Yoga: Root Chakra

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Let’s get to the root of the matter.

Chakras, chakras, chakras. Holy muladhara batman! “What on earth is a chakra?” I hear you cry. Well that’s a rather good question.  One that has many different answers. I’m going to be writing an article on each of the main 7 chakras over the coming months. Hopefully giving you a wholesome and satisfying answer to the aforementioned question.

Each chakra represents a certain aspect that makes up a whole or holistic being. They are energetic centres that correspond to different nerve plexuses along the spine and each one is related to a gland and it’s function.These glands secrete hormones or chemicals which affect how we think feel and act. They also represent stages of our psycho-spiritual evolution, spanning from survival consciousness at the root, to love consciousness at the heart and spiritual/sacred consciousness at the crown.

Chakras are sometimes described as vortexes of energy that absorb relevant information from our surroundings and transmit it back out through our words, actions and thoughts. If there is discord in a certain aspect of our being the information received or transmitted at the corresponding chakra will be distorted. In relation to the root chakra perhaps we put too much value on material gain, lean towards hoarding, controlling behavior, feeling disconnected from our bodies, stuck in thoughts of past events, full of fear or are obsessive with how we look. Many of us can associate with more than one of the above.

The root chakra is a super important one to work on and keep healthy as it is the foundation stone from which we build upwards. It is the realization of the body as the home or temple of the individual soul, at the same time the lesson of this chakra is “all is one”. Feeling connected to the planet and our own bodies brings the feeling of coming home and feeling at home, the souls quest. The root chakra is the first step of this journey. We need our basic needs met first before we can evolve our awareness; a safe place to call home, nourishing food, a stable job, a nurturing home/family life. If these basic needs are not met we become stuck in survival consciousness. Once we are secure and safe we can start the journey of recovering any lost innocence and we feel our own personal guiding force.

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Yoga and meditation help to bring us to this place. Once we separate ourselves from our thoughts and/ past experiences we realise that we are more…much more than our thoughts.

The Solution

There are many ways to heal the root. Here are just a few:

Be still

Find time to detox the mind. Just as we need to eat cleanly to purify our bodies, stilling the body has a cleansing effect on the nerves.  Even 5 minutes a day will have a massive effect if practiced regularly. It takes 2 minutes of stillness to have a quieting effect on the brainwave patterns. Try to be impartial to any thoughts or feelings that do arise. Simply witness and stay unaffected by the current. See what you observe. This can teach you a lot about yourself and your reactions. There are many meditation techniques. Find one that works for you.

Wear red, eat red food, paint a room in your house red.

Practice Yoga

Breathing deep in the safe space on our Yoga mat is a fabulous way to heal this Chakra. Here’s some ideas.

Tadasana- Mountain pose

A great way to start your practice is in Mountain Pose. Feet can be together or slightly apart and under the hips. Hands can be relaxed by the sides or in anjali (prayer) mudra  at the heart space.  Feel an energetic exchange between you and the earth beneath you. Stand tall and breathe deeply without any strain. On the inhale you are receiving nourishment from the planet into your body and enlivening your very cells. As you exhale you are giving back to the planet with that almost alchemical change of gasses. Just in that one breath we can see we are part of the ecosystem that is the planet Earth. Feel connected and at the same time appreciate that you are unique. Your journey is yours. Tadasana teaches us to reflect on our own journey up the mountain and that all paths have the same destination. What is your path? Spend 8-10 breathes here simply being.

Adho mukha svanasana- downward facing dog

Start on all fours. Wrists underneath the shoulders or just ahead of them and knees beneath the hips. From here tuck the toes under and lift the knees off the floor. Legs can stay slightly bent or you can work at straighten the legs. Hips reach to the heavens and head dangles of the neck and shoulders. No clutter in the neck. Breathe deep. Here our body is upside down. Giving us a new perspective of the world and of ourselves. Recognizing the mystery that you are, spend 5-8 breathes here.

Any standing poses will help with building a strong root as your feet are firmly planted to the ground. Hold your intent and breathe the deepest breath you’ve ever breathed.

Much Love and Light

By Rebecca Keenaghan

Photo credits: Natalie J Watts