Let’s start our journey through the chakra system by looking at the base or root chakra. The Sanskrit name for this chakra is Muladhara which means root support. It is located at the base of the spine and is associated with the adrenal glands, the lower back and lower limbs, kidneys and immune system. A disfunctional base chakra can be indicated by lower back problems, sciatica, rectal problems, varicose veins or immune problems.
The root or base chakra’s element is Earth. Incense such as cedarwood, patchouli or musk are all good for this chakra. Musical note C resonates with this chakra as does the colour red and crystals such as hematite, garnet, bloodstone, onyx or ruby.
To restore balance to this chakra you can use colour therapies such as wearing red, looking through red glasses, having a bath with red-colouring in the water, placing a red-coloured crystal over the base of the spine or by eating red-coloured foods. We often get so caught up in our heads that we become ungrounded and this is a sign of an unbalanced, underactive root chakra. You may feel light-headed, flighty or a bit “spaced out”. You may also notice that you constantly get static shocks when you touch certain surfaces. Over-activity in this area can cause issues such as feeling “stuck”, becoming overly concerned with safety and stability to the extent that you are unable to move forward – fear becomes your driving force.
This chakra is also concerned with self-esteem, survival and protection so if you feel depressed or have low self-esteem you may need to balance this chakra to restore harmony and to help raise your spirits. Getting out and about in nature can also restore balance to this chakra and is also good for your mental and physical health! The chakras all respond well to sunlight as they all form part of the spectrum of light but by being outdoors reconnecting with nature and feeling the Earth beneath your feet you can ground and centre yourself and therefore bring the base chakra back into balance.
It is important that we have strong roots and a firm foundation to build upon. The lower chakras are often seen as less important than the more spiritually evolved higher chakras. This is mirrored in many of the teachings and beliefs imposed on us from an early age where anything to do with our bodies or material things are seen as lesser than spiritual pursuits. We often forget that we are spiritual beings travelling within a human body. The frequent phrase is “trapped” within a body. Why trapped? The human body is a miraculous thing! We need to look after it well – treat it as our vehicle through life. You look after your car to ensure it continues to work well so therefore you should look after your body well so it continues to be healthy for you as you travel through life.
This chakra is all about roots, limitation and consciousness of manifestation. When you come up with an idea you need to actually then process the idea and take action in order to bring it into being – to manifest it. Without some form of limitation you would never actually get anything done. Imagine for a second that you have all these wonderful ideas but you then cannot limit yourself to focusing on one thing at a time. For example a writer creating a novel needs to have the idea in his or her head and then limit themselves to following the story otherwise they would end up not writing about anything as they became overwhelmed with ideas and notions. A fully functioning root chakra allows us to have the necessary limitation which in turn allows us to manifest the idea into reality. As we manifest we then start to transform the idea into a real thing and then make changes on it as we progress, the cycle continues as we think more we then return to the manifestation and change things until we are satisfied with the outcome.
Fear is the antithesis of the base chakra. When you feel fear your body goes into fight or flight mode and your system is flooded with adrenalin. The base chakra resonates with the adrenal glands which produce this hormone. Being overly fearful is a sign of overactivity in the base chakra. Facing your fears can help bring balance back to this chakra if balance is needed. The base chakra is all about physical survival and protection, it regularly checks in to ensure that all is well and nothing is threatening the body. Whilst we no longer need to physically fight for our food and survival we still have the primitive survival instinct within us and we need to listen to our bodies and respond in a healthy way when we feel under threat. These days we are more likely to be threatened by unhealthy pursuits such as over-indulgence, drugs, alcohol and lack of exercise than by a predator threatening our life or stealing our food (although if you live with a growing teenage son the food part may sound familiar as you find your fridge raided again!)
As well as working with colour as detailed above there are many other exercises and things we can do to bring this chakra into balance. I have outlined a few below to get you started. Do what feels right for you – listen to your body and respect its needs.
Try a meditation. Find a place where you will not be disturbed. Sit comfortably with your back straight but not locked and your feet on the floor. Take a few deep breaths, breathing right down into your belly and allowing your mind to simply focus on the action of this breathing. Close your eyes and imagine roots coming from your feet and going down into the Earth. Take your time and visualise them penetrating through the layers of soil and rock all the way to the core. Imagine the Earth’s energy flowing up from the core through the roots into your feet. Feel it coming up your legs and into your body. Feel the glow of red energy at the base of your spine and allow it to flow all the way up your back into your body. Sit and relax allowing the energy to flow around your body. When you are ready open your eyes and take a few minutes to focus back on the room where you are sitting. When you are ready get up and have something to eat or drink. This exercise will help ground and centre you and balance the root chakra.
If you find visualisation or meditation difficult you can perhaps try a guided meditation where you listen to someone take you through a scenario. There are many of these available online. Alternatively if meditation is not for you then why not try going out for a walk. Ideally aim for somewhere like a forest park or beach where you can really connect with the beauty of nature but if you are unable to do that just getting out into the fresh air can be enough. Focus on your steps and really feel your feet connecting with the Earth. If you are feeling stressed then allow each step to transfer the negative stressed energy from your feet into the Earth.
Next week we will continue our journey up through the chakras and look at the sacral chakra – transformation and change!