Guilty Pleasures

Ok.  You caught me in one of my "guilty pleasures".  But here's the thing:  I needed to get that creativity flowing for this post.  Today's post brings you the second chakra, and let me tell you, it's a tricky one.  This second chakra, the sacral plexus, is located between the pubic bone and the belly button.  It is associated with pleasure.......yes......that kind of pleasure.  While sexual pleasure is one of the features of the second chakra, the all-encompassing theme is  the fear of experiencing pleasure.  So, you can see where sex and pleasure come into the discussion.  Our culture has all kinds of hang ups in that department. 

Luckily for me while writing this post, though, we can relate pleasure in general to this chakra.  Svadhistana, which is the second chakra's fancy name, can be translated to mean "one's own sweetness."  And whatever is sweet is to you.....then that's your pleasure.  The demon we encounter with Svadhistana is Guilt.  And there's even a deeper importance to the second chakra than finding pleasure, because this chakra is also the seat of our creativity.  So, in order to let the creativity flow, it is essential to nurture this part of ourselves.  When this chakra is stuck, there is a lack of creative energy and a repression of our emotions (and neither of these things are great for you, in case you were wondering).

Why do we think that our pleasures need to be guilty (because they don't as long as we aren't hurting anyone else or ourselves)?  Well, a stuck second chakra is an imbalance in how we feel about experiencing pleasure.  So what's the fix?  It's owning the right to feel and the right to want.  There are lots of things we can do to nurture this process to a healthy Svadhistana.

First of all, we can indulge in the pleasures around us.  A taste of chocolate, a bubble bath at the end of your day (since the element of this chakra is water), or taking a little nap are some of the self-nurturing habits that are good for us and NOT pleasures that should induce guilt.

The color of the second chakra is orange, so bring a little of that into your wardrobe or your creative work space.  And while you are at it, dab or diffuse some ylang ylang, cinnamon, tangerine, or geranium essential oils.  

Some yoga poses (or asanas) that help to awaken the second chakra are below.  Or, make up your own little creative flow using some or all of these poses and your other favorites.

Baddha Konasana (butterfly pose) with a forward fold:  Bring the bottoms of your feet together and place your hands around them.  With your elbows, encourage your knees to open and peel apart the soles of your feet.  Inhale your spine long and your shoulders relaxed.  As you exhale, tip forward from your hips.  Breathe in and out.  Come out of the pose on an inhale.

Wide Legged Forward Fold:  Take your legs wider than your hlps.  Inhale your spine long.  On the exhale, hinge forward at the hips, pressing into the ground equally with both feet, legs straight.  When you are ready, rise back up on an inhale with a flat back (to protect your spine).

Cobra Pose:  Lie on your stomach, place your hands underneath your shoulders, and press the tops of your feet into your mat.  Inhale and press your hands into the mat, keeping your arms close to your body and your elbows pointing straight back.  Now, pull your hands toward you (like you are trying to wrinkle the mat).  This should bring your heart forward.  Relax your shoulders and neck.  Breathe here.  Lower on an exhale.

Life is full of pleasures.....and it's up to each of us to welcome them in in order to enrich our lives and to encourage our creative selves to be awake.  This coming week, please do something that you enjoy, even if it's only for a few minutes each day.  As for me......

Yoga in the Park, Yoga for Athletes, and Yoga in Schools are all a GO!  Take a look at these sections of the website for more information.  

Also, if you are a teacher looking for re-licensing credits or someone who just wants to take a class to learn something new, you can sign up for my Yoga for the Classroom class at Carthage College December 9-10.  $50 for an undergraduate credit, and $100 for a graduate credit.  Should be fun!