Do you feel secure? Are you grounded? Are your needs met? How we cope with our changeable physical environment and the unpredictable nature of the human experience is related to the Root Chakra, or Muladhara Chakra.
There are seven psycho-energetic centres, or Chakras, situated along the central axis of the spine. The Root Chakra is the base or first Chakra, located at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor and the first 3 vertebrae. The Chakras control the flow of energy throughout the body, spirit and mind. When each of the Chakras are balanced and healthy, energy can flow freely up the Sushumna Nadi to the highest Chakra. If this is achieved, it is believed that we can not only expect physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, but that we can experience a blissful, deep connection with the universe.
Therefore, to create energetic balance we must first bring our awareness to our foundation, the Root Chakra. It is the start of life’s journey and our journey through the Chakras. This is our anchor to the earth and all physical matter. It gives us our sense of identity and of belonging, knowing our place in the world. The root chakra is related to our instinct and survival, the fight or flight response but also our basic needs for survival such as food, shelter, safety and in this modern world, money. When our Root Chakra is balanced, we feel grounded, calm, safe, healthy and comfortable in our body.
Root Chakra imbalances manifest as a lack of trust; self-reliance, not being able to count on others; an obsession with money; anxiety, a lack of identity and a sense of not belonging; disconnection with the body; illnesses relating to the bowel and lower limbs; and often actively living and making choices in fear.
Our connection to Muladhara is intertwined with early human development. Our roots. A secure and happy upbringing can establish a more balanced Root Chakra. However, trauma and turmoil in early childhood (such as poverty, instability, danger, abuse) can be held here. Additionally, ancestral trauma carries on in the Root Chakra. Unconscious behavioural patterns (samskaras) as a result of war, famine, conflict or oppression, are passed from generation to generation, imprinted on the energetic body. Therefore, the imbalances of the Root Chakra are not all our own and everyone experiences challenges and blockages at this energetic centre.
And so, we all have some work to do. To delve deeper. To look below the surface and consider the health of our roots. In practising yoga, we witness our deeply engrained habits and become aware of our samskaras. In this self-study (Svadhyaya), we set the wheels in motion for acceptance and reformation. We cultivate discipline and perseverance (Tapas), by firstly arriving on the mat, moving through the yoga postures, creating heat and setting intentions (Sankalpa) to weave throughout our yoga practice and into our daily lives. Svadhyaya and Tapas, a rewarding combination but they can be physically and emotionally demanding. Often it is easier to indulge ourselves in negative thoughts or behaviours, unconsciously acting and reacting. However, in doing so we will potentially be passing on our ancestral trauma to the next generation. By honouring our roots and actively seeking to balance our Muladhara Chakra, we can navigate the ebb and flow of life’s journey with greater ease, for ourselves and for our descendants.
That might seem like a substantial task so let’s start small. We can bring our awareness to the Root Chakra by connecting with its element, the earth. Walking in a forest, taking our shoes off to feel the grass on our feet, and gardening are simple ways to anchor ourselves in nature. We can surround ourselves with colours and objects that connect us to the earthly world; drink a herbal tea; or carefully choose our fruit and vegetables, considering quality, locality and seasonality. Affirmations such as, “I am stable, grounded and deeply rooted” and, “I am open to all possibilities,” can strengthen our connection to the base Chakra. Practising yoga postures incorporating hip opening or forward folds such as Malasana (yogic squat), Tree Pose or Standing Forward Fold, can stimulate the base Chakra. In these simple actions we are creating an intention to ground ourselves and inspire tranquillity and ultimately, we spark the upward movement of lifeforce along the Chakra system.