While out walking in the dampness the other day, I started to think of the chakras and it seemed to me that their function could be likened to that of a wood stove (did I mention it was damp?). When a stove is fed with dry wood and the chimney is clear, the stove functions well, providing heat and energy. But when the inputs are not optimal or the pipe becomes clogged with residue, the stove cannot function as intended.
We are provided with many clues when our chakras are not functioning optimally. For example, if we feel stuck or dull, that may be a cue from the second chakra. Going with the flow, discovering your well of creativity, embracing your sensuality – these are all in the domain of the second chakra, Svadhistana. Svadhistana means “one’s own place” or “dwelling place of the self” in Sanskrit. It is located below the navel and maps on to the sacral plexus. The reproductive organs, lower back, bladder and kidneys are all associated with this chakra. Orange in color, Svadhistana’s seed sound is Vam (pronounced Vahm). The yogis would therefore say that if you’ve lost your groove, in addition to looking at the root issues, chanting Vam, envisioning orange and practicing hip-opening asanas such as baddha konasana (bound angle pose), upavista konasana (straddle pose) and reclining pigeon can provide fuel for your ho hum fire.
The next chakra, Manipura, is located in the area of the stomach and translates to “lustrous gem.” Manipura is our core of strength, our vitality and self-esteem. It’s color is yellow. The organs of digestion are linked to this chakra which resonates with the sound Ram (pronounced Rahm). When we feel sure of ourselves, trust our instincts, know something to be true in our gut, Manipura is open. We are grounded in our personal power. Conversely, if we are plagued by feelings of helplessness, lethargy or low self-esteem, this chakra is blocked. On the mat, we can bolster our strength through attention to core-focused asanas such as navasana (boat), twists, even warrior II where we harness the energy of the belly to find length and openness.
Though not physical structures themselves, the chakras reinforce the power of our physical selves to direct the mind, and vice versa. The next time you register a strong emotion, try to pinpoint where it’s landed in your body and listen to what it has to tell you. You might discover some insights your consciousness overlooked.