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Muladhara - The Root Chakra

This article was written by Anodea Judith on May 29, 2002
posted under Chakras

Element: Earth
Color: Red
Verb: I have
Attributes: Survival, grounding, solidity, the body

The first chakra is found at the base of the spine, the point you are sitting on right now. Its name, Muladhara, means "root," and the paths of energy in this chakra extend downward like a root through the legs and feet to contact the solid Earth below.

Its color is a deep red, and its symbol is a lotus of four petals within which is a downward-pointing triangle, symbolizing the root energy.

A simple way to energize this chakra is to sit up straight in your chair with your feet flat against the floor and push slightly into your feet. Your legs will tighten a bit and there will be an increased flow into your base chakra. As you relax your legs and feet, you will feel that flow recede, and as you tighten them, you can feel your body become more solid. It is not necessary to push into our legs at all times for the first chakra to function, but this is a simple way we can increase the flow of energy into our lower body while doing such mental tasks as working at a desk, talking on the phone, watching TV, or sitting in a job interview.

The Muladhara chakra is the foundation for the whole chakra system. Its function is to respond to any issues concerning survival: eating, sleeping, exercising, recovering from illness, making a living, or simply feeling safe and secure. If our survival needs are properly taken care of, then we can safely focus on other levels, such as learning, creativity, or relationships. If there is some damage to the chakra, then we find ourselves repeatedly coping with threats to our survival, which keeps us from accomplishing other things. These threats might be changing jobs, having to move, recurrent health problems, weight problems, and/or a general feeling of fear for one’s safety.

These are all issues that occur occasionally in the normal course of one’s life. Anytime they occur, they trigger our first chakra programming. Having to move may make us feel insecure, bring on a cold, or make us eat more. It is only when such issues become a frequent pattern that a first chakra problem is indicated.

Survival consciousness is the primary state of the infant, and if this phase of life is properly taken care of, it should not be a recurrent issue later in life. Children who are abandoned, separated from their mothers at birth (such as incubator babies), physically abused, or suffering from severe childhood illnesses will be more likely to have first chakra problems throughout their lives.

The result can be the situational problems mentioned above, as well as psychological problems having to do with lack of focus or discipline, dependency on others, (unable to stand on one’s own two feet), possible eating disorders, feeling vague and "spacy," and a general inability to "let down and relax." These are all signs that the first chakra is blocked in some way, generally indicating that the chakra does not open properly and allow the energy to flow through freely.

If, on the other hand, the chakra is too open, then we become overly attached at this level. We may be obsessed with money and possessions or our health, unable to allow change or to let go, and as a result we get stuck in the same routines, same old job, same old patterns.

When the chakra is closed, we lack stability. When it is too open, we are frozen solid. The ideal state would be to have stability and flexibility in balance.

The element associated with the first chakra is earth. Earth is solid, earth is heavy, earth is below us, and earth supplies us with our survival needs: food, clothing and shelter.

The universal force that flows downward, like roots, toward the Earth is gravity. Gravity is created by mass—the more mass something has, the stronger its gravity.

The force of gravity allows us to stay connected with the Earth. We need not do anything but relax, and gravity is there. When we allow ourselves to flow gracefully with gravity, we are in harmony with the downward flow of the first chakra.

The common term for this flow as it occurs in the human body is grounding. Grounding is a process of dynamic contact with the Earth that occurs through our legs and feet. When grounding is done appropriately, our whole body is nourished and energized.

Grounding is the building of a foundation. We ground ourselves in biology and chemistry before practicing medicine. We build a foundation before we build the walls of a house. Without a good foundation, nothing that follows will be as durable.

Grounding puts us in touch with our bodies. Uncovering the truths buried within our bodies brings us to a solid connection with our ground, manifesting in greater health, prosperity, and well-being.

Eating is a basic first chakra survival activity. Without food, we do not survive very long. Eating disorders (too much or too little) often indicate first chakra imbalance. Eating is a grounding activity—it helps to bring us down, helps us to feel settled, calm, secure. Excess weight can be an attempt to ground out high stress, to protect the body, or to replace proper grounding techniques. Eating too little or being chronically underweight can be an attempt to avoid grounding and physicality because it seems too frightening or confining.

Grounding Exercise

Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly in. (Take your shoes off so you can feel the floor under you.) Press into your feet as if you were trying to push the floorboards apart between your feet. You will feel a solidity come into your legs as you do this. This comes from pushing down into your feet.

Once you can feel that solidity, you are ready to begin the exercise. Inhale deeply and bend your knees, letting your belly relax. Now exhale and push into your feet s-l-o-w-l-y, pushing as you did before and allowing your legs to slowly straighten. Do not let them straighten all the way, but bend them again and inhale as you go down into your legs. Push again against the floor as you exhale, pushing your energy downward through your body.

Do not completely straighten your legs, keep breathing, and move slowly. If you are doing this correctly, you will start to feel a slow vibration in your legs as you push against the floor. This vibration is the charge of energy moving through your legs and into your first chakra. It can be used to push out blocks, to increase your sense of contact with your body, or to simply make you feel awake and refreshed.

It is possible to get overcharged, however, so exercise caution in how long you keep this up. If you get overcharged and feel anxious, kick your feet into a pile of pillows, shake your body, or let out whatever feelings are arising.

If one thing has been sacred to our species since time immemorial, it is our trees. Dwelling between the realms of earth and sky, we humans are beings of both worlds, and our very life is a balance and synthesis of form and spirit, below and above. What more appropriate symbol for this could there be than a tree, rooted in the earth, and... read this article
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