This column is part of a series to help understand the Chakra system, the seven energy centers in the body. An overview of each was described in the column of July 21-27, which can be viewed on citybeat.com or cincyoga.com.
Sanskrit Name: Svadisthana
Location: Two inches below the navel in the reproductive organs, where our sexuality and creation energy is stored. It governs attitudes in relationships (intimacy and desire), sex and reproduction.
When Balanced: This chakra attends to emotional and sensual movement in our lives, allowing feelings to surface and be felt. It helps us to relax our resistance to life and feel pleasure, self confidence, patience and a sense of wellbeing.
When Unbalanced: The effect is frustration, attachment and anxiety. Our bodily dysfunctions are impotency, frigidity, over-sexed, diabetes and kidney or bladder problems.
Many of us are raised in families with fear of being touched, high stimulation or constant emotional drama. This can result in excessive partying, overly emotional behavior, poor boundaries or sexual addictions.
Yoga postures are therapeutic to helping balance and maintain healthy chakra functioning. Some of the poses which benefit the second chakra are hip and groin openers. They help us with flexibility and surrender to let go of tension in this area, so we're more open to experiencing our sexuality, creativity and pleasure.
Here's an easy one to practice at the end of the day.
Seated Butterfly: Sit on the floor against a couch or wall. To be more comfortable, sit on a small solid throw pillow. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees drop out to the sides. (You can also stuff blankets or pillows under your knees to support them.) Hold onto your feet, ankles, shins or a belt strapped around your feet (which ever is easiest). Sit up as tall as you can and let your knees open wide, as they rest on the floor or on your support prop. Stay here for five complete breaths, directing the breath into your hips and groin, allowing them to relax and soften at the edge of the most noticeable sensation. Let go of resistance and tension and feel your ability to be patient, feel pleasure and allow energy to flow in this area.
If you like, you can use one of the following to help enhance your experience while you're in the posture.
Color: Orange. Visualize this shade and its slow vibration in the opened area.
Sound: Vam (rhymes with hum). Repeat this over and over, drawing out the letter "m."
Mantra: "I feel." Repeat this slowly and mindfully (aloud or to yourself).