Muladhara: Building a foundation
Chakras are swirling wheels of energy that correspond with massive nerve centers in the body and contain our psychological and emotional states of being.
Balance in the Chakras can strengthen your trust or security in yourself, deepen your desire and enhance your creativity. It can help you manifest your will, be a heart-based being communicating your truth, and act on and activate your intuition and inner light.
There are 7 chakras starting from the base of the spine, running to the crown. Over the next 7 weeks, we’ll be exploring this architecture of the human soul and how to read these modulators of subtle energy. I’ll be sharing postures, meditations and mantras to open, stimulate, and balance the Chakras so we can become more compassionate and capable human beings.
We start with Muladhara, or the Root Chakra, to build a solid foundation for opening the chakras above. I like the analogy of thinking of breaking ground on a house you’re going to live in for a long time, it’s stability being in the foundation; it’s base.
Muladhara consists of 2 Sanskrit words: Mul, meaning root, and Adhara meaning support. It’s located at the base of your spine, pelvic floor and bottom 3 vertebrae, and is responsible for our sense of safety and security as we walk our paths.
If your Root Chakra is out of whack you may be a little more prone to anxiety, the illusion of fear, or even bad dreams. Root Chakra imbalances tend to physically manifest in the lower back, legs and feet (aka all the parts that support our physical bodies). These imbalances manifest in our lives in the form of emotional insecurities as well. If you have trust issues in your relationships, that's a Root Chakra problem. If you never feel quite secure in your job, that's a Root Chakra problem.
Bringing balance to the Root Chakra eliminates doubt from our day to day. It brings security into our world, and provides a solid foundation for us to start climbing to the summit of ourselves.
There are a few ways we can work to bring balance to the Root Chakra. What we’ll focus on is asana, or physical postures, meditation, and diet. Let’s start by asking ourselves some questions to see if we can identify an imbalance.
First, ask yourself if there are any areas of your life that you don't feel safe? Close your eyes and meditate on it. Are there any areas of your life you don’t feel in control? Do you trust yourself to make healthy decisions? Answering these three questions honestly without judgement might bring new awareness to parts of your own self-support you can strengthen.
Asana, or physical practice is a very effective way to activate and open the chakras for your prana (or life force energy) to start flowing freely through you; to remove blockages and bring about balance. A few first Chakra poses you can do are: Tadasana (mountain pose), Malasana (garland pose or yoga squat), Virabhadrasana 2 & 3 (warriors), Gomukasana (cow face pose), Janushirasana (head to knee), & Badha Konasana (bound angle pose).
As you explore these postures, claim your spot on the earth, claim your place in this life; your purpose. In Tadasana, accept that you're exactly where you're supposed to be. Stand tall in your mountain, immovable like the force of nature that you are. In warrior, cultivate your inner earth warrior strength through the breath. Acknowledge it's always accessible so that you can move forward with confidence as you fight your daily battles, regardless of how big or small anyone perceives them to be.
Any pose that connects you to your earthly nature will activate and open the Root Chakra. Even sitting in Dandasana, or staff pose, activates the root (though I have a teacher who says it’s the hardest sitting you’ll ever do). To enhance this root activation in any of the many poses associated with the root chakra apply mula bhanda, or root lock. The easiest way to explain how to do this is to contract the rectum and sex organs, kind of like you’ve had a bit too much coffee on a road trip and the next bathroom is a few miles away.
Mantras can also be useful in cleansing and opening the Chakras. My favorite Root Chakra mantra is Mul Mantra. The word mantra breaks down into two words: Mind (man) and Liberate (tra), and this mantra will live up to it’s grounding and mind liberating definition.
Ek ong kaar, sat nam, karataa purakh, nirbho, nirvair, Akaal moorat, ajoonee, saibhang, gur prasaad. Jap! Aad such, jugaad such, Hai bhee such, Naanak hosee bhee such.
One universal spirit moves within the creation and this spirit, within me, is my true identity. It does all. It protects me through the incidents of time and space. It fears nothing and never experiences vengeance or hate. It's beyond death, beyond birth, and moves by its own purity and projection. This understanding will come to you as a sweet blessing. A gift. Continue to remember it in every moment. It's been true since the start - through all space and time. It's true now, and it always will be - This is the Mul Mantra’s meaning. The Root of our roots. It helps us let go of the dream & find the reality of our truth. Dissolve fate. Rewrite destiny. Prosper.
Listen to Simrit sing it for pronunciation. I find that singing along to a new mantra is the best way to learn it. Once you’ve got it down you can make it your own.
Another important Root Chakra mantra is LAM. LAM is a bija mantra that cleanses the first chakra. Bija mantras are mono-syllable seed sounds that were developed in vedic healing to bring harmony to the body. There are 7 bija mantras, each associated with the 7 chakras. Letting the vibration of these mantras wash over you has the power to break down physical and emotional blockages that keep the prana, our life force, from flowing freely. LAM is pronounced like lum in the word alum. You can chant this mantra however it resonates with you; inhaling deeply and chanting it out with a full exhale, or playing with different rhythms and tones. Explore the infinite possibilities. As you begin, see a glowing red wheel of energy at the base of your spine, growing with each round of sound. Send your attention to strengthening your own center of security.
If you want to take Root Chakra nourishment to the next level, you can try working some of these foods into your diet: carrots, onions, beets, potatoes, parsnips, and radishes. The symbolism in these foods and their association with the Root Chakra is that they root themselves. Any plant based food that grows deep roots of its own can be grounding and rooting for us. You can even think of Root Chakra foods in terms of color association. The Root Chakra being red, look for red foods as they provide vibrational balance. Red foods are typically rich in Vitamin C which only goes to serve the root chakra's function in overseeing our skeletal system.
If you have any Root Chakra recipes, leave them in the comments for the community to try! Here's one for some bomb Vegan Beet Burgers.
Root Chakra affirmations can also assist in activation and balance. Affirmations are just a way to provide ourselves with emotional and spiritual support, so they're very appropriate for the first chakra problems we may face. You can come up with literally any affirmation that resonates with you, makes you feel safe and supported in yourself. Write it down, say it out loud, make a melody and sing it, meditate on it. One that I use for the Root Chakra specifically (and I can’t believe I left it out of class on Saturday) is "I am always safe in the center of my being." Sometimes it feels good to sit and say this until it starts to feel true--because it is.
Well, talking about food made me quite hungry, and it’s getting close to lunch time here in Chicago so I must go ground down on some eats. I’m really excited to continue to share this Chakra journey with you, both online and in the studio. If you have any questions or comments as you start to explore these 7 windows of your soul, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m always available and quick to respond via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. May you be so blessed, and without stress, as you work to create more safety and security in yourself. Be patient. Be kind. If you get lost, just think of the trees… The deeper and wider their roots, the greater their potential for growth.
I hope to see you Saturday at noon at Sat Nam Yoga Chicago as we move up to the Sacral Chakra.
Sat Nam & Namaste
Favorite First Chakra Crystals: Red Garnet, Red Tigers Eye, Black Tourmaline