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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Svadhisthana - The Seat of Life

This article was written by Anodea Judith on May 30, 2002
posted under Chakras

Element: Water
Color: Orange
Verb: I feel, I want
Attributes: Polarity, movement, sexuality, pleasure, emotion

We have come from the Earth, energy that is still, solid, dense. We have gained an understanding of our bodies, our grounding, and things associated with one. We are now ready to introduce a new dimension.

As we enter the second chakra, we encounter change.

Our singleness becomes duality; our point becomes a line; the solid, a liquid; stillness becomes movement. We have gained a degree of freedom.

Through change we create and discover difference. Difference, at its extremes, creates polarities. Polarities create attraction and movement. Movement is essential and characteristic of all life.

The second chakra is in the lower abdomen, centered between the navel and the genitals. It corresponds to the sacral vertebrae and the nerve ganglion called the sacral plexus. This plexus hooks into the sciatic nerve and is a center of motion for the body. It is often called the "seat of life."

Its element is water. Therefore, the chakra corresponds with bodily functions having to do with liquid: circulation, urinary elimination, sexuality and reproduction.

Classically, this chakra is the center of sexuality, emotions, sensation, pleasure, movement, and nurturance. Like water, it is ruled by the Moon, which influences the tides and our emotions.

The Sanskrit name for the second chakra is Svadhisthana, which means "sweetness." This is an apt name for the sweetness of desire, pleasure, and sexuality associated with the life-giving waters of Svadhisthana. Its color is orange, and its lotus contains a crescent Moon surrounded by six petals.

The second chakra embodies the nature of "two" and runs on polarity, instigating the movement in the body and psyche that begins the climbing process of coiled Kundalini as she rises through the chakras. Encountering "other" creates desire, and desire gets us to move, to reach out, to grow and change.

All the chakras are connected by a nonphysical channel running straight up the spine called the sushumna. Two alternate channels, ida and pingala, twist in figure-eight like patterns around each chakra, crossing the sushumna. These channels are among thousands of psychic channels called nadis (from nad, meaning "motion"). Ida and pingala represent the lunar and solar aspects, respectively. They are responsible for "charging" the chakras, causing them to spin.

We have added a degree of consciousness to our bodily awareness. Our psychic sense at this level is experienced in the form of emotions. We may "feel" something is wrong, but the information is not yet conscious.

If the chakra is too open, there is a tendency to feel everyone else’s emotions or to be overly ruled by one’s own emotions with frequent and dramatic emotional episodes. If the chakra is closed down, then we are flat, dull, lifeless, dry. We are out of touch with our emotions, have very little desire or passion, and little or no interest in sexuality.

Ideally, we should be able to embrace polarities, feel our emotions, and express ourselves sexually without losing the connection with our own center.

The main aspect of the second chakra, however, is sexuality. Sexuality is a life force. It is the water that softens the hard Earth and readies it for change. It is a force too often denied or perverted, and being robbed of our pleasure, we are robbed of our power. When we lose our desire, we lose our will. Power and will are attributes of the next chakra, and pleasure and desire are their seed. Sexuality is the flower of that seed. Power and will are its fruits.

Exercises

- Pelvic Rock 1 - Lie flat on your back with your knees bent so that the soles of your feet are planted firmly on the floor. Breathe into your chest fully and exhale completely, pushing into your feet at the end of the exhale and tipping your pelvis upward. Imagine you are pushing the breath out between your legs. When the exhale is spent, relax your legs and hips, returning them to the floor, and inhale fully into your chest again. Then repeat. Keep this going for a minimum of five minutes to feel the effects.

- Pelvic Rock 2 - If the first one stirs up a great deal of energy, or if there is too much stiffness to perform it smoothly, try repeating the same sequence much faster. In this exercise the pelvis is snapped up and back quickly, with as much force as possible. Let yourself make any sounds that are natural. This helps to release blocked energy. (Make sure you do this on something soft like a mat or bed.)

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