The First Chakra: Muladhara (root chakra)
Hello everyone! Thank you in advance for coming back to my blog and reading this upcoming post. I apologize for the delay! Today I am going to talk about and breakdown the first chakra: Muladhara (root) Chakra. Thinking to what this post is about, the delay makes perfect sense to me. The root chakra is all about being grounded. Being grounded in this sense means being present and aware. We are often functioning with the victim mentality. It’s tough to get rid of the ego’s subconscious thought: “Why me?” Or, “Why not me?”
Balancing the first chakra means going to the places that scare you, sitting there, breathing, feeling your physical body, fearlessly feeling your feelings, rather than running away and hiding.
A healthy, balanced root chakra brings:
A sense of trust in the world
The ability to relax and be still
Talking about and bringing awareness to the first chakra is perfect for me this week because I am moving back to Frederick, MD; my hometown and where I grew up. When I moved to Baltimore three years ago it felt as if I was able to create a new identity, or a new way of being. The more I reflect on my time spent in Baltimore the thought of creating a new identity is only about half true. Baltimore is where I became a yogi and dove head first into the ancient teachings of Yoga. Being a yogi and learning about this wonderful lifestyle definitely brings positive change in behavior and beneficial, profound times to look within. But the more I look within, the more I realize I will always, and have always been, me.
As I reflect I am able to see that moving to Baltimore and attempting to create that new identity I wanted so badly, actually brought me closer to myself; my innate nature. I have realized that if we let it, life can either bring us further from ourselves or closer. Growing up I developed ways of thinking and reacting that were not supportive to my highest self. Whether it was self-criticism, guilt, or worry: I was not treating myself the way I deserved to be treated. I think I had to get out of the environment I lived in for so long to start to begin seeing clearly. Once I physically removed myself from my comfort zone and moved to a new city I began to notice familiarities with relationships and outcomes. I continued to end a day and…. you guessed it: worry and feel guilty. Through my yoga practice and exploring alternative approaches to health and my overall wellbeing I began to question and ask, “why?” to life. Why do I feel guilty about this? Why do they feel that way? Where does this feeling really come from? Those moments of curiosity helped me develop compassion. Not only compassion for others and why they react a certain way but also a deep sense of compassion for myself. The more I reflected on my past and childhood the more I understood that we are all human. We all have gone through sadness, rough times, and confusion. We all have reacted a way we later cringe at. Rather than dwelling on those moments, beating ourselves up and ultimately living in circles of the same destructive habits; it is important to go back, take a look and develop an understanding of why. I also believe it is important to gain an understanding that in the end; we really have NO idea. And that is okay. We don’t have to, and wont, know everything. Compassion is gained by going deeper than the surface or past an initial judgement.
One more tip before I dive into the root chakra:
For me, during my journey of studying the self I found it helpful to keep in mind that hindsight is 20/20. It is okay you didn’t see the past creeping into and controlling your present. You did the best you could in that moment. So did your parents, siblings, family members, friends, loved ones etc. During this journey keep an open heart filled with compassion, love and truth. No need to react again to something that has already passed.
First Chakra: Muladhara (root)
Location: Base of spine
Balanced Characteristics: stable, grounded, physically healthy, trusting, prosperous
Excess: obesity, overeating, greed sluggish, lazy, fear of change, and addiction to security
Deficiency: fearful, undisciplined, restless, underweight, spacey, financial difficulty, poor focus, poor boundaries, anxious, and restless
Exercises and changes that can be made to balance out the first chakra:
Diet: Foods that are grown right in the earth are the most balancing for the first chakra.
Root vegetables are a main example of foods that will leave you feeling stable, and they include sweet potatoes, red-skinned potatoes and other potatoes, carrots, yams, squash, ginger, onions, radishes, and shallots.
Vegetable soups that feature these root vegetables are a great option to make you feel more rooted.
A healing way to connect to where your food comes from is to purchase from your local farmers’ market and meet the people who grow your food.
Since red is the color for the first chakra, all red foods will help boost and balance its vibration. Red apples, red pears, red cherries, strawberries, red tomatoes, red-skinned potatoes, red beets, red onions and red bell peppers are great examples.
I am safe and secure.
I trust that I will always be provided for.
I am strong, grounded and protected at all times.
Asana (yoga postures):
Grounding poses such as trikonasana (triangle pose). Focus on the soles of the feet and feel their connection to the ground in standing poses.
Seated forward bends. Focus on the connection of the legs on the ground
Yin Yoga postures like supta badhakonasana (reclining butterfly pose).
Using the power of gravity to ground and connect with the earth and other supportive props such as blocks and bolsters are wonderful. The props helps you to physically feel supported. These benefits are enhanced when remaining still in the posture for an extended amount of time.
When the weather permits, practice barefoot outside, directly on the grass, soil or sand.
Meditation: During this meditation you will be guided to see red and envision the color red glowing brightly at the base of the spine, where the first chakra is located.
Begin in a comfortable seated position with your eyes closed, spine straight up and shoulders relaxing down your back.
Focus on your breath. Feel it flowing up and down your spine as well as your sit bones are rooting into the ground or your mat.
Physically feel your breath flowing through your body. Connect to the expansion and relaxation that occurs in your body with each inhale and exhale. What is the length of your breath?
Focus on taking a deep breath in for 4 - 3 - 2 - 1, pause at the top, and then take a long exhale for 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1. Repeat this for about 60 seconds or as long as necessary.
Bring your awareness to your heart and physically feel your heartbeat for about 10 breaths.
Emotionally, check in with the state of your emotions. No need to judge how you feel or quickly change it, all is welcome and okay. Even boredom. For me, boredom in my meditation tends to be resistance and a lack of presence. Just be with however you feel. The intention for this is to get clear and become present.
Next, keeping your eyes closed, move your awareness up to the center of your forehead and just notice your thoughts. Let a thought come up and let it drift away. Doing this for the next 60 seconds will increase the space between your thoughts and bring stillness to your meditation.
Now, move your awareness to the base of your spine and see a bright red light. Picture this red light extending down your legs and feet, grounding you to the earth.
Continue to see this bright red light for as long as you'd like. In your seated position, continue to let your sit bones root into the ground while everything else is relaxed; your eyes, jaw, throat, neck, shoulders, triceps, elbows, forearms, fingers, chest, hips, thighs, and feet. Keep a meditative state by noticing, visualizing and breathing.
During this exploration of the chakras, remember that chakras are both complex and fascinating.
The root chakra is often provides energy to the other chakras. Typically, if the root chakra is blocked or unbalanced, your other chakras likely are as well. Just like a building, it is important your chakras have a firm foundation.
Self-study questions to reflect and learn more about YOUR root chakra:
• What keeps me grounded?
• How do I connect with my physical body?
• How do I connect with nature?
• What makes me feel secure?
• Where am I safe?
• How can I share my stability and strength with others?
Use these exercises and tips to balance out your root chakra whenever you find yourself either deficient or excessive in your first energy center: Muladhara.
Thank you for reading this post. Please feel free to email me if anything comes up you would like to talk about or have questions about.
Cheers to exploring, growing, and learning!
"Let today be the day you finally release yourself from the imprisonment of past grudges and anger. Simpligy your life. Let go of the poisonous past and live the abundantly beautiful present... today."
- Dr. Steve Mariboli