The most instinctual of all chakras, the root chakra or Muladhara is your survival center. It is the foundation of our existence, power house, keeper of past memories and the controller of life force. Your fight-or-flight response is initiated from this chakra.
Muladhara Chakra is associated with the element earth, representing physical and emotional grounding. The biggest malady we face is the uprooted, egocentric attitude in life, and the primary cause for this is an unbalanced ‘root chakra’.
If you are feeling depressed, insecure, self-centered, violent, constipated, pain in lower back and exhausted, then it shows that your root chakra is out of balance. A balanced root chakra is necessary to feel self-confident, more grounded, centered and calm.
Here is a quick guide to the Root Chakra:
Colour: Red (Secondary colour is Black)
Glands/Organs: Adrenals, Spinal column, Colon, Kidney, legs, feet, bones.
Gems/Minerals affecting it: Ruby, Bloodstone, Red Jasper, Black Tourmaline
Foods: Red fruits and root vegetables like carrots and beetroot etc.
Wearing red hued clothes and earthy tones like yellow or mustard in the living space can enhance & stabilise the energy of the Root Chakra.
Yoga Poses to Balance the Root chakra
Each time we think of a balanced Root Chakra, we should think in terms of making a deeper connection to the Earth, a grounded tree or a stable person. Yoga postures are a great way to release stale or stuck energy from the body because they invite fresh, vital energy back in through asanas and Pranayama. Let’s look at few asanas, which activates the flow of energy, correct the imbalances of the root chakra and help you experience safety, security, and stillness.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
How to: Stand with both the feet shoulder width apart firmly on the ground, inhale deeply while raising your arms upward. Join the hands in a Namaste mudra and stay here for 5-7 breaths while you look up. Raise your torso and stretch up, like reaching out to the sky and imagine your feet to be the roots of the trees intensely located in the ground. Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing easily. You can even take the action of lifting all of your toes up and slowly extend and lower your toes down to the ground.
Why to: Again a balancing and grounding pose, it generates focus, stability and strength in the legs. It grounds you in the present moment. On the other hand, the crown chakra acknowledges the sky, receiving energy that runs down from your spine to the base.
Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
How to: A pivotal pose in Ashtanga Yoga, Downward dog is a semi-inverted pose. Starting from Uttanasana or standing forward bend, gently walk your hands forward and form an inverted V as shown in the image below. Tuck the stomach in, draw the shoulders backwards, knee straight, heels on the ground, hands pressed and gaze on the navel centre. Stay here for 5-7 breaths or longer depending upon your capacity.
Why to: Opening up the legs, strengthening and stretching the spinal column, both hands and feet are pressed into Earth for greater strength and support. Also observing Mulabandha or root lock (in advanced stages) can reap heightened benefits.
Bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
How to: Lie down on your back and bend your legs while maintaining some distance between them. Make sure your feet are pointing straight ahead and not sideways. Lift the pelvic up to the maximum, stretch the arm towards the legs and hold the heels or simply interlace the fingers till wherever they can reach initially. Tuck the chin to the neck and focus on the root lock, ie. to button the hips and lower ribs, if you can.
Why to: While releasing the excess energy in the root chakra, this asana opens the spinal column, allowing the energy to move up. The shape of this asana is like a loop of energy. The energy enters from the feet going through your spinal column, finding its way back from the crown chakra back into the Earth, forming a circuit of unrestricted flow, grounded feeling and stability.
Opening the ankles and feet
How to: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and gently roll one foot back at a time applying light pressure. Just feel the gentle twist and stretch on the ankles. Now bring the hands on the waist and lift one leg gently forward to make 10 concentric circles, repeat with other leg.
Then kneel down and sit in Vajarasana (Thunderbolt pose) and take 5-7 deep breaths, while focusing on the feet and feeling the energy moving freely from the soles into the Earth.
Why to: Since the element related to this chakra is Earth it brings about strong grounding and balances the root chakra. Also the toe and foot chakra opens up to harbor a deeper connection with the Earth element.
How to: Lie gently on your back, lift your pelvis and slide your tailbone away to comfortably spread your lower back. Keep just a light, natural arch to your lower back. Rest your pelvis on the ground. Place both the feet and the arms 3 to 4 feet apart with palms facing the ceiling. Support the back of the head and neck on a folded blanket, if you like.
Now close your eyes and take a slow deep breath. As you exhale, let your body relax and sink into the floor. Maintain stillness as you relax and quiet the mind. Loosen your whole body completely, like its sinking in the floor. Stay here for as long as you like.
Why to: Focus on the root chakra and breathe. Imagine red colour at the base of the spine and feel a deeper connection manifesting between the body and the Earth.
Seed mantra Meditation
How to: LAM is the seed or beej mantra of the Root Chakra. Sit away from any support in cross legged or lotus pose and take deep breaths. Now, bring all your attention to the perineum, focus on the root and start chanting ‘LAM’. Imagine the chakra opening with the energy flowing in a horizontal movement.
Chant LAM three times, then chant ‘OM’ the same number of times and feel the flow of the energy vibrating vertically from head to toe, connecting you with the Earth’s energy. Now repeat the chant three times silently first for LAM followed by OM. This is one set. Continue to chant LAM and OM, first out loud and then silently, as long as you wish.
Why to: When we chant the seed invocation of any chakra, we are cleansing & harmonising it, enhancing its peripheries, and creating a balance. With the help of this meditation, the obstacles of material life, a feeling of insecurity, exhaustion, fatigue and other root chakra related problems can be subdued initially and gradually removed.
The asanas and chakra cleansing meditation has a positive effect on the root chakra. A grounded person resonates at a high frequency and is present in the now. The questions of the ego disappear, replaced by a sense of harmony with the world and a sense of belonging.