The eight major chakras are roundabouts in the body where energy comes together. Just imagine a pole entering from the top of your head going straight through the body and exiting between your legs. All along this pole are the seven main chakras:
1. Root - (Muladhara) - base of the spine
2. Sacral (Svadhisthana) - lower abdomen
3. Solar plexus (Manipura) - upper abdomen
4. Heart (Anahata) - centre of the chest
5. Throat (Vishuddha) - throat area
6. Third eye (Ajna) - forehead, between the eyebrows
7. Crown (Sahasrara) - the very top of the head
In this article the focus is on the root or base chakra or Muladhara in Sanskrit. (Mula means root in Sanskrit and adhara is support or base). The root chakra is situated at the very base of the spine, deep in the pelvic floor and perineum, in the centre of the body.
The effects of the Muladhara chakra
Earth - the root chakra governs the earth element inside of you - all that is solid. It relates to your familial roots, your parents, your background, how you grew up. How you deal with the physical world is also governed by the Muladhara chakra.
The Muladhara chakra relates to your lower back, legs, your feet and your process of elimination.
The Mulhadara chakra affects whether you are feeling secure and stable - secure in having your place in this world, secure in your own skin, feeling safe and confident.
Stability in the root chakra influences whether you can take care of yourself, whether you feel you belong, appreciate that you are not less than other human beings and feel at ease in your own skin. A balanced root chakra enables you to be practical and present.
Due to stress in any layer of the body, energy can slow down, stagnate completely or go into overdrive. For example, let's say your parents got a divorce when you were very young. This can cause emotional and mental stress, not knowing where you stand, feeling unsafe, maybe even feeling unloved. Your reality as it was, is shaken. A small child can experience this as a complete threat to its survival and an outright disaster.
Later on, when you grow up and have relationships yourself you may be able to put things in perspective. But the strong emotions can cause such stagnation in the root chakra that it could affect you for years and even for the rest of your life.
Getting to know your body and its different layers, and learning about the chakras can give you valuable insight into where you may have imbalances and stagnation.
Checklist for the Muladhara chakra
- Ask yourself if you feel safe. If not, why not?
- When you stand, can you feel the 4 corners of your feet and does it feel relaxed like there is energy flowing easily in your feet?
- Can you be practical?
- Can you eliminate on a daily basis and with ease?
- Do you feel comfortable in your own skin?
If you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions you may have some imbalance or even stagnation depending on how severe the symptom of imbalance.
Coming into balance
Here are a few ways you can balance this energy centre, both on and off the mat:
Off the mat
Red is the colour for this chakra, so visualizing this color in your root chakra during your meditations or adding this colour to your wardrobe (especially red shoes or socks) is great!
Singing mantras or sound vibrations. LAM is the vedic bija (bija means seed) mantra for the root chakra. By chanting LAM like you would OM, but more continuously, this works on the same vibrational frequency. The same goes for MUL MANTRA (root mantra) from the Kundalini tradition. Listen to, chant or recite this mantra.
Get grounded, walk on the earth with bare feet. Think about grounding devices: I sleep on an earthing mat myself. There are even grounding shoes out there.
Visualize yourself connecting to the earth, as if your legs and feet are roots growing into the earth.
Most importantly, during the day while you are at the office, or doing your grocery shopping, connect to your perineum! Feel that space, relax it, come down and relax into the present moment and repeat silently: I AM SAFE (or something that reflects the concept that you feel comfortable with).
On the mat
I find that the most effective way to balance this energy centre is to do targeted yoga poses such as:
- Malasana (yogic squats), either moving or static
- Spinal flex (for example in Cat/ Cow)
- Pavanamuktasana (knees to chest pose, with or without pranayama)
- Janu Sirsansana (head to knee half forward bend)
- Practice Mula Bhanda (root lock)
Practise with Marlene:
EkhartYoga members can practice this 30 minute class - Rooting and grounding - get comfortable in your own skin - with Marlene which will help to balance this energy centre: