Navigating Kapha Season: Balancing Kapha Dosha During Kapha Season

For the entirety of my adult life, I’ve always felt the call to escape winter’s cold. The shorter, cold, wet/snowy days have never been my thing. I end up feeling foggy, heavy, lethargic, and unmotivated… which just snowballs into more of the same. So each year, I’ve packed up and headed south to Bali or Nicaragua or Mexico or Costa Rica or Thailand. The destination hasn’t always been important, but the heat and the warmth sure have. I’ve learned that if I take the time to listen to the wisdom of my body it will guide me back into balance. My body naturally wants to balance kapha dosha, even during kapha season. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, hop on over to this blog post that talks about the basics of Ayurveda and dosha theory.

Now that we’re on the road, traveling in the RV we seem to be chasing warmer weather, much the same as I have always done, but at a slower pace. We’ve experienced all of nature’s beautiful fury… from giant storms on the Oregon Coast, to monsoon rains in the Redwoods, to snow in Joshua Tree. We’ve experienced her wonder and beauty too… seal pups playing in a calm cove in Florence, the majestic energy of the Redwoods, the first signs of spring in Santa Barbara, hiking on “new to me” trails to discover hidden gems, exploring new cities and visiting familiar ones, and the warmth of the sun on my skin.

This afternoon I’ll throw my yoga mat down in the dust and sand of Joshua Tree N.P. and flow with the sun on my skin and savor every moment.

This is the season of kapha dosha… from the darkness of winter to early spring, soon we’ll begin to transition into pitta and the heat of summer, but for now, we’ll work on balancing kapha dosha. I find this time of the season to be the hardest to navigate, but with the pitta season right around the corner, it’s also exciting. It’s time to shake off the weightiness of winter and invite my energy to return.

Kapha dosha is associated with the elements of earth and water. When it’s in balance, the kapha person is loving, loyal, stable and dependable, but when kapha is out of wack and excessive they can be prone to lethargy, weight gain, and dullness (I’m just going to go ahead and raise my hand here). In Ayurveda, they use opposite qualities to bring balance to the out of balance dosha. If you’re in a season of excess kapha, you would want to incorporate dynamic movement and light, dry, and warming foods and spices into your day.

This time of year, I naturally want to stay inside, eat soup, and cuddle under a giant pile of blankets because I crave the warmth. But as we know, kapha creates more kapha, and I need to move. This winter I took the plunge and signed up for classpass, so I could, gasp, go to CorePower and take a hot yoga class… don’t judge me! While there is no spiritual aspect to a CorePower class there is heat and it does get the blood flowing, which is exactly what I need this time of year. I can weave my meditation practice and spiritual practices into other parts of my day OR invite my yoga practice to be a moving meditation.

Your Guide to Navigating Kapha Season

If you’re also feeling bogged down by kapha, here are my favorite practices to shake off the excess. And if you’re not sure what your dosha is, I really like this dosha quiz from Banyan Botanicals.

1. MOVE YOUR BODY

Yes, you’ve got to move your body. More than you’re naturally inclined to this season. This is the season where we walk the fine line between restoration and rest and doing and building. Do a more strenuous activity… hot yoga or a dynamic vinyasa practice, hop on the stair climber at the gym, do that challenging hike you’ve been eye-balling, but you think is just a little too long/too hard, take up skiing or mountain biking, etc. Do something that gets your heart pumping and blood flowing to clear out stagnation. It will help lift the mental fog while keeping your energy levels up.

If you’re practicing yoga at home, or wondering what type of studio class to seek, a practice to balance kapha dosha would include dynamic movement, lots of standing poses, and perhaps some heating pranayama techniques like kapalabhati, ujjayi, or surya bhedana (solar breath). If you prefer a guided practice at home, check out this dynamic, energy building prana vayu class on my YouTube channel.

kapha season yoga practice

2. TAKE TIME TO SLOW DOWN

This is a natural season for slowing down and laying the foundation for the season ahead, so take this time to meditate, create, learn new skills, clear out clutter, and set yourself up for success. Because when you feel the shift in energy you’re going to want to do it all. But don’t let this time for slowing down take over your life. Just a few minutes a day is enough.

ayurveda doshas spices

3. EAT WARMING SPICES

Think cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cayenne, and cloves. Drink hot chai, golden mylk, and warm water with lemon and cayenne. 

4. EAT WARM FOODS

If you’re feeling chilled, eat warm food that’s easy to digest like hot soups, sauteed or roasted veggies and stirfries. Avoid heavier foods, like dairy, nuts, and fats (it’s so hard to cut back on avocado). If your digestive fire is still going strong, and spring is near, feel free to start incorporating more raw veggies and salads in your diet.

5. GET OUTSIDE

This is tricky, especially if you’re like me and HATE being cold. I will do almost anything to avoid being cold! LOL. But when the sun is out, get your booty outside and get those sweet rays of Vitamin D on your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun on your cheeks… in moderation, of course, no sunburns! Enjoy a cup of coffee in the sunshine, go for a walk/hike, or take a few moments to stretch it out.

april-2018-yoga-surf-retreat-nicaragua

6. CAN’T TAKE THE COLD AND WET OF KAPHA SEASON? TRAVEL SOMEWHERE WARM

If you have the means, take a few days, a weekend, a week, or a month and go somewhere warm! Seriously, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Take a weekend in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs (there are tons of hot spring resorts here) or Sedona. Take a long weekend and go to Mexico. Have more time? Head further south… Nicaragua has amazing beaches, jungles, and islands… and it’s freakin cheap, same with Thailand. Just do it. You’re worth it. It will give you something to look forward to and will maybe even motivate you to keep moving your body throughout the winter.

7. SELF-CARE

There are so many ways that we can practice self-care and I know that the ones I’m about to mention aren’t that exciting, but they’re easy to include in your daily (or weekly) routine and have big results.

Give dry brushing a try… it helps improve circulation and you’re exfoliating your beautiful skin. It’s a win-win. You can find dry brushes at most health food stores. I’m on the road and I don’t have space for a dry brush, so I use a shower loofah that has a loofah scrubber on one side and the mesh side for soapy tasks… it works double duty for me. You can also find dry brushing gloves. Just a few minutes before you hop in the shower is enough.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE self-massage or abhyanga. Use a warming oil like sesame and set aside 15 minutes to give your body and nervous system a little TLC. Put an old towel down on the bathroom floor, strip down and give your entire body a massage. Use long strokes on your long bones and circles on your joints. This practice is super calming for the nervous system and such a beautiful way to practice self-love.

Kapha’s tend to be more mucus-y and prone to colds/congestion, so tongue scraping is another practice I recommend for kaphas and especially during this cooler kapha season. With tongue scraping, you’ll scrape off all that extra gunk that’s hanging out on your tongue. I use a copper one that I found for a steal on Amazon.

Wow, I know I just shared a lot of info here. If you want to learn more about Yoga and Ayurveda, check out my upcoming 300 hour yoga teacher training. You’ll learn how to incorporate Ayurvedic theory into your class planning for specific doshas, the different seasons, times of day and even seasons of life.

You Can Preorder The Little Book of Mudra Meditations Now

Hey beautiful yogis! I’m so ridiculously excited to announce that my book The Little Book of Mudra Meditations: 30 hand Gestures for Healing is finally available for presale on Amazon. It still feels surreal to have a book available for sale on Amazon. It’s still sinking in.

This book was written for you. The writing is honest and real, without too much “woo”. It’s meant for anyone seeking more wellness in their life, not just yoga teachers and yogis. That being said, yoga teachers will love having the mudras and meditations already paired… it makes prep time for class, so much faster!

Nowadays I always practice meditation with a hand mudra, I just can’t imagine it any other way. The mudra meditations in this book are actual meditation practices that I practice and teach.

I would love to share an excerpt from the book and one of my favorite mudras with you. Sukham Mudra is so good for stress relief. If you’re like me and juggling multiple projects and trying to maintain a healthy, easeful, joyful life… give this mudra a try!

“In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Patanjali says, “Sthira-sukham asanam,” or
“Our seat should be both steady and easeful.” This sutra, however, applies not only to our meditation practice, but also life as a whole. For many of us,
we’re overscheduled, overtasked, overstimulated, exhausted, burned out,
stressed out, and no longer connected to the cycles and rhythms of nature.

Sukham is all about creating ease, happiness, harmony, flow, and joy.
It’s about creating time to slow down and get present with our essence,
with our truth.”

Take this mudra outdoors, sit and breathe and be still. With each cycle of breath allow your body to soften and release the tension, stress, and worry of the day.

If you would like to learn more about mudras, you can snag your copy on Amazon now. It’s available for presale! If you bring it on retreat or to a teacher training, I’ll even sign it for you! 😉

Love and Light,

Autumn

mudra meditations book

Burn the F’n Boats

I’m sorry. I went dark for a few months. I didn’t go to a dark place, don’t worry, but I’ve been absent from all the “things” recently. I’ve been absent from Facebook, email, and even my beloved Instagram. And it has been glorious, but I’ve missed hearing about your summer trips and all of the fun things you’ve been up to. This past “winter, spring, and summer” was one of my busiest retreat and teacher training seasons and it was important for me to take a pause this month. A very big, delicious pause to rest, recharge and enjoy a bit of summer before buckling down again.

womens yoga retreat in oregon

I want to share a moment of insight I had during the Back to Nature retreats in July. For those of you who have not been on the Back to Nature retreat (yet), on our final night we do a fire ceremony. During the fire ceremony, we let go of old stories and dramas and release our old belief structures (fear, self-doubt, etc.) and turn them over to Spirit, Source, Universe, God. It is both cathartic and healing to burn the ties that bind us… all in a safe, supportive circle of strong, beautiful women. And we call in exactly what we need!

I’ve sat in many circles. I’ve been apart of many fire ceremonies. Each one touches on my heart and my soul in a different, unique, and beautiful way. This time was unexpectedly different. I seem to release the same things over and over again in different layers, like peeling back the layers of an onion or bulb of fennel. And what I released was more of the same patterns I continue to work through, but what I called in was even more important! Straight from my soul, with no filter, with no mask, I asked Spirit to “Burn the F’n Boats!” Yep, I swore in circle and I meant it! I meant it wholeheartedly and I still do.

You might be wondering what the heck do you mean by “burn the boats” and if you know where the saying comes from, you might be even more confused. Why is my yoga teacher talking about war strategy? Sun Tzu shared the strategy in the ancient military treatise, “The Art of War”, Alexander the Great used the strategy when his Greek army arrived in Persia, and as the legend goes, Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez also employed the strategy when he arrived in Mexico in the 1500s. Okay, and…Burning the boats removes the escape plan, the fall back plan, it removes the thought, “well if things don’t work out, I can (fill in the blank with xyz)” Don’t get me wrong, having a plan B is a great idea BUT if our fall back plan isn’t painful enough or scary enough we don’t give our all to achieving our goals, dreams, desires. When plan B is pretty cushy we stay in the status quo, we fall back into old habits, we procrastinate on our dreams, we don’t push as hard through the tough times, we don’t do the hours to make our dreams our reality. Our dreams are ours. Let’s take ownership over them. When you burn the boats you ignite a burning desire to succeed, you light a fire under your own bum! You say YES to living the life you want. A healthier life. A joyful life. An inspired life. You make it priority number one. There is no other choice.

So why am I telling you all this? I’ve always felt like I do a “pretty good job” getting things done, but if I’m really being honest, I spend a lot of my time distracted, messing around on YouTube and social media, cleaning the house when I don’t need to, pinning on Pinterest, excessive planning… when I could be a bit more focused. And this next stage of life requires that I am all in and that I do, in fact, burn the boats! I want to stay connected with my yoga tribe. I want to travel more. I want to spend more time with the people I love. I want to spend more time in nature. So what does that mean?

1) We’re moving… again. (Myself, Steve and our furbabies will be back in Bend in October)

2) Finding Thrive, my online course rooted in Ayurvedic self-care practices and habit evolution launches in January 2020. If you’re feeling stuck with your diet, your sleep, your lifestyle… this course is for you. I don’t even know if I can call it a course because it’s so much more… you’ll learn the tools you need to succeed, you’ll have access to an awesome support tribe (let’s be honest– we can’t do it on our own), and you’ll receive one-to-one and group coaching. <3 More details will be available by the end of September.

3) Online Yoga Teacher Training starts in February 2020 (If money is tight, please reach out. I will be offering a few spots at a special *very discounted* rate for beta testers. You get to take the online course for cheap, in exchange, you give me feedback about what you liked/didn’t like from each module.) More details will be launching soon.

4) My YouTube channel will be blowing up with new yoga practice videos, meditations, yoga nidras and tutorials, starting ASAP. Check it out!

5) I would love to come visit you and maybe even host a workshop at your favorite local studio. <3 Nowhere is off-limits. Email me!!!

6) My 2020 Retreat schedule is coming together nicely.

Love and Light,

Autumn

Manipura Chakra: Confidence and Personal Power

third chakra manipura chakra navel chakra
Image by freepik.com

Manipura = Dwelling place of gems
Mani = jewel or gem
Pura = dwelling place

The third chakra, Manipura Chakra, is known as the power center and it is located at the front of the spine in the region of the solar plexus and navel. It rules our personal power, will, and autonomy, as well as our metabolism. It is responsible for the digestion and assimilation of food and it corresponds to the stomach, upper intestines, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, pancreas, adrenal glands, spleen and mid back.

When Manipura chakra is healthy, this chakra brings us energy, effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power. We are confident and focused while possessing strength, fortitude, and determination.

The third chakra develops in our teenage years as we begin to develop our own identity. The issues that arise here involve our development of personal power, autonomy, self-esteem, individuality, and the fulfillment of our dreams.

The ego arises in the third chakra along with our desire for authority, respect, identity, recognition and power. The overactive third chakra gives rise to egotism, pride, selfishness and the desire for control.

Image: Freepik.com

Manipura Chakra at a Glance:

  • Location: Front of the spine at Navel or Solar Plexus
  • Element: Fire
  • Color: Yellow
  • Lotus: Ten Petaled
  • Bija Mantra: RAM
  • Aspects: Vision, form, ego, willpower, determination, confidence
  • Sense: Sight
  • Vayu: Saman
  • Planet: Sun (solar)
  • Kosha: Pranamaya

Manipura Chakra’s Ten Petaled Lotus

The ten petals of Manipura chakra are associated with ten different aspects of Braddha Rudra, otherwise known as Old Shiva. Braddha Rudra is the deity associated with the third chakra. The ten petals represent ten forms of vrittis or mental modifications. These mental modifications include:

  • spiritual ignorance
  • thirst
  • jealousy
  • treachery
  • shame
  • fear
  • disgust
  • delusion
  • foolishness
  • sadness.

Manipura Chakra and the Element of Fire

The third chakra’s element is fire. Fire provides both light and heat. Just as the sun is the source of life within our solar system, similarly, manipura chakra is the center of life within our own bodies. The fire of manipura chakra is our source of vitality and transformation. It is also linked with our digestion and assimilation of nutrients, thoughts and information and it is deeply related to hunger, thirst, sleep, lethargy, and ojas (radiance).

The Bija Mantra for Manipura Chakra

The bija mantra or seed sound for Manipura Chakra is RAM. When chanted it guides Kundalini shakti up toward the third chakra and increases the flow of prana (life force) to the solar plexus region.

When chanted repeatedly, the sound RAM creates a vibration at the navel center and may help improve digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Chanting RAM also helps coax Kundalini shakti up out of Muladhara and Svadisthana chakras and up into the sushumna nadi, our central channel. The seed sound RAM helps us cultivate the courage, support and drive to achieve our goals.

Lakini Devi and the Solar Plexus Chakra

Like Braddha Rudra, the goddess Lakini Devi, or Bhadra Kali, is linked to the third chakra. Bhadra Kali is the compassionate, benevolent form of the goddess of destruction, Kali. She is beautiful. She holds a fire pot, representing agni; one hand is holding the abhai mudra, a hand mudra for fearlessness and boons; she holds a thunderbolt that represents the continual flow of energy; and she holds an arrow to represent the upward flow of energy and the energies of accomplishment, freedom, independence, and authority. She encourages us to set goals and concentrate on what we need to do to achieve them.

An Out of Balance Third Chakra

Dysfunction in Manipura chakra manifests as many emotional issues associated with trust, fear, intimidation, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-responsibility, self-respect, care of oneself and others, decision making, fear of rejection, and sensitivity to criticism. Fears related to Manipura are fears of rejection/failure, criticism, and judgment.

To heal the third chakra one must learn to honor oneself, to develop self-respect and healthy self-esteem. In third chakra development, we learn about and understand our relationship with our selves, how we stand on our own two feet, and how we take care of ourselves. In Carolyn Myss’s book Anatomy of the Spirit she states, “How we feel about ourselves, whether we respect ourselves, determines the quality of our life, our capacity to succeed in business, relationships, healing and intuitive skills.” Isn’t this the truth?!?!?

When we’re down on ourselves it affects every aspect of our lives and sometimes it can be hard to pull ourselves out of that rut. When we lack confidence, self-love and self-respect we give our power away to others… those we see as higher than us and sometimes even to our partners. Myss continues, “Given your particular body, environment, and beliefs, will you make choices that enhance your spirit or those that drain your power into the physical illusion around you?… the third chakra will cause you to evaluate your sense of power and self in relation to the external world.” And you will face these challenges again and again until you’re secure in your self-worth.

A Balanced Manipura Chakra

When healthy and balanced the third chakra manifests characteristics of healthy self-esteem, self-respect, ambition, discipline, the ability to take action, and the courage to take risks. When the third chakra is healthy one is generous, acts ethically and with integrity.

Practices to Balance the Third Chakra

Acts of Service (Seva)

Selfless acts and acts of charity help to balance the overactive third chakra. Selfless acts are those that are done without expectation of reward, recognition or anything in return. So often we get stuck ourselves stuck in the mindset of serving ourselves, but when we learn how to selflessly serve others, that is when the real magic happens.

Enhance your inner power

When we choose to work on developing our inner power the influence of the external world loses its grip on us. When we are living in accordance with our dharma, aligned with the intelligence of our higher self, we strengthen not only our inner power, but also our energetic field, we increase our sense of self-worth and we start weeding out the energy vampires and negative people in our lives. Stop giving your energy away for free!

Start Facing Your Fears

Use techniques like fear setting to overcome your fears and start building your confidence. I’m not sure who came up with the idea of fear setting, but it’s a great way to start really moving forward. According to Tim Ferris, fear setting is, “An operating system for thriving in high stress environments. It’s a way to visualize all the bad things that could happen to you, so you because less afraid of taking action.” Work through your fears and you’ll find yourself less fearful, empowered, healthy, and successful.

Courage to take leaps and follow through. Now that the fear setting is done, start making changes.

Get over needing to be comfortable and secure. Yes, I said that. Anytime we try something new, go someplace new there is a bit of discomfort. Embrace it. It’s speaking to you. Notice what is coming up. Notice your judgements and your expectations. Notice how your body is responding to the discomfort. Take a deep breath and do it anyway.

Examine your beliefs.

Get out your journal and answer the following questions: What beliefs do I have about myself? Are they true? What beliefs do I have about my abilities? What am I good at? What brings me joy? How can I do more of that? What small steps can I start today to bring more awareness to my third chakra and its qualities? Do I believe in myself? You have got to have faith in yourself!!! You are strong! You are loved! You are worthy!

Accept responsibility for your actions.

Own your actions. Own the good and the bad. Celebrate your wins. Learn from your mistakes. Apologize when necessary. Keep going.

Use Visualization

Visualize your best life ever, your “happy and complete” life. Envision your next version of you. How does he/she behave? How does she live? What relationships does he/she have? What are they like? What are his/her strengths? What does her day/week/year look like?

Goal setting

Plan it out. I personally swear by The 12 Week Year, but use any goal setting technique that resonates with you. Just make sure to break those goals down into smaller actionable, measurable goals. Small wins will help to build confidence in your ability to achieve your goals.

Do Strengthening Practices.

pilates for manipura chakra

Do a stronger yoga practice to stoke the inner fire. Lift weights. Do pilates and other core exercises. These practices will help you build confidence in your physical abilities, in addition to helping you feel great in your body.

My favorite Manipura chakra yoga practices include:

  • Plank, side plank, forearm plank
  • Crow pose and other arm balances
  • Inversions
  • Boat pose
  • Strong standing series with Warrior Poses and Balancing Poses
  • Twists to invigorate samana vayu
  • Kappalabhati and/or Bhastrika pranayama techniques
  • Lunges
crystal healing

Crystals for Manipura Chakra

  • Tiger’s Eye (protection, grounding and cleansing)
  • Citrine (self-healing, increases energy and drive)
  • Sunstone (improves intuition and authenticity, dissipates fear, alleviates stress, increases vitality and encourages independence. It may be helpful to those who have difficulty saying “No”.)
  • Amber (boosts confidence and improves mental clarity)
  • Yellow and Orange Calcite (creative and sexual energy and increases confidence)
  • Yellow Jasper (protection, balance and activation of Manipura chakra)
  • Pyrite (a stone for prosperity, it also encourages looking within)
  • Lemon Quartz (optimism)

Svadhisthana Chakra: Creation and Sexuality

Second Chakra basics

Svadhisthana Chakra or Sacral Chakra

Sva – “self” or “prana”
Adhistana – “dwelling place” “abode” or “seat”

The Svadhisthana Chakra is the Dwelling Place of the Self. It is our second chakra and it is located at our sacrum. It generates our sense of personal identity and psychological boundaries and governs our sensuality and our ability to connect deeply with others.

When Svadhisthana is open and healthy we feel passionate, worthy, vibrant, playful, and full of life. We feel creative, sensual, desirable, and we are able to express our emotions. We feel comfortable in your own skin and in our sexuality.

The second chakra starts to develop around age seven when the child begins to explore their power of choice, their individuality, and they start to form relationships of their own.

Svadhisthana Chakra is characterized by our need for relationships. Relationships are spiritual messengers… they teach us the lessons we need to thrive. Relationships teach us about our strengths and our weaknesses. They shine the light on our habitual patterns and opportunities for growth. We learn how to interact consciously with others, to nurture the relationships with those that support our growth and to discard the relationships that hold us back.

Svadhisthana Chakra at a Glance:

  • Location: Sacrum and reproductive organs
  • Element: Water
  • Color: Orange/Vermillion
  • Lotus: Six Petaled
  • Bija Mantra: VAM
  • Aspects: Procreation, family, fantasy, creativity, sexuality
  • Sense: Taste
  • Vayu: Apana
  • Planet: Mercury
  • Kosha: Pranamaya

Need a chakra primer? Check out these two articles introducing the chakras.

Introduction to the Chakras

Seven Chakras Every Yogi Must Know

sacral chakra intimacy sensuality

Svadhisthana holds our feelings around intimacy, worthiness, sensuality, creativity, and desires. It is associated with our ability to maintain our sense of self in our relationships and interactions.

In Anatomy of the Spirit, Carolyn Myss defines the strengths of Svadhisthana as, “The ability and stamina to survive financially and physically on one’s own and to defend and protect oneself; the “fight or flight” instinct; the ability to take risks; the resilience to recover from loss whether of family members, partners, property, occupation, or finances; the power to rebel and reestablish a life and personal and professional decision-making ability and talent.”

Svadhisthana Chakra is characterized by the power of choice, the law of cause and effect. “Every choice we make contributes a subtle current of our energy to our universe, which is responsive to the influence of human consciousness.” Svadhisthana is associated with the unconscious mind and is considered the storehouse of our samskaras. Past experiences directly influence our attitudes and how we behave and react today, whether we remember those experiences or not.

“All the attachments by which we maintain control over our external lives, such as authority, other people, or money, are linked through this chakra to our energy field and physical body. The illnesses that originate in this energy center are activated by the fear of losing control.” Caroline Myss

When Svadhisthana Chakra is Imbalanced

An imbalanced sacral chakra can cause low libido, feelings of low vitality, reproductive problems (ovarian cysts, endometriosis, testicular or prostate disease), joint problems, back pain, urinary tract problems, constipation, IBS, muscle spasms, and dehydration.

On an emotional level, you may have trouble connecting with others, you may feel disconnected, your emotions may be unstable, you may express feelings of shame or guilt, you may struggle with vulnerability or experience lack of self-control and/or creativity.

A lot of heavy fears are also associated with our second chakra, from losing control to being dominated by a person, event or circumstance.

When the Second Chakra is overactive we may be attached to pleasure and suffer from addiction, gluttony, greed, obesity, hormone imbalances and/or restlessness.

An underactive Second Chakra often manifests as depression, decreased sex drive, feeling stuck, or a lack of passion and creativity. Its cause? Spending too much time focused on practicalities and not giving ourselves time to experience pleasure in its many forms.

Skip to the last section to find out how to bring your second chakra back into balance.

Svadisthana Chakra and the Water Element

Water is life-giving. Did you know that up to 60% of the adult human body is made of water and about 71% of Earth’s surface is water? As humans, water is present in our blood, mucus, urine, saliva, lymph and other body fluids as well as in our brain, heart, lungs, skin and it’s even in our bones… it’s everywhere.

Water is intimately connected with the moon… think of the tides of the ocean, which are connected to the lunar cycle. I’m sure you’ve also experienced the influence of the waxing and waning of the moon on your own body chemistry and emotions.

svadhisthana chakra flow

According to Harish Johari, the “lunar energy is evoked when the water element (which is dominant for 16 minutes in each nasal breath cycle of one hour) is accompanied by breathing dominated by the left nostril. Left nostril breathing activates Ida Nadi, which is lunar in nature. When the Ida Nadi is activated, it stimulates the right hemisphere of the brain, which is related to emotional behavior. Thus, in this chakra, we see the relationship between water, the moon, emotions, and the psyche.”

To awaken Svadisthana embody fluidity and flow in your movements, your mind and your breath.

The Svadhisthana Yantra and the Six-Petaled Lotus

The Svadhisthana Chakra is symbolized by a six-petaled lotus. As stated in the Mahanirvana Tantra, the six petals of Svadhisthana represent six mental modifications or vrittis:

  • Affection (indulgence)
  • Suspicion
  • Disdain
  • Delusion
  • Destructiveness
  • Pitilessness

The Bija Mantra for the Sacral Chakra

The bija mantra or seed sound for Svadhisthana Chakra is VAM. When chanted it guides Kundalini shakti up to the second chakra and increases the flow of prana (life force) to the second chakra.

The Second Chakra and Our Sense of Taste

When Svadhisthana Chakra is healthy, food is eaten not just for sustenance, it is enjoyed.

Svadhisthana Chakra and Apana Vayu

Svadisthana is associated with Apana Vayu. Apana is the Vayu that expels semen from the male organ and urine from the urethra, it is the energy behind passing a bowel movement and that which pushes the baby from the womb during birth. Think of “down and out” as the flow of Apana Vayu.

Tips and Practices for Svadhisthana Chakra

So now that we know more about the Svadhisthana Chakra, how do we bring it back into balance or keep it in balance?

Tips for an Underactive Second Chakra

If you’re feeling uninspired and you lack passion, make time to experience pleasure or joy. Paint, hike, draw, dance, create, swim in the sea, have sex, self-pleasure.

Try something new. Take a dance class. Learn martial arts. Do yoga. Tap into your artistic side. Prepare food for friends and family.

Tips for an Overactive Svadhisthana Chakra

If you’re feeling unable to control your physical desires or addiction, work on practicing brahmacharya (moderation — in it’s most modern translation). You may also choose to seek the help of a professional.

Much of the healing for the second chakra comes from healing past traumas. Now is the time to do the work and to heal. You can work with a professional, find guides online, or even journal. Journaling is an amazing practice to let go of past traumas and their associated pain, shame and guilt.

Tips and Practices for Anyone Interested in Healing Svadhisthana

Take a warm bath. No distractions. No phone. No kids/partners/pets. Time just for you. Bonus: add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. These oils are all great for the second chakra: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemongrass, Geranium, Rose, Ylang-Ylang, Jasmine, Neroli, Clary Sage and Patchouli.

Practice abhyanga or Ayurvedic self-massage. After your warm bath put an old towel down on the bathroom floor and oil yourself up with warming sesame oil. Use long strokes on your long bones and circular motions on your joints. Take your time and enjoy it. Or share the experience with a partner.

second chakra massage

Come up with your own second chakra affirmation and write it in your journal, put it on your altar, and on your fridge.

Examples:

  • I am a divine being of light.
  • I embrace my sexuality and its expression.
  • I am alive, connected, and aware.
  • I am a vibrant, creative being of light.

Meditate. A simple sacral chakra meditation is to envision an orange wheel of light spinning at your sacrum. As you envision this orange wheel of light repeat your affirmation.

Crystals for Your Second Chakra

Set an intention to heal your second chakra and create a crystal grid to increase creativity, vitality, confidence, and sexuality. Use:

  • Citrine (self-healing, increases energy and drive)
  • Carnelian (removes blockages that may be causing sexual problems)
  • Orange calcite (creative and sexual energy and increases confidence)
  • Tangerine quartz (raises your vibration, healing after trauma, boosts self-esteem)
  • Milky quartz (let go of overwhelm)
  • Selenite (unblocks stagnant energy and clears negative energy)

If your Second Chakra is overactive you might find it beneficial to create a crystal grid with:

  • Blue or green flourite (emotional balance)
  • Moonstone (creativity, intuition, harmony)
  • Milky quartz (let go of overwhelm)
  • Selenite (unblocks stagnant energy and clears negative energy)

Second Chakra Yoga Sequence

sacral chakra yoga practice

A yoga practice that includes watery, fluid, flowy, primal movements and hip openers will help balance the second chakra.

A lovely yoga practice for Svadisthana Chakra could include:

  • Supta baddha konasana: 3 minutes
  • Figure Four: (5 breaths each side) (rock legs side to side between sides)
  • Come up to Tabletop Pose
  • Cat/Cow x3
  • Flow from Cow Pose to Child’s Pose 3-5x
  • Primal hip circles 3-5x each way
  • Downward Facing Dog: 5-10 breaths → pedal the legs and sway the hips side to side
  • Wave the spine forward from downward facing dog to plank pose 5x
  • Standing forward fold/Ragdoll–> Slow Roll up to Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
  • Surya Namaskar A x3
  • Downward Facing Dog to Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge) to Ardha Hanumanasana (Half Splits)–> Flow between Low Lunge and Ardha Hanumanasana 5x each side
  • Dancing Warrior Sequence: Warrior 2 -> Reverse Warrior -> Side Angle (Flow from Reverse to Side Angle)
  • Malasana 5 breaths
  • Dancing Warrior Sequence above plus Star Pose to Skandasana on the opposite side (flow from right to left 3x) to Runner’s Lunge facing the front and flow between Runner’s Lunge and a modified Pyramid Pose by bending and straightening the front knee (3-5x), drop back knee and add a quad stretch
  • Dancing Warrior Sequence above plus Goddess Pose between Star Pose and Skandasana -> Goddess (eagle arms and rock side to side) -> Wide Leg Forward Fold (5 breaths per pose; R side, then L side)
  • Malasana 5-10 breaths or Crow Pose
  • Warrior 2 -> Reverse Warrior ->Side Angle -> Triangle Pose -> Half Moon -> Ardha Chandra Chapasana
  • Eka Pada Tadasana (standing on one leg with other knee to chest, to Garudasana (Eagle Pose) to Standing Figure Four (like chair pose but with one ankle crossed over the thigh of the opposite leg), return to Tadasana.
  • Lizard (90 seconds) -> Add quad stretch
  • Pidgeon (wave torso up & down 5x)
  • Janu Sirsasana 5-10 breaths each side (wave your spine long on your inhale and soften on your exhale)
  • Gomukhasana 10 breaths on each side
  • Madukasana (Frog Pose or ½ Frog Pose) 10-20 breaths
  • Child’s Pose 5 breaths
  • Dynamic Bridge x3 and hold final round for 7-8 breaths
  • Simple supine twist: 5 breaths each side
  • Savasana: 10 minutes

Do you want to learn more about all the chakras? Check out our free chakra guide. Sign up for the newsletter and I’ll send it over! Option to sign up in the side bar and on the homepage.

XOXO,

Autumn