It is our primal need to belong, to be wanted, to be accepted. Through the prism of the chakra system, this is the muladhara chakra, the first of the seven major chakras in the Hindu tradition. Mula means “root” and adhara means “base” or “support”. Also known as the base or root chakra, it is located at the tailbone on the hipline. It is associated with various body parts (muscles, bones, and organs in the area), immune system, adrenals, the colour red, earth element, the sense of smell, safety and security, and self-identity.
As the name suggests, the root chakra is about our roots – our ancestors, our family, our earthly existence, who we are. It is about the early years, our first years as we navigate in this physical world and when we learn how to operate this physical body.
This chakra is about survival and primal needs and our sense of worthiness. When this is threatened, fear is evoked. It is not only a physical threat we feel, also emotional, spiritual, and mental.
Relating to this is the muladhara endocrine energy, from the adrenals. These are our stress glands. They secrete hormones such as cortisol to support the fight-or-flight survival response. The build up of energy is then discharged through action and movement.
What happens when we do not get the opportunity to fight or run away from the “tigers” that threaten our mortal lives? What if we are sitting in our car, and someone cuts us off? Or we are sitting at our work, and someone just plops down a pile of paperwork at the end of the day?
While physical threats are no longer on the level as they once were, our reptilian brain continues to identity threats. In today’s world, people are actually in a state of chronic stress. This is different from acute stress that our ancestors were able to discharge through their body, through fight or flight.
This means we are feeling the effects of a survival response on low levels on a continuing basis. We have seen increased rates in illness associated with the root chakra such as obesity, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, skin problems, sexual dysfunction, reproductive issues, and addictions.
How a person is able or unable to deal with threats as a child can set up patterns of behaviour and levels of well-being in their adult lives. We can overcompensate or avoid situations, responses that can become wired, and our chakras reflect this as a deficient or excessive state.
Balanced and Imbalanced Root Chakra
A deficient first chakra can be seen with being anxious, feeling unlovable, having poor boundaries, and financially lacking; an excessive first chakra, overweight, fatigue, and obsessive with security and material gains. For example, a child who feels insecure may grow up to be an adult who is overweight, using the excess weight to ground the body, to attune to the earth element of the first chakra, to feel more secure.
Whether a chakra becomes deficient and excessive is a mystery, according to Andoea Judith, who shares that it is linked to the amount of energy available to a person as they are growing up.
This is about energy and not conscious thought or desire. People can have constant reminders that “you are super intelligent. You are so creative. You are amazing.” and they may see or know it on an intellectual level but just not able to embody this belief. Something is stuck.
When the first chakra is balanced, a person feels secure and grounded, moves fluidly in the physical world, and is confident in looking after their material and physical needs. A balanced first chakra also helps to build and support a robust foundation for the rest of the chakras.
It ultimately reflects the quality of the innocence, the pure and childlike joy that imparts honour, dignity, and a reliance on the love of the Divine Mother, who assists us in overcoming all enemies or temptations within us or outside us.
Root Chakra Activation
According to Cyndi Dale’s 12-Chakra system, the first chakra is activated between the time in the womb and six months of age. It is then re-visited after the seventh chakra is activated (14 to 21 years old), in cycles of seven years. In Anodea Judith’s teaching, the time span is womb to one year and in the traditional Hindu system, one to seven years.
Emotional challenges that remain unresolved after the chakra first activated come up again later in life. The primal feelings of fear, anger, disgust, sadness, and joy and related survival reactions from resentment, abandonment, rejection, shame, longing, oneness show up through our relationships, external circumstances, personal challenges, for example.
Why Balance the Root Chakra?
Like a tree, we need strong roots to grow tall and to fulfill our visions. If the forest is to grow and replenish and the ecosystem be healthy, the trees within need to be individually strong. This includes having good earth and all the other elements to flourish and connect with others.
What if we all ground more into who we are, while respecting everyone else’s right to be here as well? What if we can welcome and nourish each other? What if our root chakra is open and clear so that our survival and self-preservation instincts are balanced and our responses appropriate? What if we realize that to thrive, we need a healthy environment? What would our environment be like? What would the world look like?
Where in our own lives can we let go a bit more, trust more? How can we be more comfortable with change? How can we listen to our body more? The first thing we can do is to become more aware of our physical body, our environment, our coping strategies, our finances, our feelings about security.. and then look for support. #GetOutside and be in nature. Ground.
Ways to Balance the Root Chakra
There are many ways to balance this chakra. We want to instill a feeling of groundedness, trust, and connectedness. When we trust that we are provided for, we step through a potent doorway to living in synchronicity.
Connect with Mother Earth
Stand or walk barefoot outside and feel yourself anchored into the earth. Feel the weight of your feet and the solid ground rising to meet you, to support you. You can explore earthing and forest bathing.
There are many different kinds of meditation, each with its own purpose. To balance the root chakra, you can visualize a ball of red energy dissolving any blockages or energizing the chakra. You can also chant its seed mantra “lam”, or focus on the nose as this chakra is related to the sense of smell. Other mantras you can use in meditation include “I am grounded”, “I trust in life” or anything you resonate.
You can also place crystals such as black tourmaline, red jasper, smokey quartz or garnet on the chakra in mediation. You can also carry these crystals with you.
De-stress and Build Resilience
Stress and trauma held in this chakra, perhaps from childhood events, can disrupt the proper functioning of the root chakra. Working with practitioners such as EDMR, somatic experience or shamanism, can be very helpful in clearing the residues. Reiki and Jin Shin Jyutsu can also support rebalancing and re-energizing this chakra.
The body responds to movement; it’s built to move. This includes exercise, dance, and other free-form movements, which helps to shift the energy within. Touching the ground also helps us reconnect and anchor. Massage is not only relaxing; it increases circulation on many levels.
Be More Self-Sufficient
Our ability to take care of ourselves makes us feel safer, more capable, and more trusting of life. This can be in small ways such as saving more money or in bigger ways such as learning how to fly, as a way to conquer your fears. Facing your fears can help tremendously in feeling strong and self-reliant.