Living Yoga | Balancing Your Chakras, Part I: Root Chakra

Do you long for pure childlike joy? Are you seeking patience, a willingness to slow down and a connection to mother earth? Do you feel “constipated” with dead-end jobs, relationships, chronic health problems, habits, and addictions? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, polishing your first chakra may change your life.

While attending a yoga retreat several years ago, I decided to step out of my asana comfort zone and sign up for a chakra session. Immediately intrigued, I began studying the chakras diligently. I was thrilled to finally have a reference point in my body for emotions and a location for focus when I didn’t feel at my best physically. Since then, chakra awareness has become a frequent intention of my yoga practice.

In this and several pieces to follow, we’ll explore the major chakras one by one, and how to bring them back into balance.

Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning “wheels of light.” These wheels are made up of mental, emotional, and spiritual energy. Each of them is aligned vertically in our body, starting at the base of the spine and ending at the top of the head. The seven main chakras are the root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, brow, and crown. While each chakra has a unique energy, sense, color, and element, they all work together influencing our daily life.

Let’s begin with the root chakra—or Muladhara chakra, meaning “root support”—that is located at the base of the spine. When the root chakra is in balance, energy flows in two directions; it flows downward into the earth and is drawn up from the earth into the body.

Muladhara chakra’s element is earth. Its sense is smell. Its color is red.

If your first chakra is blocked or not correctly energized, you may experience feelings of fear, insecurity, low self-esteem, mistrust, and greed. Physically, you might feel tight in your hips, legs, and lower back. You might suffer from sciatica, varicose veins, or digestion problems. Balancing the root chakra helps unblock emotional and physical toxins that are trapped.

Here are four steps you can complete in 30 minutes to begin balancing Muladhara:

1. Pick one activity and perform for 15 minutes: walking, running, hiking, biking, or gardening. Stay mindful of your connection to nature and breath deep.

2. Practice a few grounding yoga poses for 10 minutes:

  • Standing forward bend (Uttanasana)
  • Bound angle pose (Baddha Konasana)
  • Seated forward fold (Paschimottanasana)

3. Meditate for five minutes: Focus on a red wheel spinning at the base of your spine. Listen to a song with tribal beats. My favorite is “Conga Jog” by Al Gromer Khan.

4. State the following affirmations:

  • I am grounded, balanced, safe, and secure.
  • I am connected to the earth.
  • I am ready to release old habits that no longer serve me.

Modern lifestyles often create disturbances in the chakras and the earth. Inner wisdom becomes clouded. Luckily this inner wisdom cannot be destroyed. It waits to be revealed and manifested as pure joy.

Feeling earthy, I am reminded of a lesson in a favorite children’s book, Milo and the Magical Stone, by Marcus Pfister. Milo—a mouse—lives in a mountain on a small island. One day he finds a beautiful glowing stone. So, he takes it and shows the rest of the mice. At that point, the reader has the choice between a happy ending and a sad ending.

In the sad ending, the mice greedily dig for beautiful stones and the mountain collapses. But, in the happy ending the mice respect the beauty of the mountain and only take a glowing stone if they can offer a replacement.

Cleanse your Muladhara chakra. Show reverence for the earth and get ready to feel your energy rise.

Next up is Chakra II: Svadhisthana.

Photo by Tony Frantz