Now we come to the second Chakra. Known as Svadisthana Chakra in Sanskrit and the Sacral Chakra in English. Svadisthana means “sweetness” and its element is water.
This Chakra is located in the lower abdomen and sacral nerve plexus. It holds sway over the womb, genitals, kidneys, bladder, and circulatory system. Because of its close proximity to the Root Chakra, you will often see overlap in descriptions. Some practices put the reproductive organs or sexual health within the first Chakra system, others within the second. Other practices will put over/under eating in the second Chakra. As with all things, what makes the most sense to you within your own exploration is the right thing. None of us are the same, and I think the reality is these two Chakras work very closely together.
The color most often association with this Chakra is orange, although my own Sacral Chakra often presents itself to me as magenta. While the first is traditional, your own exploration will guide you as to your personal truth. Trust what you learn!
The second Chakra is ruled by emotions, which is one reason why so many yoga classes focus on hip openers: in releasing the hip, one can release old, stuck emotions that are no longer needed. Other issues that come into play with Svadisthana include movement, sensation, sexuality, desire, need and pleasure. We see that from the basics of survival in the Root Chakra, we move on to the things that make surviving worthwhile.
When one has a balanced Sacral Chakra, one can expect to be comfortable in one’s own body, emotional intelligence, a willingness to have pleasurable experiences, healthy boundaries, and finds change to be worthwhile.
A deficient Chakra exhibits physical and mental rigidity, a fear of intimacy, poor social skills, excessive boundaries, and a fear of change. An overactive Chakra is characterized by the presence of addictions, weak or non-existent boundaries, emotional dependency and/or over-attachment, and using sex as a tool or crutch.
The greatest traumas associated with this Chakra include sexual abuse/violation of any kind, emotional abuse, gaslighting, and any kind of moral/ethical severity that restricts or punishes what would be considered otherwise appropriate needs, desires and behaviors.
The greatest demon for this Chakra is that of Guilt. Pleasure in all its forms lives here, and we are taught from a very early age that pleasure = sin. This goes far beyond sexual pleasure; this includes the simple pleasures that make life worth living. We’re damned if we do, and damned if we don’t:
- If you take joy in food, you’re a glutton, but if you don’t clean your plate you’re wasteful.
- If you take joy in how your body looks and feels you are vain, but if you don’t care how you look you are considered lazy or slovenly.
- If you meet your sexual needs outside of a monogamous relationship you’re a slut, however if you choose to follow society’s/your personal beliefs and refrain from certain activities, you’re a frigid tease.
We’ve set things up so we just can’t win. How could we not feel guilty? We as a society have taken our very nature and turned it around so everything we do will make us swim in Guilt.
How does one come to balance their Sacral Chakra? If the imbalances are a result of trauma or addiction – whatever its form – seeking professional help is key. Learning to feel joy and pleasure after having it forcibly removed is a long road and it can be a painful journey. Having guidance and support through the process is extremely important and recommended.
What else can help?
- Movement therapy is useful: belly dance is an inherently Sacral Chakra practice and can help release old emotions and help reconnect with your emotional center. But any dance or movement that will help you reconnect with your body is effective.
- Many Western yoga classes feature a wide range of hip-opening asanas in every class.
- Check in with your personal boundaries: are they strong and flexible? Weak? Non-existent? Impenetrable? Boundary work is something you can do on your own if you feel comfortable, or with a therapist or other professional. Do not be afraid to ask for help if needed.
Finally, there are affirmations/mantra you can use as part of your practice:
- I deserve pleasure in my life
- I embrace and celebrate my sexuality
- My emotions and feelings are valid
- I have the right to my feelings and emotions
The journey through the Chakras can be a rewarding and also difficult experience. It can free you from shackles but also force you to confront aspects of yourself long denied. As always, seek professional help and guidance as needed. Medical professionals and certified counselors are invaluable supports in any journey to recovery.
Looking for more information on gaslighting? Here is a good start:
Urban Dictionary Definition of Gaslighting
Judith, A. (2004). Eastern Body, Western Mind (2nd Edition). Celestial Arts Publishing, Berkeley CA.
Judith, A. (2012). Wheels of Life: The Classic Guide to the Chakra System (2nd Edition). Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury, MN.
Mercier, P. (2000). Chakras: Balance Your Body’s Energy for Health and Harmony. Godsfield Press, New York, NY.