Muladhara – Root Chakra
Now you know more about what chakras or energy centres are, let’s jump in and learn more about the first primary chakra: Muladhara. Not sure what a ‘chakra’ or the subtle body is, read this first.)
Muladhara (or root) chakra is our grounding energy centre. Mula means root in Sanskrit. Adhara means support.
Muladhara is probably the most important of the 7 primary chakras because it is our starting point, our home base. It is our foundation. If the Muladhara energy centre is out of alignment, the rest of the subtle body will feel it.
Muladhara is the most primal or instinctual of all the chakras. Its general location is at the base of the spine – your coccyx or tailbone. More specifically, it’s in between your anus and genitals – also known as the perineum. Its colour is deep ruby red and the element is earth which is the element with the greatest mass. Muladahara is what anchors, earths us.
This energy centre is closely connected to our sense of security, physical safety and survival. In ancient times, our ancestors could not rely on a regular food chain. Fierce tigers and wild beasts were constant predators so this root centre links to our sense of self-preservation. Key to survival was our ‘fight or flight’ response – which is our nervous system’s way of responding to threats. So this chakra is closely linked to the emotion of fear.
Our sense of smell is related to Muladhara – which makes sense in that this was often the only way our ancestors could check whether food was safe to eat.
Today, most of us are not faced with these same level of dangers or but instead muladhara becomes unbalanced with other stressors of modern life – financial worries, stressful jobs, health issues or fears of social abandonment.
The strength of our Muladhara is often connected to our experience as babies or infants. If our early life caregivers were nurturing and gave us consistent care and support, we are more likely to have a strong trusting instinct. We can trust ourselves to stand on your own two feet.
Yoga on the Mat – Muladhara and Asana
So how do we relate all this back to our yoga ON the mat and specifically the physical practice of asana. The parts of the body associated with the root chakra are the feet and legs, but especially our feet. The feet are the foundation for all our standing poses. A great way to find your root is to come to Tadasana or mountain pose and draw the energy from the earth up. The warrior poses make us feel centred and steady. And Tree pose and one legged standing poses all help us to grow from strong roots and foundations. We find our foot lock or ‘pada bandha‘.
You’ll often hear teachers ask you to ‘engage mula bandha’. This happens when we draw the root chakra (at the tailbone) up and in towards the pelvic floor (which in turn supports our bladder, bowels and reproductive system). This root lock prevents energy from escaping so we can ‘hold ourselves together’. We can feel earthed, rooted, grounded.
Muladhara Off the Mat
Finally, let’s take Muladhara off the mat. When it is in balance we trust ourselves. We have a sense of belonging. We also know we have the security and support of the community. (Just as our ancestors knew that there was safety in numbers and being part of the tribe.)
Triggers for muladhara imbalance include loneliness, health scares, money worries. Physically this can result in anxiety, over or under eating and a lack of energy or vitality.
To balance or boost your root chakra energy, yoga and meditation of course help! Also walking barefoot, walking in nature. And simply energise your space with red.
Next week we’ll move up to our next Energy Centre – Svadhisthana or Sacral Chakra.. Tune in then.
You might also enjoy reading https://mandalayoga.ie/chakras-and-chakra-balance/
Manasi’s workshop will explore all 7 chakras in one immersive practice at the end of February.