January 18, 2016

Flowing to Lightness

The second/sacral chakra, or Swadhisthana in Sanskrit, is about movement and flow.  It’s easy to physically experience this flow within our yoga practice especially with vinyasa flow classes.  Part of the purpose of flowing through vinyasas at various points throughout the practice is to link movement to breath, but also as a way to release stuck or stagnant energy (physical, mental or emotional) that is making it’s way up to the surface as we move.  Getting things up and out, moving and flowing so it doesn’t become stuck or stagnant is the domain of this second chakra.

Physical movement tends to be a bit easier for most people.  Emotional movement is a little bit more difficult.  The second chakra is often referred to as the emotional centre as it is where our emotions are experienced.  Ideally, we want to notice and feel every emotion that comes up.  Only when we feel them can we let them go.  The problem we encounter is that we have learned to label certain emotions as “good” and others as “bad.”  We tend to welcome in the “good” feelings and turn away from the “bad” ones.  All of our emotions offer us valuable insights into what is going on in our lives, what we need or what direction we need to go.  The more we deny or stuff certain emotions down, the more energetically heavy we become.  I’m definitely not saying it’s easy, but if we want to lighten our load, we have to be willing to face and experience every emotion that comes up, knowing that there is a reason we are feeling them. 

Physically the second chakra is located and works with the hip and pelvic region.  The hips tend to be a common physical storehouse for emotional tension, so when working with the hips we tend to experience some sort of resistance which makes them excellent postures to somewhat force us to sit and face those unpleasant things we have stuffed down or turned away from.

Mandukasana (frog) to support and open the Sacral Chakra

Start in tabletop position, and spread your knees as far apart as they will go (fold the mat if you would like some extra cushioning for the knees.)  Bring the hips up so they are in line with the knees, then spread out the ankles so they also come in line with the knees.  Come down to the forearms, or if it’s available lay your chest on the mat.  If this is too intense, bring the feet together so that the big toes are touching and sink the hips back onto the heels to come into a wide-leg child’s pose (tadpole posture.)   This posture is a deep groin and hip opener and is bound to bring up some kind of resistance.  As such, it’s best to stay in this posture for 2-5 minutes allowing you to sit with, notice, feel and then release this resistance and tension. 

Apas Mandala Pranayama for Swadhisthana

*** this breath technique comes from the Gitananda yoga tradition.

This technique involves a simple in and out of the breath done to a count:
  • inhale for a count of 6
  • exhale for a count of 6
Continue this pattern for at least 9 rounds.  If 6 counts feels like too much, you can lessen the count to 5 or 4.  If you want to go a bit deeper, you can increase the count to 7,8 or 9.  Just ensure that the inhale and the exhale have the same count.

Below is an audio recording of this technique along with a visualization that can be used with this breath. 

Feel free to contact me with any questions, and enjoy your week of flow and letting go to lighten your load.

See you on our mats!

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