Chakra 2 – Swadhisthana (Sacral)

Swadhisthana is the second or sacral chakra and like mooladhara it is related to the unconscious mind, but here the seat of the self begins to emerge. Swadhisthana actually means ‘dwelling place of the self’. It is closely situated just behind and above mooladhara, being located at the coccyx base at of the spine, or approximately 1 inch above the pubic bone at the front of the body. Swadhistana chakra is related to the element of water and like the nature of water it provides those qualities, enabling movement, change and flexibility to the body and mind.

Swadhisthana chakra is very important in self development, with it being the storehouse to all our personal impressions and habits from past actions. Yoga philosophy states that the energy of swadhisthana is the stream and connective thread through not only this life but all our previous lives to. Its energy contains all our personal tendencies, past impressions and experiences of body and mind (samskars), whereas the energy of mooladhara chakra contains our biological and genetic inheritance to our past ancestors and provides our essential source of vital earth energy.

The sense associated with swadhisthana is taste, the sense organ is the tongue and the organs of activity are the sexual organs, kidneys and entire urinary system. Therefore swadhisthana is largely responsible for purification of all bodily fluids through the kidneys, bladder and lymph system, and for the continuation of life through the sex organs and glands of reproduction. It governs the gonads and production of sexual hormones and therfore has a very strong influence upon our moods and emotions. Swadhisthana is also linked to the mobility of our joints and especially the hip joints and pelvic area.

The instinct for survival and material security is sought through mooladhara and although the function of swadhisthana chakra is also linked to these, its emphasis is more on sexual activity and relationships which nurture survival and make life easier. It has a stronger sense of pleasure and enjoyment for the self, whereas mooladhara is pure survival mode. Swadhistahana energy is very creative and manifests through a desire for sex, for relationship, for food and drink, for material comforts and is the energy of mind which finds great pleasure in them. The driving force of this very creative energy is continuation and is largely involved with forming sexual relationships.

Through the accelerated development that comes through our yoga practice we come to a greater self awareness and through this increased wisdom we come to accept ourselves more and our personal history which completes who we are. Through self acceptance we have the grounded freedom to unite more easily with another person without hurting ourselves or them. So purifying the experiences stored on the continuum of swadhisthana and also mooladhara chakra is vital for our well-being in relationships with others. Wisdom of the chakra system allows us to uproot the unconscious learned behaviours and the patterns of dysfunction trapped within our being, so that we may become more and more empowered.

Swadhisthana is considered a femminine energy and often depicted symbollically as a flowing river when active and a crescent moon when inactive. Mooladhara equates to the urgent raw power inherent in the colour red, but swadhisthana is more refined through the joyful nature inherent in the colour orange. Being emotional in nature and related to the element of water, swadhisthana energy is normally fluid, spontaneous and can be very unpredictable sometimes. For this reason the animal associated to this chakra is the crocodile, denoting its hidden dangers just below the waters surface.

In its natural state swadhisthana brings a joyful and spontaneous expression to the self, through activities such as dance, rhythmic movement, exercise and art. The creative character of swadhisthana needs to expres itself, to bring out the inner potential and actualise it in form, which makes them natural artists, performers and inventors. The nature of this chakra is constantly seeking new experiences and new challenges because the intensity of their creative nature needs an external stimuli to bring out their artistic best. At work they are the natural inventors and will probably change and transform any technique they learn and improve it, which can aggrivate but also complement those of the old school with a strong faith in tradition (mooladhara types)

Through being related to the element of water, swadhisthana chakra has a flexible, aesthetic and inventive nature that can help us adapt to new situations. Like water it can help us move over, under or around the obstacles of life. If this chakra is blocked we will find it hard to make changes to our life and to certain patterns of behaviour and will probably feel stuck in a cycle which does not bring us the love and well-being we are seeking. We may hold on consciously or be totally unaware of our sub-conscious holding onto the fears which prevent us from unfolding and evolving into the wonderful people we have the potential to be. Sacral chakra issues can be carried through from previous lives, but whether in this life or the many before it doesn’t matter because dealing with the pattern or symptoms presented in the present moment will work on the causes. Blockages here will hinder our natural abilities of movement and development in the physical body especially the hips and our flexibility. These hindered abilities of movement and development or the ability to change will also manifest in the personality and every level of being. Blockages in Swadhisthana will also create problems of intimacy, sexual relationships and maintaining relationships.

Our past is stored in the hips and sacral area, especially our inner and often hidden attitudes about sex, self esteem and relationships and these issues (or instinct) can be aroused during specific rituals in yoga practice and released, because accessing the subconscious mind is made so much more easy through conscious breathing within controlled stretches; plus we are giving our yoga flow an intention to achieve a desired outcome and thus taking more and more control of our body mind system and experiencing greater feelings of empowerment and happiness by the day. During healing and letting go of past traumas, our yoga practice can concentrate here (mooladhara & swadhisthana) to release the latent imprints which are preventing our ability to move forward in life, exploring our potential and enjoying it to the full.

So how to repair the damaged instinct and function of this wonderful chakra is key to our happiness and health. Being able to let go is essential. We can hold onto a past experience and become like a stagnant pond, or we can enjoy the inner freedom of being able let go and move on ever forward like a fresh free flowing and life giving stream, ready for new opportunity and adventure. Through our will power and yoga practice we can release these deep inner blockages, learn from them and transcend them to become more loving in our relationships and productive in the world.

Swadhisthana is also governed by the moon and tides and like the tides which flow in and out, its nature can fluctuate between the opposing tendencies of desire and aversion towards people and various situations. It can be very volatile and also a very strong instinct to tame unless governed by sustained insight and willpower. Unless previously disciplined Yoga philosophy states that desire and self gratification can be a real block for many practitioners to overcome, because the desire for comfort and the energy of attachment is normally a very strong aspect of human nature. In many cases its even encouraged and manipulated through social media and accepted as a social norm.

Through a deep tendency of attachment to the things we want in life and aversion to the things we would rather avoid, we suffer with anxiety, anger, jealousy and fear. This craving mind of attachment is the root cause of most tensions embedded deep into the human energy system and which now manifest as various symptoms of illness, allergies and imbalances in the body and mind. To cure the body we need to cure and enlighten the mind. Fortunately through following Yoga we have a proven scientific framework that we can use to enter deep into the human body, into the multi-layered human energy field to discover a level of consciousness pervading each one that also contains trapped distorted vibrations of energy which are actually being held there by a state of mind. Usually by a negative experience that got into our sub-conscious and created a negative pattern of thinking and behaving in response. So our journey of self development is actually an inner one, as we come to know ourselves more and more through going deeper into the body in our yoga practice and actualising the Self..

In a typical Yoga class which concentrates on Swadhisthana chakra, we can practice mindfulness of our thought process during asana practice and observe recurring patterns. Swadhisthana is linked to attachment, manifesting as desire and aversion and typical ways these states arise during asana practice is the desire to be more flexible and then pushing starts, which can create injury and basically lack the grace and enjoyment from working with who we are, what and where we are. This wanting mind always wants to be somewhere else other than the present moment, always wants to be like someone or something else. So when we catch this habit, we can take a breath and instead of pushing we let go, instead of wanting we release, instead of thinking we feel and breathe into the moment, into the still point. Then our desires are met and the instinctual drives behind our pushing are pacified and awareness is liberated. We arrive into a conscious state of being and have found what we were looking for. In dealing with this pushing in our asana practice we can liberate ourselves from an unconscious tendency driving our every waking moment and the underlying basis of our anxiety and unhappiness.

From Yoga on the mat we then bring our practice of Yoga into our daily activities. Having set our intention in our Yoga class, we then keep that intention throughout the day, or maintain the awareness that what follows (the day ahead) is strongly influenced by what came before. If we practice purification with a particular intention in our Yoga class, then in our daily life we will meet with circumstances which make this a reality. We can see all situations and circumstances as an ideal opportunity to grow and stop running from ourselves with one distraction after the next, to learn to accept ourselves, to listen to ourselves and become more comfortable with our qualities and expressing them.

Meditation shows us that we are already whole and complete, but the mind that is not centred within itself always feels incomplete, not quite right, that there is always something missing somehow. This anxiety is common and its also common to grasp onto people, places and things to make us feel more secure, albeit temporarily. The term Yoga actually means unity, referring to the path and the goal towards achieving a more enlightened unity within oneself, between the transitory ego self of this life and the divinity within oneself and all things. This state of Yoga or Self realisation is seen as the primary evolutionary instinct of human nature held in Sahasrara Chakra calling out the kundalini snake in Mooladhara for blissful union.

The 8 limbs of Yoga are the spiritual path of ascension. In serious Yoga practice they are trying to awaken the kundalini in Mooladhara chakra and cause it to rise up through the chakras, the spine and into the brain and fully awaken its dormant centres. Each chakra is a level of consciousness, and when the kundalini (cosmic power) passes through them it purifies and awakens that particular chakra and we spontaneously attain certain higher qualities of mind. It may happen quickly but it usually takes some time to fully awaken Swadhisthana chakra and to understand the nature of duality emanating from our perceptions. We don’t need to go anywhere but just practice mindfulness throughout the day and observe the craving mind and just how much we are pushed and pulled by the impulses of desire and aversion from moment to moment outside of meditation. This habit creates all of our problems, all factions in groups, the subtle prejudices which stifle them and is the blockage a peaceful warrior must face.

Fortunately Yoga is a path of gradual awakening from this dream and really does help any person develop the power to resist these strong habits and enjoy an ever increasing freedom, inner health and happiness. We begin to see that our sense of truth is often relative, in that we believe someone or something to be a certain way and this perception then creates our feelings, our desires and aversions of that particular person or situation. Yet we often come to realise later though that our thoughts were an incorrect assessment and then our feelings and sense of truth about it change. We can move beyond this through will and the practice of meditation especially. In meditation we train our mind to become soft but strong, to remain constant and rise above the habit energy of attachments and their ideas, until they dissipate into emptiness, into the ocean of peaceful bliss which is and can be the permanent state of our mind and being.

Through studying the science of the subtle energy body and the spiritual philopshy of yoga we will gain an ever deepening insight into the nature of reality and ultimately the root causes of suffering in human nature. When this wisdom is applied to asana, pranayama and meditation we are given highly effective tools which liberate the energy of mind through the vehicle of the body.

Since the moment we were born our willpower has been guiding our actions in this life and they have had outer and inner consequences. The inner consequences are trapped in our own energy field of body and mind and they shape our character, our points of view and also create the physical symptoms of pain and dysfunction. Chakra yoga is like peeling an onion where we gradually uncover and remove the negative history trapped within our being and causing suffering, and we can keep on unfolding like this until we arrive at the emptiness of our centre; the self realised enlightened awareness. Yoga has been passed down to us throughout the ages from enlightened beings and if we apply this wisdom to our practice and our life, we will experience an ever deepening love and blissful freedom.

Keyword Associations

Water, Fertility, Femininity, Emotion, Fluidity, Adaptability, Changing, Creativity, Pleasure, Sexuality, Spontaneity – Joints, Reproductive & Urinary system, Sexual Organs, Uterus, Bladder, Kidneys – Tongue, Taste