Saturday, August 8, 2015

Chakra Series - Yin Yoga - Swadisthana - Sacral Chakra

written by Nya Patrinos, Jennifer Kelly, and  Crystal d'Angora with help from Swami Satyananda Saraswati (the orange book) and Bernie Clark's green book and various sources on the internet

The word Sacral shares its origin with the word sacred, and refers to the spiritual depth and creative flow found with this chakra.  With your hands in prayer connect to all the you hold sacred. This powerful pose helps you to become in touch with your own breathing by bringing your awareness to movement of the air in your abdomen.

Breathwork: Use Ujjayi 

Benefits: A healing, restful pose. Gently stretches the spine. Gentle compression of the stomach and chest benefits the organs of digestion. Psychologically soothing when feeling cold, anxious, or vulnerable

Contra-indications:If you have diarrhea or are pregnant. If knee issues exist, you may need to place a towel or blanket between thighs and calves or avoid the pose altogether.You may need a blanket or other padding under the ankles to reduce discomfort on the top of the feet.

Alternatives Options: If you cannot get your buttocks to your heels, the head will have a lot of weight on it. Support the neck by placing the forehead on hands or on a bolster.Allow the knees to be as close together as is comfortable, but they do not have to touch. If there is any uncomfortable pinching in the lower belly and tops of the front hips, separate the knees wider. Use a bolster as necessary

Symbolism: Development stage of this chakra is childhood. Hands in prayer is about connecting to sacred.

SUPINE BUTTERFLY POSE (2 blocks) - 3 to 10 minutes
The Sacral Chakra sits in the sacrum, or sensual bowl of the pelvis and sex organs, and connects us with our feminine water energy.  Our experience in this physical form requires our connection to the senses and sensual embodiment. In this posture, experience prana as water flowing throw the body and awakening your senses as you observe your breath. The color of the chakra is orange as in a sunrise or sunset. Imagine floating on the still ocean at sunset.

Breathwork: Flutters lips in the beginning to relax

Affirmation: I am floating in an ocean of creativity

Benefits: Increases blood circulation in the lower abdomen, Can improve digestion, Stretches the inner thighs. Increases range of external rotation in the hips. Calms the nervous system

Contraindications: Knee injury (for unsupported version. Low-back pain

Symbolism: unwavering acceptance of  metamorphosis.  is also symbolic of faith. Here the butterfly beckons us to keep our faith as we undergo transitions in our lives. She understands that our toiling, fretting and anger are useless against the turning tides of nature - she asks us to recognize the same.

1/2 HAPPY BABY (both sides) - 2 minutes each side
The sacral chakra is located in the physical body in the lower abdomen, between navel and the genitals. The related organs to the chakra are the sexual organs, bladder, prostate, womb, sacral nerve plexus, kidneys. We may strive for balance through the second chakra by applying our creative gifts to all that we do, welcoming joy, pleasure, and connection to thrive.  This chakra reminds us that we all began as females and hold within us creative potential and the ability to find cohesive flow with the natural cycles around us.

Breathwork: In through nose out through mouth

Benefits: Opens and stretches the hips. Stretches the inner groins. Lengthens and helps to realign the spine. Calms the mind and relieves stress. Strengthens the arms and shoulders

Contra-indications: Pregnancy. Knee or ankle injuries. Extremely tight hips

Symbolism: Sacral Chakra is all about pleasureSacral Chakra is also where your fertility originates. After all, conceiving a child is a creative process

SUPPORTED BRIDGE POSE - 3 to 5 minutes

The sanskrit name for the chakra is Svadisthana. Sva means self and Adhisthana means dwelling place.  Therefore the chakra is often called the dwelling place of the self. The symbol of the chakra is a six petaled orange-red lotus surrounding a circle that contains a crescent moon and the sanskrit seed sound Vam.

Visualization: Crescent Moon at the sacrum surrounded by a six petaled lotus

Benefits: Stretches the chest, neck, and spine. Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression. Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid. Rejuvenates tired legs
Improves digestion. Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause. Relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported. Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia
Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusiti

Contra-indications: Neck injury: avoid this pose unless you are practicing under the supervision of an experienced teacher.

Symbolism: Connections. Direction. Assistance. Stability. Crossing. Progress. Spanning the Gap
It's this last symbolic meaning of "Spanning the Gap." 

CAT - COW as a Transition

CROCODILE POSE - 3 to 5 minutes
The seed  sound is carried by the crocodile which is the associated animal of the chakra. Work with the mantra Vam while in this pose

Breathwork:  Inhale and Exhale Vam

Symbolism: In this chakra the crocodile represents the ferocious, bestial power of desire which all too often may drive us to ruin. And yet, when properly directed, it is also the very current that carries us through life with joy and spontaneity and connects us to the creative power of the universe.  The crocodile represents our unseen desires. 

Benefits: Effective for people suffering from slipped disc, sciatica and certain types of lower back pain. Encourages the vertebral column to resume its normal shape and releases compression from spinal nerves. Good for asthmatics and people with lung problems.

Contra-indications: Those with back conditions like exaggerated lumbar curve 

FROG POSE (or TADPOLE POSE) - 3 to 5 minutes
The element associated with the chakra is water. The Sacral Chakra and the element Water go together.The watery element of this chakra encourages us to enjoy the rhythm and cycles of life
 The frog easily exists in both land and water. Imagine water clear and fresh surrounding you. Remember the keywords of the 2nd chakra are motion, feelings, emotions, desires, and delight. Feelings especially if they are physically, when they concern our bodies and what happens in them

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Symbolism: Easily moving from one place to another, play

Benefits: Deep groin opener (especially the adductors). Provides a slight back bend, which compresses the lower back. Aids digestion and relieves cramps (both menstrual cramps and those from eating.)

Contra-indications:If you have a bad back, Knees can be uncomfortable, so use padding under the knees. If the neck is stiff, rest the forehead, not the chin, on the floor or on a bolster
If prone to tingling in the hands when you extend the arms overhead, you may need to move the hands wider apart or closer together. If that doesn't help, do one arm at a time.

Alternatives &Options: Child's Pose and slide both hands forward, separate the knees, but remain sitting on the heels. This is also known as the Tadpole. 
Half Frog: Lift the hips higher, until hips are in line with knees, keeping feet together.
Full Frog: separate feet as wide as the knees.Extend one arm at a time, which is safer than extending both arms forward. The other arm can be bent with the head resting on the forearm. Allow the hips to come further forward if the pressure in groin or hips is too severe.Alternately, keep toes together and allow hips to go backwards.May rest the chest on bolster, to relax upper body.
If the shoulders are uncomfortable, spread the hands wider apart.

TRANSITION - Lie on the Back and Rock Knees side to side

GENIE: (too difficult then sphinx pose) - 3 to 5 minutes
When the second chakra lacks balance, we may feel rejected and repressed. This results in either blocked or excessive second chakra issues; what can be the wellspring of good feelings, enjoyment, and sensuality, may become pathologized.

Affirmation:  I am floating in an ocean of creativity

Symbolism: Magic, power of wish fufillment

Benefits:A deep opening in the sacral-lumbar arch. Stretches hips flexors and quadriceps

Contra-indications:If you have a bad back or tight sacroiliac (SI) joints
Knees can be tested too much here. Ankles can protest. Any sharp or burning pain here, you must come out!

Alternatives &Options: Sphinx pose. 1/2  Half Saddle. If you can only go as far back as your elbows, rest on a bolster to relax here.  Arms overhead can open the shoulders and intensify the stretch in the hip flexors.Lift the hips even higher by placing a block between the feet and under the buttocks.A blanket or rolled up towel under the ankles can relieve pressure there.
Play with sitting on the heels and between the heels; the first emphasizes the lumbar more, and the second works the quads and hip flexors more.

DRAGONFLY - 3 to 20 minutes
Psychologically, this chakra holds our relationship to our sexuality, body image, and ability to receive pleasure, to feel worthy and connected in our relationships.  This is where we store cultural complexes around body ideals, gender and sexual oppression and abuse.

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Benefits:Opens the hips, groin, and the back of thighs. Provides a gentle opening to inner knees
Stimulates the ovaries

Contra-indications: Can aggravate sciatica so elevate the hips.If you have any lower back disorders which do not allow flexion of the spine, then do not allow the spine to round: keep the back as straight as you can. If you have any inner knee trauma or issues, bring the legs closer together or tighten the top of the legs (the quadriceps) to engage the kneecaps.

Alternatives & Options: Use bolster to raise hips.Can keep hands behind the back, or rest elbows on a bolster.Folding over one leg increases spinal and hamstring stretch.If the knees feel bothered, tighten the quadriceps to close the knee joint or bring legs closer together.If hamstrings feel too tight, bend the knee(s) and place a bolster under the thigh(s).

Symbolism: Transformation later in life

DRAGON - 2 to 5 minutes each side
The ruling planet is pluto.  Zodiac signs Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio but the Moon is truly important to this chakra. The symbol of the 2nd chakra is a crescent moon within a circle.The circle represents the element water and is colored white.The crescent inside the circle is associated with the moon and is colored silver.The combination of the crescent moon with the circle in the yantra establishes a relationship between water and the moon.

Symbolism: Dragons are the embodiment of primordial power - the ultimate ruler of all the elements. The Dragon is the master of all the elements: Fire, Water, Earth, and Wind. The Water Dragon brings connection, depth and passion. The water dragon as power animal brings memories and wishes, perhaps long forgotten yet hidden, to the fore. By squaring up with painful past experiences, a sense of peace and balance can be achieved in our lives. The water dragon will give you the courage and compassion in this challenge.

Breathwork: Breath of Fire in Upright Position. In through nose out through mouth
Benefits: Deep hip and groin opener that gets right into the joint. Stretches the back leg's hip flexors and quadriceps Many variations to help work deeply into hip socket. Can help with sciatica

Contra-indications:Can be uncomfortable for the kneecap or ankle. If you are stiff, the back thigh will be at a 90 degree angle to the front thigh, putting a lot of weight on the kneecap. Support the back knee with a blanket, or place a bolster under the shin, allowing the back knee to be off the floor.

Alternatives & Options:If the back knee is uncomfortable, place a blanket under it, rest the shin on a bolster, or tuck the toes under and lift the leg off the floor.If the ankle is uncomfortable, place a blanket underneath or raise the knee by putting a bolster under the shin. Press top of foot down firmly, emphasizing the little toe.

1/2 LEGGED FROG - 2 to 5 minutes each side
Because Swadisthana Chakra is associated with the genitals, it is connected with procreation, which is related directly to the moon supported by the fact that female menstruation mirrors the monthly cycle of the moon

Breathwork: Left Nostril Breathing. Left nostril breathing activates the Ida Nadi, which is lunar in nature. Ida Nadi stimulates the right hemisphere of the brain, which is related to emotional behavior

Benefits: Hip opening and decompression for the lower spine when folding forward

Contra-indications: If you have sciatica, elevate the hips by sitting on a prop until the knees are below them. People with lower back disorders which do not allow flexion of the spine should not allow the spine to round: keep the back as straight as you can. Pregnant women should not fold forward after the first trimester.

Alternatives & Options: If hips are tight, sit on a bolster to tilt them forward.
If the bottom knee complains, do the pose with the bottom leg straight. If the top knee complains, place a bolster or blanket under that knee. If this is still too hard, sit cross-legged and fold forward.Support the chest with bolster. Other alternatives include Eye-of-the-Needle Pose, Square Pose, or Swan.

CATERPILLAR (or Legs up the Wall) - 3 to 20 minutes
Vishnu is the god associated with the chakra. Vishnu is the lord of preservation and the source of the highest spiritual power and knowledge and is present in every atom and cell. Vish means “pervasion”  Vishnu is he who prevades all. He is the god who is responsible for maintaining an equilibrium between the life-giving forces of Brahma and the destructive forces of Shiva. He is the keeper the balance between creation and destruction. He embodies the principle of right living.

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Benefits: Stresses the ligaments along the back of the spine. Compresses the stomach organs, which helps strengthen the organs of digestion. Stimulates the kidneys. Since the heart is below the spine, the heart is massaged. Helps to cure impotency and leads to sex control.

Contra-indications:If you have sciatica, elevate the hips by sitting on props, until the knees are below the hips, or avoid this pose entirely.  If you have any lower back disorders which do not allow flexion of the spine, then do not allow the spine to round: keep the back as straight as you can If the hamstrings are very tight, the knees should be bent and supported by a bolster, allowing the spine to round.

Alternatives & Options: Legs up the wall. If your hamstrings are really tight, bend your knees and place a bolster underneath; allow the back to round fully. If that doesn't work, sit up on more cushions. If neck feels strained by the weight of the head, support your head in your hands, resting your elbows on the legs or a bolster. You can rest your chest on a bolster to help relax into the pose.
You can do this pose with the legs up a wall (very nice for people who stand all day).

Symbolism: Transformation, Preparation, Openness to Change

SWAN OR EYE OF THE NEEDLE POSE - 2 to 5 minutes each side
Rakini Shakti drinks from the nectar of the seventh chakra, the ambrosia of the god
She asks the questions: Are we willing to fill ourselves with the sweetness of life-and love

Rakini an aspect of Kundalini Shakti. She is the two-headed Rakini and the doorkeeper of Swadisthana. Her two heads represent the split energy of the 2nd chakra and the duality between the I and the other. The first inspiration of art and music comes from Rakini Shakti. In her four arms she holds: An arrow, a skull, A drum and an ax

Breathwork: Inhale and Exhale Mantra Vam

Benefits:  Uses gravity to open the hips. Strong external rotation of front hip. Provides the quadriceps and hip flexors a nice stretch for the side that has the leg back. A moderate to strong backbend, compressing the lower back. Can control sexual desires due to lots of blood flowing through the pubic region 

Contra-indications: If you have bad knees (especially any problems with the inner meniscus), watch the pressure. If hips are too tight, that is where the pressure will go. If this happens, bring the front foot back, more toward or under that hip.

Symbolism: Water is symbolic of: Fluidity, Intuition, Dreaming, Emotions, Creativity. Swan represents  balance  as it lives harmoniously among three of the four elements. as it grounds on earth, flies to great heights in the air, and glides through waters with magnificent grace.

An overactive sacral chakra can cause: Emotional overreactions, Excessive emotional attachment to people or objects; excessive neediness in relationships, Codependency Muscle tension and abdominal cramps. An energy deficiency in the second chakra can cause:Fear of happiness or pleasure, self-sabotage. Lack of creativity and authenticity, Low libido, Pessimism, depression, Irregular menstrual cycle, urinary or bladder infections

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Benefits: Stimulates the ascending, descending and transverse colon as well as the stomach and small intestines. Helps to balance out hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach helping with indigestion and heartburn

TWISTS - 2 to 5 minutes each side
When the sacral chakra is balanced, the relationship with the world and other people is centered around nurturing, pleasure, harmonious exchange.

Breath: Natural Breathing

Benefits: Twisting at the end of the practice helps to restore equilibrium in the nervous system and release tension in the spine..

Contra-indications: If you have shoulder issues (such as rotator cuff injuries) or are prone to tingling in the hands when you extend your arms overhead, you may not want to raise your arm to rest beside the ear or to let it float. Instead, bend the raised arm or support it with a bolster. If tingling persists, draw the hand lower or rest it on the ribs.

Aum Peace Amen - Namaste

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment. It is much appreciated.