Muladhara- the Root Chakra

Our first chakra, Muladhara, the Root Chakra is located at the base of our tail bone. The color associated with this chakra is red. The seed syllable is LAM. The element is Earth. The root chakra spins at the slowest rate, creating a brilliant ruby color. This chakra is the most dense of the chakras- it has a field so dense that it seems solid. The atoms are mostly empty space but form what we see as solid matter- the basis for our reality. The root chakra is our base- where we start our journey- it anchors and centers us.

The sense associated with this chakra is smell. The energy state is solid. The chief operating force is gravity. This chakra forms in utero- 12 months. The tasks given to this chakra include physical growth, motor development, and bonding. In relation to the formation of our identity, this chakra helps with physical identity, self- preservation, orientation to self, and our ego development. In the body, the root chakra is associated with the legs, spine and tail bone, adrenal gland, feet, bones, teeth, large intestine, prostate, anus/rectum, bladder, blood, and circulation.

Yantra/symbol- 4 vermillion petals around a yellow square. The yellow square represents the element of Earth & the firm foundation of the material world. The petals represent the 4 directions (N, S, E, & W). The small triangle pointing down from a column of energy- representing sushumna- represents the earth- oriented downward force of the chakra. This chakra is the home and resting place of kundalini. The animal form is a 7-trunked elephant- associated with solidity & assuredness. The trunks represent the 7 chakras, planets, colors, notes, & behavioral aspects we must work with. We can also associate Ganesh with this- remover of obstacles- he is grounded, full bellied and happy with his physicality. On the elephant's back rests the bija mantra- LAM. The god & goddesses show attributes of fearlessness & stillness.

Purpose of the Root Chakra- It gives the energy & motivation we need to make good use of what resources are available. It includes the realization of dreams & the maintenance of energy levels within the body. This chakra is essential in the manifestation of any idea, dream, or concept. Centering. The manifestation of consciousness in its final form- solid & tangible. It's our need to stay alive & be healthy; and the acceptance of limitation & discipline so crucial to manifestation. It is the foundation of the entire system- the building block on which all the other chakras must rest.

Needs- trust, nourishment, safety, right to be here

Keywords- patience, order, safety, stability, prosperity, grounding, trust, health, home, family, appropriate boundaries

Psychology- survival, grounding, reality, security, support, sexuality, courage. Emotion- passion. Instinctual fight or flight response. If we don't balance this chakra before we progress to others, our growth will be without roots, ungrounded, & will lack the stability necessary for true growth.

Characteristics of a Healthy-balanced Root Chakra- If your root chakra is healthy, you may be full of life, have a will to grow, passionate, courageous, strong, decisive, forgiving, and trusting. (You can commune on this chakra's energy for the strength to forgive & the will to be courageous.) You will acknowledge & love yourself, with an overwhelming passion for life. Passion (motivation to ensure survival of the species that underlies immediate physical attraction- associated with the base chakra). Action- desire to act, to move, to do (this energy is a must for any new venture or project). Energy, confidence, know-how & dexterity to survive. Strong family and community/tribe ties, instinct, ability to be grounded, structure, survival. This chakra influences physical identity, ambition, and stability. It allows healing, manifestation, physical pleasure, and releases frustration/blockages. Feeling safe- ability to survive- fear control- good health- stability- order- good sexuality- abundance. We can tackle life's challenges in a positive, wholesome way that allows us to validate ourselves no matter what happens. Distill order out of chaos. We build, we connect, we develop, & we participate in life as fully as we can. Patience. We persevere & don't give up. Structuring our time & energy so that we can make the best use of our gifts & skills- helps us fulfill our destiny; seeing the world as it is (more literally)

Demon- fear (fiery emotional states of anger, assertiveness, and aggression all arise from fear)

Traumas that affect this chakra- birth trauma, health issues in the early days, separation from mother, neglect, abandonment, feeding difficulties, inherited trauma (parents' survival fears- Holocaust survivors war vets, poverty, etc), major illness or surgery, physical abuse or violent environment

Blocked or Impeded Chakra characteristics- a lack of will, vigor & passion. Without sufficient physical energy, the body can't act as a solid anchor for consciousness, resulting in a lack of a sense of reality. This may result in the appearance of illness & oversensitivity to external circumstances. Chronic lack of energy, problems with stiffness & painful movement (particularly hips, legs, & feet). Poor physical co-ordination or poor circulation. Uncomfortable with/in your body. Excessive tension or excitability with continual need for stimulation. Buildup of strong emotions, which may be released inappropriately or excessively. There can be a tendency to selfishness and a lack of concern for others, or a total denial of emotions we are experiencing. Depression, emotional anger, self esteem issues, laziness, low energy, anxiety stuck in unfulfilling & unrewarding career; find that your well being is highly dependent upon external circumstances; you believe that money creates stability; greed- financial difficulties- fear of change- gambling- physical abuses

Deficient Characteristics (not enough Earth)- contracted, as energy tries to move inward it can't be taken in, which creates a chaotic dispersal of energy. Some deficient root chakra characteristics- disconnected with your body, fear, anxiety, financial difficulties, eating disorders, poor boundaries, underweight, uptight, restless, inability to focus, difficulty with organization & finances, physically aggressive, belligerent, impulsive, inability to recognize limits, obsessively sexual, hyperactive, reckless

Excess Characteristics (too much Earth)- draws in so much energy that it cannot move energy up or down- it creates rigidity hoarding, greed, sluggish, rigid, fear of change, obesity & overeating; low energy, tired, sluggish; inability to make changes in your life; overly rigid boundaries; fixation on material possessions- in extreme cases hoarding, manipulative, overly cautious, craving excitement & change but refusing to act on it, needing approval

Physical ailments- anemia, fatigue, obesity, colds, hemorrhoids, constipation, body temperature, bladder infection, hemoglobin, sciatica, numbness, suffer from eating disorders, adrenal fatigue, foot & leg pains/injuries, rectal or colon problems, immune or bone disorders; insomnia, lower back pain, constipation, headaches

To energize and heal your Root chakra- exercising the sense of touch, attending to practical matters, gentle movement & exercise (like yoga). A warm bath, massage, aromatherapy or reflexology. Walking, running, jumping, or stamping the feet- improves circulation, co-ordination & our link to the planet. Eating healthy foods, especially high protein. Good mineral supplement- like zinc. Gardening, washing, cleaning, drumming, dancing to music with a strong rhythm, connecting with your tribe, examine familial relationships. Connecting with the Earth- walking barefoot, experiencing the sounds & smells of nature, sit on the grass under a tree and absorb earthly energies. Cleaning the house (excessive qualities- purge; deficient qualities- bring in earth elements- wood, squares, browns, reds, yellows). If your root chakra is deficient- increase contact with nature, play more, laugh more, move more, add the color red. If your root chakra is excessive- eat less, sleep less & work less, add green with a touch of red.

Aromatherapy- (great for feet, heels) patchouli, geranium, vetiver, cedar, ginger, rosewood, cloves, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, pine, sage (anything earthy)

Healing Herbs- dandelion, comfrey leaf, red raspberry leaf, marshmallow, oatstraw

Foods- apples, beans, raspberries, cherries, pomegranate, pepper, beets, carrots, radish, spinach, tomato, strawberry, chili, onion, potato, garlic (protein, root vegetables, minerals, foods that grow deep in the earth) "Eating provides the opportunity for an intimate relationship with the earth through our bodies." Deanna Minich Through food, we take into ourselves the fruits of the Earth. Eating clean & nourishing food- establishes healthy foundation. Balanced diet. Avoiding heavily processed foods, heavy in sugar, foods without nutrition; benefits. Too much leaves the body feeling sluggish.

Affirmations- I live with a passion. I have courage and strength. I am decisive and forgiving. I am safe in the core of my being. I deserve my own place to exist in freedom. I allow the Light to dissolve away all fears, worries, and concerns related to money, security, and safety. I know that I am perfectly protected in all ways and that all of my needs are met and provided for at every moment. I am secure, I belong in this world. I am where I need to be. I am at peace with my surroundings, with the people & events that occur. I trust more and fear less. "My body is a glorious place to live. I rejoice that I have chosen this particular body because it is perfect for me in this lifetime. I am the embodiment of vibrant health. I am safe. I am secure. I am grounded. I belong. I am at peace with the material world in which I live." I accept all the abundance in my life. I nourish my body, mind, and spirit. My energy is grounded to bring in a healthy energy flow. I have everything that I need for an abundant life. I am connected to all that is around me. This connection gives me a strong foundation and does not hold me back. Security and stability in life allow me to move with both confidence and connection to who I am.

Asanas to balance your Root Chakra- These are just a few of many: vrksasana/ tree pose, malasana/squat, adho mukha svanasana/ downward facing dog, tadasana/ mountain pose, balasana/ child's pose, Captain Morgan/ modified Warrior 2, plank with block between legs, pyramid pose variation with back knee bent, Elephant pose/ wide chair, lunge/crescent lunge with top of foot down (see pictures for the last 5 asanas above)

Research compiled from many sources, including my own knowledge and experience. Some other great resources include "The Book of Chakras" by Ambika Wauters, "The Chakra Bible" by Patricia Mercier, "Wheels of Life" by Anodea Judith, and "Eastern Body, Western Mind" by Anodea Judith. So many, so little time!

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