Swim in Your Creativity
We've made it to week two. Welcome to your second chakra.
Mantra: I feel
This chakra deals with the hips, creativity, sexuality, pleasure, boundaries, emotional vibrancy.
Too much feels like: overly emotional, thrive on drama, poor boundaries
Too little feels like: rigidity, lack of creativity, desaturated emotional life
Walk into a yoga class and ask your students what the need is the answer 99% of the time is hips and shoulders. Part of that is because in our modern world, most of the population spends their day sitting at a desk hunched over a computer of their smart phone. Then we go off and run or spin or take a HIIT class and add more repetitive flexion of the hip. The hips are in flexion constantly. Let's take a deeper look at why that might be.
THE FEAR RESPONSE
Here's the deal: From a yoga perspective, the hips are the place that store a ton of emotion. When we do hip openers, think half pigeon or reclined figure four, you've probably heard your yoga teacher say something to the extent of, "as we open up the hips, you may start to think thoughts and feel feelings you tried to suppress". Heck, I pretty much said that verbatim this week. From the yoga perspective, this is completely true. If you have a blockage in your second chakra, it can manifest physical as muscular tension, emotionally as suppressed feelings, and psychologically as an inability to create.
But here's the coolest part: SCIENCE BACKS THIS UP.
Fight/Flight/Freeze is a built in response we all have. When danger or a stressor appear, our body reacts in one of these three ways. If you think about what this means in a physical way, all of these actions require the big muscles around your hips, glutes and hip flexors, to contract in preparation for explosive movement. For example, if a tiger was coming at you, trying to eat you, you would either run, try to fight it off, or freeze unable to do either. A modern day example is something like being in a terrible accident. It's almost as if time moves incredibly slow and fast simultaneously. There is no real emotional response to what is happening. Instead, nothing else matters expect for making it through to the next moment. Have you ever seen someone in shock? There's no emotion, they are existing, but there bodies are protecting them from feeling, both physically and emotionally, the things that would be too much to handle. These reactions make a ton of sense if the stressor is a tiger about to eat us, or a fire burning down our office building, but even when the stressor is something like a relationship or a deadline at work, the body will still react the same way.
So what happens when this response to stress is never fully realized (ie. running away from the tiger)? All of those emotions are stored in the body as tension. When we physically force the muscles to release in the form of hip openers, all of a sudden our bodies realize they don't have to fight anymore and out comes the emotion and thoughts that we suppressed. Giving ourselves this vital time to work through, instead of running around, the experience of softening ultimately will allows us to move beyond and into the next chapter of our evolution.
ADULTS NEED PLAY TIME TOO
Back when I was more rigid, incredibly skeptical, and much more Type A than I am now, I used to hate it when my teachers would refer to practice or rehearsal as play time. Even if they didn't mean it in a patronizing way, it felt as if my experience equated to the experience of a child. But here's a secret: children are incredibly intuitive, sensitive, and creative.
Somewhere in our life we decided that creativity was not worth it. Maybe it was equated to naivety. Maybe creativity broke the rules somehow and so we were taught conformity. Maybe creativity meant that hard questions arose and it was easier to quash the questions than engage in a difficult conversation. Whatever the case, most adults are conditioned to think inside the box. We stifle our own creative impulses and conform to what the social norms are. Those who live incredibly creative lives are excused as the exception to the rule. "Oh, well he's an artist. That's why he feels or does things differently". One, being an artist is not a bad thing. Being an artist is an amazingly brave vocation of constant vulnerability, failure, and judgement, paired with glimmers of "success". Two, each and every person has the ability to live creatively even if they are not an artist. So why don't we?
Now, I think about how much of a gift it is that my job is to create a space for people to play. A playful nature in the yoga practice allows for mistakes and successes. It is the place where we cultivate creativity, allow our minds and bodies to work in a different way. That ultimately translates to life off of the mat. Collaboration is highly valued today. Creative problem solving in groups has become common in many occupations. The more we invest in our playtime, the more free and creative we are in the rest of our lives. When we rigidly hold ourselves to certain standards, whether phsycially or emotionally, it kills the part of us that allows life to be vibrant.
Below are some prompts to spark a 5 minute free write. Answer all or none but let it flow. You may surprise yourself with your relationship to your second chakra. Remember, one of the hardest things to do is it avoid the self-edit that comes before the pen even hits the paper. If it makes more sense, type instead of write. Allow the thoughts to physically manifest.
- When do you feel most creative and free?
- How do you respond to emotion?
- Do you feel in touch with your feelings? Elaborate.
- What is your relationship with pleasure?
- What is your relationship with boundaries?
- Do you have any physical limitations or tenderness in the hips/sacrum?
Start to crack open your relationship to your creativity, self, pleasure, and boundaries. The discoveries I made about my own relationship with my second chakra, were illuminate by the extensive work I have done in other modalities of expression and bodywork. It all starts with a willingness to explore where you are.
On Wednesday, I'll post a gooey flow to get to watery and down with the nature of second chakra. In the meantime, journal, discern, and share!