Updated: Feb 7
The concept of chakras can be explained as the seven main energy centers along the spine where we receive, absorb and distribute prana or life energy. They begin at the base of the spine and go up to the crown of the head. The term comes from the Sanskrit word meaning "wheel" and the chakras are described as "whirling wheels of light." A chakra is a valve that allows energy to flow in or out, each relating to specific spiritual, emotional, physical and psychological issues. So, finding balance in each chakra leads to overall health.
Chakras can become blocked or imbalanced by things such as outside stressors, internal beliefs and unhealthy habits. When a chakra is out of balance (whether deficient or excessive), it creates imbalance with the other chakras, especially those that are close to it. Unblocking them helps energy to flow freely and create a sense of health and wellbeing.
If that seems a little "whoo-whoo" for you, it is interesting to note that each chakra corresponds with centers of high nerve concentrations in the body (in the case of the root chakra, the sacral plexus). I find it fascinating that the wisdom of thousands of years ago correlates with our modern understanding of the body.
The first chakra, muladhara or root chakra, is found at the base of the spine (technically, a few inches below it). This energy connects with the earth, forming a foundation that helps us feel grounded, safe and connected to our bodies. It is for instinct, survival and security. If we don't feel secure and have physical and emotional stability, we cannot reach our highest potential, so it is critical to have basic needs met and deal with residual fears in order to have the energy to move on to other areas. This concept is similar to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which believes that self-actualization cannot be reached without having safety, food, shelter etc.
It is associated with the color red, and healing this chakra is thought to be enhanced by stones such as ruby, garnet, smoky quartz, and hematite. It can be helpful to hold these stones during meditation or wear them close to the skin. If essential oils are used, frankincense, vetiver, pine and cypress provide a sense of grounding.
Qualities associated with a healthy root chakra include patience, security, grounding, nurturing, belief in one's abilities and health. When out of balance, anger, fear and aggression tend to be dominant.
Yoga poses that stay close to the ground and move in a slow, intentional manner assist in unblocking the energy. A mantra such as I am stable and grounded is a good addition to a meditation practice and as a touchstone in stressful situations.
Checkout my Spotify playlist for the Root Chakra for your personal practice!
Join Align 2023 for an 8 week course on the chakras! Check back each week for more insight into the chakras.