Awakening the Water Element: Essential Oils and Your Yoga Practice

See earlier article, Awaken Your Elemental Self: Essential Oils and Your Yoga Practice at for introduction to using essential oils in your yoga practice, the Earth Element, and safety guidelines.

The Water Element (Apah, Jala)

The water element in the body refers to the water that flows through our veins, or the circulatory system in the body. Water forms saliva, urine, semen, blood, and sweat. Water symbolizes flow, letting go, surrender, stillness, silence, and peace.  It is a universal symbol for the soul.  Health is only possible when the water element remains flowing in the body.

Water is the element representing the second/sacral chakra, the area where new life is generated.

The Second or Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana)

The second chakra is located in the region of the pelvic bowl. It originates about three finger widths below the navel and crests the pubic synthesis. Known as the sacral chakra, it is associated with the color orange; is symbolized by a white lotus within which is a crescent moon, with six vermillion, or orange petals; and connects to the element of water. The seed mantra is Vam.  The related structures include the reproductive organs, the bladder (and kidneys), the colon, the sacrum and the ilea. And because it is the element of water, all fluids of the body are also assigned to this chakra.

The sacral chakra is the center of creation, the true seat of Shakti (the feminine aspect of the Hindu God). All aspects of the Goddess reign here and thus this becomes the seat of a woman’s power. (The solar plexus area is the power center of the Godhead, where ideally men hold their seat of power.)

In this second chakra not only do we create life, but also all forms of creation such as art, music, poetry, etc. It is a very sacred and powerful place for women to manifest their dreams and desires, as well as stand in combat to protect those dreams and desires. In the varying aspects of the Goddess, we not only have the nurturing mother, the young sexual maiden, the wise old crone, but also the warrior, the artist, the intellectual, etc. We are all faces of the Goddess in the sacral chakra and play out all her different personalities.

In this area we also hold control issues. If we are weak or lacking energy in this chakra, we can give over our control to others and become disempowered, impotent and fearful. Physical complaints such as prostate problems, PMS, fibroids, menstrual problems and lack of sexual drive can occur when the second chakra is imbalanced. Lower backache, sacroiliac problems, sciatica, and bowel dysfunction can also be attributed to a challenged sacral chakra. We need the creative life energy pulsing through this area to maintain homeostasis in the lower organs and stabilize health.

Water Element and Our Yoga Practice

We may bring more water and second chakra awareness and healing into our yoga practice through flowing action as one movement fluidly moves into the next.  While in our yoga postures (asanas) we may need to consciously increase the flow of blood into a particular area of the body. Water has almost magical properties and is essential to life (our bodies are 70% water), with incredible healing and cleansing powers.

Second chakra asanas help us with adaptability and receptivity.  Hip and groin openers all provide freedom of movement in the pelvis. Hip and groin openers should never be forced.  (See chart for specific poses)

Essential Oil Connection

Essential oils for balancing the sacral chakra are:

  • Bergamot
  • Cardamom
  • Clary Sage
  • Neroli
  • Orange
  • Patchouli
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
  • Ylang-Ylang
  • Jasmine

For the sacral chakra, in aromatherapy, the essential oils that can help women with menstrual problems are Clary Sage, Geranium, Jasmine, Neroli, Rose and Ylang Ylang. Oils that are considered aphrodisiacs and may assist with impotence or lack of sexual drive are Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Jasmine, Patchouli, Rose, Rosemary, Sandalwood, and Ylang Ylang.

Essential oils that support backache and sciatica are the antispasmodic or anti-inflammatory oils, which are Chamomile, Clary Sage, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Hyssop, Juniper, Lavender, Peppermint and Rosemary.

This area is, of course, the sexual center of our body and if it is imbalanced we can feel a lack of sexual drive or just the opposite, excessive libido. Disharmony in this center often begins in puberty, when sexual energy begins to awaken. Lack of self-esteem, uncertainty, lack of nurturing or tenderness in the teen years can seriously lead to instability, negativity and rejection of the child’s sexuality. Repression of sexual energy can erupt in angry and hostile ways, creating sexual confusion, emotional detachment, and bitterness rather than openness and love. Creative potential can become misdirected and power struggles can ensue. Instead of using this sacral energy for love, co-creation in partnership and sexual sharing in union, a person with a dysfunctional second chakra can often become money hungry, using wealth and the power it has over people to dispassionately control and dominate them. Essential oils that can help disperse negativity and low self-esteem are Chamomile, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender, Neroli, Patchouli, Rose, Sandalwood, and Vetiver.

As stated earlier, the sacral chakra also connects to water and the urinary system. Here we are able to cleanse and purify through connection to the sacral energies. Life begins in amniotic fluid, life cannot be sustained without water, and the majority of the body is comprised of water, so it stands to reason that properly maintaining the energies in this chakra will lead to a balanced and healthy eliminatory tract. We can more easily flow through life, releasing negativity and dissolving energetic blockages that stop us from fulfilling our true creative potential. Instead of feeling the need to control, or suppress sexual energy, or greedily gather money, we can cascade positive energy in this area, flushing away the negative and allowing passion and compassion to be generated. Essential oils that encourage free flow of the urinary system are Black Pepper, Cardamom, Fennel, Geranium, Juniper, Lemon, Rosemary, and Sage.

Likewise water is energetically equated with the emotions and by opening to the positive realms of emotions, like love, joy, harmony, trust, we can bring a more fulfilling vortex of energy to the sacral chakra and radiate these positive aspects out to others. Essential oils that encourage us to emit the higher frequencies of emotion are Frankincense, Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender, Neroli, and Rose.

The second chakra is a base for power and creative force. With life being created all around us in nature, we should take time to connect to our sacral center and feel the energy that it has to offer and use it for positive flow and joyous creation.