As you use hip openers and forward folds to work with this chakra, cultivate a sense of fluidity and ease in your low belly, low back, hips, sacral plexus, and pelvis.
One way to access the potential that lies within this chakra is through creative movement. Don’t consider yourself a creative person? Even better. Guess what, everyone is inherently, wildly creative. So find a private place in your home, put on some fun music and start moving your body. Just move—be silly, be soulful, let it rip. Creative movement is native to you, you just have to remind yourself by doing it. And when you do, you’ll also unlock creative thinking. Creative thinking is what empowers you to take positive actions that can change your life and the lives of others. So what are you waiting for?
After your private dance party take a few moments to feel the vibration of blood flowing and the pulse of your heart beating. Appreciate the inner flow in preparation for your asana practice.
See also Chakra-Aligning Soundtrack
Take a comfortable seat and a moment to set your intention for this practice. To grease the wheels, here are some themes that relate to this chakra: Unlocking creativity; going with the flow; releasing rigid thoughts or ideals; letting go of old emotional stories; releasing grief, fear, or rage that is stuck in your cell tissue; allowing happiness and joy into your life; letting go of compulsive behavior; healing loving relationships; understanding and cultivating healthy boundaries; merging into the flow of something greater than yourself. Feel free to use any of these or choose your own. As long as your intention feels true for you it has value.
See also Grounding Flow For the First Three Chakras
Virabhadrasana II is a great way to create some heat and begin to open the hips. Stand in a wide straddle facing the long edge of your mat with feet about 4 feet apart. Turn your right leg and foot out so that they point toward the short edge of your mat. Bend your right knee to no more than 90 degrees. Extend your arms horizontally out over the legs. Lengthen the spine from tail to crown while sliding your shoulder blades down the ribs. As you stand here in the Warrior stance, soften the organ of your skin inward and let that remind you of your innate receptive self. Neither aggressive nor passive, you are a creative, strong, and beautiful being. Spend 5 breaths here and imagine those breaths as water, running rivers of light through your entire physical, emotional, and mental self.
See also Claire Missingham's Lower-Chakra-Balancing Flow
From Warrior II bring your left hand to your left thigh, as you side bend over the back leg. Keep your front ribs in, zip up your low belly and stretch the right side waist without collapsing the left waist. Really press down through the feet and lift up out of the low belly. Allow your creative self to open this shape into a new place, a vast and free expression of your fluid creative power. Spend 5 breaths here.
See also 5-Minute Chakra-Balancing Flow Video
Straddle your legs, turn both feet and legs out, and bend the knees. The knees should be over the heels and not past them. Press the thighbones back toward and sit bones forward toward. Ground your feet and find good balance. Now begin to move in any way that feels good! You can gently bounce the pelvis up and down and move your arms in any creative way you like. Tap into an inner rhythm. Challenge yourself to stay here a little longer and realize that it is actually easier to move in this pose than it is to remain static. In fact, the pelvis wants to move—and your low back and hips will benefit greatly from a healthy flow of energy in the sacral region. To connect with the water element and your free flowing creative expression, move here. Stay for 5–10 breaths or as long as you can without strain. Flow through a vinyasa or go directly into Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana).
Also see Stephanie Snyder's 9 Poses Your Hips Need Now
From Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) step your right foot between your hands and gently place your left knee on the floor. Reach your arms toward the sky and gently gaze upward. The front foot, knee, and hip should all be pointing the same direction. As your pelvis moves toward the earth, press down through your right foot. This downward action will help you lift your low belly off of your right thigh. Isometrically hug your left thigh forward to lift the pelvic floor. Once in the pose, lift from the pit of your belly, firm the shoulder blades down and into the back, and open your heart. Take a big YES moment here, remembering your intention, re-committing to it, and breathing deeper. Spend 5 breaths here and then switch sides.
See also Chakra-Balancing Yoga Sequence
From Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) step your right foot between your hands and gently place your left knee on the floor. Turn toward your left keeping the right foot where it is. Point your left knee toward the back end of your mat and sit on your left foot. If this is not accessible you can sit up on a block to modify. Bring your hands to your heart in Anjali Mudra (or for more support, keep your hands on the floor in front of you). Actively widen the legs apart and sink the tailbone down. Press into the feet and feel the inner spine lengthen. Spend 5 breaths in this deep hip opener. Take a vinyasa or return to Downward-Facing Dog and switch sides.
See also Video: Chakra-Aligning Practice
You have done some very activating second chakra work. Now it’s time to turn it down and give the body a chance to release any stirred-up energy. We’ll spend the next moments in restoration. From hands and knees, bend your left knee and bring it to your left wrist, laying your outer shin and thigh down on the mat. Stretch your left leg straight behind you. Square your hips to the front edge of your mat and lay your belly, chest, and head down. If you feel any discomfort in the knees, come out of the pose. As you begin to soften down, consciously release your belly. Let go of any tension in the abdomen—let it all hang out. As you release deeply, let your eyes and jaw relax completely. Spend 5–7 slow deep breaths here. Coming out of the pose carefully, you may move through a vinyasa if you like or transition through Downward-Facing Dog to change sides.
See also Yoga Poses for the Chakra System
From a seated straight-legged position (Dandasana), bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet together as the legs open out and down toward the earth. The heels line up directly in front of the pubic bone. Begin to fold forward bringing your belly, chest and head toward the earth. Keep the legs active, lengthen the heart away from the belly. You may fold forward any amount as long as your knees are pain-free. Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your low belly, low back, and inner pelvis. Spend 5 deep breaths here. With every exhale, imagine that any emotional baggage you are ready to let go of is washing down and out through the pelvic floor. With every inhale reclaim this space as creative potential for moving forward. Take your time to exit the fold. You may finish with one last vinyasa or move on to the next pose.
See also Root Chakra Tune-Up Practice
Now that you have spent some time connecting with the second chakra through asana, breath, and intention, please have a comfortable cross-legged seat. Keeping your eyes closed you will begin to chant the bija mantra for the svadhisthana chakra, which is VAM. You may either chant it out loud or silently to yourself. Think of this mantra as a code. As you chant the code begins to unpack itself and reveal to you the sacred intelligence of the second chakra energy center. As you chant this word VAM, try to sense the vibration of the sound rolling through the entire pelvic area. Feel free to experiment with pace and volume and chant in a way that resonates with you. Spend at least 2 minutes with your chant, more if you like.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
When you finish chanting lie back in Savasana and let your body soften as though you are floating on top of water as you drift into a quiet and restful repose.
See also 7 Poses for the 7 Chakras: A Healing Sequence for the New Year
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Stephanie Snyder is a San Francisco-based vinyasa yoga teacher. She's written, modeled, and created DVDs for Yoga Journal in addition to presenting at Yoga Journal LIVE! To catch more of her chakra wisdom in San Diego June 24-27, sign up here.