Understanding Our Sacral Chakra to Navigate Grief
In a previous article, I discussed the connection of our first chakra, the Root Chakra, to grief. Our second chakra, Svadhisthana is our Sacral water energy center. Our tears of grief come from this chakra. Loss of our most beloved relationships and connections manifests in our Sacral Chakra.
In our Sixty and Me community, we all experience grief, loss, and transition. Our loved ones pass on, we lose jobs, home, relationships, our youthful bodies, and more. We all have experienced loss in this pandemic. We transition from who we were at 20, 30 or 40 to an older, wiser woman.
We can meet our losses with awareness and the wisdom already in our bodies, minds, and spirits. Using the chakras as our foundation, we can observe our imbalances and move – physically, spiritually, and emotionally – towards harmony. Even as we grieve so deeply, we can seek and discover a new state of balance.
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” —Washington Irving
About the Chakras
We all have energy centers, or chakras, in our body. In Sanskrit, a chakra is also known as a wheel or disk of spinning energy. This energy corresponds to nerve bundles and major organs. Ideally, our chakras stay open and balanced, allowing them to function well. But life happens and we experience a myriad of shifts and changes.
When we go through grief, a loss, or a transition, our chakras can become unbalanced or blocked. These blocks can manifest as physical, emotional, or spiritual challenges. Without ease, we experience dis-ease.
“The chakras are very intelligent – they are like the software of the whole computer body.” —Dharma Mittra
Sacral Chakra Elements
This Sacral Chakra, Svadhisthana, is a vital force of energy located just below the belly button and at the lower spine. This chakra governs emotions, creativity, sensitivity, sexuality, intimacy, emotional well-being, and self-expression.
The element is water and radiates the color orange. The orange color is powerfully linked to our confidence, joy, and enthusiasm. Though how can we feel any of these emotions in our overwhelming grief?
Balancing the Sacral Chakra can help us reconnect with our true nature. It allows us to feel safe enough to establish connections that bring harmony to body, mind, and spirit. A strong and balanced second chakra can also help us get in touch with our desires and feelings that have been suppressed or long forgotten.
Connection to others is a major need. The main focus of Svadhisthana is to acknowledge our needs to be in relationship with others. Relationships are dramatically changed with grief, loss, and transition.
Second Chakra and Grief
Connection and passion are the key needs that Sacral Chakra meets. When Svadhisthana is blocked by emotional trauma, grief, or chronic stress, we are unable to connect with our passion for life. We tend to try to control everything and are unable to connect intimately or embrace deep self-love.
Our bodies respond to our congested emotions as unexplained lower-back pain and tight hips. By witnessing these physicals and emotional manifestations of our grief in our Sacral Chakra, we can attend to them with a deeper understanding. We aren’t crazy. We are grieving.
Hip-opening asanas teach us to loosen our grip on life and let things ebb and flow. Finding a sense of fluidity in our dailiness transforms all of our relationships, including our relationship with ourselves. Grief, like all of our emotions, is meant to move through our bodies, not get stuck.
Balancing Our Sacral Chakra in Grief
When the Sacral Chakra is out of balance, a person may experience feelings of fear, depression, manic or emotional instability, overwhelm, loss of imagination or creativity, sexual dysfunction, reproductive issues, and even addiction.
Other physical symptoms include pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips, sciatica, low back pain, urinary and kidney problems, constipation, and pelvic pain.
Mindful awareness is a tool for healing the second chakra. A balanced Sacral Chakra creates feelings of abundance, pleasure, creativity, joy, fulfillment, and overall wellness. In our grieving journey, we don’t feel any of these qualities. We are in pain, deep sadness, and imbalance.
For a grieving person who has imbalance in their second chakra, it might be hard to feel any connection to others. The Sacral Chakra is connected to the element of water so nourishing your body, inside and out, with some delicious water will do your Sacral some good.
Keep your body hydrated and more Sacral Chakra-friendly by adding a couple of slices of orange. Taking a warm bath complete with orange essential oils or going swimming in a natural body of water will also help get your Sacral buzzing again.
A deficient Sacral Chakra can manifest as excessive negativity, cynicism, eating disorders, greed, material gain, excessive feelings of insecurity, constantly living in survival mode.
Other manifestations might include behaviors that are fearful, anxious, restless, and unsettled along with chronic disorganization, poor boundaries, poor focus, financial difficulties, feeling unloved, sexually inadequate, frustrated, fearful, shy, unsure.
An excessive Sacral Chakra can manifest in obesity and overeating, bossiness, dominance, big ego, greed, violence, cunning, hoarding, sluggishness, laziness, fear of change, and rigid boundaries. Fear might turn into greed and paranoia.
Unlocking and Opening Svadisthana Chakra
The Sacral Chakra is located right below your belly button, so any hip-opening gentle yoga poses will help get the energy flowing in that area. Identifying and working with our chakras on the grieving journey offers insight and opportunities to move with it. There are several ways to unblock your Sacral Chakra.
One of the ways is a moving meditation that focuses on opening the hips and sacrum. Practicing any type of very gentle yoga regularly encourages physical and mental strength to the body.
From a seated position, bring the soles of your feet together, close to your pelvis, allowing your knees to fall out to the sides. Ground your sitting bones and lengthen your spine. Hold onto the outsides of your feet and press the soles of your feet towards each other. And very, very gently pulse the knees towards the earth.
Lie on your back. With an exhale, bend your knees into your belly. Hold on to the outsides of your feet.
Bent Knee Side Twist
From a seated position, bend your knees and keep your feet on the mat more than hip distance apart. Gently sway both hips from side to side.
Savasana – Corpse Pose
Rest your entire body comfortably on the floor. Extend your arms and legs outward from your torso evenly and symmetrically. Mentally scan the body from head to feet, gradually releasing each body part and each muscle group.
With each exhalation, imagine your limbs getting a little heavier and spreading out a little more. Let yourself be fully supported by the earth beneath you and let go of all tension in your body. With each inhale and exhale, remind yourself: “I am connected.”
Repeating positive affirmations helps set intentions to break old habits and create new ones.
- Life is pleasurable and I deserve it.
- I grieve deeply because I have loved deeply.
- I take pleasure in myself, my senses, and the world around me.
- I am like water in that I adapt, adjust, and find my way through all obstacles.
- I am worthy of love and am loved by others.
- I allow my feelings and emotions to flow freely.
- My connection to my beloved has only changed, not ended.
Positivity All Around
Grief is deeply experienced in our Sacral Chakra. When the Svadhisthana is awakened and energy is flowing freely, it brings positivity in all aspects of our lives. In grief, we are more blocked. A healthy and balanced Sacral Chakra creates an appreciation for a strong connection to ourselves and others. It is passion, connection, and flow.
Yoga for Living with Loss is a practice dedicated to meeting the grieving process through gentle yoga integrated with a study of the chakras. For more information and to access the Yoga for Living with Loss Video Series, please visit www.GrowingYoungerGracefully.com.
What does yoga mean to you? Which type have you tried? Has yoga for grief helped you with your emotional imbalance after loss? Please share your thoughts and experiences with the community.