The Chakra Chapters: The Sacral Chakra

The Chakra Chapters: The Sacral Chakra

In this next instalment of The Chakra Chapters, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the second energetic wheel: the sacral chakra. Before you can start working effectively with your sacral chakra, you need to check if your root chakra is open and free-flowing, so I highly recommend giving my previous blog a read! 

Believed to be the energy centres in the subtle body, the seven main chakras are found along the spine, starting at the base and moving  all the way up to the crown of the head. Each chakra is an energetic wheel linked to specific body parts and emotions. Keeping your chakras open and free-flowing is key to maintaining your mental, physical and spiritual health. So, let’s take a look at what role the sacral chakra plays.

What is the sacral chakra?

The sacral chakra is found in the lower belly and inner pelvis. It is known in Sanskrit as svadhisthana, translating to “one’s own dwelling.” The second in your seven chakras, the sacral chakra is represented by the colour orange and the element of water, which is all about flow, flexibility and freedom of expression. So, it’s no surprise that it is associated with the emotional body, sensuality and creativity. 

When balanced, the sacral chakra allows us to tap into the pleasure and enjoyment of life. You will feel a sense of ease and comfort in your own body (or dwelling, if you like), which makes you feel comfortable inviting people to share your sacred space. As a result, your relationship with yourself and others will feel nurturing, pleasurable and harmonious. 

For those that identify as female, it’s also a great chakra to work on balancing. More than any other chakra, the sacral chakra embodies divine feminine energy. Paying close attention to this chakra could help you enhance your creative expression, improve sexual intimacy and increase your feminine intuition.

Chakra chart

Sacral chakra blockages

When any of the chakras become blocked, the energy it’s associated with becomes stagnant, stopping you from being able to access its gifts. Since an open sacral chakra allows you to access the pleasure and creativity of life, when it’s blocked you are likely to feel detached, isolated, and anxious, experience low libido and a lack of creativity. These feelings may manifest in your behaviour, such as codependency, inability to set personal boundaries or difficulty expressing emotions. 

Physically, you may experience pain and stiffness in the sacral area. For example, you may have lower back pain, joint pain, or other issues such as low energy, kidney or menstrual cycle problems due to a blocked sacral chakra. Emotionally, you may feel consumed by your feelings as though you are drowning in them, find it hard to balance your emotions with extreme ups and downs or use escapism to avoid life. 

Make a habit of closely observing your actions and your energy. You will quickly tell if your sacral chakra is becoming blocked. I like to do daily check-ins to see where my energy is at. This could be making a note when I’m journaling, observing myself during meditation or taking a moment to step back and reflect.

How to balance the sacral chakra?

As mentioned earlier, before healing your sacral chakra, you need to make sure your root chakra at the base of your spine is balanced, too. How the chakra imbalance presents itself in you will determine how best to bring it back into alignment. Remember that everyone is on a unique journey and will receive healing in a unique way. Here are some of the methods and practices I’m personally drawn to when I need to get my sacral energy flowing again.

1) Reiki healing

As a KHDA certified reiki master, it’s no surprise I recommend reiki healing as a great way to rebalance your sacral chakra. The Japanese energy healing practice is an ancient tradition, now widely available. During a session, a trained practitioner will identify your blockages and help heal them by transferring universal energy from their hands. I’m happy to share my recommendations if you are local to Dubai, just drop me a message!

 

2) Get creative 

While a blocked sacral chakra will strip you of your creativity, often the best way to reignite it is to do things that make you feel creative! Energy is compounding. The more of a certain energy you put in, the more you generate. 

You can refuel lost creativity by finding an activity that sparks your curiosity. It will be hard at first, but once you commit, you’ll find yourself easing back in. I usually make music by playing my guitar to bring out my creative energy, or I’ll take time dressing myself up by trying outfit combinations or make-up that I may not have thought of before. I find it’s a fun way to play and not take myself too seriously.

Sacral Chakra meditation
Garland Malasana Pose Sacral yoga

3) Dance around 

If your sacral energy is stagnant, then dancing it out is sure to get it moving. Put on your favourite song and move your body without inhibition to connect with your sacral chakra and energetic self. Make it sensual, make it dynamic, make it slow or make it erratic. Surrender to your body and do whatever it needs to feel alive. Either dance alone and lose yourself in the moment, or dance with a group of friends or loved ones to share their energy and boost your own. 

 

4) Practice yoga 

If you don’t feel comfortable losing yourself in dance just yet, then a gentle yoga practice targeting the sacral area might be a better place to start. I like to warm up with a couple of sun salutations before working in some hip-opening asanas, either as part of my vinyasa flow or to hold statically. Some great poses to try include Ananda Balasana (happy baby), Utkata Konasana (goddess pose) and Malasana (garland pose).

5) Chant  

The sacral chakra’s element is water, so invoking it can be an incredibly powerful way to remove blockages. I like to combine meditation with chanting for the best results. I start in a comfortable seat or in a reclined butterfly pose with my feet together, knees apart with my hands gently resting on my sacral area. I close my eyes and visualise an orange ball while chanting the water element mantra ‘vam’ for any time between 1 to 20 minutes. 

 

The journey to healing your chakras is personal, so I’d encourage you to try each of these healing methods to find what works best for you. The sacral chakra is the key to tapping into your free-flowing creativity! Stay tuned for the next in The Chakra Chapter series: the solar plexus chakr

Connect with me on social media!

© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Autumn Wellness Practices To See You Through The Season

Top 5 Autumn Wellness Practices To See You Through The Season

I love the potential of the transitional season, and my top autumn wellness practices will help you make the most out of this time of year. Our energy levels tend to ebb and flow as the season changes. Autumn is a notable time for introspection, slowing down and reconnecting with our mind, body and soul after the high energy of summer. Energetically, it is a great season to practise some self-care and recharge. 

I’ve already posted a blog about the Autumn Equinox, but I wanted to share some other favourite practices I use to help me throughout the season.

1) Holotropic Breathwork

I won’t lie, holotropic breathwork can be a physically and emotionally intense practice. However, when you come out of the other side, I promise you will feel like a new person. Holotropic breathwork takes you through controlled breathing patterns to produce an altered state of consciousness. Once in that state, you’ll find you can move beyond your body and ego, helping you to reach your true self. It’s here that you’ll be able to better connect to yourself, others and the natural world. It’s a great autumn wellness practice since it requires deep introspection to match the energy for this time of year. 

During a session, you will be guided through the fast breathing technique for a few minutes or hours. Due to the intensity of the therapeutic exercise, I would advise seeking a trained facilitator to guide you. A quick search on Google will bring up several local sessions where you can sign up for either one-day or week-long workshops to ensure you are in safe hands.

Meditation Holotropic Breathwork
Autumn Massage

2) Massage Therapy

While there are plenty of types of massage to choose from, including Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone and more, in general, they have similar benefits. In the autumn, we are likely to spend more time indoors being less active than in the summer months, and our bodies can stiffen up. Manually working the muscles aids relaxation as it helps reduce any built-up tension or anxiety in the body. It’s also great for staving off seasonal illnesses like the common cold since massage can remove toxins by improving your blood flow and immune system. 

Massage is also wonderful to incorporate into your autumn wellness practices to promote a better night’s sleep. We require more sleep in the autumn as our bodies slow down to conserve energy during the darker months. Ask your massage therapist to use oils with calming scents like lavender, ylang ylang or chamomile, and you’ll drift off in no time!

3) Sound Baths

Using sound for healing is an old practice dating back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians – who believed vibrations and sounds could positively impact the human body. Now, sound bath sessions are used to aid anxiety, tension, low mood and, in some cases, reduce pain. As a qualified Level 1 and Level 2 Sound Healer from Peter Hess Institut, I am very passionate about adding the healing powers of sound baths to my autumn wellness practices. This time of year is about settling into yourself and relaxing! 

I highly recommend finding a weekly sound bath session to attend. During a session, trainers will create soothing sounds using crystal bowls, Tibetan singing bowls, bells, gongs or a combination of all four instruments. The best thing about attending a session is all you need to do is turn up! While a sound bath can induce a deep meditative state, you don’t have to go that far if you’re still new to meditation. Instead, you can just breathe deeply and let the vibrations do the work for you.

Sound bath

4) Clearing My Space

Just as the trees shed their leaves in autumn, we, too, can shed anything that’s no longer serving us. We’re all familiar with a spring clean, but what about cleaning your space as part of your autumn wellness practices, too? Since we spend more time indoors during this season, you want to ensure your space feels cosy and comfortable. Now is a great time to declutter your space and prepare for the New Year ahead. 

Clearing out my wardrobe has also become a seasonal tradition. While the weather doesn’t change too drastically in my climate, I still like to honour the cooler seasons by swapping out my summer clothes for light jumpers. Autumn is the ultimate cosy season, so I like to dress the part! It can also be a more spiritual practice in noticing that you’ve shed your summer identity. By clearing your wardrobe and storing away out-of-season clothes, you’re acknowledging the person you need to be in the current season. 

Autumn wellness reading

5) Replacing Netflix with Reading

Don’t get me wrong. I love binge-watching a Netflix series as much as everyone else. However, as things slow down in the autumn, I prefer to swap my screen time with getting my nose into a good book. Excessive screen time is linked to increased cortisol levels. Similarly, action-packed TV shows can leave you feeling more exhausted despite your body being inactive. On the other hand, reading can help settle your nervous system thanks to the calming nature of taking things at a slower pace – even if it is an action-packed novel! 

Reading is the ideal cosy autumn wellness practice as it forces you to slow down. This is precisely what mother nature is asking us to do at this time of year. It also requires you to be more present as you are actively reading. You’ll find your thoughts are creative and inspired the more you read. If you need some recommendations, check out my previous blog on books on my personal reading wish list! 

Connect with me on social media!

© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Things I learned after going vegan

Things I Learned After Going Vegan

As I mentioned in my previous blog on plant-based living, it wasn’t long into my spiritual journey that I found and committed myself to veganism. I have been eating a plant-based diet and striving to be vegan in many other aspects of my life, for three years now. I have learned so much about myself in that time, so I wanted to share some of the changes I noticed and some of the myths my vegan journey has busted…

Changes In My Mind And Body After Going Vegan

Going vegan has changed me for the better – and not just physically, but mentally, too. Here are the three ways my mind and body have changed since switching to a plant-based diet:

Change 1: Better skin

Having suffered from horrible acne most of my life, but particularly in my later teenage years, my skin significantly improved since I cut animal products from my diet. Now, my skin is noticeably clearer, more even in tone and texture and less painful than it was in previous years. As someone passionate about leading a completely plant-based lifestyle, I also made the switch to using only vegan and cruelty-free beauty products. Thanks to more natural and vegan formulas I’ve experienced fewer breakouts and allergic reactions as I am no longer putting harsh chemicals on my skin. 

Change 2: Better eating habits 

In terms of my mental health, I have found veganism has given me a much healthier relationship with food. Before I went vegan, I used to be a “gym girl” who would track my calories and macros every time I ate. I would force an excessive amount of protein into my diet and watch my weight daily, constantly striving to reach a “goal” number on the scales. Since going vegan, I haven’t followed a strict diet or counted my calories. Instead, I am more intuitive as I listen to my body and eat what I feel like (within reason!). Now, while my weight fluctuates a little (as it should), I can maintain it without even trying. Exercise is no longer a chore as I enjoy it without feeling the pressure to fuel myself with unnecessary amounts of protein beforehand. 

Change 3: Better compassion 

Overall, I have had a far more compassionate outlook on life since becoming vegan. Not only do I feel more of an emotional attachment towards animals and the natural world, but also the environment as a whole and myself. I know I am living and eating in a way that is better for the world around me and the creatures I share it with. I feel much better about myself as a result of that knowledge. If I make a mistake, I’m more empathetic with myself, because I know I’m doing my best.

vegan lunch
Lunch

The Myths Around A Vegan Diet

Everyone, whether vegan or not, has an opinion about it. As such, the conversation around veganism is heavily littered with myths about how it impacts the body. From rumours that a vegan diet lowers your energy levels to theories that plant-based eating will make you anaemic and vitamin-deficient, I have heard them all. And – spoiler alert – not all of them are true! Here are the three biggest concerns I had about going vegan before actually making the switch.

Myth 1: Carbs are fattening  

Since a vegan diet can often be very rich in carbohydrates, I was terrified that I would gain a lot of weight if I went vegan. In my late teens and early 20s, I had a huge misconception about carbs and would fear eating them because I was convinced they would make me gain unhealthy body fat. Now that I am actually vegan I realised there is nothing to fear from eating carbs, if anything they are a crucial part of a balanced and healthy diet. As mentioned earlier, I don’t track my calories at all now that I am vegan, and I’m pleased to say my weight has never been more consistent!

Myth 2: Vegan desserts taste bad 

I am not ashamed to admit that I love my desserts. One of my worries going into a plant-based diet was that I wouldn’t be able to continue eating delicious pastries, chocolate or desserts if I went vegan. Luckily, I was wrong! Vegan desserts are just as tasty as anything I ate before transitioning my eating habits. The best part is most of them are made from natural sugars, making them healthier whilst still being equally as tempting. As a self-confessed sweet tooth, I knew that healthy, plant-based desserts were one of the first things I wanted to put on the  Plant Essence menu – my Dubai-based cloud kitchen! 

Myth 3: Veganism is hard 

One of my biggest concerns was that adopting a vegan diet would be hard. The truth is, I found the transition incredibly smooth and I rarely find myself tempted by non-vegan options when choosing what to eat. Admittedly going vegan was a little easier for me than most as I had been vegetarian for over 12 years prior. Nevertheless, I still expected giving up sweet treats to be a tough challenge. Honestly, with all the amazing vegan options on the market right now, I feel spoilt for choice! 

Vegan dessert

Although many of my vegan friends have had similar experiences to mine, it’s important to remember that my experience of going vegan is exactly that: my experience. If you currently eat meat and/or other animal-based products and you choose to go vegan (which I hope you do!), remember that your journey to veganism will also be entirely unique. That’s the beauty of it, really, every vegan has a story to tell!  

Connect with me on social media!

© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Invigorating Yoga Poses

5 Invigorating Yoga Poses For Energy

As an avid yogi, I know the power of ensuring my daily practice includes invigorating yoga poses for an energy boost on sluggish days. Hatha yoga, which I covered during my Yoga Alliance Teacher Training, combines postures and breathing techniques traditionally used to channel the vital energy source. When we practise invigorating poses, we bring ourselves back into balance and allow ourselves to tap into this energy source – not only during our practice, but also throughout the rest of our day. 

Energising asanas are best practised first thing in the morning, but that’s not to say you can’t practise in the middle of your day for an extra energy boost! Check out my favourite invigorating yoga poses below, with a step-by-step guide on how to get into each posture.

Wheel Pose Invigorating Yoga

Wheel Pose

Heart openers are fantastic invigorating yoga poses for providing an energy boost as they get the blood pumping around the body, helping to battle fatigue and low mood. Wheel Pose is an intense back bend and front body opener getting into the chest, lungs, shoulders – and even the front of the legs and hip flexors. While stretching out the front of the body, the pose also builds strength in the back body, particularly in the shoulder and upper back – though do be careful you don’t crunch and strain your lower back in this pose as it could lead to injury.

How to get into the pose: 

  1. Start lying on your back with your knees bent. Plant your feet firmly into the ground hip-width apart and directly under your knees. 
  2. Reach your arms up and back, placing your palms on the ground alongside your ears, fingertips towards your shoulders. 
  3. Inhale, then use your exhalation to lift your hips and torso off the floor enough to place the crown of your head on the mat. Make sure to keep the weight off your head. 
  4. Inhale and press down with your hands and feet to lift yourself off the mat and into the back bend. Keep your knees and elbows drawing into your midline and not splaying out. 
  5. Breathe deeply, rotate your inner thigh to the floor and reach your tailbone towards the back of your knees. 
  6. Hold for 5-10 breaths. 
  7. Tuck your chin into your chest to come out of the pose and lower your body to the floor.

Tree Pose

A beginner-friendly balancing asana, Tree pose is great for cultivating strength in the lower body while working the mind to stay focused. Although a simple pose, a lot is happening. The legs, glutes, core and back all have to switch on to keep you balanced, while the hips and inner thigh benefit from the opening stretch – this all aids in improving posture and alignment. 

Tree pose is also a play in opposites. As your standing leg grounds down and feels rooted, your arms reach up high above, pulling away. The mental focus required in this pose provides an energy boost for your mind ensuring you stay present throughout your day.

How to get into the pose: 

  1. Start in Mountain Pose, lift your sternum and shift your weight to your left foot. Press down through the base of the big toe and feel your inner thighs rotate in and towards the back of your mat. 
  2. Find something to focus your gaze on, place your hands on your hips and bend your right knee towards your chest. 
  3. Place your right foot high to the inside of your left thigh or shin. Do not place it on your knee, as you risk injury. 
  4. Actively press your right foot and left leg into the midline. Avoid leaning your torso to the side, stay level and squared to the front. 
  5. Inhale and bring your hands to the heart centre in Anjali Mudra, or if you feel steady, stretch them high overhead.
  6. Hold for 5-10 breaths before releasing slowly and with control back to Mountain Pose. 
  7. Repeat on the other side.
Tree Pose Invigorating Yoga
Garland Malasana Pose Sacral yoga

Garland Pose

Also known as a ‘yogi squat,’ Garland pose is another deep hip opener linked to our root chakra. Stretching out the pelvis, ankles and back, Garland pose is one I’d encourage you to incorporate into your daily practice since it’s fantastic for correcting the tightness we develop when sitting at a desk all day. 

While Garland is mainly a grounding and calming pose, I still wanted to include it in this list of invigorating poses as it shows how we can harness our energy in a gentler way. Yoga doesn’t need to be physically taxing to be energising, sometimes our bodies need the opposite. By sitting quietly in this pose you can work on harnessing your inner strength.

How to get into the pose: 

  1. Begin in Mountain Pose with your feet together and your weight evenly distributed. 
  2. Exhale as you lower down into a deep squat, trying to keep your heels on the floor. If they don’t reach, try resting your heels on a block or folded-up mat. 
  3. Spread your knees wide, so you can tuck your chest between your thighs. 
  4. Bring your palms together in Anjali Mudra and press your elbows against the inside of your knees. 
  5. Keep your chest lifted and avoid rounding the upper back. Look straight out in front rather than down to keep your chin lifted. 
  6. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

Upward Facing Dog Pose

Another heart opener, Upward Facing Dog is a classic yoga pose that’s included in many Vinyasa flows and a key part of many Sun Salutation variations. As mentioned above, backbends and heart openers are wonderfully invigorating yoga poses for an instant boost! Upward Facing Dog, in particular, is ideal if you’re working on improving your posture while strengthening your spine, shoulders, wrists and even your glutes since your legs are active.

How to get into the pose: 

  1. Start laying on your front with your palms on the ground up by your lower ribs and legs stretched out with your feet hip-width apart. 
  2. Make sure your ankles are aligned with your feet, then activate your legs by pressing down all ten toenails. 
  3. Tuck your elbows in and press down with your hands and feet to raise yourself as you inhale. Your arms and legs should be completely straight, legs lifting off the floor.  
  4. Draw your shoulders away from your ears to elongate the neck. 
  5. Keep the core active to protect the lower back and avoid any painful pinching or crunching. 
  6. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
Upward Facing Dog Pose
Warrior II Pose

Warrior II Pose

As the name suggests, Warrior II is a powerfully invigorating yoga pose that’s great for beginner and advanced yogis alike. It’s a pose that requires great discipline to practise for any length of time. Warrior II forces us to come back to our breath and inner focus. As a fire starts to build, avoid the temptation to straighten the front leg and instead relish in the challenge. 

Warrior II is a fundamental pose that once you’re comfortable with you can build upon to practise other fun variations such as Humble Warrior, Reverse Warrior or Extended Warrior. Each variation has its own challenge bringing with it different energies you can cultivate in your practice. 

How to get into the pose: 

  1. Face the front of your mat and take a big step back with your left leg. Turn your back foot, so the outside faces the short edge of the mat, and your toes point towards the upper left corner.
  2. Keep your right foot and knee facing the front of the mat. 
  3. Stretch your arms straight out from your shoulders, palms face down with your wrists approximately over your ankles. 
  4. Exhale and take a deep bend into your right knee, stacking it over your right ankle. 
  5. Keep your weight evenly distributed across both legs, pressing down through the outer edge of your back foot. 
  6. Lift up from the crown of your head, keeping it stacked over your shoulders and hips in one long line. 
  7. Reach through your fingertips and turn your head to look past your right arm, if that’s comfortable for your neck. 
  8. Hold for 5-10 breaths before coming out of the pose. 
  9. Repeat on the other side. 

Connect with me on social media!

© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra