2nd Chakra Series – 21 Ways to Care for Your Sacral Chakra
Please note that if you are interested in more women’s energetics work, I now offer an 8-week, self-paced course through DailyOm called Fall in Love With Your Feminine Power, which includes print, video, and audio material. In February/March 2014 I will also be offering my intensive 4-week teleseminar on Energy Healing for Sexual Abuse and Trauma.
This is the last post in a series on the 2nd, or sacral chakra, in women. The prior posts were on Tantric Sexuality, Intuition and Seeing, Motherhood and Creating, and Spirituality and Bliss. Those posts all gave lots of reasons why attention to your 2nd chakra, and 2nd chakra issues, is so important for women. Hopefully you’re convinced!
This turned into quite the thesis, which I hadn’t intended. I have mixed feelings about the size of this list, because most women don’t need any more ‘should’ or ‘to-do’ items added to their busy lives (not to mention that many of you probably don’t even have time to read this!) I am very anti-guilt. So understand that I was just trying to be comprehensive, and you should determine – with your intuition of course! – what is relevant to you. As you read the list you will probably be drawn to some and not others, and that may change over time.
Also, I feel like I should add a disclaimer along the lines of those medical ads that say “This is not meant to replace a diagnose from a qualified medical doctor.” While I am a firm believer in our ability to each heal and develop ourselves, sometimes a guide or helping hand is essential. So if you really feel like you have some deep-seated 2nd chakra issues, or want to delve further into the chakras themselves, consider finding a therapist, energy healer, meditation teacher, astrologer, Akashic record reader, past-life regressionist, or whatever resonates with you, to help you do so. Let your intuition guide you to the right approach and practitioner (some of the blogs in my blogroll are written by practitioners of various types.)
Along those lines, I realized I couldn’t post this without including some of my own favorite meditation techniques related to the 2nd chakra, and those are not normally relayed in print. I decided to include some basic instructions anyway, but I have also made mp3 recordings of them, as that is often a more effective way of learning these kinds of things.
THE LIST: 21 Ways to Care for Your Sacral Chakra
The first part of this list has to do with healing any damage that may have been done to your 2nd chakra, or any latent discomfort you may have with your own sexuality, sensuality, or reproductive issues that could lead you to shut it down in some way. I hesitated about including this section, but in the end I had too, because I think it is the #1 problem facing many women. From my perspective, if you are a woman, owning your 2nd chakra energy is owning your personal power, so the cost of not facing these issues is high, and long-term, far outweighs the discomfort of doing so.
1) Face and release any past sexual abuse or assault. ‘Face’ is a vague term, and could mean different things depending on the extent to which you have already examined these events from your past. Of course professional therapy or counseling might be needed, or, if you have already done some work in this area, a briefer revisiting, with the intent of really releasing the past. Details on this are beyond what I can do here, but the important thing is, don’t ignore it. Don’t say ‘it was a long time ago, it was just once, it doesn’t matter anymore, etc.’ if there are ANY unresolved feelings of disempowerment, guilt, shame or fear, it will impact your ability to access your 2nd chakra energy. Of course, there is also always the danger of over-identifying with the past, and taking on a permanent victim-mentality, and that’s problematic too. So work with these ideas of facing and releasing.
[NOTE: Since publishing this post, I have published a free e-book that you may want to look into - Women's Energetics: Healing the Subtle Body Wounds of Sexual Trauma.]
2) Review your romantic and sexual history (not always the same thing!), and deal with any continuing attachments to your past, particularly to unhealthy or disempowering relationships. Sex, and even romantic attachments without sex, build some of the strongest possible energy bonds, and if you are holding on to past relationships in your awareness, it can impact your 2nd chakra. Taisha Abelar gives an extreme view of this in her memoir The Sorcerer’s Crossing, and recapitulates every encounter she has ever had, working to reclaim the energy lost in each one. While this method isn’t for everyone, focus on cutting past ties inwardly, and reclaiming attention dispersed in this way. You can even create a ritual to this effect, where you picture yourself cutting a line between yourself and a visualization of the other person with a pair of scissors, and then the energy that was flowing out from you through this line coming back into your own body.
3) Face and release any pain you may be holding onto regarding past miscarriages, abortions, or fertility issues. This is similar to #1, but instead the focus is on issues related to procreation. There are multiple issues here – the first is properly mourning whatever perceived losses you have suffered, and working at letting them go. The second is letting go of any misdirected self-blame or shame you may be harboring. And the third is the more general issue of sorting out your identity relative to procreation. Women receive so many societal messages tying our worth to our ability or decision to procreate (or not), that we can end up ‘hanging our hat’ on this aspect of ourselves. Own your life and your decisions – this is particularly important for women who decide not to have children, or for whom it just never works out, because there are a lot of ridiculous social messages implying that this leaves us somehow ‘incomplete’.
4) Look at your overall comfort level with your body, sexuality, and sensuality. Do you feel comfortable with your sexuality? How do you use it with others? Do you try and hide it? Do you use it to attract attention? What’s your relationship with your own body? Are you comfortable with it? Look at parental imprinting too – did you ‘inherit’ a generational discomfort with sex and related topics from your mother? Try and unpack your own relationship to your sexuality, and make sure it feels healthy, honest, balanced, and clear.
5) Look at your overall attitude towards being a woman. This is really about facing your own feelings about being a woman, and any negative conditioning that you may have picked up regarding what it means. Are you out to prove something? Have you adopted, or been determined to rebel against, any particular female stereotypes? Face and release any anger you have regarding any situation in which you have been prevented or discouraged from doing something because you were/are a girl/woman.
6) Own your sexual choices. If you are celibate, own it. If you are sexually active, own it. Don’t just let things happen, one way or the other. Of course, these things aren’t 100% within our control, so part of working with this one may be accepting the situation you are in, and trying to work with the benefits it has. From an energetic standpoint, celibacy has the benefit of helping you consolidate and clear your energy field, because you are not dealing with the powerful energy lines to another person that sex creates. Sexual activity, in a healthy situation, has the energy benefit of helping you clear and activate your 2nd chakra through release. Own your situation, whatever it is, and work with it. And, if it’s possible, consider working with periods of one or the other by choice when you need to.
The next few items have to do with the absorbent nature of women’s energy bodies, because of the centripetal action of our 2nd chakras, as discussed in the Intuition post.
7) Work to refine your awareness of the energies you absorb from others. This is very important, because otherwise over time your awareness will just get more and more dispersed from the constant stream of energies you are absorbing, and you will not be able to focus well or draw on your personal power (let alone access your intuition.) Developing this awareness is mostly a matter of just starting to pay attention to it. Monitor how you feel before and after group situations, and before and after individual encounters. Review times when your mood or mental state dramatically shifts for no apparent reason, and see if you can identify an energy source for the shift. Don’t get paranoid about ‘negative energies’ (this is a slippery slope that leads downhill fast!) The goal isn’t to become a hermit – the goal is to develop your ability to recognize when this unconscious absorption is happening, so that you can halt the absorption, or use the awareness of energies to foster your intuition.
8 ) Protect your subtle body. Over time, you can learn to make your subtle body less absorbent when you need to – to shield it in a sense. One simple way to develop this skill is to try the following exercise, which is available as an mp3 file here:
- Sit quietly with your eyes closed, and place your hands over your navel chakra, about one inch below your navel. This is the 3rd chakra in the system I use, not the 2nd as in some systems, and is associated with will, intent and personal power. Some systems place the 3rd chakra higher, up by the solar plexus, so experiment with what placement feels right to you. Belly breath for several breaths.
- Imagine a red-orange sphere of light sitting right under your hands.
-Visualize this sphere growing larger and larger until it surrounds your entire body. Sense how you are holding this protective shield in place with your awareness.
Because the 3rd chakra is associated with intent and personal power, a more yang energy, by focusing on it in this way you can learn to ‘solidify’ your energy field a bit. Eventually, the visualization will not be not necessary – you will be able to trigger this sense of protection in an instant. Try this whenever you are heading into a crowded place or potentially difficult situation. (And BTW, this is closer to how most men’s energy bodies feel all the time.)
9) Establish regular routines for clearing your subtle body. Everyone has different ways of doing this, but the two biggies are nature and exercise. The elements from nature that I personally most associate with the 2nd chakra are water and trees. So spending time near one or the either is great (and yes, a nice warm bath is a mini-version of clearing in this way too.) In terms of exercise, intense aerobic exercise can really help push out negative energies you have absorbed. And then of course yoga is entirely designed to clear and open the chakras, although it is not always explicitly taught that way. So find a combination that works for you and your life – when I worked in Manhattan and dealt with a lot of abrasive energies on a daily basis, I needed more aggressive forms of exercise (martial arts and aerobics) to clear my subtle body. For most energy healers of psychics, this kind of intense clearing is usually essential. Now I am more into walking and yoga, and that works for the energies I am dealing with.
One technique associated with physical pelvic health that can also be useful is Kegel exercises (here’s an explanation of how to do them.) Although often associated with childbirth preparation, Kegels are simply one way to exercise and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. They are also part of many yoga asanas (although not usually called Kegels), and even chakra meditation techniques taught in some traditions.
The next few items have to do with learning to work with your natural cycles and life phases, many of which are ruled by 2nd chakra functions.
10) Recognize the life phase you are in, and contemplate how you can work with it. As women, the phases of our lives are driven by our reproductive phases in a way that men’s are not. Each of these phases draw on and challenge our 2nd chakra energies in different ways. I talked about this a bit in Women’s Energy Bodies – Cycles and Phases, and a book mentioned in the comments on that post, Joan Borysenko’s A Woman’s Book of Life, has a lot of interesting material along these lines.
11) If you are a mother, routinely assess your energetic balance. Recognize the phase of mother/child relationship you are in, and think about pacing, balance, and energy access issues as discussed in the Motherhood and Creativity post. Allow yourself solitude.
12) Learn to recognize, accept and work with your personal cycles of going inward and outward. A lot has been written about women’s menstrual cycles, and how that impacts our energy field and awareness. The general theme is that during the first half of our cycle, from the end of menstruation to ovulation, we are more externally focused, yang-driven, and intent and creation oriented. Then during the second half, from ovulation to the start menstruation, we are more internally focused, yin-driven, and intuition and incubation oriented (and more absorbent.) But I think many women have other larger personal cycles too, of going inward and outward in phases (and of course, if you don’t menstruate or are irregular, your cycles may be different also.) So the point is, try and look for these cycles of naturally turning inward and incubating vs. moving outward and creating. Learn what you need to provide for yourself during each phase, and communicate with those around you regarding them, to the extent possible.
There are thousands of different techniques and methods for balancing and clearing the chakras. Here are just a few to consider in relation to the 2nd chakra.
13) Experiment with different food choices that are associated with a healthy 2nd chakra. There are lots of different theories on what foods contribute to the health of each chakra. But guess what one of the most commonly sited signs of a 2nd chakra imbalance is? An unhealthy level of craving for sweets and carbs. The 2nd chakra is partly about desire, and when it’s off balance, we can attempt to fill the resulting void with a ‘quick fix’ of sweet satiation. Although I hesitate to recommend just one chakra food system, a recent book that I did like was Chakra Foods for Optimum Health, by Deanna Minnich. If you feel you have food-related issues, this book is worth your time (and it has recipes!) Some of the foods she associates with a healthy 2nd chakra are: Water, healthy oils and fatty acids, fish, seeds, tropical fruits, nuts, and orange-colored foods (orange is associated with the 2nd chakra in many chakra systems.) Here’s some of the associated recipes: Honeyed Papaya with Raw Coconut flakes, Grilled Salmon with Apricot Orange Sauce and Baby Carrots, Yam Pecan Bake, and Walnut Pesto. Yum!!
14) Explore other chakra balancing/healing/clearing methods. There are lots out there, so explore what resonate with you. They all work on the same principal – each chakra is associated with a certain vibration, and when you come in contact with elements of that same or a supporting vibration, you strengthen that chakra. Some popular examples are essential oils, crytals/gemstones, sound vibrations, and color therapy.
The following items all have to do with supporting feminine power and yin in your life and endeavors.
15) Explore your creative power. We don’t often put ‘creative’ and ‘power’ together, but for women, this is exactly what it is, as explained in the Motherhood and Creativity post. So make sure you have a creative outlet in your life, of any type. Sometimes you may love it, and sometimes it may torture you, but that’s the muse for you. When you create, you are drawing power through your 2nd chakra, and since that is the seat of the kundalini or life force for women, you are in fact empowering all your chakras, and your entire being.
16) Have some activity in your life that forces you to draw on your personal power, as distinct from creative power. This is especially important for women who are too yin. It is possible to become so absorbed in intuitive and creative processes that you end up swinging your 2nd chakra too far in that direction. Signs of this might be difficulty focusing, difficulty completing projects, chronic indecision, or difficulty manifesting change in your life. If this is so, you actually need to bring some power through your 2nd chakra and up into your 3rd chakra, associated with will and intent. Challenging exercise, concrete goals and target dates, a goal-oriented career or project, and martial arts are all examples of activities that can help you draw on this.
17) Compile a selection of powerful and iconic female images. This might be pictures or statues of favorite goddesses, female symbols, deities, or female saints. As i talked about in a recent Art and Mysticism post,art and symbols are doorways, and we can use them to connect to energies we need. My own favorites are pictures of Tibetan Buddhist female teachers and deities such as Yeshe Tsogyal (called the ‘Bliss Queen’) and Green Tara (deity of compassion.)
18) Consider the yin/yang balance of your surroundings/decor, clothing etc. Does your decor and.or clothing reflect a healthy balance of yin and yang? Do you feel nurtured and supported within it? Do you find it beautiful? Experimenting with color can be very helpful here – red-orange is traditionally associated with this chakra, but I find a healthy dose of colors we often associate with femininity – yes, I actually mean pink – can be nice in this regard. One week when I lived in NY and was feeling particularly stressed and off-balance, a friend into color therapy told me to surround myself in pink all weekend. I wore pink, bought pink roses, burned pink candles, ate pink food, and more. It actually worked. I have occasionally done this with red-orance too, when I felt the issue was more about feeling depleted. So experiment. Everything is vibration.
This last part is the most esoteric, and has to do with the principles behind Tantric sprituality and sexuality. As I discussed in the Tantric Sexuality and Spirituality and Bliss posts, technically this is about 1) going into the 2nd chakra, as a doorway to bliss, and 2) bringing the kundalini up through all our chakras. It is really about transmuting the energy of desire into bliss. While teaching how to do that is entirely beyond the scope of this post, here’s a few meditations you can experiment with along these lines (and here’s an mp3 recorded walkthrough of each too)
19) Meditation 1: 2nd Chakra Bliss Bubble – First a note on location. I mentioned in the Tantric Sexuality post that I use the 2nd chakra location that is low, at the cervix, or bottom of our uterus. But it is a plane of energy, and encompasses our entire lower belly or womb area, and the lower part of our spine, 2-3 inches from our tailbone. So you can use any of those locations to access it, and in fact, I usually recommend that people use either the belly or lower spine locations as a point of focus during meditation, because the internal focus can trigger strong sexual energies that are difficult to redirect. But it’s up to you, so experiment.
- Place your hands over your lower belly and take several deep belly breaths.
- Imagine a sphere of gentle white light centered in whatever 2nd chakra focal point you are working with.
- With each breath in, imagine this sphere getting slightly larger, covering a little larger area. Hold the size on each exhalation. Gradually expand the sphere until it engulfs your entire body.
- See if you can feel a blissful energy emanating outward and engulfing you through this meditation. At the end you may want to move directly into a few minutes of the next meditation, your heart chakra, or another meditation form that you like, because staying with your full attention on your 2nd chakra is often not a good idea.
As an aside, this is a great meditation to do while holding your children, pets or another loved one when they are sick, stressed, or otherwise in need of balance and nurturing. Include them inside your ‘bliss bubble’.
20) Meditation 2: Kundalini Rising – An aside here: Kundalini rising techniques are often considered risky because of the energy that can be released, and lineages that teach them often say that they should only be transmitted through direct student-teacher interactions, so that the teacher can assess if the student is ready. For various reasons, in this day and age, I have decided that I think that is complete rubbish, at least in the context of basic meditations like this. All the same, if you experience any discomfort, stop.
- This actually requires picturing light at all the chakras, so if you are not familiar with them, look at some of the resources listed in the next section, and/or the diagram in the Tantric Sexuality post.
- Picture a white sphere of light at your tailbone (root chakra). On the inhalation, imagine it getting slightly larger, and then on the exhalation, imagine a white column of light streaming up your spine and out the top of your head.
- Picture a white sphere of light at your 2nd chakra (use focal points described above), and do the same thing – on the inhalation, imagine it getting slightly larger, and then on the exhalation, imagine a white column of light streaming up your spine and out the top of your head.
- Do the same thing with each chakra moving your way up: navel, heart, throat, third eye, and crown. For all the chakras after the 2nd, I usually use a focus point on the front of the body, instead of the spine, but either is fine.
- Repeat, 2-3 times.
- Center yourself in your 2nd chakra for a moment, picturing a white sphere of light there for a minute or so there.
- Repeat for the navel, heart, and third eye chakras (note that you skip the root, throat, and crown.)
- Transition to another meditation form that you like, or just sit in stillness and/or silence. It might take a moment to quiet down your awareness after this, because it activates the kundalini. So sit with it a bit.
As an aside, some form of this meditation is taught as part of Tantric Sexuality – i.e. trying to activate the kundalini rising during sex. So experiment with that if you feel so inclined.
21) Find your bliss. ‘Nuf said.
The 2nd chakra is just one chakra, and I chose to write about it because I think it so central for women. But if you want to learn more about all the chakras, this site Chakra Energy is one of the better ones that I found. It is coming from a healing perspective, which is different from my own, as I discussed at the start of the Motherhood and Creativity post. Also, the site uses the more common 2nd and 3rd chakra locations, as described in the Tantric Sexuality post. But I think it is a good general resource.
As I mentioned in a comment, one of my favorite intro books about the chakras from an overall healing perspective is Anatomy of the Spirit, by Caroline Myss, because she discusses them from a physical, psychological and spiritual point of view (this book has been mentioned in no less than three blog posts I have read this week, so I am not the only one that likes it!) And of course, I’ve already reviewed Cyndi Dale’s The Subtle Body, although that is more of a reference book for healers. (She mentioned in our interview that one of her other books is being re-released this summer, so I might review it at that time.)
I’ve listed several other books on Women’s Energetics here.
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