A chakra is a wheel of energy, originating from ancient Buddhism, Hinduism, and Janism traditions. Overtime, the chakras were narrowed down to seven vital energy centers. Each chakra develops during childhood, from birth to about 7 years old. Different colors, foods, smells, personality traits, and experiences correlate with each chakra.
The first chakra, the muladhara chakra, translates to“mula” meaning root, and “adhara” meaning support or base.
Where is the Muladhara Chakra?
From the base of the spine descending through the tailbone to the bottom of the coccyx and colon, the muladhara chakra forms a strong foundation for the rest of the chakras above. Think of this chakra as the fertile soil that the upper chakras rise from. Energies of the chakra system begin in the muladhara chakra, spiraling out the crown of the head and beyond.
As the foundation for the remaining six chakras, balancing the muladhara chakra before any of the upward chakras is a must.
When Does the Muladhara Chakra Develop?
Think of a one or two-year-old. What do they get done? Not much. They are getting in the swing of walking, let alone cooking meals for themselves. Vulnerable, like a sponge, toddlers simply absorb the tastes, sights and smells of the world around them. Busy discovering their own ten fingers and toes, they must fully trust that all vital needs are taken care of – shelter, food, security, love, support, and care from family.
During these two years, the first chakra ripens as the “flight or fight” system and the control center for our primal needs. If the toddler’s needs are not met, they may have an imbalanced chakra. (No worries, there are ways to reinvent the wheel!)
Connection to the Earth
The root chakra fortifies the energy for us to merely survive. As a means of survival, we understand that our bodies need nourishing foods to live. No matter what you eat, you cannot argue that food starts somewhere with the earth. The earth nourishes the plants that the animals eat; and then we eat the fruits from the earth, or the animals that eat the earth.
This continues to flow full-circle. Based on the location of the muladhara chakra, the colon and gastrointestinal system relates to this chakra. Waste comes out of our bodies and back to the earth as fertilizer. In this sense, we are literally at ease with letting things we no longer need go, and trust that what we do need (more nourishment) will come back to us.
The first chakra allows us to connect with our bodies, to our animal needs like:
- Am I hungry?
- Do I need rest? Sleep?
- Is my body craving movement?
- Is someone crossing the line here? Do I have to set boundaries?
- How can I protect myself?
Imbalances and Balances in the Root Chakra
Stagnant or overactive energy in the root chakra causes an imbalance, which often correlates with a fear of lack of security for oneself; feelings of unworthiness of life, or disconnection with self. A few examples of an imbalanced chakra are below:
- Hoarding and a fear that one day there will not be enough, or anxiety about letting go
- Inability to set boundaries with other people; allowing others to “walk all over you”
- Eating disorders
- Depression; No desire to live
- Anxiety about needs like money, shelter, job security
- A feeling of lack of support from family
- Disconnection with the body
- Aloof, unaware of life
- Difficulties with change and adaptability
Of course, you may be happily balanced in the root chakra as well. Feelings of contentment, connection to yourself and the earth, decisiveness, an ease of letting things go, and no worries about financial abundance signify a balanced root chakra.
Practices to Keep the Root Chakra Balanced
You don’t need to go out of your way to balance the root chakra! Anything that feels grounding to you is a great way to move the energy of the root chakra or slow it down. Try walking outside with bare feet, dancing in the moonlight, taking long sips of fresh air, lounging around naked.
Additionally, yoga poses that ignite the mulabandha, the lock of energy at the pelvic floor, help stabilize the muladhara chakra. Here are a few poses to try:
- Virabhadrasana 1
- Trikonasana – find the action of squeezing your heels towards each other to ignite the mulabhanda
- Malasana, with a little lift of the pelvic floor
If yoga ain’t your thang, that is totally okay. Here are a few more grounding suggestions:
- The muladhara chakra is also closely related to smell and is recognized as the color red.
- Try smelling cinnamon, ginger, lavender, or Franckenscense.
- Simply wear a red shirt.
- A brief meditation focusing on the tip of the nose, and the rootedness of your sit bones.
- Mindfully notice the steadiness of your breath, the pressure of your feet on the floor
- Eating grounding foods; foods that grow deep in the earth and are red. Beets, carrots, squash, and naturally red fruit and veggies.
Moving into the holiday season, dropping temperatures, and the general pace of life leave you feeling sluggish or aloof. We hope that you implement some of these practices to feel grounded and stable.