September 18, 2016

Feel Flows

This week we're moving away from the solidity of the earth element to the flowing, fluidity of the water element.  All of my classes this week will focus with the area of the body associated with the water element . . the hips and pelvis.  The energetic centre or chakra associated with this element and body part is Swadhisthana or the sacral chakra.  Swadhisthana loosely translates as "one's own abode."  It's where we feel most comfortable in our own skin.  It is often also referred to as the pleasure centre.  Are you not happiest when you can truly be who you are?  In order to get to this place, however, sometimes we have to work through those feelings and emotions that aren't so pleasant.  The hips and pelvis are commonly referred to as the junk drawer of the body where we store those emotions, experience or traumas that we can't deal with at the time, or we don't know what to do with.  This is were the water element comes in.  Using the breath and movement to help those things that are stuck to get moving or flowing until little by little we pick away at them, experience them and finally let them go.  Feeling the flow of all emotions, both those we label as pleasant as well as those that we associate with unpleasant, helps to create space and clear out that junk drawer.  Come see me sometime this week to get the body moving and flowing and/or use the techniques below to work on your own specifically with this energy centre.

Continuing our work with mandalas, you can either choose one that is associated with this energy centre to colour or draw your own.  The mandala I have included is one that I coloured while I was on a week long silent retreat.  I found the act of colouring calming and worked to still my mind enough that insights came through quite clearly.  Anytime an insight came up I would write it on the back and instead of focusing on it, I would go back to colouring until the next thing came up.  What amazed me was how the insights that came up were things that had to do with this energetic centre. "Mistakes can result in the most interesting colours/experiences."  "It doesn't matter what direction you go first.  It just matters that you take a direction."  "Anything can be changed."

Find a mandala online, in a book or ask me for a copy of this one and get flowing.  A few ways to direct your focus to the sacral chakra include:
  • using circles or crescent moons within the mandala (a crescent moon is one symbol associated with the second chakra)
  • using various shades of orange (the colour of the sacral chakra), blues and black (the colours of the water element)
  • including the seed sound for the sacral chakra (vung/vam) in the picture physically or mentally by repeating this word as you work
  • directing your mind towards Swadhisthana by asking questions or bringing in statements that have to do with this centre and seeing what shows up.  Questions could include:
    • Do I move well through my emotions?
    • How am I different today than I was a year ago?
    • I feel inspired when ______
    • How can I increase joy and playfulness in my life?

For work with the sacral chakra, any poses that target the hips or pelvis is valuable.  This week, we're focusing on either Gomukasana or cow face pose, or Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana or compass pose.  Both are excellent postures for opening the hips, but compass is an extra deep opening for hips, hamstrings and shoulders.  Work at your ability and at your edge, knowing that there are modifications and adjustments for both postures.  


Start in table top position.  Bring the right knee to the centre line of the body, then lift the left knee up and over the right knee placing it beside.  Separate the feet to create space for the pelvis to sit back into the space.  If this is too deep for the hips or knees, or the sit bones don't touch the ground, sit up on a block, place the right foot flat on the floor, or straighten the bottom (the left leg).  You can stay sitting up, or for a deeper stretch start to fold forward.  The spine can either stay straight or can round forward.  

Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana
Start in a simple cross legged position.  Keep the sit bones rooted down as you lift the left leg off the floor.  Bring the left leg as far up on the shoulder as you can get it (positioning the leg as if it's a backpack strap).  Bring the left arm out to the left side and press into the left thigh with the left upper arm.  Grab onto the outer edge of the left foot with the right hand.  Start to straighten the leg, continuing to press the upper left hand into the left thigh.  Open the chest and start to direct your gaze up and towards the right, feeling the chest opening up.  This is quite an intense pose whichever position you end up in, so take it nice and slow and make sure that you warm up before coming into this position.  

Stay in either version or variation for 5-10 breaths and then make your way out.  Do any stretches, counter stretches or flows that you may need in order to release sensations that arise, and then make your way into the other side and repeat.  

For more work or other ways you can work with or activate this second chakra, check out earlier posts labeled 2nd chakra or message me for more details.  Enjoy your week of flowing through your emotions, letting go and finding your bliss.  

See you on our mats,

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