One of the very first things I took an interest in learning about when discovering spirituality was the Chakra System. This system is a part of the energetic body, but can manifest through the physical, mental, and emotional bodies when the Chakras become under or overactive. Though there are said to be far more than just seven chakras (a fascinating subject that I am still learning and discovering for myself), I’d like to focus on the main, inner chakras for now. I’m sure I will be constantly expanding on the chakras as my own understanding and experience continues to grow and evolve!
Specifically, I’d like to focus on Muladhara – the Root Chakra – and the importance of bringing balance to this energy centre.
If you’re new to the chakra systems, you may be wondering – what the heck is a chakra, anyway? Chakras (chuck-ra) are also known as active energy centres or vortexes. In Sanskrit, the word chakra means “wheel”. Through these centres, sound and light waves transmit frequencies which will affect the whole of the energetic body. Each chakra is associated with specific colours, sounds, words, emotions, organs, glands, foods, activities, qualities, as well as manifested signs of imbalance. Though traditionally chakras are pictured as unfolding lotuses over specific areas of the body (see above), the centres affect more than just one isolated spot. It’s a systemic effect, just as any imbalanced organ would eventually upset the entire physical body.
As you can see from the image above, there are several main inner Chakras; these are the most commonly discussed centres. However, there are some systems that have anywhere from 8, 12, 13, and then some! That conversation will arrive in due time. For now, allow me to start with a brief introduction.
The Seven Inner Chakras
When working with the Chakras, start with the Root and make yourway up the spine! This is universal. To me, it is an indication that your spiritual journey begins at the root. Always.
- Muladhara (the Root): associated with safety, security and grounding; foundation for expansion of self.
- Svadisthana (the Sacral): associated with the emotional body, creativity, and sensuality; driving force for enjoyment and pleasure.
- Manipura (the Solar Plexus): associated with identity, personal power, and mental abilities; centre for responsibility, independence, and will.
- Anahata (the Heart): associated with compassion, love, and beauty; bridge between earthly and spiritual aspirations.
- Vishuddha (the Throat): associated with expression and communication; expression of your self, your truth, and your purpose (through projects, vocation, creativity, etc).
- Ajna (The Third Eye): associated with intuition and foresight; functions driven by openness and imagination; centre for transcending duality and “I” consciousness.
- Sahasrara (The Crown): associated with pure consciousness, awareness, connection, realization, transcendence, presence, and liberation; access point of higher states of consciousness; functions driven by consciousness.
When you consider the chakras, consider them as spinning wheels. The Root Chakra, at the very base of the spine, spins the slowest; however, the spinning of this wheel will encourage the spinning of the Sacral Chakra, just above it, and so on, all the way up to the Crown, the fastest spinning wheel. Connecting the chakras is a long channel, running along (maybe even within) the spine, from the Root up to the Crown. During meditation or specific exercises, you can tap into this channel and awaken the energy that lays dormant in the Root. As the energy from the Root (ie. kundalini. shakti, “dormant serpent”) makes its way up the channel, the Chakras will systematically begin to open and spin. This is known as kundalini rising. Any blockages in the channel or in the Chakras will prevent the energy from passing; however, regular practice willl build the awareness necessary to notice where these blockages exist. This phenomena occurs with patience, practice, and understanding of the energetic system. Having the kundalini reach the Crown is said to be a blissful and euphoric experience.
With this knowledge, it’s understandable why balancing the Root Chakra is a great place to start on your spiritual journey. By improving the state of Muladhara, you will be strengthening your own foundation to allow for a greater expansion of self. When I first started practicing and exploring the Chakras, admittedly, I was always so resistant to balancing the Root. Maybe I egoically assumed I didn’t need to strengthen the Root – that I was ready to start working right away wth the Third Eye and the Crown (spoiler: I wasn’t ready). Regardless, I gave Muladhara very little attention or practice and finally, earlier this year, I realized my ignorance had been the root of my problems, all along.
I made it my resolution this year to become more grounded in my being and, if there was an effective way to measure it, I’d say I have been making wonderful progress. Like any practice, it takes patience, effort, and some degree of faith. I attribute my knowledge of the Root Chakra to helping guide me through the process.
Muladhara Gone Wild
Muladhara is located at the base of the spine, corresponding with the perineum, the three, lower vertebrae, as well as the pelvic plexus. As this Chakra is considered to be the Root and the foundation, it’s probably not surprising that this centre is associated with feelings of safety and security. When your Root is out of balance, think of it as a crack in the foundation of a house. An instable base is no place to build off of. As a result, there are several ways this instability can manifest:
- Excessive negativity and cynicism
- Eating disorders (too much, not enough)
- Constipation and digestive dysfunction
- Exhaustion, lethargy, stress
- Greed and attachment
- Excessive feelings of insecurity
- Living in survival mode, constantly
- Unable to relax or “root” anywhere
When Muladhara is out of balance, it is difficult to feel safe in the world. Everything feels like a potential risk. The need for safety and security dominates over concerns about your job, your family and friends, your health, or your shelter. This Chakra is linked to the Unconscious mind, where actions and experiences of the past may be energetically “stored”. Blockage within the Root Chakra may eventually manifest as behaviours, thoughts, and words, ruled mainly by fear. Blockage and over-activity of the Root Chakra are far from ideal, as over-activity can lead to greed and paranoia. Controlling (or lack there of) of food and diet can also become a challenge with an over-active Root.
The four petals of this lotus represent:
- The points of the compass (north, south, east, west).
- The fundamental psychic functions (mind, intellect, consciousness, ego).
- The stages of development of life (vegetation, bacteria and single-called organisms, egg-laying animals, and mammals and humans).
The Root of it All
This centre is your foundation, as well as where you ground yourself, connect with the Earth, and anchor your energy in the physical and manifest. Only by maintaining balance in Muladhara can you really root into your own Being. To open and bring balance to the Root Chakra, consider:
- Getting grounded and connected with the Earth (walk bare foot, commune with nature)
- Meeting basic needs (food, sleep, shelter, etc.)
- Physicality (identity and aspects of self)
- Improving physical health (exercise, nutrition, breath work, etc.)
- Survival instincts
- Financial stability
- Feeling supported in living life (friends, family, etc.)
The best way to open and balance the Root Chakra is to get more grounded and engaged with nature, by far. Gardening, hiking, forest bathing, or even cooking with local, healthy produce, will all help to grow “roots” into your environment. This will make you feel more safe and secure within your surroundings, be it your body, your home, or your community.
Boost Your Root
As I mentioned earlier, each Chakra is associated with different sounds, colours, foods, organs, emotions, and then some! I’d like to cover a few of the common associations of Muladhara in an easy to follow guide. Use this information to nourish your Root. Wear red, spend time in nature, reflect on the lotus, and get grounded.
- Colour: Red (colour of power, vitality, physical nature, and Shakti)
- Sound: LAM
- Element: Earth
- Words: Connected, grounded, safe, secure, stable, disciplined
- Foods: root/ground vegetables (carrots, pumpkins, potatoes, beets, parsnips, mushrooms, etc), protein-rich foods (nuts, grains, beans, seeds, etc), and red foods (cherries, strawberries, tomatoes, apples, etc)
- Symbol: Four petal lotus; downward triangle
- Animal: Elephant
- Crystal: Black tourmaline, hematite, black obsidian, smoky quartz, dragon eye, garnet, red jasper, ruby
- Organs/Glands: Skeletal system, teeth, intestines, adrenal cortex
- Sense: Smell
- Activities: Survival, self-preservation
- Qualities: Vitality, vigor, growth; Laziness, inertia, self-centeredness, and domination of physical desires
- Divinity: Lord Shiva
For more information, feel free to refer to any of the resources that I used: