The 7 Chakras: A Guide for Modern Yogis
Chakra No. 1: The Muladhara or Root Chakra
“To loose our connection with the body is to become spiritually homeless” – Anodea Judith
The root chakra or Muladhara Chakra comes from the Sanskrit word “Muladhara” which translates to “root place.” This chakra is where we will begin. The root chakra is also considered the first chakra due to the location and qualities which form a ground work for all the chakras above it.
Where is the Root Chakra located?
The root chakra’s resides in the body at the base of the spine within the pelvic floor between the anus and sex organs in the coccygeal plexus (image 1). It is also connected to feet and legs i.e. the foundation of our bodies which connect use directly to the earth.
What is the significance of the Root Chakra?
The Muladhara chakra represents the earth element within us and our biological will to survive in the world. Here we are highly concerned and drive by our needs to survive and our physical bodies. It is the realm of deep instinctual patterns and behaviors (often automatic) that we learn and use for survival, such as our ability to find food, shelter and safety. It is said that this energy center develops from the womb to about 12 months of age as we learn to either trust or mistrust our right to be here and live in the world. Our root chakra helps to acknowledge and develop a foundation of understanding with our physicality and the connection we have with the earth and all natural living things.
What are the elements of the Root Chakra?
Color: Red – the color relates to self-awareness and provides the power from the earth. Red brings about life and vitality.
Essential Oils: To balance this chakra, use essential oils that promote grounding and connection to the earth. Oils like patchouli, sandalwood, cinnamon, ginger and clove are great at promoting grounding.
What is it like when the Root Chakra is out of balance?
When the root chakra is not grounded in a state of trust and support, it shows up as being in the fight or flight mode of response. The “demon” or root cause of an unbalance first chakra is fear. If one feels unsafe or uprooted the body contracts, compresses inward and becomes rigid and mechanical with movement in an effort to protect itself from harm. In more primal days the fight or flight reaction served us to protect from predators and kept us alive as we hunted for food and shelter. In modern days if our root chakra is out of balance we unknowing react to modern “stressors” such as deadlines, finances, or relationships with the innate survival mode instincts that would turn on if a bear was chasing us. An unbalanced root chakra is believed to impact or cause physical illnesses such as anxiety, chronic stress, gut and digestive disorders, eating disorders, a weak immune system and adrenal and disconnection with the body.
What does it look when the Root Chakra is in balance?
A balanced root chakra exhibits trust and stability. The body is healthy, vital and grounded. There is a sense of comfort in one’s body and a sense of trust in the world. Relationships are strong and one’s home and basic needs come easily and are plentiful. You may have feelings and experiences that exhibit safety and security with the ability to relax and be still. Often, you have developed a deep rooted trust that you have a right to be here and are deserving of your livelihood.
What poses awaken the Root Chakra?
Standing, balancing and seating postures help to empower this chakra such as Mountain/Tadasana, Warrior/Virabhidrasana, Tree/Vrksasana, Lotus/Padmasana, Squat/Malasana and Seated poses such as Sukhasana/Easy Pose.
Focus on where your body connects to the earth (legs and feet) and draw your energy downward towards the ground. Try to create a sense of trust and stability in your body and your breath.
What other practices heal the Root Chakra?
Practices, in addition to yoga, that promote balance and power within the root chakra include:
- Repeat any of these mantras either aloud or in your head:
- LAM – pronounced “lah – mm”
- The earth supports me and my needs.
- I am here. I am home.
- I am immersed in abundance.
- I trust my body and its wisdom.
- It is safe for me to be here.
- Engage Mulabandha (Pelvic Floor Lock)
- Other physical activity in addition to yoga
- Massage or touch therapy.
- Evaluate early childhood experiences and decisions made about trust or mistrust. See if you can distinguish what happened versus your decision and regain your power in this area.
- Gurmukh with Cathryn Michon. The 8 Human Talents, 2000
- Judith, Anodea. Wheels of Life, 1999
- Judith, Anodea. Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System As a Path to the Self, 2004
- Myss, Caroline. Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing, 1997