Understanding the Root Chakra
The first energy center of the chakra system is Muladhara, or the Root Chakra. It is located at the base of the spine, and includes your tailbone, genitals and pelvic floor. The word Muladhara breaks down into two Sanskrit words: mula meaning “root” and adhara, which means “support” or “base.”
The Root Chakra is considered the foundation of the entire chakra system, supporting the energy centers above it and helping to maintain their balance. It establishes the connection between your physical body and the spiritual Earth. This chakra holds our survival instinct, our need for nourishment, and our sense of safety and security on the physical plane. This energy is our primal nature, our animal instinct to exist and endure.
The Muladhara holds your personal experience of your body, and all the pleasures and pains it can bring. A balanced root chakra is where we learn to accept our bodies as they are, and how to treat our physical form with love and respect. Experiencing discomfort and/or displeasure with any part of your body – from your appearance to developing illnesses - is a Root Chakra issue. This type of physical disconnect can makes us feel flighty, ungrounded, and unsafe in our day to day lives.
How often do you thank your body for all that it does for you? We take our bodies for granted until we begin to have some type of ache, or something stops working the way it’s supposed to.
Then we become angry and ungrateful with our mortality, our physicality. Remember that the body speaks to you the only way it knows how, and all our physical dis-eases and discomforts can be metaphysically attributed to whatever emotional, mental, or spiritual trauma we have previously or are currently experiencing. A muscle tightening in the neck lets you know you are stressed; an ache here or there lets you know when you’ve pushed yourself too far.
And in that same vein, the sensation of touch brings delight and bliss, and is pivotal to our sense of connection with ourselves and others. Every square inch of our bodies – even the parts we may not find pleasing - carries the potential to feel outstanding pleasure. Within the Root Chakra we come home to our bodies, discovering the comfort and sensuality of our physical form.
Adorning your body is an active way to stimulate the Root Chakra, and expressing the security you have in yourself, and your place in the world. Our clothing, hair, makeup, jewelry, etc is our outward representation of our inner light. We show the world how to love us, and the quickest, most overlooked way we communicate our self-love to others is through our appearance.
Root Chakra body energy can be encouraged not only by learning the joy of adornment, but by how we supply our bodies with nourishment. We honor our bodies and strengthen our connection to the earth by eating as healthy as possible. Red foods, such as apples, strawberries, and cherries are excellent for raising this chakra’s energy, as are foods that are high in protein such as meats, eggs, and nuts.
Eating disorders and weight issues are often a manifestation of a first chakra disbalance. For many of us, eating is nothing more than something we do to stay alive. We multitask when we eat by talking, watching television, etc. We feel emotional pain and we run to the fridge for comfort; we feel inadequate and starve ourselves to “fit in.” Treating your mealtimes and the act of eating as a ritual – acknowledging its necessity to keep you alive, truly sitting down and tasting your food, chewing slowly and silently, taking the time to grateful for sustenance – is a powerful way to strengthen your sense of security and comfort.
Nourishing our bodies also includes maintaining its strength and vitality. Regular exercise (whether high or low impact) and healing activities such as massage and acupuncture are ways to give your body the support and attention it needs in order to securely carry you through life.
Family Foundations and the Subject of Trust
Our familial relationships and ancestral beliefs are held in the Root Chakra, as well as the impressions made upon us as children that we carry into adulthood. It is in our infancy and upbringing where we learn what it means to be safe, to be secure within the bounds of love and trust.
The first years of life through to adolescence are a high development time for the Root Chakra. In our youth, we are dependent upon caretakers to ensure our survival. What we eat, where we sleep, and how we give and receive love comes from the influence and goodwill of others, and the expression of our natural instincts is either encouraged or discouraged. If we are generously and compassionately supplied with what we need, we learn to trust in others and in ourselves. However, if our caregivers withheld affection, or if money was inadequate, food scarce, etc.; if we were chastised every time we tried to “live our bliss”, then we can develop a severe distrust of the world and in our own decision making process. Because our families are our first contact with the world at large, these interactions teach that the Universe is either working for us, or against us.
The first chakra in relation to family is a precarious balance. While having a loving and supportive parental unit sounds wonderful, too much support can lead to an overactive root chakra, resulting in greed, codependency, authority and privilege issues, and difficulty accepting change. Too little familial support can produce scarcity consciousness, relationship problems, boundary issues, and feeling unsure about your place in the world.
While these early life developments can be damaging, they can certainly be overcome. By empowering and balancing the Muladhara, we bring awareness to our roots and no longer allow our past experiences to rule over our present lives. We learn not only to trust in ourselves, but in the Universe to support us and keep us safe. The stronger the first chakra, the stronger our sense of self and confidence in our abilities. We become grounded and solid within the physical world, and understand we have the ability to support ourselves on this earthly plain. Our powers of discernment over every aspect of our lives becomes honed, and we learn we can trust our decisions because we always have our best interest at heart.
Prosperity and Abundance
The first chakra is the energy of our earthly prosperity, by way of money, career, the home, and our powers of manifestation. This abundance energy is about meeting your basic survival needs in ways that offer stability, security, and the freedom to grow beyond your false limitations. The only restrictions you have are the beliefs you hold, and within the Root Chakra we find the power to face the lies we’ve told ourselves about our worth, and our earning potential.
It is in the Root Chakra we find the strength and courage to go after the type of life we want. A balanced root enables us to take a realistic view of our surroundings, our situation, and inspires the motivation to change. We embrace our independence, accept that we are not our circumstances, and stand our ground in the present in order to create a prosperous future. The Root Chakra gives us endurance, and reminds us that there is more than enough abundance for everyone to fulfill the requirements of living on the earthly plain.
The energy here teaches us the secret of manifestation: we have to focus specifically on what we want, and be willing to do the work long enough for our desires to manifest.
The fear of not having enough, being unhappy in your career, and apathy towards change are all signs of an underactive Root Chakra. With an overactive Root Chakra, you may experience materialism, defining your self-worth as equal to your tangible belongings.
The Muladhara in balance raises the vibration of the entire chakra system to attract the material things we need in order to live the lives we truly desire, and gives us the courage to manifest those dreams into reality.
If the foundation of a house is cracked or shoddy, the whole building will crumble into rubble. The same goes for the Root Chakra as the foundation of the chakra system. We cannot grow and change unless we feel safe and secure in our physical surroundings.
The main vice of the Root Chakra is fear: fear of being your authentic self, fear of failure, fear of success – the list goes on. This terror of life can manifest itself as anxiety disorders, depression, nightmares, and physical problems of the feet, legs, prostate, genitals, and reproductive organs.
Strengthening and healing the first chakra happens when we create a healthy relationship with our physical world – with our bodies, our surroundings, our daily life experiences with family and career. When these needs are met with gentleness and compassion, you tend to worry less and smile more, regardless of what your circumstances may look like.
If your root chakra is in balance or open properly, you will feel secure in your world, and confident about your ability to take care of yourself.
Sanskrit name: Muladhara
Virtues: security, stability, prosperity consciousness, safety, trust in self and others, body consciousness, self preservation, fight or flight, courage, frigidness
Vices: Fear, poverty consciousness, body issues, bitterness, distrust of others, feeling like a victim, greed, anger/aggression, over-active sex drive
Body Association: Spinal column, bones, teeth, nails, genitals, anus, rectum, prostate gland, blood, and the building of cells, sense of smell
Divine Feminine: Mother
Sacred Masculine: Father
Scents: earthy and woodsy. Sandalwood, patchouli, cinnamon, vetiver, nutmeg, cedarwood
Crystals: Any red gemstone. Darker hued crystals. Garnet, obsidian, bloodstone, black tourmaline, shaman stone, onyx, hematite, tigers eye
Affirmation: Centered. Safe. Secure. Loved.
Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System As a Path to the Self by Anodea Judith
Chakras for Beginners: How to Balance Chakras, Strengthen Aura, and Radiate Energy (Chakra Balancing, Healing, and Meditation Techniques) by Victoria Lane
Chakra Wisdom Oracle Cards: The Complete Spiritual Toolkit for Transforming Your Life by Tori Hartman
Chakras and Their Archetypes: Uniting Energy Awareness and Spiritual Growth by Ambika Wauters
(c) 2015 Brandi Auset