Now that Mooladhara (the first chakra) is strong, we have a firm base, we have a safe place to live, we have our family, our health and sufficient funds to cover the expenses of survival, it’s time to start enjoying life.
Enter … Svadhisthana, the pleasure chakra.
Svadhisthana is the second-lowest chakra in body and is located very close to Mooladhara. In ‘New Age’ spiritualities it is suggested that this second chakra is located about an inch under the navel, making all the chakras perfectly spaced on the way up to the top. However, as the sacral chakra is related to the sexual organs, then the situating of the chakra lower on the body (not the near the belly button) makes more sense.
In classical yoga, Svadhisthana is situated at the sacrum and is fairly easy to locate: just take a straight line from the top of your pubic bone (just above your groin) to your spine; that’s the position of Svadhisthana. Remember, though, that the chakras are ENERGY – swirling vortices of energy, so they are invisible and un-touchable.
In the physical body, Svadhisthana relates to the lower part of the trunk, especially the limbo-sacral area of the spine. It also relates to the pelvic area, the buttocks and genitals. In the nervous system it is related and situated very close to the sacral plexus (a plexus is a junction of nerves) and to the gonads (related to the pleasure aspect of sexuality, rather than the reproduction part). Also, Svadhisthana is related to the kidneys, appendix, prostate, the lymphatic system and all the body fluids.
The basic qualities of Svadhisthana are joy, pleasure and sexuality.
A balanced second chakra leads to an ability to experience joy and pleasure, but with healthy boundaries. Such a person is likely to have high emotional intelligence and an ability to nurture self and others.
If this chakra is over-stimulated or over-active, the person is likely to have a sexual or pleasure addiction which can include seductive manipulation and invasion of others. Such a person is also likely to be excessively sensitive, with strong emotions and emotional dependency. 1 On the other hand, if Svadhisthana is under-active or under-stimulated, the person is likely to have poor social skills and/or fear of sex, fear of change, a denial of pleasure and/or lack passion or excitement.
What we need to strive for is balance.
The symbol for Svadhisthana is an orange lotus with six petals. These represent the negative qualities which are to be over-some: anger, hatred, jealousy, cruelty, desire and pride. 2
Because Svadhisthana is related to the bodily fluids, the element of this chakra is water. Just as water can be soft, gentle and pliable, it also has immense power when out of control 3 – imagine a large wave that dumps the unsuspecting surfer!
Within the chakra symbol is the animal associated with this chakra – the crocodile.
It lives in water, is lazy and insensitive and symbolises the danger that lies hidden in this chakra when it, too, is out of control. (If you look very closely, you can see the crocodile just under the white crescent).
The dangers are those of unbridled sexuality, indulgence or addiction to food, drugs, alcohol and/or sex – in the person with an over-active second chakra. It often seems that a large proportion of the population in Western countries (like Australia) are hedonists – having a good time, all the time, with no thought of anyone else or about the pitfalls of such a lifestyle. The other danger is the opposite set of qualities/problems – an inability to be happy, a low energy level and sexuality – if at all – is likely to be exploitative and/or guilt-ridden. 4
Orange is the colour of this chakra – it represents the sunrise.
With each new day there is an opportunity to experience the positive qualities of Svadhisthana: joy, faith, self-confidence and energy. 5 Imagine all the different shades of the sunrise – sometimes it is a bright, golden organge, sometimes a softer almost yellow glow, and sometimes it is like burnished copper. In whichever way you ‘see’ this chakra, remember that your chakras are yours, and we each see them subjectively – and for some people, you may not even see a colour, but just sense the presence of the chakra.
The sound, or mantra for Svadhisthana is VĀM – pronounced VAR-m. Last week I encouraged you to sing the base chakra mantra (LĀM) as low as you comfortably could. For VĀM, you might like to still chant with a low sound, but a note a little higher than last week.
Many of the physical practices – asanas – to keep Svadhisthana healthy are the same as those for Mooladhara. However, when you are doing this practices, you are focusing on the sacral plexus – that that grouping of nerves low on the back. You might like to try these:
* camel pose (ushtrasana)
* eagle pose (garudasana)
* cobra pose (bhujangasana)
* cat pose (marjariasana)
* half, or flying, locust pose (ardha shalabhasana)
* tiger pose (vyaghrasana)
* one-legged pose (eka padasana)
As you go about this week chanting, meditating or doing asanas, remember that while you ‘healthegised’ the base chakra – Mooladhara – last week, it’s important to keep ‘activitaing’ it, as we move through each of the seven chakras. This could look like picking one asana to do for each chakra, or chanting all the different mantras in a row, or moving your attention up through the chakras while meditating.
How little or much you do is up to you, just remember that ALL the chakras should be kept healthy and balanced.
2. Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, Yoga in Daily Life: The System (2000). European University Press, Vienna, Austia.
3. Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda
4. Dr Rishi Vivekananda, Practical Yoga Psychology (2005), Yoga Publications Trust, Bihar, India.
5. Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda