‘It is in the roots, not the branches, that a tree’s greatest strength lies.’ – Matshona Dhliwayo
Last month we spoke about the seven chakras – those powerful centres of energy that sit within our etheric body. Each chakra holds a very specific vibration and purpose, which means we can work with them: to bring awareness and transformation to the corresponding aspects in our lives.
In this blog series, we’re going to cover all chakras. So today let’s get cracking on the first of the seven: the root chakra.
What is the Root Chakra?
The first chakra: stability, grounding and strength. Industriousness. Solid matter. Feminine energy. The Earth element.
In Sanskrit the root chakra is called Muladhara. Located at the base of the spine, it is our foundation, our bodies and our survival. By cultivating a healthy root chakra, we ground ourselves, solidifying our sense of place within our body and the world. In fact, it’s only through building and maintaining a strong foundation here, that we can be fully supported as the other chakras introduce more movement.
So the root chakra is exactly that; our roots – and the start of it all. In order for trees to grow tall, strong and healthy, they have to develop sturdy roots which stretch deep into soil. In the same way, we have to feel safe and supported, before we can expand. Just as roots shoot downward, the root chakra represents a downward moving energy. It moves down through our spines, legs and feet, down into our past and even ancestral roots.
What does it do?
This chakra governs our security, stability and core needs. When it’s open and healthy, we’ll experience grounding, calm, clarity and connection to the body and the earth. We feel solid in who we are, and safe.
However, when something disrupts this process (such as our sense of belonging or safety being threatened) our root chakra takes a hit. When this happens, similar to a tree with unhealthy roots… our whole being starts to suffer. We start to feel disconnected, ungrounded, scattered, drained, stuck, unsafe or weak.
‘If nature is your teacher, your soul will awaken.’ – Goethe
An Imbalanced Root Chakra
So, what exactly causes this chakra to go out of alignment? There are a million and one answers here, but you’ll notice they all fall under a specific energetic umbrella. Some examples are: when our sense of safety and trust in the world is threatened, when we feel we do not belong, if our best interests are not considered, or if our personal needs aren’t met. A disconnection with our root chakra will also mean we’re not fully present within our bodies. This causes a sense of disconnect with the physical and natural world. Plus, without energy of the earth-element, we can’t develop the support or container for our own needs. This leads to patterns like irrational fears or poor personal boundaries. Personally, I tend to experience it as a state of feeling spacey or super scattered!
Working with this Chakra
So, what can you do if any of the paragraph above resonates? Good news. We’ve listed some of the key ways you can begin your own journey of connecting with your root chakra.
1. Connect with the Earth
As the Root Chakra is governed by the earth element, this is definitely the place to start!
The earth element represents the densest and heaviest form of matter. Ruled by gravity, we experience it as a downward pull. If we look at this another way, we’ll notice gravity is actually drawing matter towards the earth’s core; an inward pull toward the centre. Whether it’s walking bare foot or digging through sand, Mother Earth tends to encourage us to go inward and centre ourselves.
When we connect the Earth through our senses, we enter the present moment and a deeper layer of the truth of ourselves. When our actions and thoughts operate from this place, we’ll remain unfazed by the ever-changing tides of life circumstance.
There are so many ways to ground and connect with the Earth element. This could be something as simple as focusing your attention on the weight of your body being supported by the earth (a technique you can use pretty much any time!). It could also mean going for hikes in nature, mindful walking, or gardening.
‘Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet. – That Nich Hanh
2. Body Work
Some of the most useful for opening the root chakra are somatic therapies. The more physical you are better. Really, any vigorous exercise that gets the blood flowing will have a huge impact. There are also key yoga poses for this chakra, my personal favourite being tree pose. If you can, hold this posture for around three minutes (or longer!), while imagining roots connecting and stretching from the soles of your feet, into the earth.
Some other Yoga asanas that will open the Root Chakra are:
- Knee to chest pose (Pavanamuktasana)
- Child’s pose (Balasana)
- Squatting pose (Malasana)
While meditation connects us to higher spiritual planes, it also serves as a powerful grounding force. Calming the mind and connecting to our higher selves will always alleviate levels of stress and fear. Because the sense that corresponds to the first chakra is smell, we can use this too. While meditating, focus on the tip of your nose, or any smells that bring you comfort. If you have one handy, light a scented candle or some incense. I highly recommend earthy scents like nag champa, sandalwood or dragon’s blood.
4. Colour Therapy
For thousands of years, colour has been used to evoke different meanings and energies throughout cultures of the world. Even today whether actively or subconsciously, we choose colours everyday – from our outfits, to our foods. The practice of colour therapy involves intentionally using the vibrational qualities of specific colours to heal and balance the natural rhythms of the body. Because the colour associated with the root chakra is red – surrounding yourself with any shade of red will be effective for imbalances. And we promise, this tool is much more powerful than you might think. I was once told to create a bright red painting, to place on my wall and look at everyday upon waking up – it worked wonders.
We’ve also created a few journal questions for you to start your own introspective journey through the chakras. Your answers (and the suggestions above) will be wonderful starting points to initiate a process of positive change. If you have an answer that you would like to change, think about what actions are required for you to do so. Also notice any strong emotions or fear responses that arise. What are they telling you?
- How grounded, safe and secure do I feel in my life? Why?
- Am I deeply connected with my physical body?
- Do I feel solid and strong, in my sense of self?
- Can I trust in the flowing abundance of my life?
- Do I have a strong sense of belonging? Why, or why not?
- Do I trust in my abilities to meet any life challenges that could arise?
Nisha is a freelance writer and Vedic astrologer, based in the magical Byron Hinterlands. As well as running her candle business, her life and loves involve: yoga, gardening and all things esoteric. You’ll find her out in nature, or curled up at home with a good book. Happy Buddha is one of her most treasured places on earth (and indeed where she met her fiancé!).