The chakras are a system of energy throughout the subtle body. The word “chakra” means “wheel” in Sanskrit and there are hundreds of energy wheels, or chakras which prana-or life force flow through. In most Asian religions from India to China there is some form of pranic flow acceptance. If you think of your being as containing four parts: the physical, the mental, the emotional and the spiritual then the subtle body would be two thirds of your being, with the final and smallest portion, your physical being.
Of the hundreds of chakras in the subtle body, there are seven that are accepted as the main energy channel and they flow from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. The seven names in Sanskrit are: Muladhara (root), Svadhisthana (sex), Manipurna (solar plexis), Anahata (heart), Vishuddi (throat), Ajna (third eye) and Sahasrara (crown).
SVADHISTHANA-THE SEX CHAKRA
The sex chakra is your second chakra and is located between your belly button and your sexual organs. For women, it’s behind the cervix and for men it’s just behind the perineum. Although the name of the chakra and location have to do with sex organs, it’s not actually associated with sex in the modern penetrative or pornographic way.The sex chakra is the place where the more subtle power of the feminine exists. It’s the broad expanse within us, the acceptance of self and others, the shapeless femininity that leads with a gentle hand. This is the place that houses creativity and reproduction and the broader sense of love. Does it include sex? Yes, but more from a sensual perspective. If the root chakra is a quickie in a bathroom at a party, then the sex chakra is taking all night just to undress each other.
This is a chakra I have struggled with throughout my teens and twenties. I developed into a woman much younger than I was mentally or emotionally prepared for and it scared me away from accepting myself as a sexual being when I should have been gently unfolding into a goddess. That triggered years of both shame and bravado for me around my femininity. On the one hand I would use my looks to move forward in life (bar jobs and dates etc) but the second my looks got me any attention at all, I was angry and resentful for it. I judged others who saw me as a pretty, bodacious blonde, but also felt worthless if they saw me as anything else.
In my 20s I started to have issues with my reproductive organs. I had an abortion at 21 followed by HPV at 23 that lead to cervical cancer in under 6 months. At 29 I got a Bartholin’s Abscess (a swelling in the gland by the opening of your vagina that is removed surgically) followed by a string of yeast infections that nearly drove me crazy. As I entered my 30s, I started wanting to get pregnant, but the disconnect with “that part” of my body-which was how I was thinking about it at the time, was vast.
In India a year later, I was introduced to the chakra system when I took my first level of training to become a yoga teacher. When it was laid out for me that people with blockages in their second chakra can experience physical issues with their hips, infertility, issues with their reproductive organs, constipation, lower back pain, urinary and kidney infections, as well as gynecological cysts and abscesses, I felt my teacher was speaking to me directly. Emotionally, an imbalance in this area can lead to low self-esteem, insecurity, detachment, fear, depression, jealousy and finding yourself in unhealthy and abusive relationships. When I arrived in India, I had just fell out of what was the most abusive relationship I’d ever been in with another person where I not only allowed someone to treat me terribly, but I acted in ways that I couldn’t even imagine before, and I stayed for a year in that poisonous environment. After class, I approached my teacher and started what would become a two and a half year journey into balancing my second chakra.
How do you keep the balance? For me, it wasn’t easy at all. Each step was a step I didn’t want to take because it meant facing my emotional fear around sexuality and acceptance. Accepting myself as a beautiful feminine and sexual being felt like bragging to me. I had built up this very root chakra personality of tough, smart, tomboy that the goddess inside me was all but snuffed out. And it was making my body sick-the feminine parts of me were actually suffocating under the pressure. I decided that I wanted to explore some prana-based solutions. I started by doing a chakra healing with teacher, Safah Roberts, in Goa India and under her tutelage, opened myself to all the things I was avoiding for years.
First, I worked in Asana (physical practice of yoga) to open up my hips. Postures like bound angle pose, triangle, twists of all kinds, pigeon, wide legged forward folds-all poses where I felt stuck at first, but the more I worked on them, I learned that my hips were actually quite open, but my legs (root) had built up resistance around them for so long, they only seemed tight at first blush. Interesting right? Exploring the postures led me to working emotionally and spiritually. Meditation was the most awkward for me but it had the biggest impact. I lay on my back with my hands over my lower belly and I visualized orange light coming from that part of my body and washing over me. It felt uncomfortable and exposed to even do this in my mind privately.
Then came Pranayama or breath work. Initially, I only breathed into that space in my body, picturing healing being sent to that space. Years later in a Tantra course I started to breath in as I raised my hips towards to sky, almost in bridge pose, picturing that the air was being sucked in to my body through my vagina. My discomfort was so profound that I could barely complete the exercise, but it showed me there was more work to be done. Mostly, I just kept my sex chakra on my mind. I stopped hiding myself under makeup and the need to be skinny and focused on nourishing my body and mind. I let go of toxic relationships in my life completely and without wavering in the slightest. It took two years to get to a place where I loved myself enough to just be the woman that I am without apology. This is by no means a quick fix where you learn it once and it’s gone. There are decades of conditioning that I feel I am undoing or pushing away along with fears I have around my body and sexuality and societal pressure that is mounting pressure on women and men to be more sexually loose and less affected by almost everything while at the same time playing heavily on our insecurities.
In the last year I have been struggling with getting older. This is the first year that I have seen the evidence of aging on my face, but also in my body and my emotional energy too. What is it to grow old as a woman? The messages I feel I’m receiving are very negative to this effect both personally and from the world around me. I have had yeast infections again and reoccurring Bacterial Vaginosis that doctors have told me is either “nothing to worry about” or fixable with pills and creams. But there is a part of me that knows deep down that this is a sign that the goddess in me is being snuffed out again and it’s time to go back to basics and get connected with the feminine divine I carry around inside. But this is something that I will probably have to periodically check in on throughout my life. Luckily, it’s not as terrifying or overwhelming as it once was. It’s just my body’s way of telling me that my spirit needs a little extra love and support in that area right now.
I’m proud to say that since I started this journey almost six years ago and I haven’t had one serious gynecological issue. I feel a lot more beautiful now than ever and I’m more relaxed and healthy in my relationships with my self and others. Even my creativity has come back after ten years of absence. I feel expressive and colorful again in a way that I haven’t since I was a teenage girl who didn’t know that I could or should be anyone but who I already was.
If my experience speaks to you in any way and you want to start working to balance a blocked or overactive sex chakra, please feel free to read this article I wrote about it for my own site which gives some tips on meditation and asanas for the second chakra.
If you’d like to know more about the chakra-specific work that Safah does, please check out here.
Cover Photo Courtesy of: © The Things I Wish I Knew