It is a serendipitously rainy summer in Colorado, reminiscent of the three years I spent in the North-Pacific. In the natural world, we see with stark clarity, how the water element of rain is nourishing and revitalizing for our front lawns, rose bushes and herb gardens. It is through the water element that procreation and creativity are possible.
Within the physical body, we invite similar sensations by drawing attention to the second chakra, known in Sanskrit as “Svadhisthana.” It is located in our lower abdominals, genitals and, for women, our wombs, and is the birthplace of our creativity, our passions and our desires; it is intimately connected to the ways in which we find sweetness in our lives. It is said that when our second chakra is in balance, we feel open and expansive, allowing emotions to ease through us without resistance. With open arms we welcome joy, pleasure and passion into our lives and into our relationships. We naturally attune to the feelings, relationships and situations that inspire us to create, and allow ourselves to feel pleasure without guilt.
In many ways our lives are filled with countless moments to feel pleasure – from a mid-afternoon nap, to savoring a cup of herbal tea to wearing comfortable clothing. From a similar space, our lives are often filled with innumerable moments for creativity – from trying a new hair style or cooking a nourishing meal.
The reasons why, then, we choose not to evoke this sweet second chakra can be many; and existing in a dichotomous society that celebrates hard work and self-sacrifice, can make honoring our pleasure principal more challenging. From a Vedic perspective, those individuals who engage in life’s simple pleasures (moderately) are not lazy, self-indulgent or weak, but rather, deeply connected and compassionate. Instead, they practice self-love with diligence, allowing themselves to enjoy the innate experience of living in the physical body.
On our yoga mats, we can honor our second chakra by working with specific movements in our hips and lower abdomen. Postures such as Goddess Pose and Pigeon naturally invite a surrendering and opening of our emotional-power-house – the hips. As we soften into the intensity of these postures, we might find ourselves struck with seemingly sudden tears, frustrations or fears, all of which are natural and okay. While not immediate, the pain inevitably softens into a most yummy opening. We also, can honor this chakra by offering our bodies unconditional nurturance. Perhaps we indulge in a long, hot bath or go swimming in the local pool. Perhaps we simply decide to give ourselves or our loved one, a sweet massage with scented lotions or oils. And perhaps we simply choose to savor something or someone in our lives, for a few sacred moments, and without the obligatory guilt.
By nurturing our second chakra, we are choosing to nurture our deepest and most authentic passions. We are choosing to share our creativity with the world and to taste the sweetness of living in the physical body.