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. They are constantly seeking new experiences and are the the type to change and transform any technique they learn and improve it, which can agrivate but also complement those of the old school with a strong faith in tradition.

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 rut all the time. 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, 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.

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. When we really love someone then we place no demands on them because Love is not an energy which causes manipulation. It binds us to another person without attachment, which may sound like a paradox, but in my experience Love is not an Attachment which expects, demands or holds onto another person and yet in Love we feel a sense of complete unity with them.

Our past is stored in the hips and sacral area, especially our inner and often hidden attitudes about relationships and also the experiences we have in them; both condition the other. So during healing and letting go of past traumas, our yoga practice can concentrate here (mooladhara & swadhisthana) to release these latent imprints which are preventing our ability to move forward in life and enjoying it to the full.

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, ancient Yoga philosophy says 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 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 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, and fortunately through following the path of healing arts we enlighten the mind through the body.

In a typical Yoga class which concentrates on Swadhisthana chakra, we can practice mindfulness of our thought process during asana practice and recognise 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, which is okay because its a natural force to improve and to evolve but its doing it the right way, the conscious way that matters. 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 purify negative karma, to reduce our desire to belong because we don’t like being alone, and to basically resist the minds habit of desire and aversion, in order that we can increase our inner freedom from which come greater happiness and wisdom. Until we are comfortable with being alone problems will manifest continuously in our relationships with others until we are.

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. In our desire to belong we can lose sight of who we are and whether the person or group is coming from a place of love, because we don’t have the self esteem to avoid losing ourselves and allowing ourselves to be manipulated and even enabling the person or group wanting our allegiance. This part of our mind can be so difficult to challenge because of the deep rooted fear of being alone or abandoned which is the major life lesson this chakra brings us to face, but the truth is that no matter how many people we surround ourselves with, or how much we acquire outwardly the anxiety of desire and dissatisfaction can never really be quenched from an external source.

We can see this very clearly when whatever we are attached to changes and the perceived notion of loss triggers our survival instincts and we worry and panic. This is when the ego self is not yoked to its higher self. The term Yoga actually means unity, referring to the enlightened union 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 and our ultimate goal. The 8 limbs of Yoga are the spiritual path of ascension and if followed will bring you all the happiness, success and love that your ego self is looking for, but it must be yoked to the divine for its only when we have woken up and realise that we are part of an incredible universe governed by a divine mind that we can let go in faith and trust. This mystical relationship between you and the divinity of this amazing life will empower you and enable you to let go of your attachment to people, places and things being a certain way. You may certainly be challenged by uninvited change, but more and more as you walk into the light your power and sense of independence will become less and less dependent. You accept your dependence on the whole not one person or situation staying the same.

Everything changes. In transitory happiness, whatever we get and manage to achieve the desire goes on wanting to keep hold of it, wanting more of it, or onto wanting something else through a state of constant craving and inner restlessness.  However when the energy of swadhisthana and its natural desire for pleasure is balanced through Yoga practice, will and insight, then we are more able to enjoy the company of others and embrace the appetites of the senses in a balanced way. We can let them all in and we can let them all go. We can even do without for a while because we are more complete and self accepting.

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 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 in order to find real happiness and real friendships.

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 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. In spending time alone and developing a relationship with ourselves we come closer to the eternity of a self realised mind and then and only then can we really unite with another person because we are awake. Namaste.

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 energy field of body and mind and shape our character, our points of view, and create physical symptoms of pain and dysfunction. Chakra yoga is like peeling an onion where we gradually uncover the layers of our being and remove the history trapped within our being and causing suffering, and we can keep on unfolding 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