The Deeper The Roots, The Greater The Fruits
Updated: Feb 5, 2020
This January I have focused my attention and practices on the Root chakra - Why? In order to develop and grow, you need a stable foundation; and what better time than a new calendar year, to perform an audit of your foundations.
Every good gardener knows that it is necessary to perform routine inspections of any growing entity. Even if everything appears perfect on the outside, maybe things have shifted so you need to add another layer of soil on top of the roots. You may have heard the saying, ‘lay the groundwork” - which is to prepare what is necessary before something begins. I encourage you all to lay the groundwork at the start of the year.
Although my chakra focuses started with the heart last month (due to an instinctive draw I had to this chakra at the end of 2019), the Root chakra should be prioritised before proceeding to others. This is because we need stability, groundedness, and a strong foundation to access true transformation and personal growth.
Root chakra is called Muladhara in Sanskrit, and relates to our primitive instincts. There are four petals on the symbol for Muladhara, with the number four also representing a strong foundation - think of the four elements (earth, air, fire, water), four points on a compass, four walls, four legs on a chair, four wheels on a car. The stabilising life force energy of the Root chakra begins at conception, and continues throughout development, with the energy dividing the embryonic cells as a child begins to form. Skeletal development commences with the spinal column, from the point of the Root chakra, building up to the Crown chakra.
Muladhara therefore relates to our basic instincts for food, water, shelter and love. As a new born baby we are reliant on others for this primary care in order to survive. If any of these elements are lacking or even inconsistent, it can affect us later on in life. Because of this, reflection and investigation into the Root chakra may uncover some insecurities from birth.
Touching on this idea personally, I remember being a new mother. I only read one baby book, and that book told me that my baby needed to cry and it was ok to let her. When I thought about it, my baby was thrust from a warm and safe dark space, into a bright, noisy over-stimulated world. The book told me that because my baby couldn't express all these feelings verbally, at the end of the day (known in many circles as witching hour), my baby would cry. And during that time my instruction was to hold her: I wasn’t to jiggle, or shhhh, or sing. I wasn't to try and stop or stifle the crying, as this was my babies way of venting in a secure and safe place: her mother's arms. I must say it was very hard.
Sometimes my husband would come home and the baby and I would both be in tears, with the crying lasting up to an hour on occasion.
At the end she would stop, I would put her to bed, and she would sleep peacefully through the night, waking up in the morning as bright as a button.
I really felt like I was doing the right thing for her. Then baby number 2 came along and we tried the same strategy, but she hated it: the more we held her still, the more she screamed. I persevered for a few weeks, but after a while we transitioned to holding her for a bit and then letting her cry in her cot. She quickly settled on her own, and it transpired that this was the best method.
Even to this day I don’t know which way was the right way, and hope that on leaving my second child alone to cry I haven’t provoked a hidden insecurity. Or perhaps by holding my first child for a long time as she cried, she in fact felt angry and wanted to be her own. I did my best and had to trust my instincts, but this is a great example of how even trying our best, we can not be assured that trapped emotions will not reside in the Root chakras of our children.
As we already know, essential physical needs must be met in both babies and adults, but also the emotional needs of the Muladhara chakra: feelings of interconnection, and fearlessness. When these needs are met, you feel grounded and safe. When the chakra is balanced your energy can flow freely: there is a sense of belonging, feeling secure in your actions and choices, and you have the ability to hold an increased sense of self-worth.
WHY do we want to balance the Root chakra?
The location of the Root chakra, as its name suggests, is our physical body’s foundational support, i.e. the lowest point of the spine (first 3 vertebrae near the coccyx).
The Root Chakra is located in the region of the perineum – the small region just between the genitals and the anus.
More precisely, the energetic centre of the Root Chakra is a bit different for males and females: In the male body, it is slightly inside or above the perineum, whereas in the female body it is on the posterior side of the cervix, where the vagina meets the uterus.
One of the reasons we want to balance this chakra, is due to its anatomical positioning
The spinal cord consists of multiple vertebrae forming the base of the backbone, which is an integral part of the central nervous system. The Muladhara chakra is located near the lowermost vertebrae, situated between the joints of the hip bone and coccyx. The whole arrangement is ‘diamond-shaped’, and forms the perineum. This region supports the urogenital system (reproduction, waste elimination, and blood regulation), and gastrointestinal system (digestion and absorption of nutrients) - CRUCIAL, to say the least.
When I studied my yoga teacher training at The Practice Bali we learnt about the interrelation between the first chakra - Muladhara/Root - and the second chakra - Swadhisthana/Sacral (which will be my February Focus). These two foundational chakras feed off each other: their elements are earth and water, creating the fertile soil in which we can blossom, or the mud that sinks us, keeping us stuck in the lower states of consciousness. Balancing one chakra can create change in others, as they are all interconnected. Due to the Root being the primary chakra - located at the base of the chakra system - it lays the foundation for expansion in your life.
WHAT does an imbalance look like?
Here is an overview of the Root Chakra profile, making its characteristics perhaps a little clearer...
Energy: GRAVITY and COMPRESSION
The key colour of this Chakra is red, which is also the most dense colour of all the chakras. Red is the slowest of the wavelengths within the visible spectrum, yet surprisingly the most stimulating colour. It pulls the retina forward so all of our energy is focused outward. That is why we use red for stop lights and signs: the colour commands attention, and signals danger to us so we can act immediately. It is the colour of blood and the first colour we come into contact with when we are born. Red is the colour of the life force.
POSITIVE: Individual, grounded, capable, dependable, original, pioneering, independent, strong, witty.
NEGATIVE: Dominant, close-minded, self-centered, demanding of attention, unsympathetic, materialistic, insensitive.
Muladhara is the powerful creative force underlying the material world, pulling particles together like building blocks, manifesting the Earth element.
MOLECULAR LEVEL: the strong integrative power that holds each atom together.
UNIVERSAL LEVEL: the gravitational pull that holds individual stars and planets together, creating what we experience as gravity.
PHYSIOLOGICAL LEVEL: the force that empowers cells to gather the nutrients they need for growth, sustenance and repair. It also creates the integrity of our bones and works as the active part of muscular contraction.
PSYCHOLOGICAL LEVEL: it inspires thoughts about self, possessions, survival and acquisition.
So as you can see and sense, not only does this chakra relate to gravity - the energetic force that holds everything together - it is our connection to earth, helping us repair and sustain physically.
In both my Reiki and Yoga lineage we don’t talk about the chakra being closed or open: rather it being balanced/active when energy is flowing, or imbalanced/underactive. Our aim is that it is optimised, with energy flowing freely all around.
Below is a guide to the Root chakra to help you check in with yourself...
WHEN THE ENERGY IS FLOWING AND BALANCED
COMFORTABLE IN PHYSICAL BODY AND MATERIAL LIFE
MOTIVATED TOWARDS BEING ACTIVE
GOOD SURVIVAL INSTINCTS
HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP TO MONEY AND BEING SUCCESSFUL
HAPPY TO WORK HARD TO ACHIEVE SET GOALS
INDEPENDENT AND NOT NEEDY OF OTHERS
HAPPY TO BE ALONE AND DO THINGS SOLO
WHEN THE ENERGY IS TOO STRONG AND OUT OF BALANCE
OVER-MATERIALISTIC AND GREEDY
BOUNDARIES BECOME BARRIERS
STRENGTH TURNS TO DEFENSIVENESS
WHEN THE ENERGY IS WEAK OR DEPLETED
LACK OF STRENGTH AND STABILITY
POOR HEALTH AND ENDURANCE
UNCOMFORTABLE IN PHYSICAL BODY / POOR SELF-IMAGE
PROCRASTINATE RATHER THAN TAKING ACTION
FANTASY-ORIENTED / DAYDREAMER
FEAR OF SURVIVAL
LOW SELF-ESTEEM / SELF-WORTH
The body can often be very literal as it translates our energy blockages into physical symptoms.
This is the body’s way of giving us messages, guiding us towards resolution and solutions by showing us which area we need to energetically ‘unblock’. So an underactive /overactive root chakra can manifest in many issues based around rigidity; including constipation (inability to let go), arthritis, sciatica, weakness or problems in the ankles and knees. Other physical symptoms or issues include the adrenal glands, colon, kidneys, skeleton/bones, muscles, and arterial blood that flows through the left chamber of the heart, carrying oxygen and nutrients to our body tissue.
As the chakra relates to feeling safe, we can be left with a deep sense of insecurity if the Root chakra is out of whack: this can manifest in anxiety, worry, panic, depression, frustration, resentment, anger/rage, and feelings of disconnect.
But when the Muladhara chakra is balanced, and the energy can flow freely, the opposite is true: we feel connected, with a real sense of belonging, feeling secure in our actions and choices and understanding our true worth.
The other aspect of Muladhara is that it connects us with the spiritual energies of our ancestors, including their challenges and triumphs. Since this chakra carries our ancestral memories, almost everyone experiences challenges or imbalances within their Root.
During our history there was a time we lived in fear - maybe due to war, famine, disease or natural disasters - therefore these energies are stored within the chakra and passed down through generations. It is our job to help clear these memories imprinted in our collective unconscious so we can evolve. There is no evolution without challenges.
HOW can we balance it?
There are some very simple techniques that can bring balance to your Root chakra. Below I have summarised the primary methods I have been using this month - if you would like to know more, please do not hesitate to reach out to me personally, my email is at the bottom of this post.
Being 'grounded' means being present in your body and feeling connected to the earth. As we have discussed, the Root chakra is the first chakra, and its energy is based on the earth element. Grounding describes a technique used to 'bring us back to earth' when we feel flighty, dazed, or too “in our head”. It is commonly felt after too much meditation or energy work, or if we spend a good deal of time in front of the computer.
In energetic terms, it is when we have too much energy in our Third Eye and Crown chakras, and can result in a ‘flakey’ or unfocused feeling. Symptoms can include: headaches, eye strain or dizziness.
Being grounded allows us to remain focused, centred, and open to what is actually happening in our lives. It also helps us feel gratitude and joy.
Getting out into nature is my go to grounding technique. Remember your body consists of 65-50% water. This water plus the minerals makes it a great electrical conductor. Similarly, the high salt content in the sea or ocean water makes it one of the best conductors of electrons. One of the best ways to ground yourself is to stroll through sea water barefoot.
If you'd like to explore some grounding exercises please read my blog covering some specific techniques to try.
Reiki Treatment (& Self Treatment)
When giving a Reiki healing treatment I explain to my clients that my job as the practitioner is to create a safe space where they can go deep; where they can go on their own exploration, to listen to their inner truth. This is the same for self healing. Everyday when I do my self treatment, I go on an internal exploration, and the fuel for my trip is the universal life force, Reiki. Feeling safe and secure is when the subconscious can reveal itself.
Moon Yoga Practice
Moon is code for MIND - mental energy. The traditional Hatha yoga Moon practice works with long holds, long exhalations, guiding your awareness inwards. The sequences I have used this month utilise the force of ‘Apana Vayu’, to engage and release the root ‘lock’.
‘Vayu’ means to carry or move, and in practice we work with 5 of the 10 ‘Vayus’ in the body, each having its own location, function, direction and action. ‘Apana Vayu’ is descending in nature, and its primary function is to eliminate; it’s also responsible for grounding and embodiment.
Because of its downward movement, it relates to the power of “letting go”, governing the release of waste, wind, semen and ova. Beside the physical aspect, it also serves our capacity to let go of old emotions that no longer serve us.
Each pose category shapes ‘prana’, and therefore the mind, in a different way: when focusing on the Root chakra, I design my yoga sequences with ‘Apana Vayu’ in mind - FORWARD FOLDS and TWISTS.
Moon sequences create a stable foundation in the body and calmness in the mind, allowing us to feel safe, let go, and connect to the world we live in.
Reiki 2 Technique
If you have completed your Reiki Level 2 you can draw the power symbol on the bottom of your feet (ideally with a red non toxic pen) to activate the Root chakra. It is very powerful when physically drawn on the base of the foot, where our minor chakras are. Drawing in the morning, as part of your wake up routine, is an excellent way to remain grounded no matter what the day brings. Perfect if you have big presentations/meetings, or perhaps if you are flying, or heading into any stressful situation.
Any high vibrational foods with a naturally strong red pigment or grounding properties can help recharge your Muladhara chakra.chakra - below is a list to get you started.
Root Vegetables: Vegetables that grow deep within the earth help to keep us grounded and embody the energy of the root chakra. Try potato, sweet potato, parsnip, turnip, carrot, beetroot, onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric.
Proteins: Eggs, meats, beans and nuts are all high protein foods that are very grounding and nourishing for the root chakra.
Red foods: The colour of the chakras and the colour of foods are inextricably linked. It is believed that eating a wide range of red fruits and vegetables are great for balancing the root chakra. Strawberries, cherries, apples, pomegranate, tomato and raspberries.
I hope after this break down of the Root chakra - the purpose it serves, the position it holds in our energy system, and its undeniable importance to our mental and physical well-being - I have encouraged you to take the time to check in with yourself in order to be better equipped to face the year ahead.
As I mentioned previously, please do not hesitate to reach out to me personally if you wish for me to expand on any of the information above, or if you’re interested in finding out more about a chakra-focused Reiki treatment or Yoga practice with me. firstname.lastname@example.org