My friend Meikka recently emailed me with a questions for strengthening her second chakra. I am no expert on the chakras, or the management of kundalini energy, but I thought it might be good for me to do a bit of research. You never know when the info might be useful.
As it turns out, the second chakra--located a few inches below the navel--is a pretty powerful one. Its color is orange (symbolic?) and its element is water. Its Sanskrit name is svadhisthana, meaning sweetness, and it is considered the "seat of life." This is the chakra that controls emotions and sexuality and is connected to all the liquids of bodily functions--reproductive, excretory, circulation. A field day for Freudians...
Since it is related to water and emotions, it is connected to change and the need to create balance. Too open and you are overly emotional and tend to have problems in your relationships, too closed and you are dull, lifeless and have no sex drive.
Meikka is extremely eruidite (and an accomplished horsewoman), and I suspect her second chakra weakness was more a sly reference to needing to strengthen the core and lower back; either way, poses that aid in balancing of Svadhisthana also work on the abs and back. Here are some possibilities:
Bhujangasana (Cobra)-Lie on the stomach with the hands at the shoulder. Lift the chest off the floor, while keeping the legs and hips pressed down. Use the palms on the ground as a support, but don’t push the chest up; let your back muscles do the lifting. Repeat, and this time you can use your hands to push the chest up and get a deeper stretch in the spine. Keep the hips pressed to the ground.
Paschimottanasana (Forward Bend) Sit on the floor, with your legs straight out in front of you. Wrap your belt around the balls of the feet and begin to pull yourself forward, leading with the belly button. You are now tipping the pelvis forward to lengthen the back of the legs. Don’t round your lower back and keep the side ribs lifted as you did in the previous pose. If it’s comfortable, release the spine and fold further over the legs.
Navasana (Boat Pose) Sit with the knees bent and the hands behind the thighs at the knees. Lower the torso back to a 90-degree angle from the thighs. Keep the chest lifted and the neck long. Gently roll back onto your sitbones and balance with the shins parallel to the floor. Keeping the spine long, straighten the legs and, if you can keep your chest lifted, release the hands and straighten the arms with the palms down. Keep Breathing!
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose) is one of my favorite relaxing hip openers. Sit on the floor in Bound Angle Pose (knees bent, soles of the feet touching), with several pillows or rolled blankets in reach. Make a large loop with your belt and place one end around your lower back and over your hip bones. Then slip the other end of the loop around the outside edge of the feet and tighten the belt so that the feet are pulled close to the body (as close as is comfortable). Then ease yourself back, first onto the elbows, and then to the floor. Place the pillows or blankets under the knees so you can relax your legs into the support of the pillows, while keeping the feet drawn towards the body. If it is uncomfortable to lie on the floor, keep yourself at an angle by leaning on a pillow or just rest your back against the wall.
So, some meager offerings from a novice...anybody else have any thoughts? (I realized I have no good pix in my archives...check out Yoga Journal for good descriptions and modifications for all these poses)