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.
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
“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.
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)
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.
Come up with your own second chakra affirmation and write it in your journal, put it on your altar, and on your fridge.
- 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
- 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
- Moonstone (creativity, intuition, harmony)
ilkyquartz (let go of overwhelm)
- Selenite (unblocks stagnant energy and clears negative energy)
Second Chakra Yoga Sequence
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:
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 kneeto 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
yourinhale 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.
Does the world seem a little bit cray-cray to you? Because it sure seems nutty to me! I’m like, “Is Mercury retrograde all the freakin’ time now?” But seriously?!?! What is going on? We won’t get into politics because we get enough of that any time we turn on the TV or log in to social media. This past new moon was freakin’ intense and it seemed as though everything went to “hell in a handbasket”… is that how that saying goes? I just wanted to chuck my phone in the trash, lock myself in my room, and never come out.
All of my woes centered around money. Miscommunications about money, people wanting money, refunds and cancelations, taxes … money money money!!!! And it sucked! Our finances and stress about finances are deeply linked to our first chakra, Muladhara. Muladhara chakra is associated with our feelings of safety, security, and survival… and in this day and age money is paramount. So instead of hiding in my bedroom and telling everyone to go away, I chose to give my root chakra a little love. I made a crystal grid for abundance and even called in the Goddess Lakshmi. It was time to do ALL THE THINGS.
Here you’ll be introduced to the qualities of the root chakra and a few practices to give your root and YOU a little tender loving care.
Mul – base
Adhara – Support
The chakras are psychic centers as well as centers of transformation of psychic or mental energy into spiritual energy. There are specific behaviors associated with each of the chakras. Along with our experiences, these behaviors stem from our desires and our attachment to the pleasures associated with each chakra. And our root chakra is tied up with security in job and shelter among other things.
When one’s Muladhara chakra is balanced and healthy one is grounded and calm, they have a strong foundation, they feel supported and connected, they are humble, independent, strong and healthy. They feel generous and have the power to attract abundance.
Muladhara Chakra is the abode of kundalini shakti, the dormant spiritual energy that lies coiled within the first chakra. The practices of yoga coax kundalini shakti out of Muladhara and up the Brahma Nadi. Brahma Nadi, is a spiritual energy channel within Sushumna Nadi. It is within Brahma Nadi that the chakras reside.
Muladhara Chakra at a Glance:
- Location: perineum and coccyx
- Element: Earth
- Color: Red
- Lotus: Four petals
- Bija Mantra: Lam/Lang
- Aspects: Security
- Sense: Smell
- Vayu: Apana
- Planet: Mars
When Muladhara chakra is healthy, one has self-control, physical strength, patience, discipline and the ability to “bear heavy workloads”. When out of balance, one may be obsessed with finding security (including job and shelter). This chakra is also associated with illusion, greed, anger, delusion, avarice, and sensuality. Those with an out of balance first chakra are often self-centered, cruel, and even potentially violent.
Someone who needs to work on their root chakra may find it easy to take direction from others, but not be able to find direction themselves or be able to direct others. They may be humble and respectful to those above them, but harsh to their peers and those they view as “below them”. If their security is threatened they will likely lash out violently like a cornered animal. They may struggle to care for themselves and they often need extra guidance and support.
Other signs that the first chakra may need a little TLC: one may feel like a victim (did you read paragraph two? Hello victim mindset!), be stuck in fight/flight/freeze, one may experience feelings of lack, guilt, overwhelm, anxiety and may also experience insomnia, fatigue, chronic illness or pain.
Muladhara Chakra and The Earth Element
In yogic teachings, the element earth (not the planet) is a combination of the other elements: water, fire, air, and akasha (space or void) and provides stability and security. It is the basis for our physical body, the bones, the flesh, the skin, the Nadis, and body hairs.
In Ayurveda, when the earth element combines with the water element it forms the kapha dosha, which is characterized by mucus.
The Muladhara Yantra and The Four-Petaled Lotus.
As stated in the Mahanirvana Tantra, the four petals of the Muladhara Chakra represent four different vrittis or mental modifications:
- Paramananda the state of greatest joy
- Sahajananada the state of natural pleasure
- Virananda the delight in the control of the passions
- Yogananda the blissfulness in concentration
The Bija Mantra for Muladhara Chakra
The bija mantras are sacred sounds used to invoke the divine energy within the body. The bija mantra or seed sound for Muladhara Chakra is LAM also pronounced LANG. When chanted it creates a lock at the root and prevents the downward flow of energy from Muladhara. The vibration of the chant invites Kundalini up into the Brahma Nadi and when chanted, this mantra deepens concentration, improves awareness, creates inner strength, and also removes insecurities associated with Muladhara.
Muladhara and Our Sense of Smell
Muladhara chakra, the nose and the sense of smell are deeply intertwined. Sweet smells, the smell of homecooked meals, the smell of fresh earth, and earthy essential oils like patchouli, sandalwood, cedarwood, and palo santo are wonderful scents for those working with the root chakra.
Muladhara Chakra and Apana Vayu
Apana is the Vayu that expels the semen from the male organ and urine from the sexes, 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 Muladhara Chakra
Follow the yamas and niyamas.
Practice grounding pranayama techniques like Three Part Belly Breath (Deerga Swasaam), Square Breath or Nadi Shodhanda
Take care of the physical body by eating nourishing foods and getting adequate sleep.
Fears related to security, safety, and survival will need to be addressed and any real issues regarding the above will need to be solved.
Spend time out in nature. Put your hands and bare feet on the earth. Breathe the fresh air. Move slowly and mindfully.
Call in the Goddess Lakshmi.
Set an intention to heal your first chakra and create a crystal grid for safety, security, abundance, whatever needs to be addressed.
A yoga practice that focuses on slow movements, rootedness, foundational, grounding and surrendering poses will help nourish the first chakra.
A lovely practice for the first chakra could include:
- Supported child’s pose
- Lizard pose
- Chair pose or goddess pose
- Warrior poses
- Tree pose
- Seated forward fold
- Legs up the wall
Meditation on the Muladhara Chakra in the presence of the element earth develops natural health, strength in the body, and intellectual power.
In meditation, visualize roots growing down into the earth. Feel this rooted connection to the Earth. Feel the support of Pachamama, Mother Earth.
While in meditation focus on a red wheel of energy or light at the base of your spine. While envisioning this red wheel of light, Muladhara Chakra, repeat the bija mantra for the first chakra or an affirmation like: I am safe and secure. I am firmly rooted and supported wherever I am.
I hope you’ve found this blog helpful and healing. If you would like to go deeper into the chakra, please join me on a chakra inspired yoga retreat or join the newsletter, where you will receive chakra tips and advice straight to your inbox.
The pancha maya koshas are the five sheaths of human existence according to Vedantic philosophy and the ancient Tantric Yoga text the Taittiriya Upanishad. You can think of the five koshas as layers of an onion and at its center is Atman, the true self. Working our way through the layers we begin with the gross (physical body) then move through the subtle body toward the self.
The five koshas are:
1. Annamaya kosha (the physical body)
2. Pranamaya kosha (the energy or vital body)
3. Manomaya kosha (the mental body)
4. Vijnanamaya kosha (the wisdom body)
5. Anandamaya kosha (the bliss body)
Unlike the layers of an onion that can be completely peeled away from one another the koshas are intertwined, inseparable with each kosha influencing the state of the others. We will begin our exploration of the koshas with Annamaya Kosha, the food/physical body, and continue from there to Anandamaya kosha, the bliss body. We can look at these sheaths, improve our awareness and explore our inner landscape as we begin to answer life’s big questions like, “Who am I?” or “What is the meaning of life?” We also work with the sheaths in yoga nidra, working through the layers methodically and patiently in hopes that we will one day be fully aware of our true self.
Annamaya Kosha (the physical body or food body)
The physical body is just that, physical. It’s made by the food and water we consume. When we are not in tune with our physical body, annamaya kosha, we may experience a sense of being ungrounded or unstable, we may lack appropriate proprioception and bump into things. Also, when we are not clued into our body and the needs of our body we may not be aware of how the food we are consuming is effecting our body and therefore every other aspect of our lives (remember all of the koshas are intertwined).
When we are attuned to our physical body we may experience a sense of balance and ease. Because our body is functioning more smoothly, it’s happier (and therefore not a distraction) so we can begin to focus on the other koshas. The physical body or the Annamaya kosha is the realm of the unconscious mind.
A simple exercise that you can practice to begin bringing more awareness to annamaya kosha is to find a comfortable seat or perhaps lie down on your yoga mat and bring one hand to your chest. Bring all of your awareness to the hand on the chest, becoming aware of your heart beat in the chest and in the hand. Be aware of where the hand meets the chest and become aware of any sensation that arises, the sensation of touch, heat, movement, etc. As you begin to feel more comfortable with this exercise you can begin to shift your awareness to other parts of your body. For example, your feet meeting the Earth, your liver, stomach, lungs, mouth/jaw and the muscles of your back. Be specific and stay with it for at least three to five minutes. Feel free to journal about your experience afterward.
Pranamaya Kosha (the energetic body or vital body)
Each of us has an energetic signature and it is contained within the pranamaya kosha, our energetic body. Pranamaya kosha is the vital force (prana, energy) that animates our physical body, annamaya kosha. We consume prana via our breath, the food we eat and the sun. This life force is carried throughout the body via channels called nadis (the most important nadis being sushumna, ida and pingala) and controlled via the chakras (energy centers). When we work with pranamaya kosha and the prana vayus we affect all seven chakras. The pranamaya kosha is the realm of the subconscious mind.
To work with pranamaya kosha begin to incorporate more pranayama (breathing exercises), bandhas (energetic locks), and pratyahara (sense withdrawal) into your practice. Practicing these methods will teach you how to increase prana and channel prana through the body. As you begin to work with prana you may notice heat, a sense of calm, a vibration, or many other sensations. Experience each sensation fully. Once you feel connected to the pranamaya kosha you may desire to work deeper into the koshas.
Manomaya Kosha (the mental body)
Manomaya Kosha, the mental body, creates meaning out of the world around us. It is the portion of our being where thinking, daydreaming and fantasizing reside. It is also where the beliefs, emotions and opinions from our culture and community reside. It is the repository for our unconscious mind. This kosha guides our emotional responses and is also home to the jnanendriyas (organs of knowledge, ie. our sense organs). Manomaya kosha is also the home of Ahamkara, the ego.
Manomaya kosha is the abode of our samskaras. Samskaras are the grooves of our mind, they are set paths and they are created by repetitive thought patterns. “I’m worthy/not worthy.” “I’m too fat/skinny.” “I choose love/fear.” These are thought patterns that occur often without us even acknowledging them. These samskaras color and shape all of our experiences.
A wonderful exercise to begin to work with these thought patterns and change your samskaras is one that Byron Katie teaches. Byron says to ask ourselves, “What would I be without this thought?” This is an excellent opportunity for self reflection, growth and journaling. I encourage you to keep a journal or small notepad with you at all times, so you can really see how often you experience these thought patterns. This is where big change can happen. This is the realm of the conscious mind.
Vijnanamaya Kosha (Wisdom Body)
Vijnanamaya kosha is the home of Buddhi, higher knowledge, intellect, intuition, judgement and discrimination. Ahamkara appears in vijnanamaya kosha, but as a higher knowledge of self. Our human qualities like gentleness, serenity, humility, non-attachment and bliss are also apparent in Vijnanamaya kosha. Vijnanamaya kosha is the realm of the superconscious mind. To reach Buddhi and Vijnanamaya kosha a regular meditation practice is recommended. A regular meditation practice allows one to cultivate the power and knowledge gained by being the witness and the observer.
Anandamaya Kosha (Bliss Body)
Anandamaya kosha is the innermost of the koshas and therefore the closest to Atman. The bliss in anandamaya kosha, is more than just an emotional state. Ananda (bliss) is peace, joy and love achieved through contact with the Atman (ultimate consciousness) and is a direct experience of the divine. By not identifying with the lower koshas we gain access to the higher koshas of vijnanamaya and anandamaya, where we may eventually move into that bliss state.
Interested in working with your koshas more? Join me for an upcoming Yoga Nidra class or on retreat where we will have the opportunity to practice yoga nidra multiple times.
Love and Light,