Finding Safety and Security in Our Root Chakra
In my last post, Navigating the Rainbow: A Beginner’s Guide to Chakras I provided an overview of the chakra system. As you may recall, each chakra corresponds to a major nerve center along the spine. Likewise, the chakras also correlate with an organ in the endocrine system. According to ancient yogic texts, these whirling centers of energy reflect both our physical and psychological make up.
Now let’s explore each chakra individually, beginning with the root chakra. As the first of the seven main chakras, Muladhara which means “root support,” establishes our foundation in the physical world. As such, it plays a significant role in our sense of safety and security.
Where is the Root Chakra?
The root chakra is located at the base of the spine. It encompasses the pelvic floor and the first three spinal vertebrae, also known as the coccyx. Representing the element of earth, Muladhara is linked with the solid parts of the body. These include the bones, the large intestine and the flesh as a whole. It is depicted as a four-petal flower and associated with the color red.
What Are Its Key Characteristics?
The root chakra connects us to the earth, rooting us in material existence. Beginning in the womb, the root chakra continues its develop into the the first year of life. Muladhara is primarily concerned with physical survival, safety and security. This includes our basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and safety.
First chakra blockages can most often be linked back to early childhood. Psychologist Eric Erikson identified this as the stage of development as trust vs. mistrust. As infants, if caregivers consistently and reliably provide for a child’s basic needs, she learns to trust and feel secure in the world. However, if a child’s caregivers withhold, delay or inconsistently supply these basic needs, a child learns to be fearful and mistrusting. This applies to emotional needs as well. When confident that both her physically and emotionally needs will be met, a child feels grounded, hopeful and secure.
What Happens If the Root Chakra is Imbalanced?
Root chakra imbalances frequently manifest as illness of the colon, bladder, or issues of elimination and in men, prostate problems. Also common are issues with the lower back, legs, or feet and eating disorders. On a mental level, imbalance in this chakra can appear as anxiety disorders, chronic fears, or nightmares. Other common signs of a root chakra imbalance include:
- Obesity, overeating
- Hoarding, greed
- Fearful, anxious, restless
- Working excessively (ie: workaholic)
- General mistrust of others; suspicious, withdrawn
- Self-conscious, critical
- Hyper-vigilant to signs of threat, insecure
How Can You Balance Muladhara?
Practices that increase a sense of groundedness help to balance the root chakra. Activities such as gardening, hiking, and walking on the beach deepen our connection with the earth. Surrounding yourself with natural objects, like plants, also have a grounding effect. Here are a few more ideas to get you started:
Eat Root Vegetables
Foods grown in the earth, such as sweet potatoes, radishes and beets, are particularly grounding. Since the color associated with Muladhara is red, incorporate red foods into your diet, like raspberries, red peppers, cherries, tomatoes and red meat.
Pamper Your Feet
A foot massage or pedicure to help maintain a smoothly functioning root chakra. At night, use a grounding, earthy essential oil such as cedarwood, vetiver, frankincense or patchouli to massage your feet. Be sure to dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil, such as almond or sesame.
Practice Standing and Restorative Poses
Practice poses that connect your feet to the earth, like Mountain or Warrior I. Restorative poses, such as child’s pose or supported bridge, can also bring a greater sense of grounding.
Using an affirmation, or positive statement, can counteract negative, fearful thinking. Try using one the following affirmations to begin your day:
- “I deserve and receive support whenever I need it.”
- “Wherever I am, I am safe and secure.”
- “I have a healthy body, a healthy mind and an abundant life.”
In my next post, we’ll explore the sacral chakra which governs our sexuality and emotions: Svadhisthana. Be well!