We start our journey through the Chakras at the root, Muladhara. The name Muladhara translates as “Root Support”. This Chakra is the foundation of the chakra system, it connects us to the earth and all that makes us feel safe and secure, it is the source of energy that vitalizes everything else in the Chakra system and the root from which we receive nourishment for our spiritual journey. Kundalinī Shakti (spiritual energy) is rooted in the Mūlādhāra Chakra, but it is in a dormant state and when we awaken its slumbering potential we are able to work our way towards the light of knowledge and attain the fruit of Self-Realisation. The Muladhara Chakra is where our spiritual development begins.
The Muladhara Chakra is the seat of our unconscious and when we awaken the sleeping energy here we may be surprised to find qualities that we had not suspected were within us such as deep-seated anger, coming to the surface. On the other hand we may experience wonderful feelings of contentment, joy or peace.
At times life presents us with opportunities to work on the contents of our unconscious, so that feelings may be brought to the surface and dealt with. The choice is always ours as to whether or not we do so, even though we may not even be aware of it. Yoga provides an excellent method for working through the contents of our unconscious with complete awareness. Positive and happy experiences from the past will emerge to give us strength and inspiration, buried hurts and disappointments will also come to the surface so they can finally be healed and resolved. If we work through these issues with wisdom they may be transformed into valuable experiences and opportunities for development. As we begin to see our experiences more clearly we may become more aware of our own weaknesses. If we learn from our mistakes and continue on our path with faith, we grow stronger and better able to cope with our experiences. Self-reproach is not helpful and it is important that we let go of any habitual negative thinking and instead develop and cultivate positive and beneficial ways of thinking.
The divinity associated with the Muladhara Chakra is Lord Shiva, “The Third-Eyed One”. Lord Shiva represents consciousness and liberation. He is the destroyer of all things negative or harmful and it is said that whenever he opens his third eye whatever he gazes upon is burnt to ashes. At Shiva’s side there are two female divinities, ĀSURĪ SHAKTI and DEVĪ SHAKTI. Āsurī Shakti represents the destructive, divisive energy within us, and Devī Shakti the positive, constructive power. Through a positive lifestyle and attitude to life, being in the company of good people, good thoughts and works, Āsurī Shakti is gradually transformed into Devī Shakti.
Muladhara is located at the base of the spine in the area of the pelvic floor; the colour associated with it is red. It may be visualized as a wheel of light about 3 inches in diameter which spins horizontally forming a funnel of red light toward the earth. Through the Root Chakra we can draw up energy from the Earth and through it we can also discharge anything negative safely into the Earth.
The energy of the root chakra provides us with the drive to take care of ourselves and to ensure our very survival. It is concerned with taking care of our most basic and primitive needs including food, sex and sleep. When the Root Chakra is working well we are grounded and develop a sense of security and belonging. It connects us to our family, our community, and our culture and belief systems. It represents physical, emotional and mental stability. This chakra is about creating a solid and safe base from which we can move out to explore and learn about the world and about ourselves. Without stability here any growth or personal development will be short term. Balancing the root chakra creates the solid foundation for opening the chakras above, a bit like laying good foundations is essential to building a house that will stand for many years.
People with a healthy root chakra develop confidence and a healthy sense of self-esteem. They will come across as charismatic and optimistic. When the root chakra is out of balance problems will arise. When it is weak we may feel lost, insecure, fearful or anxious and find it hard to cope. People with a deficiency here may find themselves constantly changing from one task to another without committing to any one thing properly which can lead to stress and exhaustion. On the other hand excess energy at this Chakra may result in a sense of being slow to move, sluggishness, resistance to change and a tendency to overeat.
Useful Practices for Rooting and Grounding
It is not hard to understand why walking in nature and dancing, especially barefoot is recommended when working with the Muladhara Chakra. Anything that connects us to the Earth will help to establish stronger roots.
In Yoga practice the Asana to choose for this Chakra are the ones that help you to feel grounded. Our top 5 include Mountain Pose, Tree Pose, Warrior II, Chair Pose and Janu Sirsasana. Try following your Asana practice with some seated Pranayama using full easy breathing (maybe Ujjayi if you are familiar with it) and focusing on the natural pause at the end of the exhalation. Finish the practice with relaxation allowing the energies to settle, surrendering to gravity and experiencing safety and stillness.
A simple, inexpensive crystal, charm, or piece of Chakra jewellery can be useful in helping you ground yourself. Crystals such as, hematite, labradorite, garnet, ruby, black tourmaline, onyx, fire agate, star ruby smoky quartz, and red jasper are helpful in Root Chakra balancing.
Using Chakra fragrance oils is a beautiful way to stay grounded and energized. Essential oils useful for Root Chakra balance are rosemary, ylang-ylang, frankincense, myrrh, benzoin, patchouli, sandalwood, corn and clematis.
To strengthen this Chakra we can also practice living in the present moment, tasting our food, really listening to what is being said etc. and practice gratitude for who we are, all that we have and the people in our lives.