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The Spiritual Anatomy of Yoga - Svadhisthana

“Wherever you go, you carry your light with you”

~ Yogi Ashokananda, my Beloved Teacher

The spiritual anatomy of yoga is a vast subject and I sincerely hope you have enjoyed the first two blogs on this fascinating subject. This week we continue our examination of the Chakra system with the second chakra, and discuss some of the finer points of our spiritual anatomy.

These blogs are in no way exhaustive, but are shared to offer a glimpse of the light that we all carry within us; the light from which we originated and which we shine into the world.

Svadhishthana - The Sacral Chakra

As discussed in the last blog on the Muladhara Chakra, the seven major chakras of the subtle body are some of the most instantly recognisable components of the human spiritual anatomy, with countless texts and articles having been written over thousands of years.

The concept of chakras and their associated philosophical, religious and spiritual practices originates from the esoteric ‘Tantra’ traditions of ancient India, Nepal and Tibet. Tantra is recognised as the ecstatic path of liberation within the Indo-subcontinental traditions, whereas Yoga (more specifically, ‘Raj Yoga’, as described by Patanjali in his ‘Yoga Sutras'), is acknowledged as the formal, more disciplined path of self-realisation.

Over centuries, the concept of chakras has changed dramatically, from the very earliest texts describing meditative tools, images and mantras to the modern Western model of chakras which includes hundreds of correspondences for each chakra, aligned with various New Age healing practices.

For the purposes of these articles, it is sufficient to say that chakras represent the physical/psychological relationship of the human being within themselves, forming the major aspects of the human psycho/spiritual/energetic system.

The seven major chakras are aligned, bottom to top, with the spinal column of the human body, and are connected by three major channels of psycho/spiritual energy (prana); the Ida, the Pingala and the Sushumna. Over centuries, various traditions have developed techniques in an attempt to harness, control and master the energy of each chakra sequentially in order to progress further along the path of self-realisation and liberation.

These techniques have been developed from the ancient understanding of the chakras as meditative focal points and including the chanting of certain mantras in the Sanskrit language (known as ‘Beej’ or ‘Bij’ mantras), the use of visual imagery or ‘mandalas’ or the use of what we understand to be the science of ancient alchemy.

These meditative techniques act as a form of guided self-inquiry and the beginning of the understanding of the internal relationship with our human psyche, the physical and nonphysical aspects of our existence and the part of us that we would collectively refer to as a ‘soul’.

The second of the chakras is called ‘Svadhishthana’ or the Sacral Chakra.

Energetically found in the body between the pubic mound and navel, the characteristic of this chakra are are follows:

Associated Colour: Orange

Governs: Sexuality, Close Relationships and Freedom from Fear

Associated Element: Water

Mantra: VAM

The Svadhishthana Chakra is the wellspring of our deepest, most primal emotions; joy, fear, passion and guilt - the great emotional expressions of the human experience. It is this chakra that is associated with our unconscious desires and impulses and has a strong connection with the power of human sexuality and sexual relationships.

Sometimes acknowledged as one of the more challenging chakras to work with in different practices, due to being the source of our deepest, unacknowledged desires and despairs, it is symbolised visually as an orange lotus flower with six petals.

In many traditions, the Svadhishthana Chakra has the preeminent position amongst all of the chakras, being the true centre of the body and the human experience and is the source of the kundalini energy. It is further believed to be the home of the deity Brahma within the body, and this poem from the Vedas (translated by G. Radhakhrishna Menon), gives full expression to the importance of this chakra:

“What is Brahman?

Who is Brahman?

Two mind boggling questions!

Thought provoking, thought engrossing!

The Ultimate Reality is Brahman!

All beings arise out of Brahman,

All beings live in Brahman,

All beings get absorbed in Brahman!”

Next week we will continue to explore the historical and modern interpretations of the chakras, examining the third of the chakras: Manipura aka the Solar Plexus Chakra.

Matt ~ The Bearded Naked Yogi

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