The chakras fascinate me. They really do. And next weekend I’m teaching part of a chakra series, a workshop called the Sexy Sacral Chakra. We’ll twist and bend, breathe deeply and meditate on what this powerful chakra is all about. And each of us will work on our own stuff. Not everyone has the same issues with a chakra and that’s one of the reasons it’s so fascinating to teach a workshop on it. Each student is going through their own awareness, learning, and awakening.
On a daily basis if I focus in and listen to my body, it talks to me. And I’m not just talking the little aches and pains of life. I’m talking some of the big stuff.
When my stomach hurts it could relate to a feeling of powerlessness. An ache in my leg might mean I’m feeling unstable or afraid of moving forward. And maybe my fear of moving forward can be because of a fear of increased instability in my life. The new and unknown might be too scary for me at the moment and my leg is telling me.
Or maybe I just pulled a muscle.
For me the sacral chakra is very personal, though. I am very centered in my sacral chakra, also called Svadhistana. This chakra is chock full of intuitive knowledge. It’s all about our emotions, relationships and of course, Sex. It’s about our sexual relationships as well as who we are sexually. It’s about creativity and that ultimate creative endeavor, reproduction.
At my age, sacral chakra is less about my sexual identity and reproduction than feeling comfortable and centered in my sexuality. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, sex has always been an issue. It’s always meant more or less than it should. I know, I hear it, and I use “should” lightly. Sex has either meant love and devotion, adoration and commitment or just another day of studying, laundry and carpooling. For a long time it would swing like a pendulum and I based who I was on which one I felt. Or maybe I felt somewhere in between.
How I felt about myself sexually became my identity. It’s not surprising, really, since I was abused in my pre-school years. The years I was supposed to be carving a bit of my identity and distancing my identity from my mother’s.
So I struggled. I struggled through adolescence with it. As with so many of us, my first “real” sex was fairly early. By the time I was in college I thought I had it mastered, I thought I was one cool customer .. “to the boys like a metronome”. I could take them or leave them and if I left first then that was even better.
By early 20s I was married and hadn’t really figured it out. If my husband was busy or distracted or was dealing with what we would later learn was Bi-polar Disorder, I was devestated. He didn’t love me. He certainly didn’t care enough to be in our marriage. And so I was in and out of our 20 year long relationship, emotionally and physically. I would date other men. I cheated. I hated myself and I took it out on everyone around me.
It was a dark, dirty, desperate picture.
I wish I could tell you I have an answer. I know my story isn’t unique. Couple it with a teenaged eating disorder to find some semblance of control, PTSD from my violent childhood, heavy drinking to escape and my story mirrors millions. The answer was my own. I stumbled and tripped and ultimately it’s not one thing that makes my life manageable today. It’s layers and a patch work of getting on the mat, laughing with my kids, eating well, talking to my mentor, getting exercise, working on my spiritual growth, making time to have fun, being in love, writing, and just learning to Be.
I do believe that after I got some things figured out, after therapy and support groups and a continuing to get on the mat, the thing that balanced that sexual, creative, emotional energy was chakra work.
Gently, quietly, slowly over time I unblocked, invigorated and balanced the sacral chakra. The sanskrit translation is sweetness and that’s what balancing this chakra has done for me. Through the meditations, breath work and poses sacral chakra work has brought a sweetness to my life that I never expected.
When it’s out of balance the sacral chakra can contribute to low back pain, which I had, but which was one of the first things yoga healed. It can make you quick to anger and my ex-husband can attest to how I used to fly to the ceiling before he could blink. We’d be in the middle of a major row before he even realized we were fighting, but I was heated up and ready to go ten rounds.
Conversely, an unbalanced sacral chakra can make you feel numb. This was more my early years. I can remember teen-aged years where I just wanted to feel something. And I found that sex and alcohol could help me do that. Later in adult years I needed the alcohol to help me numb and escape.
An out of whack sacral chakra can make you feel depressed and disconnected, emotionally drained and feeling that your relationships are lacking. That was exactly me. I took prescribed drugs for a while for the depression, but I still floated through not feeling the deep connection I was craving. Ithought everyone was shallow and upon moving to a new state couldn’t believe how the only thing people talked about was the weather. I craved home. And I constantly craved change.
The sacral chakra governs the fluids in our body. Blood, urine, sweat, semen, tears all flow based on the energy of this chakra. In our emotional and mental life it’s about flowing with the change. I craved change like some people crave crack. If life wasn’t in upheaval, I was antsy and agitated and I created drama.
By strengthing my back and abdominals, twisting and resting in poses that put pressure on the front of my body I felt relief from this life. I meditated and felt my belly. I rested my hands whenever I could on a spot about three fingers below my belly button. Not surprisingly, this can be a tough area for women to want to focus on. We’d rather cover our bellies in layers, ignore the bulge as it grows or just cut it out all together. Pregnancy can be hard for some of us for just this reason. Focusing on the low abdomin can make us feel vulnerable and being vulnerable made me feel uncomfortable.
What we learn on the mat translates directly into our lives. When I learned that being uncomfortable on the mat was okay, that it was safe and that comfort would return or that being uncomfortable sometimes was almost fun cause it took me into poses I never thought I’d acheive or a calmness that was addictive, then I slowly opened myself to being uncomfortable in life. And when I learned that it was okay to be uncomfortable sometimes, and this is still a work in progress, then I learned how to live, grow, love and be without alcohol or looking for the next bedfellow or eating a pint of ice cream at a time.
I learned that Melissa is okay. Again, this isn’t every day of my life. Sometimes I even go a few days with this struggle, but then I do something like get on the mat or chat with a student or walk to the studio and then I remember. Being Melissa is okay.
This has been a long, long struggle. I’m just grazing the iceberg of work that needs to be done. But my life is not governed by my sacral chakra anymore. It’s a balanced place where I can draw the energy to enjoy the sensuality of life. I write daily again, I am more contemplative and slower to raise my voice. I am in love and I have absolutely no desire to flirt, love or sleep with anyone else.
In general my emotions and feelings aren’t running amok. My sexuality feels grounded and pleasing. My creativity feels boundless and excites and inspires me.
This is the true sweetness of life.