Root Chakra: I AM
The Root or Muladhara Chakra is the first of the seven main chakras that we will be exploring on our Journey through the Chakras. It is the lowest chakra and it is situated at the base of your spine, at your tailbone – the base of your pelvis, around the area of the perineum. It is also the first chakra that relates to the physical body and it represents our actual, physical connection to the earth and our foundation, which deals with feeling grounded and secure in our body. The word Muladhara itself breaks down into two Sanskrit words: Mula meaning “root” and Adhara, meaning “support”, i.e. Root Support.
The Root chakra is associated with the element Earth, which represents both physical and emotional grounding and stability. It is symbolised by the colour Red which has a slower vibration than the colours associated with the other chakras and by a lotus with four petals (image above).
This is a particularly important chakra to balance because the other chakras flow up from it. In essence, any issues with this chakra may cause issues with the other chakras. I like to think of it as the idea of a tree being well anchored to the earth through its roots, the stronger and more stable our roots the better we are able to weather life’s storms. And so it is true for the root chakra, find and restore balance here and you have a solid foundation on which to build and for opening the chakras above.
In addition to the grounding aspects of the Root Chakra, it also relates to survival, security and safety which can be expressed as issues concerning money, being financially secure, food, physical health, and taking good basic care of the body. When these needs are met you feel more grounded and safe and as a result you worry less on a day to day basis.
When your Root Chakra is healthy and balanced and energy can flow freely around this space , you feel centered, grounded, healthy and vibrant, with unlimited physical energy. You feel comfortable in your own body and love to use it and take care of it. You feel financially secure, happy in your work with a strong feeling of security and safety. You have a strong sense of self and you know who you are and where you belong.
If there are blockages relating to this chakra you may lack confidence, have low energy, be unable to manifest and achieve goals, feel unworthy, unloved, fearful, and insecure. You may feel like you are too much in your head or swayed by your emotions. You may feel lost with no real sense of home, no sense of belonging. You may have financial issues or problems with good health habits. A deficit of energy through the Root Chakra may also manifest as addictions to food, drugs, or material possessions, low immunity, and pain in the lower back, legs, and feet.
So how can yoga help?
When we address the chakras in our yoga classes this manifests in a number of ways: the use of mudras that relate to the individual chakras which will be included when we sit in breath focus or meditation, through the inclusion of physical postures, or asanas, that specifically target the chakra in question and through the use of positive affirmations, visualisations and mantras again all focused on the individual chakra.
Mudras for the Root Chakra
– Bhu Mudra:
This is the gesture of Mother Earth and is a grounding mudra that evokes the feeling of being rooted into the earth. To form this mudra curl your ring and little finger into palm and secure with the thumb and extend other two away- making a V shape and allowing these fingers to point towards the ground. This activates the downward flowing energy in the body and helps to ground and centre you.
– Prithvi Mudra:
Prithvi is the Sanskrit for Earth and this mudra helps to recharge the root chakra aligning it with the earth’s energies. The grounding energy from this mudra helps to balance the different elements inside the body and helps to stabilise and strengthen the body, alleviating fatigue. To form this mudra take the tip of the ring finger and the tip of the thumb to touch, extending the other three fingers away.
Physical postures (asanas) for the root chakra
In our physical practice we would focus in particular on poses that ground through the feet and that stretch and strengthen through the legs and feet. When standing imagine your feet rooted deeply into the earth, providing stability, using the power of gravity to ground and connect with earth energy. Postures where much of our body is connected to the ground are also good root chakra postures.
Below are a few yoga postures that are considered to bring balance to the root chakra:
Tadasana (Mountain Pose):
This pose encourages your connection with the earth, connects you with your own body, and grounds you in the present moment.
Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I):
This is a strong pose that makes a firm connection with the earth and your body.
Setu bandasana (Bridge Pose):
This is a dynamic root chakra yoga pose that allows your feet to be firmly rooted into the earth and your spine engaged in the release of excess root chakra energy.
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold):
In this pose the whole of the back of your legs are in contact with the earth and gravity encourages your upper body deeper into the posture and closer to the earth.
Upavista Konasana (Seated Wide-legged Forward Fold):
This is a strong posture that opens the muscles of the groin and lower back giving the root chakra an opportunity to release its vitality into the body.
Savasana (Corpse Pose/Relaxation):
This is an excellent root chakra pose because your whole body is in contact with the ground.
Affirmations for the Root Chakra
Each chakra has its own seed, or Bija, mantra which are one-syllable sounds that when said aloud activate the energy of the chakras. These Bija mantras have been universally used in meditative practice to harmonise one’s energy and purify and balance the mind and body. When you speak, or chant, the bija mantras aloud you resonate with the energy of the associated chakra.
The mantra associated with the Root Chakra is LAM (pronounced LUM) and this mantra helps to keep us grounded and connected to the earth. Chanting this mantra will work to remove any impurities that may be stored up in the root chakra and to clear any blocked energy that is being prevented from moving through to the other main chakras.
Hopefully you are now a little clearer about what the Root Chakra is all about and how to use yoga practices to open and activate it.
Next stop on our Journey Through the Chakras will be the Sacral Chakra, or Svadisthana Chakra.