In yesterday’s blog post, I gave a brief introduction to the chakras. Today and the rest of this week, we will explore the root chakra, or muladhara as it is known in Sanskrit, in more depth.
Overview of the Chakras
The chakras are seven energy centers in the body that affect our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. When the chakras are blocked or inactive, imbalances occur, energy is low, and we suffer from different ailments physically and mentally. Awakening these energy centers through asana and meditation can help us bring peace, clarity, positive energy and balance into our lives.
Each major chakra is located at a different point along the spine and each corresponds with different attributes and qualities. The first three chakras are located in the lower portion of the body and correspond to our more base needs. As we travel up the spine toward the head, our higher order of needs come into play.
Root Chakra Basics
The root chakra is the first of the seven major chakras and is located near the base of the spine, as indicated in the red dot in the image above. It is the seat of our most basic survival needs. These needs can be physical, such as food, clothing, shelter, or mental, such as our feeling stable, grounded and secure in who we are. Awakening the root chakra lays the foundation for working with the rest of the chakras. Just like building a house, a firm foundation must be laid before we can build the rest of the structure.
When the root chakra is out of balance, we have a tendency toward fear, anger and resentment. We may feel like a victim of what life throws at us. We also may physically suffer from digestive issues, joint pain, and skeletal issues. We feel disconnected from our physical body and from our true self.
When the muladhara is in balance, we feel confident and capable. We take responsibility for our actions. We feel connected to our physical bodies, and are stable, grounded and secure.
Healing Through Meditation and Visualization
We can awaken the chakras in many ways, including meditation and visualization. Included here are some simple suggestions.
Light meditation: The color of the muladhara is red. Meditate on the color red, imagining a spinning ball of red light gathering and growing at the base of the spine. Imagine that light moving along the spine and filling the body, releasing you from any negative energy. Imagine the entire body is filled with and surrounded by a warm, red glow. As you come to the end of your meditation, let that ball of light become smaller and smaller, returning to its place of origin. Feel the residual energy that lingers in the body.
Mantra meditation: You can meditate using a simple mantra. The simplest option is to repeat “I am” with each breath, mentally saying “I” with the inhale and “am” with the exhale. Or you could vocalize the Bija mantra of the root chakra by taking a deep breath in and chanting “lam” on the exhale (the “a” sounds more like calm than lamb or click here to hear the correct pronunciation).
Visualization: As you might expect with the root chakra, earth is the element with which it is associated. The healing energy if the natural world can help us find balance. You can use this visualization from 1001 Meditations by Mike George:
“Be a tree. Visualize yourself a s a tree with branches reaching to the sky and roots extending deep into the earth. As you inhale, imagine you are drawing air and sunlight down through your branches into your trunk. As you exhale imagine the breath continuing down through your roots and into the earth. On the next inhalation, imagine bringing the energy of the earth up through your roots into your trunk. Exhale out through your branches. Continue breathing in alternate directions like this for five to ten minutes.”
Our journey continues tomorrow with some tasty ways to bring balance to the root chakra. Until then…