Explore the Chakras: Muladhara or Root Chakra

By: Kaci Yoh

This is the first post of a 7-part series mapping the chakra system established in yogic texts dating back to 1500 B.C. The practice of yoga; including asana, mantra, meditation, and pranayama, is one way to access and balance the chakras. In this series, we’ll map the chakras and include a short practice designed to rebalance and restore vitality to each wheel of life.

Do you often feel anxious, afraid, or restless? Do you stand with your weight on one foot and sit with your feet away from the floor? Are you chronically over- or underweight?

If you answered yes, you may need to pay more attention to your root chakra!

The root or Muldhara chakra is the pranic area of the body concerned with the right to exist or belong. When the root chakra is out of balance, we feel like we are losing ground or standing on thin ice. Anxiety surrounding physical safety, living situation, money, or career path can trigger or block the root chakra.

First introduced in written form in the Vedas, the word chakra means wheel, and chakras are visualized as circular disks resembling lotus flowers located along the spinal column. The chakras are energetic, rather than physical representations of vital energy centers. In modern day translations, working with the chakras is viewed as a path to self-actualization or spiritual awakening.

The Muladhara or root chakra is located at the base of the spine near the perineum in men and the cervix in women. Its primary concern is finding ground and security. Perceived or actual disruptions in basic needs such as food, shelter, and safety can cause excessiveness or deficiencies in the root chakra. In essence, the Muladhara chakra centers around our right to exist, belong, and feel safe in the world. Feeling physically or materially unsafe throws the root chakra off balance and causes too little or too much energy to spin through this wheel of life.

Each chakra has an associated essence, mantra, and color.

Muladhara Chakra Elements
Essence: Earth
Bija Mantra: Lam
Color: Red

If you’re interested in assessing and balancing your root chakra, wear the color red and eat red foods. When sitting, plant both feet firmly on the ground. Distribute weight evenly between the feet when standing. This simple attention to the feet can engage and balance this area. To access the root chakra further, try the practice below.

Muladhara Chakra Practice
Find a comfortable seated position and lengthen the spine. The knees should be below the hips. If necessary, sit on a bolster or meditation cushion. To soothe and tone the nervous system, begin Ujjayi breath and close your eyes. Continue for 5 minutes.

Maintain a straight spine and contract mula banda or the area around the perineum. Take a deep inhale and on the exhale repeat bija mantra “lam.” Repeat “lam” as many times as you comfortably can during your exhale. Continue for 5 minutes or longer. If you find your mind wandering, reengage mula bandha and visualize the color red.

Finish the practice with a Namaste bow. If you have time, take a few steps around the room or down the block and pay attention to the soles of the feet making contact with the earth. This is a quick way to find ground during times of insecurity or stress surrounding money, career, or safety.

The practice of yoga is an excellent way to listen to the body and balance the chakras. Specific poses associated with Muladhara chakra include standing poses like Mountain Pose, Warrior Poses, and balancing poses such as Tree Pose and Dancer’s Pose.

Balancing Muladhara chakra helps to alleviate anxiety around your foundation. Use the practice or poses above anytime you feel you are losing ground.

Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith

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