feeling of being stuck, and a sense of isolation. There may be a kind of resignation, apathy, or pessimism, and an inability to sense one’s own needs.” – Anodea Judith, Eastern Body, Western Mind
Unprocessed emotional experiences affect our development and create tension and physical awkwardness. We feel uncomfortable opening up to others and fear losing control. We hold ourselves in a rigid way and embody ice. We may feel unattractive or lack attraction to other people.
All throughout life, but especially as children, people are told how to feel or to hide weakness . Our society tells us who and how to love, as well as how to express ourselves as male or female. Feelings never go away, so they either flow and transform, or they get blocked.
When we honor feelings and let them flow, we access transformation and maturity. When we suppress or deny them, they get buried and subconsciously rule us.
A deficient second chakra is excessively grounded. The key to healing is movement and change. Out of these comes creativity.
Opening the Water Chakra
1. Get Moving
The mind and body are connected, so emotional blockage often manifests as physical stiffness and awkward, uncomfortable expression. When we suppress or numb feelings in any situation, tension is created in the body. Releasing tension through movement can help facilitate the flow of blocked emotions and unprocessed trauma.
Check out The Love Yourself Foundation podcast episode on Movement Therapy with Morgyn Danae to learn about healing through dance, specifically the belly and core. She talks about the connection between the second chakra and moving the body.
Any form of movement is good for “thawing out the ice” though. Journaling or talking to a person frees up thoughts, walking out the room frees us from feeling confined to the space we are in, and moving our eyes allows us to take in new stimuli. Exploring our creativity opens up our sacral energy as well.
2. Connect with Water
Water gets us in touch with our ability to flow and charges us with feelings of serenity, fluidity, and healing. As the world becomes more technological and we spend more time staring at screens, we can experience the healing benefits of water by being near lakes, oceans, rivers, pools, or showers. Think about how you feel when you sit outside and watch the rain. The senses are fully engaged when we are near water. Indulging in the senses stimulates the Svadisthana Chakra.
3. Work Through Guilt and Uncomfortable Feelings
Often we are discouraged from feeling and expressing “dark” emotions, such as jealousy, anger, grief, and discomfort, just to name a few. Even expressing self-confidence is sometimes ridiculed as “arrogance” that needs to be toned down.
Depending on the feedback and conditioning we received during youth, we may grow up to subconsciously believe it is “selfish” to have personal time or “sinful” to enjoy the physical body. We may even feel bad about the good fortune we have and feel obliged to give to others at the expense of ourselves. Allow yourself to relax and have personal time without feeling bad about it.
Unpleasant feelings, especially guilt, need to come to the surface and be resolved. Overcoming guilt and learning how to forgive are essential to heal this chakra. Guilt is a normal reaction to certain events, but it becomes detrimental if we feel guilty for things we cannot control. Guilt prevents us from completely enjoying ourselves and living in the moment. If you have unresolved guilt, practice self-compassion and acceptance. You cannot change the past, so stop blaming yourself for things that were beyond your control.
4. Receive Physical Nurturance/Heal Relationship With Sexuality
Reconnecting with the sensations of the body is an integral step in healing a deficient second chakra. Discovering what “feels good” and indulging in sensuality is part of being human. Your body is yours, and when you can reclaim feeling good in it, you access an important stage in development. Learning to love the body you possess and seeing yourself as desirable is part of healing the second chakra. Check out this heartfelt, empowering blog post from Mel Malfabon on loving your body.
There are simple ways to start connecting with the body again. Getting a massage, petting an animal, and hugging a friend can do wonders for the nervous system. You could take a nice bath or give your scalp a massage for free relaxation. Eating your favorite meal slowly, taking in the taste and smell of each bite is another way to awaken sensuality. Listening to music while working can help make it more enjoyable. Taking a gentle Yoga class or going swimming might feel refreshing after a long day of work. Pay attention to what your senses tell you and be grateful for them.
Finally, identify your beliefs and feelings concerning your sexuality and expression. Sometimes societal, familial, or religious expectations encourage us to deny bodily urges, numb physical sensations and categorize certain forms of intimate expression as “bad”. Personal practices like premarital sex, homosexuality, dressing provocatively, or pleasuring oneself, are judged and seen as immoral. Desire is natural, and suppression to the point of denying feeling leads to addiction and self-destructive behavior later on.
5. Release and Embody Emotions in a Safe Space
Finding or creating a safe outlet for expression and embodiment can help get emotional energy flowing. When we feel safe, we are more encouraged and better equipped to explore the depths of our feelings. This safe space is completely personal and looks different for each individual. For some, a journal may be a safe space where it is safe to write whatever comes to the surface. For others, it may be a private room to cry in or an open field where screaming is welcome. Releasing emotions diminishes their intensity by grounding the energy back into the Earth.
In the case of emotional numbness, paying attention to bodily tension can be a good start. Bioenergetics is a form of therapy that combines mind and bodywork to help resolve unconscious emotional blockages and psychological imbalances. It is all about looking at the body to uncover emotional trauma. If you experience a physical habit that creates uncomfortable tension, it could be the embodiment of something deeper, like fear, shame, or betrayal. Tune into different holding patterns in the body and imagine what the body might be saying. What is the underlying emotion that was not allowed expression in the past? How could you physically express that emotion in a way that allows resolution?
For example, if you were not allowed to express anger at a time when you actually felt very angry, the anger will still linger in your subconscious mind and attract more situations that elicit anger. If anger is never acknowledged or appropriately channeled, it will lead us to exhibit passive aggressive behavior, sometimes without even realizing it. Healing occurs from finding a healthy way to embody any anger we may have denied in the past. This could include swinging a baseball bat, singing, or stomping one’s feet.
Containing the Water
“With an excessive second chakra, one feels most alive in intense emotional states. Emotions may range wildly from one state to another within a relatively short time period. In contrast to the isolation of the deficient state, the person with a second chakra excess has an intense need to be connected at all times. There may be an addiction to people and partying, with an inability to be alone, form boundaries, or say no. The excessive second chakra wants constant stimulation, change, and excitement, and may be so oriented toward pleasure that it prevents anything else from being accomplished. The energy needed to fuel the will gets grabbed by the need for immediate gratification. If that gratification could be eventually satisfied it would be fine, but when the cycle becomes addictive, it is never satisfied and always dominates any other urges.” – Anodea Judith, Eastern Body, Western Mind
Excessive attachment to pleasure inhibits growth and breeds addiction. To contain excessive emotional energy, strengthen the body through grounding down. Pay attention to tendencies to overindulge or overreact, and acknowledge your need to transform emotions. Stay tuned for my next blog post to learn more about willpower and transformation.
Balancing Svadhisthana: Finding the Sweet Spot
Balancing this chakra is ultimately about harmonizing the male and female aspects we each possess. It is the embodiment of the divine masculine and divine feminine, Shiva and Shakti, Yin and Yang. The left and right hemispheres of our brains synchronize and the result is perfect creativity and graceful movement. We embrace the sensuality and quality of self that attracts intimate partnerships and enjoyable experiences.
The Artist’s Way is an incredible book for blocked creatives. It offers practical tips to help balance spontaneity and structure, as well as techniques to access creativity.
Looking for a community to safely explore your emotions and express your creativity? Check out the LYF Line Membership as well as our monthly events for some additional support. We are here to help.
Want a physical practice that targets the Sacral Chakra? See if any local studios or gyms offer Yin Yoga, or practice at home. Yin stretches and opens the hips, releasing deeply-held tension. Poses are held for 10-20 minutes at a time. Hip openers are excellent after sitting for multiple hours.
What are your favorite ways of expressing your creativity? What can you do this month to embody water and balance the 2nd chakra ? Let us know in the comments section below.
About the Author:
Renee Williamson is a Blog Writer for The Love Yourself Foundation. She is a New Orleans native who currently resides in Austin, TX and works in Green Construction. She has a degree in Psychology and has studied and taught Yoga for the past 2 years. Renee enjoys traveling, hiking, dancing, cooking, reading, watching movies, and going to live performances of any kind. She believes nature is medicine and that respect for Mother Earth fosters self-respect and love for all beings.