Water Ritual: A Healing Practice
By: Sarah Erter
Within the Chakra System, water is associated with Svadhistana — the second chakra, housed within the pelvis. It represents our emotions, desires, raw creative energy, and sense of pleasure. Just as the ocean’s tides are pulled by the Moon, the Moon governs the water element within us. Svadhistana is experienced through the color orange, the sense of taste, and the vibrations of its seed sound, “vam.” When out of balance, second chakra blockages manifest through mental + physical stiffness (particularly within the hips + low back), guilt or shame, health issues impacting the reproductive system, or a restricted sense of being able to fully feel, express, or release emotions, or enjoy life’s pleasures.
In yoga philosophy, water rituals correspond to the practice of Saucha. As expressed by Nischala Joy Devi in Yoga Sutra 2.40, “Through simplicity and continual refinement (Saucha), the body, thoughts, and emotions become clear reflections of the Self within.”
The water element brings flow into our lives and clears areas of stagnation that are blocking the expression of our true nature. Through the process of ritual, water helps us bring to the surface and honor yet ultimately let go of that which is no longer serving us. Water, in this sense, returns us to the divine flow while creating a sense of renewal and re-direction of energy.
- Create a healing space with peaceful and soothing lighting, incense, or crystals. Consider infusing the water with bath salts, petals, or essential oils. Roll a hand towel to place behind your neck for comfort.
- Practice Abhyanga or Ayurvedic Oil Massage as the bath fills. Select a tri-doshic oil such as Jojoba, or one that suits your Dosha — cooling for Pitta, warming for Vata, stimulating for Kapha. Sit at the edge of the bath, listening to the rushing of the water as it fills the tub. Just as water moves in circles, massage the oil into your skin in a circular pattern. Abhyanga is a complimentary practice to a water ritual, sharing similarities to the benefits of water — nourishment, lubrication, cleansing, and detoxification.
- Immerse yourself in the water, feeling its warming and easeful presence envelop and surround your body. You may visualize yourself floating or spend a few minutes in meditation, an internal cleansing process. Create a mantra or affirmation that is relevant to your intention — for example, “I feel balance in my emotions, thoughts, and body,” “I feel creativity and the universal flow within me,” “I am able to release and let go.”
- Notice feelings, thoughts, emotions, and sensations that arise from the kind seat of the observer, acknowledging and allowing them to flow through you without pulling you into the depths.
- Make a cup with your hands and pour water over your body, envisioning the water washing away and clearing from your being that which does not align with your true nature.
- Emerge from the bath, wrapping yourself in a warm towel or robe. As the water drains from the tub, acknowledge the release of energy once again as it flows away from you, expressing gratitude. A similar ritual can be done in the shower, with a more immediate release of energy as the water flows from your body and circles into the drain.
- Rituals can create lightness and space in our minds, hearts, and bodies. Spend a few moments to close the ritual by reflecting, journaling, or setting intentions with this renewed sense of clarity.