The Sacral Chakra and Pregnancy
When I began my study of yoga 8 years ago, I remember sitting in my 200 hour intensive course and learning about these colorful points of energy that connect throughout the body. "Chakras" they were called. They were said to govern certain emotional states and required "balancing" and "alignment". I found myself immediately dismissing such nonsense. I decided then that my focus would be solely on the practice of "Asana" (yoga poses) and yoga would serve its purpose as a means to stretch my body and relax my mind. "I'll leave the hocus pocus to the crazy yogini people", I thought to myself. Guess what? I am one of those crazy yogini people now. The yogic journey is a long, unending road of self-discovery. I was not ready to learn about the chakras 8 years ago. A classmate from that time gave me a book about chakras that I placed in a closet and didn't return to until 2 years ago. It was waiting for me. Such is the way of the Universe. When we are ready to receive, it gives.
This article is meant for those of you who are unfamiliar with the chakras and want to learn more. The focus is on the Sacral Chakra as it is integral for pregnancy and the womb.
What are Chakras?
Before I get into the relevance of the Sacral Chakra and pregnancy, let's first outline all of the chakras in a very basic way. There are 7 chakra points. The first chakra begins at your tailbone and each one travels up your body in a straight line through the top of your head. See the diagram below for a visual representation:
I don't want to get too deep into all of the chakras, as our focus is on pregnancy and the Sacral Chakra, but basically, each chakra is associated with a different region of the body, represents a social-emotional state and is developed at a specific stage in our lives. Below is a brief breakdown of basic information. If you are interested in learning more, please visit the resources page for further reading.
Balanced: Grounded, stable
Age of Development: 0-7
Asana: Warrior 1
Meditation Mantra: "Lam"*
*If you wish to meditate on a chakra, each has a mantra that you can say aloud or in your head. When you say the mantra, you can feel the vibration in the associated region that the chakra is located.
Location: Between sacrum and navel/womb
Balanced: Creative, Healthy sexual drive
Age of Development: 7-14
Asana: Warrior 2
Meditation Mantra: "Vam"
SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA
Balanced: Strong sense of "Self"
Age of Development: 15-21
Asana: Seated Twist
Meditation Mantra: "Ram"
Balanced: Compassionate, Selfless
Age of Development: 22-28
Asana: Upward Dog
Meditation Mantra: "Yam"
Age of Development: 29-35
Asana: Bow Pose
Meditation Mantra: "Ham"
3RD EYE CHAKRA
Location: Between the eyebrows
Age of Development: 36-42
Asana: Downward Dog
Meditation Mantra: "Om"
Location: Crown of head and beyond
Age of Development: 43-49
Asana: Head Stand
Meditation Mantra: "Om"
Pregnancy and the SACRAL CHAKRA
Now we come to our focal point: The Sacral Chakra and its relation to the womb and pregnancy. The Sacral Chakra is the source of female creative and sexual energy. When you are expecting, your baby is growing in the womb that is heart of the sacral chakra. Your creative juices are flowing as you are quite literally CREATING. The baby came to be as a result of your sexual energy. Additionally, love-making and sexual pleasure produce a hormone called oxytocin that assists women as they move through the stages of birth. For these reasons, it is beneficial for an expectant mother to nurture and find balance within her sacral chakra.
The sacral chakra effects one's ability to accept change. If you are about to have a baby and your sacral chakra is imbalanced, you can imagine this could be a problem. The Sacral chakra can be imbalanced for many reasons. Seeing as it develops during our preteen years, an imbalance could be related to unpleasant events that happened during puberty. Sexual trauma at any point in one's life can cause an imbalance in the sacral chakra. It doesn't have to be that dramatic, though. Perhaps there is fear surrounding your pregnancy and birth; fear for the baby's well-being or fear of the pain of labor... This is an emotional block and hinders the mother-to-be's pregnancy and birth experience.
How does a sacral chakra imbalance present itself? Physically, one may have lower back aches or heavy cramping- especially during menstruation. Having issues with intimacy, low libido or misusing sexual energy, feeling over or under emotional are some of the social-emotional signs of an imbalance. If you can't relate to these symptoms and feelings, it still doesn't hurt to bring some focus and meditation into this space- especially if you are pregnant. There are only benefits to nurturing your physical and emotional body by filling it with love and attention.
Below are different ways to bring your sacral chakra back into balance. You can try any or all methods whether you are pregnant or not. Remember, the practice of going inward is an ongoing one, not a one and done kind of deal. The beauty of meditation is that you can do it anywhere. You can sit at a red light in your car and ruminate on your womb as you shift your focus to the bright light that shines inside of it. Red light turns green and boom- you just worked on balancing your sacral chakra.
Meditation- When I am meditating on chakras, I like to use color-breathing. It is simple and easy to visualize:
Begin in a cross-legged position with your palms facing up at your knees.
Gently close your eyes.
As you breathe in, fill your heart and lungs with the color orange.
Exhale slowly until you are empty of air.
Inhale again and this time breathe the vibrant orange color down into your baby's home.
Fill it with love, and this beautiful orange light.
Crystals/Gemstones- Certain gemstones are associated with balancing and/or strengthening the chakras. WhatI like about their use is it's really easy and convenient to have them around. You can hold them during meditation. You can keep them in your pocket. Just having them near allows their powers to work on you.
There are many different gemstones and crystals used for each chakra depending on the need. I like moonstone for the sacral chakra because it works well with feminine energy (because of it's association with the moon).
Food- Yes, this one is totally obvious: orange foods! Carrots, mango, oranges, orange peppers, peaches, apricots, sweet potatoes, cantaloup... And most of these foods are also high in folic acid which is beneficial for pregnancy, so win win!
Yoga- The following poses are pregnancy-safe and help to unlock the blocks in the sacral chakra:
Warrior 2 (releases pressure in the lower back/sacral area)
Side Angle (stretches the spinal vertebra from the tailbone to the crown of the head)
Pelvic Thrusts- seated in criss-cross or on hands and knees (opens up and lubricates the sacral area)
Play around with these methods. Take 5-10 minutes each day to check in with yourself and decide how you want to find balance and don't stress if you're not feeling it that day or if you can't find the time. Mindfulness is a practice that is always available to you when you're ready for it- it's not going anywhere.
When you find yourself balanced in the sacral chakra, you may feel extra creative- perhaps an urge to journal or start designing your little one's nursery. You'll be more in touch with your feelings and have an easier time expressing your needs and wants. You may feel an increased sex drive and appetite for life. There will be a fluidity and ease in your approach with yourself and others. Sounds nice, right? We could all use a little more of these things in our lives.