In yoga, the root chakra is also called Muladhara, which translates to “base support.” Since the root chakra is located at the base of the spine, this translation seems very appropriate.
Perhaps you’ve seen a picture of a seated person with a rainbow of dots up their spine to their forehead. These are the chakras. Although some people may argue that there are more than 7 chakras, everyone agrees that there are at least 7. See the picture below for the approximate location of the chakras.
In English, chakra translates to “wheel.” All of these “wheels” work together to transfer energy, thoughts, feelings, and impulses through your body. The chakras are truly a complex system. To truly understand each of them and how they work would require study far above and beyond what this article offers.
Chakras are first mentioned in 200 B.C. in Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Despite the large quantity of years to study the chakras, it hasn’t been until relatively recently that scientific studies have started to validate the ancient claims. (Here’s a link to “Scientists Quantify and Graphically Chart Alignment of Human Chakras in Various Emotional States” if you’re interested in reading more on that.)
Since we all have 7 chakras, each chakra is important to us for various reasons. We may not universally feel each chakra in the same way. For example, if a friend and I both have our root chakras misaligned, we may experience different feelings and thoughts. However, we can participate in the same root chakra-aligning practice and both receive benefit in our respective areas.
Root Chakra Attributes
Each chakra has its own attributes and associations. Here is a quick breakdown of the root chakra.
- Color: Red
- Element: Earth
- Sense: Smell
- Location: The base of the spine
- Functions: Survival, Grounding, Stability, Security, Support
Signs of Root Chakra Imbalance
You may want to balance your root chakra if you feel:
- out of control.
Be aware that imbalance doesn’t merely show up as a lack of balance. For example, those who are so firmly grounded that they lack mobility are in need of root chakra balancing as much as those who lack grounding. So, take a look at the list above. If you feel the extreme opposite of those feelings, you may also benefit from some balancing.
According to www.chakras.info,
“At the emotional level, the deficiencies or imbalance in the first chakra are related to:
- Excessive negativity, cynicism
- Eating disorders
- Greed, avarice
- Excessive feeling of insecurity, living on survival mode constantly
For a person who has imbalance in the first chakra, it might be hard to feel safe in the world and everything looks like a potential risk. The desire for security dominates and can translate into concerns over the job situation, physical safety, shelter, health. A blocked root chakra may turn into behaviors ruled mainly by fear.
On the same line, when the root chakra is overactive, fear might turn into greed and paranoia, which are extreme forms of manifestation of imbalance in the first chakra. Issues with control over food intake and diet are related to it.”
Root Chakra Balancing
In order to balance the root chakra, create a practice full of grounding. Feel your feet, legs, and pelvis connect to the floor beneath you. To do this, create a standing posture sequence and involve seated forward bends toward the end.
Think of it this way, pick the poses where you feel most connected with the ground beneath you and then create a practice with those postures.
If you’re wanting a specific practice to balance your root chakra, I recommend checking out Yoga Sequencing by Mark Stephens. This book contains many sequences, not just those that pertain to balancing the chakras, and information about how to construct your own yoga sequences.
Also, I highly recommend Jo Ann Staugaard-Jones’s book The Vital Psoas Musclefor more information about the first three chakras. Since the psoas only impacts the first three chakras, they are the only ones specifically explained in this book. However, if you want information about how a junky psoas impacts your life and your first three chakras, this is a great read.
I also really enjoy the Yoga Toolbox for Teachers and Students by Integrative Yoga Therapy. This is a binder of laminated pages that thoroughly explain many basic yoga poses. One of the perks of practicing yoga with these pages is that the activated chakras are shown for each pose. This makes it much easier to create a chakra specific sequence on your own.
How do you prefer to balance your root chakra? Let us know in the comments below.