Some months ago I wrote (Part 1 and Part 2) about the root chakra at the pelvic floor and specifically how it can be used, or really how the idea of it can be used and manipulated with the mind and intention, to effect shifts in the physical and energy bodies. That practice is ultimately aimed at facilitating stronger and more easeful energy flow, which I consider one of the main goals of hatha yoga (physical yoga) practices.
As mentioned, my main teachers have that chakra as a huge focus in their asana practice. It, obviously, is not the only energy center in the bodymind AND not the only one that can be “utilized” to good effect. Classically speaking, there are seven main energy centers/chakras in the body, and they are usually spoken of in ascending order. The “2nd” chakra, then, is Svadhisthana chakra, in Sanskrit, often referred to as simply “the 2nd chakra,” or the “sacral chakra,” as a result of its location in physical space, or “sex chakra,” due to one of its main associations. The Sanskrit roots of the name of the chakra literally translate as “sva”=“Self” and “tisthana”=“to stand.” Literally then, we can take it as either “where you stand in yourself” or “where [another] self can stand” i.e. making a baby. Potentially either translation can work to further our understanding.
The purpose of this article is not to expound on what this chakra means and what it relates to as much as how knowledge and awareness of it can be utilized in our practice. We could summarize it as “sensation,” as in exploration of that. There is a plethora of information about this and all the chakras, and it can certainly be used in a meaningful and helpful way, but that’s not what I’m writing about here, and I’m not actually that interested in it. It’s interesting to know, but more importantly to me is what an individual actually FEELS in their bodymind. The bodymind will reveal its secrets and “correcting” issues on that level will directly and immediately impact other areas of our life, just as “correcting” problem areas of our lives will also impact the bodymind.
Different teachers locate the 2nd chakra at different places. Amma, who I consider as my Guru and thus I go with her teaching, says it’s at the level of the tip of the tailbone but inside the body. If we visualize a straight line running from the root chakra to the crown chakra at the top, center of the head, all the other chakras are on that line inside the body. The first person to teach me meditation taught a chakra meditation that located the 2nd chakra at the tip of the penis. He was a swami and he was teaching me, a man, so that works. I always wondered what it would be for a woman. Others have placed it in the middle of the sacrum and at the center of the pubic bone, between which I think is the highest that it should be for the purposes of the exploration that I suggest below.
How I have “discovered” to use the chakras from the 2nd to the 6th (at the 3rd eye) in asana practice specifically is, as far as I know, completely from Divine Grace and intuition. Maybe at some point in all my study of energy, I saw a graphic of what I took as “cones of energy” coming from those chakras, located on the central channel of the body, and then played with the idea in my personal practice. I have looked through all of the books, training manuals and information that I have in my library trying to find the origin of the idea and have found nothing like that, so maybe its a real memory and maybe not. (Isn’t that like memory? Meaning that it’s selective and fraught with inaccuracy, though we believe in and cling SO INTENSELY to its imagined correctness!) Anyway, doesn’t matter, just trying to give full-disclosure.
Some poses lend themselves more to this exploration and the visual of the 2nd chakra is more useful in some poses than others, but this idea is especially good for standing poses, including balancing poses, and poses where we need to align the pelvis in some specific way. While you are reading this, do the visualization just sitting there or standing; whatever position your body is in, it’s a pose. On the mat with a pose such as warrior I or pyramid, we get into the pose in our usual way and then focus the awareness in the region of space of the 2nd chakra, inside at the level of the tip of the tailbone. Then, to help align the body from inside and to fine-tune the alignment, if we can visualize two cones of energy emanating from that location, one going forward and one backward, the tips of the cones meeting on the central channel, then we can possibly notice some shift of the body, which is what we’re after. If the pelvis is tilted, the cones of energy of necessity have also shifted their direction in space, but I’ve found it helpful that they are always approximately perpendicular to the inner, central channel, or take it as the spine.
Most of the time and most poses (notice, not ALL), with all of the “middle” chakras, it seems most helpful to have the two cones of energy have about the same amount of energy as each other, and interestingly, we will probably rarely find that that is actually happening, which points us in the direction we need to work. Even just sitting or standing there reading this, are the cones given even amounts of energy or do you favor one? Are they aimed directly forward and backward or angled off to a side or up or down? Are they in line with each other? People with sacro-iliac joint issues, or other “2nd chakra issues” e.g.. problems around sexuality or menstruation or procreation or bladder stuff, will likely find that there are some serious imbalances or lack of harmony going on with these energy cones. Also if there was some “issue” with the placement of the petals at the root chakra, there will likely be some challenges with the 2nd chakra, too.
But don’t worry. Ever. (It doesn’t help anyway and is just prayer for what you don’t want.) If you don’t know there’s an imbalance, you are limited and driven by it. If you think everything is rosy and perfect, you can’t improve on what’s there.
We can use our mind, focus, attention and loving, nonjudgemental presence to affect change, in the body and “outside.” “Move your mind and attention” means you are “moving your energy. If one cone is not getting as much energy as the other and that doesn’t seem appropriate or feel right in the pose, then that’s the one that is currently needing more loving energy, and you can choose to give it. It’s also important to know that cones are circular, so if the right side, for example, is getting more energy than the left side of a particular cone, then that most likely needs to be addressed at some point for long-term health and happiness. If you have read this far, then I know you are on-board with doing that. Keep going.