Chakras and the Voice (Part 2/7)

Moving up the path from the root chakra, we come next to the Sacral chakra called Svadhisthana, which translated from the Sanskrit means “one’s own support”, or “one’s own place”.  This is the chakra that governs emotions, sexuality/sensuality, and creativity.  It is also the chakra that affects our feelings of self-worth.

The essence or symbol of the Sacral chakra is water; always flowing, surging, and open to change. This water element also suggests an ability to ‘go with the flow’. This chakra is in direct contrast to the more ‘grounded’, ‘solid’ essence of the root chakra. Once our basic needs have been met, we can be free to enjoy pleasurable things! Who doesn’t sit down from work at the end of the day to enjoy a TV show, a glass or wine, or a dinner with friends?

The primary driver of this chakra is the search for pleasure. While the first chakra covers survival, the second governs the ability to enjoy one’s experience.

This chakra is powerful for singers because it is the seat of one’s creativity. I’ve often noticed that some singers will hide or put their hands over the genitals when they are singing – this is a sign of imbalance or ‘protection’ of this chakra. Manifested fear of ’emotional expression’ in song. It’s an interesting corollary to look for in singers afraid to open up emotionally when they sing. If you notice singers doing that, investigate if issues with emotions aren’t coming into play.

Emotions without a healthy manner of expression can quickly muddy the waters of this chakra and cause overcompensation in other areas of life such as sex, food, smoking, and other addictions.  When primary pleasures are denied, there will always be compensation in unhealthy ways to get that ‘fix’.

A block in this chakra can lead to a creative block as well. In an open and healthy chakra, expressions of creativity and openness allow the singer to become completely passionate and absorbed in music like children at play.

Addiction to perfection is particularly common in singers – whether in their singing techniques or performances. The need to be perfect NOW is emotionally overwhelming.  Is there space here to ‘go with the flow’? Can you be like water and go where you need to? Is this chakra open enough to allow you the permission to let go of this addiction? What would you have to do to stop this addiction to perfection? What would that look like? Is there room for an imperfect vocal sound (what Wesley Balk might call ‘unusual but useful’ or UBU)?

Music itself can become an unhealthy addiction if it prevents you from understanding the connectedness that music brings to other human beings. Singers who are accustomed to the emotional ‘high’ of performance can struggle in their normal lives when they can’t get that fix, so their personalities and ‘look at me’ qualities get pushed to the fore in their social lives. In this way the ‘high’ of being ‘onstage’ is always with them.  This can become a tedious and emotionally exhausting personality to be around in the long term, for those not willing to applaud the ‘star’ at every opportunity.

Desire is another element that is powerful in singers. We want to perform well, and some of us want success, applause. These are transitory, so it’s helpful to ask yourself “To where does my desire for singing drive me? To my betterment? The betterment of others?”  This is a healthy drive. Desire of fame or success for it’s own sake are “notions that rattle in the void” according to acting teacher Uta Hagen.

An advanced way of clearing out this chakra can include psychotherapy. This will definitely help you ‘get in touch’ with your emotions. Even talking with a friend about feelings is a great way to open up and release yourself. Other ways of encouraging a flow through the Sacral chakra include movement, such as dance classes, or other fluid ways of moving through space. Swimming could be great to remind you to go with the flow.

If that all might be too much for you, I can’t recommend Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way highly enough for people who might be experiencing creative blocks in their singing. Julia’s methods are built on two things: the Morning Pages (or a morning journal) and an Artist’s Date.  The Artist’s Date is literally taking yourself out once a week to ‘fill the well’ (how apt a description for this water based chakra!) with creative and fun things (visiting a paint store, museum, going to a library you’ve never visited).  If you’re experiencing any kind of ‘rut’ artistically, Cameron’s book is a wonderful gift to restore your spirit.

In the next post, we’ll discuss the power chakra, or Manipura. Do you own the power that you have as a singer? Are you comfortable wielding that power to make music?

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